Open Ballot: Podcast changes


It's (well into) the new year. Our hangovers have abated, and we're about to start work on the new series of the podcast.

As regular listeners will know, we've been following the same format for a while:

Discovery of the week,
Rants and raves,
Speak your brains,
Open ballot

We want to refresh it a bit, so we thought we'd ask you, dear listeners, what new category you'd like to hear. Perhaps an old on that you'd like reinstated, or something new that you think would fit in with the TuxRadar style. Or perhaps you think we're perfect and wouldn't change a thing.

Whatever it is, pop it in the comments and we'll bear it in mind when we start the new series later in the week.

P.S. If enough people say they want to hear Andrew walking the streets of Bath and interviewing passers by while dressed as a penguin, we may be able to make him do it.

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Your comments

Tech Tip of the fortnight

A quick 2 minute guide to a technical tip which users might not have heard of.

Hardware & Predictions

Perhaps a chat on a more hardware, but still Linux related, front? I have to admit I don't know how this would work but with the Pi, tablets and phones all becoming Linux-centric - whereas before it was just PC/laptop - it might need to be looked at, and explained more.

Other than that a prediction a week that you note and then discuss in the last podcast of the year to see if any came true!? Or maybe that timeline wouldn't be long enough if predictions were made in, say, November, so you could make the predictions for a year and then look back at them the next year to see if they materialised.

chmod a-r *

The draw of the podcast is the camaraderie of the group in combination with their vast experience in the GNU/Linux ecosystem. The 'structure' of the show seems more to keep you all on track than something the listener pays attention too. Thats just fine.

The technical value of the podcast derives from the commentary, and insight of the group and their varied experience. The enjoyment and fun derives from the personality and good humor of the group.

Tuxradar podcast is one of the few where I believe the commentators are actually good friends. Thank you, from Georgia, USA.


Change that title to chmod a-w *, I've been coding for hours and my brain is tofu. I WANT people to hear the podcast, and I DON'T want anyone to change a thing. lol, cheers.

Voice from abroad

Perhaps we can have an occasional section featuring Mike S rambling about something or joining you guys via VoIP or something similar as I am sure listeners would love to hear from him occasionally and how he's getting on.


Can I add my vote to getting Andrew dressed up as a penguin and interviewing people just for the giggles :-)


I don't have any suggestions on changes, but I wanted to thank you all for your wonderful podcast and magazine. Your personalities come through in both. It might sound weird, but after listening and reading for a few years it's almost like I know you all in some way. I imagine many LXF fans feel that way.

P.S. Great work on getting the mag onto Google Play. I have a subscription through it, which is very convenient compared to the hassles of an old-fashioned paper subscription. The magazine displays very well on my Nexus 10. Really, people, if you haven't subscribed yet, this is a hassle-free, affordable way to show your support. Even if you just want the podcast, the subscription price is worth it.

Penguin Walkabout

I want to hear Andrew walking the streets of Bath and interviewing passers by while dressed as a penguin, perhaps you could do this as a vlog.


I think it's good as it is. Though I would wholeheartedly vote for getting Andrew dressed up as a penguin and interviewing people in Bath - you could also get Ben dressed up as a leopard seal secretly following him and, periodically, jumping on him to add tension and danger to the process

Penguin Suit -> Andrew -> Streets of Bath

Bath doesn't have enough penguins. Please penguinise Bath.


How about a "things that linux isn't very good at" section in which areas where the OS or available software or whatever lags behind the MS Apple offerings Lets say a member of the podcast crew or a reader complains that they can't update the BIOS with linux and (hopefully) somebody (eg Ben) replies with a linux based solution.
You could even call it "the linux confessional" and maybe introduce it with some soothing chapel organ music, once the problem is solved linux will be "absolved" of it's sins (by Andrew of course).


Honestly, guys, the last few times you've done the podcast in a Pub, you sound like you're having fun and I spend the majority of the podcast laughing along with you.

mag on my nexus 7

Loving the mag on my nexus 7 - so portable ! I'm still not an ebook fan but emagazines must be the future.

If it ain't broke...

See title, you know the rest.

I quite like Father Malone's confessional idea though.

Don't change a thing, except...

Please don't change a thing, except drinking a
little less beer. Oh, and for losing Mike...
And please hurry with the podcast, please, please.



The best bits of the show is when you fail to agree about something and argue about it. So perhaps a slot for the controversial items that you all have different opinions on.

Sound quality

Better quality sound would make me happy! Love the content. Keep it "snarky".

distro of the fortnight...?

There are enough distros out there to fill a few years worth of "distro of the fortnight" slots, with a quick look at what it is and what it does best/worst etc.

Love the podcast and magazine - keep up the excellent work

Tweak / Confessional

I like the idea of the confessional...but might approach it a bit differently. More along the lines of "I tried to do X, but couldn't find a good way... Is there a good way to do X?" This would maybe (a) get more feedback, or (b) start someone thinking about filling that need.

Another idea: system tweaks. What things do you guys do to your systems / desktop to improve your work flow? For example, I have hotkeys set up under E17 to make some things easier: meta-e for the everything launcher, meta-l to lock my desktop, meta-m to launch the file manager, etc. In my bash configuration I have added some functions to make ssh'ing to various servers easier. These kinds of things might be cool for newer users to start getting ideas of what they can do to make the system work for them.

Overall, love the show, love the fun you guys always have.

revamp on challenges?

Great podcast guys!

I really miss Mike and Jonathan :/ Could you possibly re-introduce the challenges section? It seemed to fail last time because you simply didn't have the time to do the challenges; But does it have to be every fortnight? How about a monthly challenge with one "update" post and one "conclusions" or something similar. And the challenges doesn't have to be knee deep technical stuff like "set up a rival amazon web shop in Ruby", it could be something silly like "make Andrew dress up as a penguin and interview people in Bath...". Also it doesn't necessarily have to be a one man challenge, but could occasionally be a group effort?

Oh, and more pub shows!

Just throwing some ides out there. Love your podcast, and I agree with the previous comments; the best thing about the show is the comradery.

Softwar of the fortnight! (echo "Night night night...")

How about, as previously mentioned, a debate section. You could be something Linux related (software, distros, monopolistic self-serving benevolent dictators bending the momentum of the people for personal gain, or whatever) and one person can take a positive stance, and the other a negative; this way it will be a bit balanced, and thereby satisfying your reading and allowing enough Ubuntu praise to keep Canonical's checks rolling in at the same time!

Also, change "Discovery of the week" to fortnight. I live in Nowhere, Texas and I have access to Google if I'm not familiar with the term, as are my fellow listeners in the states.


Great job with the podcast, I begin tuning in late last year and have been hooked ever since. They also make the 45 minute drive to my third shift job bearable. I'm now currently subscribed to the magazine over Google Play and I must say it highly exceeded my expectations in both length and quality (which was at no low bar, I assure you!), though having to download Google Chrome for my computer to view is annoying.

Anyway, great work, lads.


+1 vote for penguin interviewer!

The Great Debate

defeinitely like the idea of a "Great Debate" - any 2 of your regulars on either side of a choice between two apps/distros/hardware/whatever. They have an opening SENTENCE, followed by a few minutes of back and forth debate - allowed to ask each other questions as well - followed by a 30 second statement each. The others present can then vote on what won the debate. Sample subjects: Arduino V Raspberry Pi , LibreOffice v OpenOffice, Android v newfangled Ubuntu phone thing, Stellarium v Cellestia ..... (try not to get to involved in KDE v Gnome though - I think that one has been done.


you could introduce a new item about useability.
As the percieved lack of useability workflow refinements is one of the often repeated points that the linux naysayers keep spouting.

I envisage that between each podcast a member of the team places a non-linux user in front of a linux machine and record a short tape of them trying to perform a simple task, and then discuss in the podcast if it is the software or the user that is substandard.

The tasks could include:
A granny trying to dial a Skpe account, (to talk to grandkids).
A kid opening and making a simple drawing in Tux paint, then saving their work.
A non-linux office worker opening a .docx file and saving it as a .doc file.
A non-linux office worker installing a new program/application.
A non-linux office worker setting up and printing to a network printer.
A road warrior establishing a VPN connection to a corporate network server.

The this item would be useful for the application developers - feedback on intuitativeness of user interface, useful for guinea pig - experiencing first hand what linux can do (to fight the FUD), useful to the Tuxradar/ LXF team as a reminder of how un-tech savvy some users are.


I would make it so your even more northern accent and even more brittishly hilarious!

(And talk about Linux Mint more)

Easy Options For Financial Support

I am a former subscriber of your magazine. I loved it, but a new baby in my family means that I don't have much time for reading magazines anymore and money is a bit tighter.

The podcast is awesome because it keeps me up to date and I can listen to it while I do other things.

I would love to see an easy way to donate some money towards the podcast. Something simple on the website that would allow me to support the podcast that I value even though it doesn't make sense for me to be a magazine subscriber anymore.

As for podcast content, I like it the way it is. As others have mentioned, it's your knowledge and personalities that make it a great show, not the format.

Keep it up!

Listener Involvement

I think to get listeners involved over IRC would be cool, perhaps during rants and raves.

let it be

Probably would leave well enough alone. Linuxmint just tried a tutorial section and it sucked.

As they say

If it ain't broke don't try and fix it.

the good, the not so good and the not beautiful

News - good and getting longer each podcast. Keep
Discovery of the week - very interesting and (sometimes) amusing. Keep
Rants and raves, - hasn't happened recently. Difficult to find topics which cause extreme emotions?
Speak your brains - good but needs more participation. Keep
Open ballot - good and can generate discussion. Keeps listeners involved which an open source based magazine should aspire to.Keep.

So 'Rant and raves' is the obvious candidate for replacement. How about a wish list. Just complete "I wish Linux had..." It may already exist and listeners will be able to point it out. It may not exist - in which case - how about running a project (with listeners contributing) to provide the wished for item? Podcasts could include an update of the status of the project and what skills/work is required for the next few weeks.

Keyword / command section

I remember in the olden days of the podcast, there was a section about obscure linux commands or keywords.

I think it was Mike that mentioned one about the command "card", where someone remotely logged into another computer and did "card gcc" and zapped the printer's toner cartridge. LOL

That section was intersting.

I like the News section currently as it gives us an insight into your opinions.

DOTW / FN is also a great section.

Tweak of the week

How about a 'Tweak of the week' (or a 'Fix of the Fortnight'), to let us know what change you've made to a machine to make things a little better. It could be a techie tweak, such as moving buttons from left to right (a previous fix for Ubuntu), or something like swapping Rhythmbox for Banshee and then saying why you think that's an improvement.

That or sending Andrew out in a penguin suit....

Love the show anyway - looking forward to the next one!

Podcast suggestion

Once every podcast you should get Effy to say a northern expression. A good one to start would be 'Yer not as green as yer are cabbage lookin' (he also needs to attempt the accent).

Otherwise love the podcast no need for change that I can see.

Fun With Grub

Why not add a section about Grub. I think you have some people there who haven't spoken about it yet.

ceci n'est pas un commentaire

As I have said before I would like to see speak your brains dropped for offensively elitist reasons.

I really enjoyed you dare us back in the day. It was best when it was something creative (the games ones, music ones, drawing ones etc.) or the restrictive ones (command line only, no command line, changing desktops etc.) and when you... actually did it, which became rarer. I realise it's hard to think of a new creative thing to do each week though.

I will now arrogantly review your current sections:

1. News

Ambivalent about this. I expect most of us have already gotten the news elsewhere by the time we listen to the podcast. It's interesting when it provokes discussion though, or when it's about something a little more peripheral or subtle that I may not have heard about or have a firm grasp on.


2. Discovery of the week

I enjoy this one a lot. I don't really care whether your discoveries are linux-centric or not, I think you should worry less about that, so long as they're interesting or useful or amusing. Like, I have absolutely no interest in music-making whatsoever, but I love hearing Graham talking about some music-making thing. It's nice to hear someone talking about something with enthusiasm and knowledge. Oh and I meant to offer him a SID chip ages ago, does he still need one?


3. Rants and raves

Bit hit and miss, this one. I enjoyed it most when you were each evangelising your own desktop-of-choice. But that's a one-off, obviously. When it degenerated into ranting/raving about some random thing you'd thought of 30 seconds earlier it... kinda came down to the individual performance. Might be more interesting if both parties talked about the same topic. i.e. one person begins, saying why X thing is great, and then someone else responds for a minute saying why it's shit. Could be enlightening.


4. Speak your brains

Trite, facile, boring. I don't care what the little people think. Doesn't seem to provoke discussion or really give me anything more than I'd get from reading a randomly selected forum post each week.


5. Open ballot

Really enjoyable. Love the discussions it provokes and (perhaps hypocritically contrary to my #4) the generally very high quality of the comments. I like that you mix it up with both serious topics and flippant, lighter stuff. Also love Andrew's occasional mild taking the piss out of the comments.


Overall... it's generally the discussions I like. Anything which provokes that amongst you is good, even when it veers away from linux a bit. A verbal exploration, by experts, of the ideas and issues surrounding our linux (not to overstate it) 'culture' is something I can't get elsewhere and thoroughly enjoy.

Overall, I love the podcast. It's my favourite amongst all those I listen to. So for the most part... keep doing what you're doing. You're good.


Absolutely totally agree with Matt Tober above.

first dare

Install Steam, play a game.

What is 'Yer not as green as yer are cabbage lookin'?

Good idea with Effy, but you need to explain the term to us cuzzins across the pond.

All the suggestions are great, pick them a few at a time and "run em up the flagpole".

the aaron swartz-off

A segment where the panel explains how they have used technology to make the world a better place since the last episode.

I would like...

Can we have You Dare Us back please?

I'd love to see a new Pink Ponies, Naturally, perhaps with footage from s3 and s4.

This is going to sound mean, but could we possible have less episodes in the pub. I'm not saying don't get the drinks in. The podcasts do not suffer from people having had a few, it's just that the sound quality tends to drop quite a bit.

You can't improve on perfection...

..but how about a weekly short interview/talk with a random average Linux user - like what we are? The bonus is, that the questions wouldn't have to be about Linux at all, but some completely irrelevant topic. I don't know - sheep rustling or advanced crochet or something.

I'm rather happy with what

I'm rather happy with what you do now - (really like the humour injected into the show) - the only thing I miss is reviews on the various distributions available(and not just the most popular) and also applications which I may not know about or haven't tried yet.The only podcast I know of that does a regular distro review is The Sunday Morning Linux Review and the various youtube linux channels but I would like to hear your expert opinions too.Keep up the good work chaps.


I'm pretty happy that there is a podcast and a magazine, sometimes there's no need to fix what ain't broke...

I would perhaps suggest you don't record in whomever's house it was with the traffic going past (as per earlier this year) and... perhaps you don't chug your pints so fast in the pub and therefore have to all get up for more beer midway through.

I would say add more... Perhaps a dedicated 5 minutes to Linux based hardware?... Specific things which could then link back into the magazine?... You talk a lot about the software and mention hardware from time to time, but a dedicated segue about "X brand Printer" or graphics card or laptop or whatever you like.... which is Linux compatible and has drivers and works on, I dunno, whatever distro... would be nice...

I know you do do this already, but not as a regular feature... You mentioned the Dell Project Sputnik, you mention the Pi you mention all sorts, but always in passing...

Oh, and I've love to hear someone try to pronounce "xelous" again... Hint, it does not rhyme with moose.

This Motion...

There are many little simple add-ons in the Linux arsenal, simple commands which can do powerful things, which most of us could easily miss.

I use a little application called motion that turns a webcam into a security camera on a Linux system. There must be many more of this type. I suggest you find a suitable application each episode, (could also be from listener suggestions), tell us what it does and what needs to be done to get it to work. (Perhaps with extra notes in the show notes).

Otherwise the current show stands on its own, just let it evolve.

Happy with it as it is

Tuxradar podcast and Mintcast are the two I listen to, quite different so you do complement each other. I suppose they could be bettered, but I can't see how. Ringing the changes is a good idea, just to check out the responses.
Thanks guys

Competition is healthy

Love the format, but you do sound as if you are crying into your beer sometimes.

What's the competition like? I'm enjoying Linux Action Show podcasts at the moment. Do not become them but learn a little of their showmanship perhaps.

You Wanted An Answer?

"P.S. If enough people say they want to hear Andrew walking the streets of Bath and interviewing passers by while dressed as a penguin, we may be able to make him do it."

NO! Please NO! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no....

As to rearranging the order, we've got this current order:

Discovery of the week,
Rants and raves,
Speak your brains,
Open ballot

I would say shift to this order with some small amendments:

Open ballot
Speak your brains
Discoveries of the fortnight
Upcoming Events of Note Before Our Next Episode


Might I suggest the music be changed to something more subject appropriate?

For example;

guest star

Please bribe Nick Veitch with beer etc to make a guest appearance on the show. He would say something memorable don't you think?

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