Linux Format Newsletter -- #63, June 2010

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Linux Format Newsletter -- #63, June 2010

Postby M-Saunders » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:38 am





1. Welcome

2. LXF 134 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

It's been a funny couple of weeks for Mandriva fans. As we noted in
the TuxRadar podcast (, the French
newbie-friendly-distro maker seems to have gone completely silent,
with no word on when Mandriva 2010.1 will arrive. Of course
Mandr(iva|ake) has had financial difficulties in the past, but we
bystanders were at least kept a bit more informed. We're hearing
reports that some investors might have come to save the day, so
let's keep our fingers crossed!

Read on for what's hot in LXF134, quick roundups of the best news
stories and forum threads, and a special feature on buying Linux PCs
online. And if you're looking to save money in these financially
dodgy times, check out our latest subscription offers.

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. LXF 134 on sale

Many people don't know it, but Linux is truly taking the world by
storm. Android-powered mobile phones are coming thick and fast, and
as our cover feature this month shows, the operating system is more
than a match for Apple's iPhone. Oh, and then there's the little
matter of WebOS too. We look at the Palm Pre, Nokia N900 and HTC
legend, discovering what makes the hardware to great and how the
underlying software performs.

Meanwhile, Fedora 13 is here with a truckload of new features. We
explore the goodies therein and look at the role it plays in the
development of RHEL. Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon helps you
to set up a versatile website with WordPress, while we have
tutorials on cloud computing, Blender, Python and Mutt.

On your free 4GB DVD you'll find three top distros: Fedora 13, Linux
Mint 9 and Mepis 8.5. Then there's Haiku, Puppy Linux, GCC 4.5,
MythTV 0.23, games, podcasts and much more...

Here's a taster of LXF134 from the HotPicks section:

# Presage 0.8.2 -

Predictive text is rubbish. Well, is isn't that predictive in most
cases, because it doesn't try to make sense of what you're
writing, it just tries to complete the most commonly used words
based on the characters you've already entered. This can save you
time, but can also lead to you inadvertently telling people you're
going to "sick up something on the way home", "driving through a
thick fog" or that there's a "massive Steve at the cinema". In
short, it sucks.

Presage isn't about completing the characters in the word you're
typing. It likes to think of the long term, and suggest the whole
word that you're going to type next. If it's wrong, it'll keep
guessing until it gets it right or you finish the word. Presage
keeps track of what you type, or processes existing text files to
build up a database of expected word tokens, increasing the
effectiveness of the prediction.

You may be quick to write off Presage, because it requires some
application awareness to enable it, and therefore would be limited
to a small number of custom applications. Think again. One of the
utilities in Presage is a helper for the cross-platform Assistive
Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI), which is
implemented in Gnome and supported in KDE.

Theoretically, any app that takes input from assistive
technologies should work with Presage if accessibility is turned
on. Of course, there are some bundled apps for simple text
processing too.

Most of the examples employ some sort of pop-up menu that invites
you to press a function key to complete the word. It does take a
bit of getting used to, and if you're a fast and accurate typist,
it will probably slow you down, but there are all sorts of areas
where this could be useful.

Head over to the LXF website and click on the issue cover picture
for more information on Linux Format 134.

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 60 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...

# OpenSUSE seeks more autonomy from Novell

The OpenSUSE team is drafting up a new community statement to more
clearly define the overall goals for the project. While Novell will
very clearly remain the main backers of the distribution, there will
be more scope to establish OpenSUSE as a strong, robust distro in
its own right, and not be seen as a merely a test-bed for Novell's
enterprise Linux products.

# IRC server code backdoored ... n-trojan/1

Oops. Some crafty coder dropped a backdoor into the Unreal IRC
daemon's source code, and this hadn't been spotted (apparently)
since November 2009. Some in the press have taken this to be a total
disaster for the Linux community, but we know that it's not
installed on any mainstream distro by default and therefore nothing
to worry about. It does show, though, that even free software
projects can be compromised in a certain set of circumstances, so it
pays to always be vigilant!

# Flash Player 10.1 released ... lable.html

We won't claim to be the world's biggest Flash fans here at LXF
Towers - indeed, we've had our share of grief with the buggy browser
plugin. Still, until HTML5 fully matures it's a useful plugin for
interactive content and video on the internet, so an update (with
Linux as an officially supported platform) is welcome.

5. This month on the forum

Linux has been a big hit on netbooks, and IBBoard kicked off a topic
looking for a new mini-laptop with an SSD drive. Ajgreeny
recommended the Novatech X10, while Wyliecoyoteuk pointed to some
Acer offers. IBBoard noted that he/she really wanted to avoid paying
the Windows tax (see the special feature below), and Amazon was
mentioned as another source for machines. [1]

The sun is out, the sky is blue, and LXF Forum regulars are enjoying
time in the garden. Well, those who aren't glued to the TV watching
the World Cup, of course. bobthebob1234 seemed to be having a lot of
fun, combining bouts of sleeping with exam revision. Let us know how
you're enjoying the good weather... [2]



6. Special Newsletter feature


Looking for a new Linux box? Have absolutely no interest in Windows?
Then you probably won't want to splash out money at your nearest
computer store, where most (or usually all) of the PCs available
come bundled with Windows. Of course, in such a situation you could
always try this:

But it's far better to support the Linux market and buy a PC from a
company that specialises in a variety of operating systems. These
companies tend to be small operations, so you can easily get hold of
the staff and discuss ideas. Also, the people working there are
usually genuine Linux fans and geeks too, so you know you won't be
put forward to a call centre in Azerbaijan (after two hours on
hold), only to be told "try shutting it down and starting it again".

Here are some of the options:

# Emperor Linux -

One of the best-known Linux laptop vendors, Emperor has a good
reputation although their machines tend to be on the expensive side.
For instance, the cheapest laptop on offer at the moment is at 1235
US Dollars, while at the top end you have a beast that costs 5960
USD. Wowzers. Still, these are good machines - there are ThinkPads,
Panasonics and Sonys on offer, onto which Emperor have installed
Linux and tested the hardware. They ship around the world too.

# The Linux Emporium -

The best-known Linux shop in the UK, and it has been running for many
years. Along with distros, books, clothing and other tidbits, they
sell Linux-powered PCs and laptops too. Currently they have a few
netbooks on offer, and prices are very reasonable, with a decently
specced Lenovo G550-4 clocking in at 542 UK Pounds.

# System76 -

Based in Colorado, USA, System76 has a good selection of desktops,
laptops and servers running Ubuntu. The site does a good job of
promoting the positives of Linux to home users and businesses, and
a support wiki provides heaps of links to useful information.

# Los Alamos Computers -

Serious business here. Los Alamos sells high-end machines to such
awesome sounding people as the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. You probably
won't find much here if you're just looking for a home PC, but if
you're taking Linux into your business then there are some powerful
systems on offer.

# Marvin Computers -

A new and small company in the UK, offering a limited selection of
chunky looking Linux PCs. You can also buy Ubuntu Advanced Desktop
Support at the same time, if you're new to Linux and you'd like top
quality support to hand.

# VG Computing -

Lastly, one for our readers down under. VG Computing is an Australian
firm and can do on-site installations in the Melbourne area. They
have a variety of PCs on offer, and can even do a live demonstration
of the features Linux includes - perhaps a good way to convince your
IT head-honcho that Linux is the way forward!

7. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 135, on sale Thursday 22 July...

# Firefox: fighting for survival? Can free software's biggest
success story take on the meteoric rise of Google Chrome?

# Free PHP mini-book! Everything you need to start programming
with the most popular language for the web.

# Hugin tips and tricks - Turn good photos into great photos
with free software and a bit of elbow grease

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:

(C) 2010 Future Publishing Limited
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