Linux Format Newsletter -- #56, December 2009

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Linux Format Newsletter -- #56, December 2009

Postby M-Saunders » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:32 pm





1. Welcome

2. LXF 127 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

Happy Christmas! Well, yes, it's a bit early for that, but this is
the final Newsletter of 2009 (and indeed the decade) so I thought
it's the best way to kick off. If you're stumped with what to buy
the geek in your life - or just yourself - for December 25th, check
out our Linux Format subscription offer in section 3 below. Thirteen
info-packed issues for a bargain price - don't miss it!

In December it has become something of a tradition for me to make
predictions for the upcoming year, which usually turn out to be way
off. But nonetheless I'll have a quick go again: in 2010 I reckon
we'll see Linux desktop marketshare reach 15% thanks to the rise and
rise of netbooks, and the big splash Chrome OS is going to make. I
also think Compiz's days are numbered, as desktop bling moves
towards Clutter.

Anyway, while we wait for me to be proved wrong, enjoy this month's
Newsletter. We have a look at the just-on-sale issue of LXF,
roundups of hot news stories and forum threads, plus a special
feature on the blazingly fast Chrome browser.

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. LXF 127 on sale

Netbooks aren't just a fad, as some pundits initially predicted -
no, they're definitely here to stay. In Linux Format 127's cover
feature we examine the roles of Moblin and Ubuntu Netbook Remix,
judge how they compare in terms of bootup time and performance, and
check out the Linux-on-mobile-phones scene.

Our cover DVD this month is very special indeed: it's a
double-sided, 8GB beast packed with three top distros. There's the
exclusive, LXF version of Ubuntu 9.10 with 300 extra packages rolled
in (desktop apps, development tools, games and more), along with
Mandriva 2010 and OpenSUSE 11.2.

And if that wasn't good enough, issue 127 comes with a free
wallchart crammed with information on using the latest Ubuntu
release. Once you've learnt everything, flip it over and you have an
awesome space art poster! Here's a taster of LXF 127 from our
HotPicks section:

# Deja Dup 11.0 --

Not often does an application genuinely make us laugh out loud.
Quite the opposite actually - we frequently go through great pain
when compiling the latest software for your enjoyment. However,
we're happy when it happens and it certainly does in the case of
Deja Dup, a backup app that only has two buttons in its interface:
Backup and Restore.

You see, Deja Dup has a very simple function, and that's to copy
your data to another location or restore it back to your computer.
Before you get to that stage, though, you need to compile the
software, and to do this you'll need to snag Duplicity, along with
Unique and Gnome-keyring. Once you've got these packages loaded,
you can start your compiling engines.

Although we couldn't find Deja Dup in our Gnome menu, it was
fairly easy to launch by using the 'deja-dup' command in the
terminal. It's then that you're presented with the magic two
buttons. Out of the box, they won't do anything, as you have to
define what it is you want to back up, and where you want the
backups to go.

You can do this either by clicking the Backup button, which will
take you through some screens to help configure your backup, or
you can edit the preferences to set the defaults. Deja Dup
supports connections via SSH, FTP and any other method recognised
by Gnome, making it simple to back up to an off-site location.
It's also compatible with Amazon S3, so you can use Amazon's
cloud-based storage.

Deja Dup enables you to encrypt your backup data, which we'd
strongly recommend if you're using a cloud-based provider. You can
also define included and excluded files and folders, specify the
frequency of the backup (although unfortunately you can't back up
on-demand) and elect to keep a history, which defaults to forever
but can be reduced if space is an issue.

We like Deja Dup because it takes away the pain of running an
off-site backup regimen and simplifies the restoration procedure.
Making backups simple should be the goal of every backup app, and
Deja Dup certainly does this.

Head over to the LXF website and click on the issue cover picture
for more information on Linux Format 127.

3. Special subscription offer

Looking for that perfect Christmas gift? Try a magazine subscription
to Linux Format!

A subscription makes a great gift. It lasts all year long and not
only will the lucky receiver get 13 issues worth of Linux Format
delivered straight to their door a week before it hits the shops,
they'll also get exclusive access to the subscriber only area on the
website. There you can download hundreds of articles and complete
back issues of the magazine!

To save up to 40% on a subscription to Linux Format click here: ... 46&id=4314

4. In the news

The biggest developments from around the net...

# Ubuntu to dump Gimp in 10.04

Yes, one of the earliest flagship free software applications will no
longer be in the standard installation of the next Ubuntu release.
The Gimp is seen as too complicated and high-end for average users,
who largely want to manipulate photos - a job which F-Spot does
decently enough.

# Malware found in Gnome-Look screensaver

As proof that no operating system is safe from internet nastiness
(except for those without TCP/IP stacks, of course), some devious
individual has put a 'screensaver' on the Gnome-Look website that
actually contains a dodgy denial-of-service causing script. Eek.

# FreeBSD 8.0 released

And a quick bit of non-Linux, but nonetheless very free-softwarey,
news. FreeBSD 8 brings a bag of new features to the industrial
strength Unix OS, such as enhanced virtualisation support, a
ground-up rewrite of the USB layer, and experimental support for the
MIPS architecture. Hit the link above for all the details.

5. This month on the forum

LeeNukes raised an interesting question: would you buy Linux if it
cost more than Windows? While we all champion the freedom to share
and modify Linux, there's no doubt (especially during these
economically dodgy times) that zero-cost plays a big part as well. A
couple of forum regulars noted that a typical Linux distribution
includes software far beyond what you get on a Windows CD - eg an
entire office suite. Let us know what you think. [1]

Fancy a nice drink for Christmas? Don't mind spending 35 quid on
a bottle, providing it has a penguin on it? This 32% proof tipple
might be a bit heavy going if you're trying to get some programming
done, but with a name like Tactical Nuclear Penguin it's hard to
resist. Jez told the forum that he had bought a bottle, but
strangely we haven't heard from him since... [2]



6. Special Newsletter feature


Finally, Google's Chrome web browser has reached Beta status for
Linux. This means you can easily download it from Google without
having to fuss around with development snapshots and source code.
Chrome, based on the WebKit rendering engine (which in turn was
based on KDE's KHTML), sports a blazingly fast JavaScript engine
for fast running of Google's web apps. Head over to:

and grab a binary package for your distro. Fire it up and we'll talk
through the basics here and highlight some of the cool features
worth investigating.

1) The interface

Chrome dedicates as much of the screen as possible to web pages: you
won't find a typical menu bar or status panel here. Instead, at the
top-right of the screen you'll see two icons: the one with a
document opens a menu for the current page (eg copying/pasting text,
searching, viewing source); the icon with a spanner lets you create
new windows or tabs, view downloads, set options and so forth. The
status panel only appears when you hover over a link.

Niftily, Chrome integrates tabbed browsing with the window's
titlebar. If you don't like the slightly garish blue colour scheme,
go to Spanner > Options > Personal Stuff and click 'Use GTK+ theme'
at the bottom. Now the window titlebar should acquire the colour
scheme used by normal windows.

Open a few tabs and right-click on one of them. Chrome includes some
massively helpful features, such as the ability to close all tabs to
the right of the current one. This is great when you've opened a
heap of links from a page, only to quickly find the thing you need.
You can then close all other tabs in just a few clicks.

Similarly, Chrome keeps track of the source of new tabs, which is
very helpful with Google's own web applications. You can close all
tabs opened by a single tab - eg all spreadsheets opened from the
main Google Docs tab.

2) Cool features

Don't you just hate it when some badly-behaved plugin (usually
Flash) goes all dizzy and ends up freezing the whole browser? Well,
those days are (hopefully) at an end. Chrome separates browser tabs
into individual processes, so if one tab's Flash/Java/whatever
plugin goes haywire and makes the rest of the page unusable, you
should be able to kill it and continue your browsing session. Open a
few tabs and then right-click on a blank space in the titlebar and
choose Task Manager. You can then see how much memory and CPU
individual tabs are using, and stop them with the End process

Then there's Incognito mode: click the Spanner icon and then New
Incognito Window and you'll start a new browsing session in which
nothing is saved. No history, no cookies, no cache - it's perfect
when you want privacy on the net (ie when you're on a public
machine). Other browsers have similar implementations of this secure
browsing mode, but it's particularly well done in Chrome.

If you're a web coder, don't miss Document icon > Developer >
Developer Tools. This shows a huge amount of information on a web
page, including collapsible, syntax-highlighted elements, along with
scripts, CPU usage of a page and other stats.

7. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 128, on sale Thursday 7 January, next decade...

# Linux for newbies -- Our best tips, tricks and tutorials
to give every Linux user new skills to enjoy

# Virus checkers -- Yes, Linux is mostly immune to viruses,
but it can still pass them on to Windows and Mac OS X!

# Keep kids safe online -- DansGuardian is your friend

Contents are subject to change, and may settle in transit.

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) 2009 Future Publishing Limited
LXF regular
Posts: 2893
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:14 pm

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