Linux Format Newsletter -- #34, March 2008

Past issues of the LXF Online Newsletter

Moderators: ChriThor, LXF moderators

Linux Format Newsletter -- #34, March 2008

Postby M-Saunders » Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:15 pm





1. Welcome!

2. LXF 104 on sale

3. In the news...

4. This month on the forum

5. Micro Linux laptops!

6. Coming up next issue

7. Receiving this Newsletter

8. Contact details

1. Welcome!

We've added a brand new area to our website for LXF magazine
subscribers: . This gives you
access to a vast range of PDFs from recent and older issues of the
magazine, so you can drop them onto your PDA or laptop and read
features, interviews and tutorials on the move! Note that we're
still fine-tuning this system, so if you come across any bugs or
glitches, please drop a line.

Meanwhile, onwards to this month's Newsletter. As always, we have a
peek at the new issue of LXF, plus a roundup of recent news stories
and forum threads from our website. Don't miss our special feature
on the new wave of micro Linux laptops, and if you have any comments
or suggestions for this Newsletter, get in touch!

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. LXF 104 on sale...

Linux Format issue 104 is now on UK shop shelves, and this month
we've set our cross-hairs on the newly released KDE 4. Just how much
of an improvement is it? Does the Gnome camp need to be worried? And
should you install it on your PC today? We pitch it head-to-head
against the latest Gnome release, seeing how it fares in terms of
desktop design, core programs and internet software.

Also in LXF 104 we reveal the secrets behind Wine, showing you how
to run Windows programs on Linux. Wine is notorious for being fiddly
to set up with zillions of configuration options -- but our guide
makes it simple.

Linux is making big inroads in the US of A, with companies,
universities and government departments wanting a slice of the open
source pie. We examine the reasons why Linux is taking off, speaking
to bigwigs from San Diego City Schools and the Metropolitan Bank

On our software-packed 4GB DVD we have a a Live distro featuring KDE
4, so you can try the new desktop in minutes -- no need to install.
For newcomers we have a complete Linux Starter Kit (featuring 92 PDF
pages from the previous Linux Format Special), and hardcore Unixers
will enjoy exploring FreeBSD 6.3.

As a taster of this issue, here's a look at Task Coach, a handy
little organiser too, from our Hot Picks section...

# Task Coach 0.67.0 --

Post-its, alarms, diaries; we all depend on reminders for tasks
and appointments. Groupware and online calendaring can help ensure
that nothing is missed, but such applications can take over your
life if you're not careful. Better, then, to save your
organisational software for tasks that really matter ­ those with
a clear schedule for completion, budgeted time and several
separate elements.

Task Coach is designed for these needs, is written in Python with
the WX Widgets toolkit for speed and good looks, and has features
not found in many popular task list managers. In particular, it's
intended to help you handle composite tasks, comprising
intermediate jobs that have to be completed before the task is

You can drag an email message from Thunderbird (or a file, or a
URL) on to a task to save it as an attachment. All the tasks can
be listed in a handy tree view and sorted by their attributes, but
at the moment there's no support for adding tasks to other
people's lists via Apple's iCal server.

Installation involves checking that you have the right Python and
WX Widgets release for your package. As a Python app, it can be
run from a USB stick as a portable application, so you can take
your massive list of stuff that you have to do with you wherever
you go. What joy!

For a full low-down on the delights in LXF 104, hop over to and click the cover pic on the right.

3. In the news...

New releases in Unixland, and maybe a killer feature for Ubuntu...

# Ubuntu on Windows with Wubi ... le&sid=664

One of the biggest new features in Ubuntu 8.04, due in April, is
Wubi. This tool lets you install the distro in a Windows folder,
eliminating the need for partitioning -- a complicated procedure for
many newcomers. Ars Technica has an overview of Wubi, seeing how it
works in the latest Ubuntu snapshot release (8.04 alpha 5).

# New goodies in FreeBSD 7.0 ... le&sid=663 has an article on the new features and performance
improvements in FreeBSD 7.0, which is due any day now. Various
FreeBSD developers describe the underlying changes -- network
performance, wireless drivers and security. In a future issue of LXF
we'll have an interview with FreeBSD's Kris Kennaway!

# Nexenta Core 1.0 released ... le&sid=658

Nexenta, which combines the OpenSolaris kernel with a GNU userland,
has got its first full release out the door. It's available as a
downloadable CD ISO image, and provides just the basics for running
OpenSolaris on GNU -- not a fully-fledged desktop. Nexenta Core will
form the basis of further development.

4. This month on the forum

How did you first get started using Linux? That's the question
GeordiJedi posed, and forum regulars chipped in with their early
Linux experiences. As you'd expect, many users had come from a
Windows background, and were sick of security problems and
Microsoft's dominance. Others had always maintained an interest in
alternative operating systems and took the plunge back in the Red
Hat 4/5.x days. Kudos to ggsinclair, though, for trying Linux purely
out of affection: "I moved to Linux because my girlfriend at the
time loved penguins! I am glad she did as I have been using our
beloved OS for 5 years now!" All together now: aaaawww! [1]

Also in the Discussion forum, LoL posted a long gripe about Linux
users trying to wean people off Windows. In particular, he bemoaned
the complicated Unix filesystem structure, and how it differs from
Microsoft's %SYSTEM% approach. Rhakios pointed out GoboLinux, a
distro which keeps packages self-contained in their own directories,
while nordle described how search tools like Beagle negate the need
to traverse the Linux filesystem. An interesting discussion that
managed to stay on-topic for three pages! [2]

[1] ... pic&t=7568

[2] ... pic&t=7539

5. Special Newsletter feature


Just about everyone in the history of existence has now heard of the
ASUS Eee PC, a super-mini Linux laptop with a 7" screen and 900 MHz
Intel CPU. Ultra-mobile PCs are nothing new (eg the Toshiba
Libretto), but historically they've been ultra-expensive. Not the
Eee PC though -- shop around and you can pick up the 4G model, with
512MB RAM and a 4GB flash disk, running Xandros Linux, for £230.
While the Eee has been a smashing success and scored 9/10 in LXF
issue 101, it's starting to face some new competition. Here's a
roundup of the contenders...

1) Elonex ONE --

"The UK's first sub-£100 laptop", apparently. Geared towards the
education market, the funky-looking ONE has most of its components
in the screen area, thereby needing a pop-out stand at the back. It
will include a 300 MHz "LNX Code 8" CPU (supposedly x86-compatible),
1GB of flash memory and 128MB RAM. Running the Linos distribution,
the ONE could prove to be a rugged little notebook for schools, and
no doubt hackers will have good fun customising the device. But for
office and internet usage, it may be too low-spec for comfort.

2) MSI Wind -- ... c-cry-eeek

Demonstrated recently at CeBIT, this sports a 10" display, 1GB RAM,
and CPUs ranging from 1GHz to 1.6GHz. But the biggest planned
feature is a whopping 7-hour battery life! There's not much to see
yet other than prototypes, but the lowest-end Wind is expected to
retail at 299 Euros. Looks great -- we'll believe it when we see
it in action though...

3) ECS G10IL --

This machine's super-flat keyboard is striking, as is the
possibility that it will include a HSDPA 7.2 data card for roaming
internet access. Little else is known about the device at present,
although its planned retail price is $500.

4) Everex Cloudbook --

Starting at $399, the Cloudbook is already on sale, featuring a 1.2
GHz VIA CPU, 512MB RAM and 30GB hard drive. This is a good spec for
the price, but it hasn't received great reviews -- LXF's sister
magazine PC Format gave the Windows version a 67/100 score, and the
review at has
some horror stories about the Linux version. In short, the gOS
distro hasn't been customised at all, so it's impossible to use
unless you know the Alt+drag window shortcut. Eek.

5) Norhtec Gecko --

Thai company Norhtec has this mini laptop pencilled in at $300, with
a 1 GHz VIA CPU and 7" screen. Not much else is known about the
device right now, but it will run Linpus Linux Lite. This could be a
promising machine -- it doesn't try to do anything unusual in terms
of design, and that price is very tempting.

So, that's the state of play. We'd wager that the Eee PC's low price
point is still its biggest strength -- and ASUS got nowhere near the
$199 mark originally planned. So for all the talk of sub-this and
around-that price points for these upcoming models, we'll reserve
judgement until they're actually on the shelves.

Still, it's a great time to be a Linux user. Our favourite OS is
finally hitting the mainstream -- not quite as we thought it would,
but it's getting out there nonetheless.

6. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 105, on sale Thursday 3 April...

# Target: Linux -- Crackers prize Linux computers more than any
others (well, perhaps OpenBSD boxes). Don't let your system
be their next target!

# Linux on laptops -- When Lenovo, Dell and Asus promise Linux
support for their notebooks, just how good is it?

# StreamMyGame -- The latest PC games + PlayStation 3 + Linux =
super happy fun!

(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
changing a light bulb:

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 depressed) 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) 2008 Future Publishing Limited
LXF regular
Posts: 2893
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:14 pm

Return to Newsletter Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests