Linux Format Newsletter -- #75, June 2011

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Linux Format Newsletter -- #75, June 2011

Postby M-Saunders » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:00 pm





1. Welcome

2. LXF 147 on sale

3. Special subscription offer

4. In the news...

5. This month on the forum

6. Special Newsletter feature

7. Coming up next issue

8. Receiving this Newsletter

9. Contact details

1. Welcome

Hello! I'm really struggling with something in my head here: online
advertising. On the one hand, I strongly support it when it gives us
great free content, as we see on many websites. I enjoy reading
Engadget, for example, and I'd never want to block the ads as they
help to pay the staff's wages. That's a fair setup.

However, the amount of information being tracked by ad providers is
getting scary. Adverts are increasingly being tailored to what I
(apparently) want, and it's clear they're building up a detailed
profile about my browsing habits. I don't know what to do - I still
want to help ad-supported sites that I read, but I'm genuinely
concerned about my internet anonymity. I don't have anything to
hide, but I just want to be free. Any ideas, readers?

While we muse over that, enjoy this month's newsletter. We have a
look at the brand spanking new issue of Linux Format, roundups of
the hottest news stories and forum threads, plus a special feature
on emulating classic computers and consoles. Enjoy!

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. LXF 147 on sale

We all need a change of scenery now and then, so how about a change
of distro? With so much rapid innovation going on in the Linux
world, distros are constantly edging ahead of one another in areas
such as performance stability and ease-of-use. In this month's cover
feature we throw six of the best distros into a pit and let them
battle it out for supremacy. Who's the winner? You may very well be

We've backed this up by putting all six of the distros on a special
8GB, double-sided DVD. On one side we have the full version of
Fedora 15 with almost 3,000 packages - everything you need for a
powerful Linux desktop, development workstation or server. Plus
we have games, tutorials, podcasts and much more.

Also in the magazine: check out our review of Mageia 1.0, the
community spin-off of Mandriva. We look at how the Fedora distro
grows from a bunch of ideas into a fully installable release, examine
the best Android apps, and have tutorials on lightweight distros,
pro photography, cloud file sharing, Gnome 3 tweaking and more.

Here's a taster of LXF147 from the HotPicks section:

# Rekonq 0.7.0 --

New browsers don't make a habit of popping up, and there's
probably quite a good reason for that. Firefox and Chrome/Chromium
have the market pretty well sewn up, and they do a very good job
for the most part. Things like Flock, source forks with overly
lofty ambitions, don't tend to go down well with their intended
audience, as Flock's own closure demonstrates. And if you're
feeling deliberately obtuse, you'll plump for Opera rather than
something small and obscure, won't you?

Perhaps not. Firefox 4 has wrinkled a fair few brows thanks to its
memory management, which we can only call 'awful'. Chrome,
similarly, has always had issues when you're running a large
number of tabs because it reserves individual pockets of RAM for
each one. Konqueror? Well, it's there. And it's huge. It's
probably the most extendable browser of any on general release at
the moment. And for some people that's an issue - enough so that
it's been ousted in favour of Reqonq as Kubuntu's lead browser.

Rekonq (which I've decided, hilariously, is pronounced 'Re-conk')
aims to fix all this. It's a KDE-based browser running off the
WebKit framework (rather than Konqueror's default KHTML), so you
know it's going to have high compatibility with a large number of
pages and should stay up-to-date.

And it's built on a philosophy of 'small and light', meaning it
deliberately tries not to be a memory hog. There's a default mode
which allows you to select when plugins are loaded, akin to
Firefox's FlashBlock extension but wider reaching - an absolute
boon when it comes to reducing unnecessary memory use and even for
saving battery when you're on a laptop.

Head over to the LXF website and click on the issue cover picture
for more information on Linux Format 147.

3. Special subscription offer

Subscribing to Linux Format not only has the benefit of fantastic
savings. Subscribers will also get exclusive, unlimited access to
the Linux Format subscriber-only area, featuring magazine PDFs,
complete issues and coverdisc downloads! That's access to over 80
issues of Linux learning, free to subscribers to download! See our
latest offers at: ... nuxformat/

4. In the news

The biggest developments from around the net...

# Firefox 5 released ... firefox_5/

Just a mere three months after Firefox 4 hit the download mirrors,
we have a major new release. Well, depending on how you look at it.
Firefox 5 includes the Do Not Track privacy feature, but otherwise
it's mostly a collection of bug and security fixes. But who can
complain about lovely new software, eh?

# Ubuntu might switch to Chrome ... worth.html

It's not all good news for Firefox though. Mark Shuttleworth has
stated that Ubuntu might move to Chrome in a few releases. He says
that due to Google's work on Chrome OS, the web browser's
performance on Linux is exceptionally good, making it a natural

# Fedora 16 to use Btrfs by default

Just when you were getting used to ext4, Fedora has announced that
the distro will use a different default filesystem in the next
release. Btrfs supports pooling, snapshotting, checksumming and
other advanced features, which will keep the distro on the cutting
edge, but if any massive problems crop up the switch will be
postponed until Fedora 17.

5. This month on the forum

Heiowge spotted an article about wireless router SSIDs, and how some
people leave them with the default names, which makes them easy
targets for crackers. He changed his to the awesome sounding
"Surveillance Vehicle T7", and the discussion delved into the finer
points of wireless security. Thinking up decent passwords is often
tough, so towy71 pointed out a couple of solutions. [1]

Is Firefox moving too fast for its own good? Nerdy-ish wondered if
the developers were learning "bad habits from Microsoft, namely,
change for changes sake" after moving the tab bar. There certainly
seems to be a prevailing opinion around the net that Firefox is
jumping around too quickly, possibly as an attempt to catch up with
Google Chrome's ever-growing version number. [2]



6. Special Newsletter feature


New-fangled octo-core 35 jilliherz machines are all good and well,
but classic computers and video games consoles had a lot going for
them as well. Many of us learnt the fundamentals of computing on
8-bit machines in the 1980s, and have fond memories of games from
the time too. Let's take a look at some of the best options for old
system emulation.

1) PC -- DOSBox --

The PC was host to a huge range of great games, and getting them
working under Wine (or even modern Windows) is often out of the
question. DOSBox emulates a PC with x86 processor, sound card and
other features, with a simple DOS layer on top for running old games
and apps. It's easy to configure (much better than DOSEmu, if you
remember that) and sports excellent compatibility. You can mount
local directories as drives inside the emulator, and change its
performance with the CYCLES option.

2) ZX Spectrum -- FUSE --

While its graphics were somewhat limited by the infamous colour
clash problem, the ZX Spectrum was still a great home computer with
heaps of games. FUSE, the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator, is arguably
the best emulator around and goes right from the 16K model through
to the +3 (with disk drive). It can read lots of different file
formats for tapes and has great compatibility.

3) Commodore 64 -- VICE --

We're not going to start a flame war here, because clearly the Z80
is a better CPU than the 6502. Nonetheless, the C64 had considerably
better graphics than the Spectrum, and was hugely popular in the
States. VICE is an excellent emulator that has been around for many
years, so its compatibility is first-class.

4) Commodore Amiga -- UAE --

Emulating the Amiga has always been difficult, due to the machine's
powerful custom chips. For many years it was hard to find an
emulator that ran games at the right speeds, but with today's
super-fast PCs that's not a problem. UAE is by far the most notable
Amiga emu; if you have trouble getting the vanilla version to work,
try E-UAE from the download page. With both you can use virtual
floppy disk images and run Workbench.

5) Atari ST -- Hatari --

We're fascinated to see that there's still a community of
ST/TT/Falcon fans on the internet, primarily in Germany. Atari's
unbelievably bad strategy and marketing led to a premature death of
its computer range, and while it didn't have all the graphical
prowess of the Amiga, it was still a great home computer. Hatari
runs the full gamut of Atari machines and is particularly focused on
running games.

6) Consoles -- SNES and Mega Drive (aka Genesis)

And lastly, a quick mention of some console emulators. For the SNES,
nothing beats ZSNES for excellent compatibility and performance. It
features some advanced facilities to search through memory and
create Game Genie codes. For the Mega Drive, try GENS, a scorchingly
fast emulator that even lets you record video footage.

7. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 148, on sale Thursday 21 July...

# Attack of the killer apps! We pluck out the 50 very best
programs that your Linux machine can handle

# Linux in the public sector -- Our favourite OS is free
and reliable, so why are our taxes spent on Microsoft?

# Build a cloud with Eucalyptus -- Share data across your
organisation with the power of koala food

Contents are subject to change - the mysteries of life, eh!

8. Receiving this Newsletter

If you've been forwarded this Newsletter from someone else, and want
to sign up for future issues, just follow the steps below. Each
month you'll receive a sparkling new LXF Newsletter straight in your
Inbox, and the 30-second sign-up process is even easier than writing
Hello World in BASIC:

1. Go to the website forums and log in (or sign up first):
2. At the top of the main forum page, click on 'Usergroups'
3. Join the 'Newsletter' group, and you're done!

If for some reason you no longer wish to receive this newsletter
(which'll make the internet cry) you can opt-out like this:

1. Log into the LXF site and go to the forums
2. Click Usergroups at the top of the page
3. Select Newsletter and then View information
4. Click Unsubscribe next to 'You are a member...'

9. Contact details

If you have any questions or suggestions, please send them to the
Newsletter Editor at the address below:

Newsletter Editor: Mike Saunders --

Letters for the magazine:

LXF website:

Subscriptions: 0870 837 4722 (overseas +44 1858 438794)
Website subscription page:

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