Linux Format Newsletter -- #10, March 2006

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Linux Format Newsletter -- #10, March 2006

Postby M-Saunders » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:04 am





1. Welcome!

2. Preview of LXF 78

3. In the news...

4. This month on the forum

5. New archive PDFs

6. Coming up next issue

7. Receiving this Newsletter

8. Contact details

1. Welcome!

Welcome to another edition of the LXF Website Newsletter! If you've
been keeping an eye on the site over the last few weeks, you'll no
doubt have seen our new Interview Archive section. Currently, this
features the complete 2005 collection of one-to-one discussions
between LXF and major players in the Linux world. If you've ever
wanted to fathom out the mind of a kernel hacker, or what makes a
Linux-focused businessman take on Microsoft, you can find the full
archive at

Meanwhile, we're looking to revamp these Newsletters with new
features and a wider range of content, in response to the excellent
community that's growing around the website. So we'd love to know:
what would you like to see in the Newsletters? More or less news,
mag content, highlights from the forums, and special content? Maybe
you'd prefer more community involvement, with bits written by
website regulars. Or perhaps you'd like a focus on hands-on guides
for using Linux.

Either way, please do drop me a line -- I'll read all suggestions
and get back to as many of you as possible!

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. Preview of LXF 78

Linux Format issue 78 arrives on the newsstands today, and our main
feature this month is a comprehensive guide to all things digital
photography. If you've come from a Mac or Windows background, you
may be surprised at the range of quality image editing software
available for Linux. We show you how to import pictures from your
camera onto your desktop, add effects and correct common problems.
And when your snaps have been fine-tuned to perfection, we show you
how to share your work on DVDs or the Web.

Also in the mag: an in-depth look at the unique desktop operating
system Syllable, which amazes with its speed and simplicity and
could have a big future in the Free Software world. Meanwhile,
Richard Smedley steps away from all the hype surrounding Web 2.0 and
asks: will these new Internet technologies change our lives, and if
so, in what way? On the reviews front, Paul Hudson takes to the
skies with Airline Tycoon Deluxe, and two new distro releases,
Yellow Dog 4.1 and Gentoo 2006.0, are put under the spotlight.

In the tutorials section, you'll find guides to using Evolution, The
GIMP and Inkscape, along with the first installment in our hardcore
command-line mastery series. If you're looking to add a bit of oomph
to your PC, try OpenSUSE SLICK on the cover DVD - it's all the best
bits of SUSE spiced up with performance boosting features and kernel
patches. Also on the DVD is VMware Player and the Browser Appliance
(for turning Windows PCs into secure Linux internet stations), a
full digital camera toolkit, the best new games and much more.

In the LXF Interview this month, we chat to two prominent Mono
developers (and book authors) about the future of the open source
.NET implementation. Niel Bornstein and Edd Dumbill know all about
the inner workings of Mono - here's a few of the questions we asked
them, and the answers will be on our site next week:

# How did you guys get into Mono?

# What's the biggest improvement in switching to Mono from
other programming languages?

# What's the best advice you can give to people currently
using Qt or GTK who are considering using Mono?

Grab a copy of LXF 78 for the full interview. Also this month, our
regular HotPicks section looks at the latest open source app
releases, including nifty Firefox chat extension Peekko:

# Peekko 0.2.5

The vast array of extensions available for Firefox is undoubtedly
the browser's greatest strength, and as time progresses we're
seeing more and more innovative ideas. Peekko Chat is a small
extension that lets users join a chat room for any website -
whatever you're reading, you may be able to have a natter with
other web surfers also running it. To install, visit and click on the peekko-0.2.5.xpi link (you'll
need Firefox 1.5).

After restarting Firefox, you'll find an additional toolbar near
the top which updates as you browse to different webpages. If you
go to the LXF website, for example, it'll say something like '3
chatting 7 browsing' - the former is the number who're actively
using the extension, and the latter is other Peekko users who're
just reading the site. Hit the Join button and a new pane appears
at the bottom of the browser window: we don't find the orange and
black colour scheme too appealing, but it uses up very little

Now, you may have noticed something familiar in the Peekko
screenshot here. Yes, Peekko is essentially a miniature IRC client
that connects to Peekko's on servers, and joins a channel named
after the site's URL. So, if you're reading Slashdot, you'll join
the channel. Naturally, it's hard to moderate
free-access IRC channels, especially when there's theoretically
one for every domain in the world, so Peekko's authors will have
to make sure it doesn't turn into a mess of spam and flamewars. It
could also do with some graphical touches, instead of looking like
a vanilla text-based IRC client.

As it's a fairly new extension, it's rare to to find more than a
handful of people chatting on a website, although some of the most
popular tech sites tend to have the odd spot of discussion.
Hopefully this will improve as the extension's popularity
increases. In the meantime, though, it's a clever little system
that makes great use of existing technology (IRC) and could add a
whole new dimension to websites. Web 3.0, here we come!

As usual, there're five and a half more pages of HotPicks in LXF 77,
including a look at the bizarre block-dropping puzzler Angry Drunken

3. In the news...

More fun in the IBM/SCO saga, and a literally cool use for Linux...

# Gentoo Linux 2006.0 unleashed ... le&sid=264

The first release in the 2006 series of Gentoo Linux is now
available. One of the most significant new features in this
source-based highly tunable distro is the 'Gentoo Linux Installer',
supplied on the x86 LiveCD. Software versions: KDE 3.4.3, GNOME
2.12.2, XFCE 4.2.2, GCC 3.4.4 and kernel 2.6.15 kernel. See for all the details.

# IBM subpoenas Microsoft and Sun ... le&sid=258

From the ongoing SCO vs IBM legal wranglings: it looks like things
are coming to a head, with two massive subpoenas from IBM. First in
the firing line is Microsoft, which is being asked for all
information on agreements between MS and SCO -- including Darl
McBride's communication in May of 2003 "with Steven Ballmer
regarding SCO's rights to the UNIX operating system". IBM is also
wants to find out more about any Sun and SCO dealings. As Pamela
Jones notes on, we may finally get some solid answers to
our questions...

# Icely done, Tux ... le&sid=248

In possibly the strangest use of Linux anywhere ever, MooBella has
developed a Linux-powered ice cream vending machine running Red Hat
9. Via a flat-panel interface, consumers can mix their choices of
flavour for a total of 96 possible varieties. Engineers can update
the machine simply by plugging in USB flash keys. See this article
on LinuxDevices for more info on this cool curiosity:

4. This month on the forum

What are the trivial benefits to Linux? The serious factors, that
it's solid and generally very secure, are hugely important, but
ajCham pondered the minor things that keep Linux users smiling.
Towy71 enjoyed using an OS developed by 'nice crazy people', while
jjmac liked having small text-handling utilities such as awk easily
at hand. 1slipperyfish had the most concise reason for using Linux
though: 'I like it cos it's nice :-)' [1]

User 'shifty_ben' was meandering around the web when he discovered a
cocktail recipe with Linux in its name. Naturally, this kicked off a
long thread about everyone's favourite drinks, and even strayed into
a highly technical discussion on the colouring of Islay Single Malt
and its 'smokey peaty tang'. We look forward to seeing LXF Forum
regulars guest hosting food and drink! [2]

[1] ... pic&t=2444

[2] ... pic&t=2535

5. New archive PDFs

We've added some more PDFs of past articles to the LXF Archives, and
Newsletter readers can see them a week early, before they're added
to the website page:

* Inside 2.0:

* What on Earth is Groovy:

* Review of WINE-based Cedega:

* Linux and Windows in the Ministry of Defence:

* Book reviews from LXF issue 68:

* Setting up an IP phone system with Asterisk:

* Doom 3 game review:

* EKOPath 2.1 compiler suite review :

These PDFs are copyright Future Publishing and may not be
redistributed. Stay tuned for more updates!

6. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 79, on sale Thursday 6th April

# 100% MEPIS -- The rising star of Linux distros packs a powerful
punch. SimplyMEPIS on the coverdisc and full guide in the mag!

# The LXF Interview: Debian guru and Free Software leader
Bruce Perens

# Build a Linux kiosk -- Lock down your machine for public use,
and maybe even make a few bob

# Open Solaris -- Sun's enterprise-grade OS opened up and explored

(Exact contents of future issues are subject to change.)

7. 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 a
two-piece jigsaw:

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 lonely) you can opt-out by removing
yourself from the Newsletter group as above.

8. Contact details

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 subs page:

(C) 2006 Future
LXF regular
Posts: 2893
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:14 pm

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