Linux Format Newsletter -- #20, December 2006

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Linux Format Newsletter -- #20, December 2006

Postby M-Saunders » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:57 am





1. Welcome!

2. LXF 88 on sale

3. In the news...

4. This month on the forum

5. New magazine PDFs online

6. Special newsletter feature

7. Coming up next issue

8. Receiving this Newsletter

9. Contact details

1. Welcome!

It's amazing just how many people haven't even heard of Version 2.1 was released a couple of days ago, but
where's the fanfare? Where's the promotion, the advocacy, the
scrambling for downloads? OOo sorely needs something like Spread
Firefox - after all, Firefox replaces something 'free', whereas OOo
can actually save hundreds of pounds (or thousands in businesses).

So this Christmas, why not hand around a few copies of OOo? Even
though it's free, many people who've never heard of it will be
grateful to receive a full office suite. In this Newsletter's
special feature, we show you how to get the new 2.1 release up and
running - not always an easy job given the odd packaging system.

As always, we also have a look at the latest LXF, some highlights
from the news and forum sections, plus a selection of magazine PDFs
we've put online. Hope you all have a great Christmas!

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. LXF 88 on sale

Linux Format issue 88 hits the newsstands today - and it's a special
8GB double-sided DVD issue! Both Fedora Core 6 and Ubuntu 6.10 came
out in time for our disc, but instead of choosing one or the other,
we decided to cram both onto our DVD along with oodles of extra
goodies. Our main feature this month analyses the fantastic
possibilities opened up by KDE 4: right now, the KDE team is
beavering away on the next big release, and there's a lot of
exciting technology being crafted. What does it mean for you? Will
KDE 4 propel Linux onto the mainstream desktop? We also speak to
prominent KDE application developers to see what's in the pipeline.

Many of us think of Linux gaming as a bit of a sore point - after
all, most of the major releases are only available on Windows or
consoles. But there's actually a lot of quality entertainment out
there if you know where to look, so Team LXF sat down for a good
old-fashioned debate, and came up with a list of the best 15 games
for Linux. Puzzlers, action games, and, er, Kolf - our feature
covers many genres, whatever you like to play.

In our interview, we meet up with Jim Zemlin, the executive director
of the Free Standards Group (which develops the Linux Standards
Base). Jim explains what the FSG is doing to make Linux distros more
compatible with one another, and how standards are defined.

On the reviews front, we rate KOffice 1.6, FreeBSD 6.2, Parallels
2.2 and open source content management systems, while on the
tutorials side we show you how to tweak Gnome, use MySQL, code in
C#, secure your system and create RPM packages. Our jam-packed DVD
includes the aforementioned Ubuntu 6.10 and Fedora Core 6 distros,
plus three big magazine features from previous LXFs (in PDF format),
Syllable 0.6.2, new desktop app releases, development tools, games
and much more.

In HotPicks, our regular look at the best new open source programs,
Richard Drummond tries KFuseIso:

# KFuseIso 20061017 -

We've talked about the Fuse project here in HotPicks before. Just
to recap, it's a Linux kernel module and associated infrastructure
that lets developers write filesystem handlers that exist in
userspace rather than in kernel-space.

Why might somebody want to do that, you ask? Well, code that lives
inside the kernel has various restrictions placed on it and is
much harder to develop than other code. Plus, Fuse lets anybody
who has access to the /dev/fuse device mount and unmount
filesystems - they don't have to be the superuser.

Now, obviously the kernel already supports ISO filesystems (the
filesystem used to organise data on CD-ROMs), so it isn't
immediately clear why we need a Fuse-based implementation too. The
reason is that it's a common task to want to access an ISO
filesystem image without having to go to the time and trouble of
writing it to a disc. Like the kernel module, FuseIso supports
filesystems with Joliet extensions (used in the Windows world) and
Rockridge extensions (used in Unix and elsewhere), and ISO images
compressed with gzip. Unlike the kernel module, FuseIso can also
automatically handle the BIN and NRG (Nero) image formats popular
in Windows. CloneCD IMG files and MDF files are also supported,
since they appear identical to BIN files.

All this exposition brings us to KFuseIso, which is a squidge of
KDE glue that lets you use the FuseIso handler to transparently
mount, browse and unmount ISO images within the KDE desktop. It
includes a MIME type that gives a menu entry in the Konqueror file
manager to mount or unmount images, and there's also a kfile
plugin that gives file meta information when viewing the
properties of an image file. When you access an image with
KFuseIso, it gets automatically mounted under the media folder in
your home directory in a folder named after the image name.
Because the mounted filesystem actually exists in your system's
file hierarchy, files inside can be accessed with any tool, not
just KDE-based software.

This is an interesting project that welcomes feedback - so here's
a chance to use really useful software and help the developers
make the world a better place!

Snap up a copy of LXF 88 for much more news, reviews and tutorials
fresh off the Linux presses!

3. In the news...

New releases, while the end of the SCO/IBM case draws closer...

# OpenSUSE 10.2 now available ... le&sid=457

The Novell-sponsored OpenSUSE project has released version 10.2,
available for download on five CDs or a DVD. The Gnome and KDE
desktops have been redesigned, Firefox 2.0 is included, and ext3 is
now the default filesystem. See

# 2.1 released ... le&sid=459 2.1 is now available for download. New features in
this release include multiple monitor support in Impress, improved
HTML export in Calc, and better compatibility with Microsoft Access.
On the Linux side, the a Gtk-based 'QuickStarter' tool has been
added, to boost load times of the suite. See

# More trouble for SCO ... le&sid=453

The SCO Group, embroiled in legal battles with IBM about SCO's code
supposedly going into Linux, has had another major setback in court.
In June, two-thirds of SCO's allegations were thrown out of court,
and now SCO's appeal against the decision has been rejected. "SCO
failed to comply with the court's previous discovery-related Orders"
and "it should come as no surprise to SCO." Maybe the end is in
sight... See

4. This month on the forum

Zealots tend to take operating system advocacy a bit too far. While
the majority of Linux users are just happy running their OS,
unfortunately there are a few loudmouths who try to trample over
every discussion and claim Linux is totally infallible. rctxtreme
asked why this happens, and why Linux users tend to dislike
Microsoft. See the thread for many well-written and concise
explanations of why Microsoft gets such a bad rap. [1]

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, "What's the deal with supermarkets?"
If your luck is anything like mine, the queue you join always
happens to be the slowest - you know, someone trying to buy a single
piece of fruit with a coupon, then complaining. The LXF Forum
regulars kicked off a topic about the wording used by supermarkets
for item counts: fewer or less? Baskets only? Pedantry alert! [2]

[1] ... pic&t=4883

[2] ... pic&t=4821

5. New magazine PDFs online

We've put some new PDFs from previous LXF issues online, and you can
read them here first before they're added to the list on the site:

# LXF 73 - Photo manager roundup

# LXF 73 - Sugar Suite 3.5 review

# LXF 74 - HotPicks

# LXF 75 - Women in open source

# LXF 76 - Quake 4 review

6. Special newsletter feature


The new release of arrived a couple of days ago,
although you may not have heard about it - we've rarely seen such a
low-key release! 2.1 includes multiple-monitor support in Impress,
improved HTML export in Calc, and better compatibility with MS
Access. Additionally, a multitude of bugfixes have been rolled into
the code, so it's well worth installing.

If you're following your distro's development branch you may be able
to grab new packages, but the majority of us need to get the full
release from the OOo servers. (If you're on dialup and don't fancy
the hefty 120MB+ download, wait for LXF 90's DVD.) Installing
official packages can be very fiddly, given the
packaging system that the OOo team uses, but our guide will show you
how to get it running in a snap.

1. Get the release

We wouldn't recommend fighting through the website to
get the download. Its 'Bouncer' system, designed to spread the load,
is often broken or points to download directories that don't
actually exist. Grab the release from here instead: ... -US.tar.gz

Download and save that to your home directory.

2. Extract

Open up a terminal window (eg Gnome Terminal in Gnome, or Konsole in
KDE) and enter the following command to extract the file you

tar xfvz OOo_2.1.0_LinuxIntel_install_en-US.tar.gz

This will create a new directory containing OOo 2.1 packages. Switch
into that directory by entering:

cd OOE680_m6_native_packed-1_en-US.9095/RPMS/

(You'd think the OOo team would've given this directory a saner
name, wouldn't you?) If you enter 'ls', you'll see a list of
packages, ready to install. Note that if you already have a previous
OOo installation on your system, we recommend that you remove it
now; otherwise one installation could end up half-overwriting the
other, causing problems later on. Use your distribution's package
manager to remove all OOo packages and you'll be fine.

3. Install

Now you'll need to switch to the root (admin) user. On Fedora,
Mandriva, Debian and SUSE, enter 'su', and you'll be prompted for
the root password. On Ubuntu, enter 'sudo bash', and then your user
password when prompted.

If you're using an RPM-based distro, such as Fedora, Mandriva or
SUSE, you can install the packages by entering:

rpm -ivh *.rpm

You'll see progress bars as the packages are installed. If you're
using Debian or a Debian derivative, such as Ubuntu or Mepis, you'll
need to convert these RPM packages into Debs. Enter:

alien *.rpm

The 'alien' tool will convert the RPM packages into Debs; when it's
finished, enter the following:

dpkg -i *.deb

to install the Deb packages.

4. Run it! 2.1 will be installed to the /opt/openoffice.org2.1
directory, and the 'program' subdirectory of that contains launchers
for the various suite components. For instance, to start Writer,
enter this:


Or Calc:


Also try simpress and sdraw in those commands (the 's' in the
program name comes from its StarOffice incarnation). Now you can
create desktop launchers or menu entries, using the above commands,
to start the new OOo release! If you have any problems, try our Help
forum at

7. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 89, on sale Thursday 11th January

# Mono 1.2 has landed -- Turn the tables on Microsoft, and
find out how Mono is powering the future of desktop Linux!

# Push Firefox further -- Ten essential extensions to
re-energise your browsing experience

# Python 3000 approaches -- Find out what's to come in
the popular programming language

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

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 using
Stickle Bricks:

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

9. 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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