Linux Format Newsletter -- #70, January 2011

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Linux Format Newsletter -- #70, January 2011

Postby M-Saunders » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:40 pm





1. Welcome

2. LXF 141 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 new year! As I write this, the CES gizmo show in Las Vegas is
well underway, with a seemingly endless range of Windows 7 "tablets"
on display. It strikes me that we've had Windows tablets for years,
and they never took off - it's only when Apple made a tablet with an
OS specifically designed for it, that the market started to grow.

I really can't see how show-horning clunky old Windows onto a tablet
will ever work, which is why I'm so excited for Linux (in the form
of Android). It has a GUI perfectly suited to mobile computing, it's
much more cost effective, and it's ultra robust. My bet: Android
tablets will outsell Windows ones this year. Fingers crossed!

But there's much more to come in 2011 - and that's the focus of our
special feature in this month's Newsletter. We also have roundups of
the hottest news stories and forum posts, plus a look at the shiny
new issue of Linux Format. Enjoy!

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. LXF 141 on sale

Come to Linux Format Towers, and you'll find us surrounded by stacks
of distro discs, drinking coffee from penguin-adorned cups and
vigorously debating whether Ubuntu should switch to Wayland. We love
Linux, and it's our lives. But we're also pragmatists - we know that
Linux has to co-exist in a world of Windows and Mac OS X. So in this
month's big feature we're looking at interoperability. We show you
how to install Windows drivers in Linux, share data across
platforms, clone disks and more.

Meanwhile, we talk to Jon Phillips of the microblogging
service, examine the ever-changing design of Ubuntu, and peer into
the future of display rendering with Wayland. In our reviews section
you'll find Mint 10, MythTV 0.24 and Oxygen 12, while our tutorials
cover photo management, shell scripting, CakePHP and Drupal. On the
distro-loaded 4GB DVD we have Sabayon 5.4, CentOS 5.5 and NetBSD 5.1
for your exploring pleasure - along with heaps of other software,
games, podcasts and more.

Here's a taster of LXF141 from the HotPicks section:

# MoneyGuru 2.3.3 --

Whether you're amused or not by "quantitative cheesing", there's
no doubt that many people are keeping a closer eye on their
finances these days. Perhaps a few more should still be concerned
about what they spend their lucre on, but it's always so difficult
to work out where it went. A tin of baked beans here, a night out
on the rough cider there, and soon there isn't enough left to pay
the taxman. MoneyGuru isn't going to advise you on consolidation
loans, tell you how to switch your mortgage to save cash or
suggest what to spend your last fiver on, but it can let you know
where your money goes.

When cash-counting software first emerged from the primordial
floppy disk, it was functional rather than friendly, so few people
used it. MoneyGuru manages to keep the workload light. It supports
a multitude of different formats for sucking in your transactions,
and because the majority of banks are now online and have
statement download options, it shouldn't pose any problems.

The software uses a double-entry system for extra rigour, and a
strategy of multiple accounts that work even if you're only
dealing with data from one physical account. For example, you can
set up a cash expense account, where money is 'sent' when you take
it out of the ATM. This means that you don't necessarily have to
keep track of every bus ticket you buy to make your balances add
up - you just need to count the money in your wallet periodically
and offset the difference against a miscellaneous expense.

This software is also quick and fairly simple to use once you've
got the hang of it. Keyboard shortcuts and plenty of tabbed
displays mean getting around is nippy: you'll have solved the
mysteries of your disappearing cash in no time. MoneyGuru is a
cross-platform app, although a lot of the attention seems to be
paid to versions running on other platforms. Nevertheless, it's
available as source and in a number of package formats for easy

Head over to the LXF website and click on the issue cover picture
for more information on Linux Format 141.

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...

# Linux kernel 2.6.37 released

Linus Torvalds has given us a late Christmas present to play with,
featuring SMP scalability improvements for the Ext4 and XFS
filesystems, removal of the Big Kernel Lock, image hibernation using
LZO compression, new drivers and heaps more. If you fancy getting
ultra-technical, check out the full list of changes at

# The Linux Game Tome is back!

Phew... after months of silence, our favourite Linux games website
is finally back up and running. One of the hard drives had failed,
and the team had trouble getting data from a backup, so it has taken
quite a while to fix, but now it's open for posting. If you've
written a Linux game in the last few months, now's the time to post!

# New distro releases

And finally, a quick summary of a few distro releases that took
place over the Christmas period. Puppy Linux 5 arrived to bring a
Linux boost to older machines, while a new snapshot (201012) of
Linux Mint's rolling Debian flavour is here too. We're glad that
Mandriva is still alive, with 2010.2 appearing just before Christmas
day, with hundreds of bug and security fixes since 2010.1

5. This month on the forum

DomJohnson announced a project he had started, trying to create GUIs
for commands that are lacking them. He asked the forum for
suggestions: which commands need GUIs? Rhakios noted that the
multitude of Grep options could be better explained in graphical
format, while Nelz mused that there are a few regular expression
editors available, but he's usually too exasperated from trying to
use regexps before he remembers to try them! [1]

Rhakios wins an award for being the most forum-eco-friendly poster
of 2010, reviving a previous "happy Christmas" thread instead of
starting a new one. [2] If Christmas isn't your thing, then you
might find Catgate's post covers your particular festival
celebration of choice. And what friendly forum would be complete
without a "happy new year" thread too? We had one too! Started by
the most infamous member of the board, no less... [3]




6. Special Newsletter feature


So, a new year is here, with lots to look forward to in the Linux
world over the next 12 months. What's on the radar? What should we
be getting excited about? Here's the road ahead...

# Debian 6

Originally penned-in for late 2010, Debian 6 (aka "Squeeze") has
been slightly delayed in true Debian fashion, but in our view that's
always a good thing. The distro will be hugely reliable and stable;
no question. The main features here are new boot scripts based on
dependencies, which allow for parallel init scripts (and faster
booting). Alpha and HPPA architectures have been dropped, while
FreeBSD kernels have been added.

# 3.3

This is current sitting at a rather crazy Release Candidate 8, so
they're either finding a lot of last-second bugs, or RC is more of a
synonym for beta. Either way, there are new document protection
features in Writer and Calc, better slide layout handling in
Impress, and a common search toolbar. More at ... index.html -- but
will it be enough to keep users from switching to LibreOffice?

# Xfce 4.8

Everyone's favourite non-Gnome/KDE desktop is about to see a major
update, with the whole kaboodle moved from ThunarVFS to GIO, which
in human terms means that Xfce users can now access remote
filesystems (eg via SSH/SCP) on their desktops. Additionally, the
panel has been completely rewritten and it's easier to manage
program launchers. The final version of 4.8 is due to be released on
January 16th, so if you fancy switching to a lightweight desktop,
keep that day free in your diary!

# Android 3.0

Rumours abound that Google is going to release Android 3.0, codename
Honeycomb, sometime around March. The biggest changes we're due to
see bring the operating system into the tablet market. Currently,
Android on tablets has been something of a fudge, but Honeycomb
should place it in a strong position against the iPad. As we write
this, the CES show is in full swing with countless Windows tablets
being waved around, but we're really excited about what Android 3
will bring...

So that's just four of the big events we've got to look forward to.
And that's just in the first few months! At this rate, it should be
a fantastic year for Linux.

7. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 142, on sale Thursday 3 February...

# Never lose a file again! We show you how to secure your
data and make your backups bulletproof

# Free book with every issue: Your pocket guide to in-depth
subjects such as SSH, NTFS, RAID and more

# Archivers group test: If you think tarballs are still a
good choice, these alternatives will knock your socks off

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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