Podcast Season 2 Episode 17


Title: 88 Miles Per Hour

In this episode: We each predict a news story that may or may not have happened over the last seven days. Play the final results of our 'build a game' challenge, and we ask, is it finally time to do away with the command-line?

What's in the show:

  • News:
      Due to this podcast being recorded some time in the past, we try our best to predict what might have happened between the time of the recording and the time you read this.
  • You Dare Us:
      The results of our awesome game challenge from four weeks ago:
    • Mike:
      • "Vzzbux is a simple top-down scrolling shoot em up. Move around with the cursor keys and hit space to fire - see how long you can survive! It's a very small game but the code is well-commented and can be used for your own shoot 'em ups. I might make a serious game out of it one day with power-ups, bosses etc."

        Download Vzzbux (1MB).

    • Graham:
      • "Tracer is a racing game using a modified version of Ian Mallett's Asteroids engine and lots of inspiration from an old Amiga game, Rocketz. The aim is simple: beat your lap record. Control the craft with the cursor keys and press Escape to quit the game."

        Download Tracer (10MB).

    • Paul:
      • "Switcharoo is a simple word game where you have three minutes to make as many four-letter words as you can. You can score extra bonuses by changing the same letter repeatedly, making colours, or matching the chosen word of your mentor, Melody."

        Download Switcharoo (11MB).

  • Discovery of the week:
    • Paul:
      • Aglets are a subset within a larger group of ringy metal things called ferrules.
    • Graham:
      • A boot manager called Plop Boot Loader (but you'll still need Grub for Linux).
    • Mike:
      • Layar, on Android phones, is rather cool.
    • Andrew:
      • An awesome German word, Schlimmbesserung, which literally means, a bad improvement.
  • In the Hot Seat:
    • Andrew Gregory's chance to prove his geek credentials.
  • Closed Ballot: We ask ourselves, is it time to do away with the command-line?

  • Special offer: subscribe to Linux Format magazine and save up to 40%
  • Presenters: Andrew Gregory, Paul Hudson, Graham Morrison and Mike Saunders.

    Subscribe to the TuxRadar Podcast. Choose between Ogg Vorbis and MP3.

    Music by Brad Sucks.

    You should follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter

    Your comments

    I wrote this comment last week as well, honest

    I hate Pulse as much as the next person but you're really pushing it. Why do you use it? Use Alsa and put a cork in it. There's taking the piss and there's being outright mean and unpleasant to its devs.

    You wanted challenge suggestions - I challenge you to contribute to Pulse.


    Back in the day we used to say that there were four possibilities:

    A badly engineered good idea.

    A badly engineered bad idea.

    A well engineered good idea.

    A well engineered bad idea.

    where is Andew's game???

    where is Andew's game???

    Why did you bother?

    Listened to the pod cast yesterday on the way home and wish I had not bothered.

    I'm assuming you were trying your hand at stand up comedy but the only joke seemed to be the pod cast itself.

    So you scratched around for something to say, picked on your usual targets in the Linux community to pad it out, and finished off with a wonderfully un-insightful talk about getting rid of the command line.

    What wonderful journalism! Ever considered a career at the Daily Mail?


    Just another though, it would be beneficial covering articles from the perspective of distros other than Ubuntu. It would encourage more exploration and experimentation with Linux, and broaden the minds of all the newcomers Ubuntu has helped draw to Linux.

    We want to discourage the belief in newcomers that Ubuntu is Linux, otherwise we become a defacto MS in trying to make the general populace believe (and quite successfully they have done it too) that your computer IS Windows.


    I like it

    I only want to say that I really like the podcast. I laugh with your jokes and share your criticism. (And, it happens that I'm an Ubuntu user.) Great work!

    I don't like the way LXF is heading

    LXF needs:

    - a sterile podcast with no opinion whatsoever.
    - coverage of every possible distro out. Just so that nobody feels left out.
    - Less code tutorials
    - Less humour.
    - The magazine shall be printed in black + white A4 only. No pictures.

    that's enough for now, I'm off to put my feet up and read my Daily Mail

    Ubuntu Heavy?

    As you rightly said, Padfoot, Ubuntu has done a great deal for the newcomers in our community. As you also said, it is the most popular distro.

    Why should a magazine that also has the approach of offering something for newcomers not focus to a good deal on that distribution? Why should a magazine not write about something the majority of its readers use?

    People that don't use Ubuntu are usually advanced enough that they are able to transfer the articles to other distributions. Someone who uses Arch or Gentoo certainly doesn't need a beginners tutorial on email clients anyway...

    I don't use Ubuntu, but I love reading Linux Format. Yes, a good deal of articles uses Ubuntu as the main example, but I can still get a lot of useful information for my Suse and Arch machines...


    And thanks for the games, guys, they are great! Looking forward to Andrew's...


    Are you trying to make the podcast more easy to the ear by making more sarcastic jokes?! Looks like it isn't working.

    @ Tobi

    Hi Tobi,

    Yes, i certainly understand what you are stating, and I did sum that up in my original post "I understand the commercial aspect of making the magazine Ubuntu centric".

    Also, I am not saying they should not write about Ubuntu at all. The most annoying thing is, Ubuntu is all they seem to write about (except when listing newly released distros). As I pointed out in my original post, there is already a magazine devoted entirely to Ubuntu

    Not all new Linux users start with Ubuntu, and certainly there would be many users on other distros who I am sure would appreciate a beginners tutorial on email clients, as you put it.

    What I am saying is, share the love. Otherwise we end up heading down the path of the wider community thinking that the only Linux is Ubuntu.

    Like I finished my first post, Ubuntu may be Linux, but Linux is NOT ONLY Ubuntu.



    Not very good is it? Making progress they are. Instead of bashing different packaging manager's, they do their best to support and maintain versions of their app that will make it cohabit with different package managers.
    I dare you to (help) create an open-standard that makes their life and every package-manager front Dev easier.that would be helpful, don't you think? Making "we dare us" distroless is also a good idea, but i think that is not a problem in you podcast. Chears :D


    "Ubuntu is all they seem to write about"

    Let's actually look at facts here. In the last three issues we've covered: PCLinuxOS, FreeBSD, Linux Mint, Google Chrome, Scribus, Webmin, Jolicloud, GNUstep Live, Mandriva 2010, Slackware, Linux Gamers Live, Gnome 3, Eclipse, KOffice and many, many other distros and subjects -- and that's just off the top of my head. We've covered all those things in the magazine and on the DVD. We even ran a special feature highlighting lesser-known distros that'd we'd used for two weeks.


    I even remember a "Linux for

    I even remember a "Linux for Beginners" tutorial not so long ago - based on Fedora!


    Errrr, ubuntu is used by two thirds of the readers, therefor two thirds of the magazine should be ubuntu based. I don't use ubuntu or a *buntu based distro, I use Arch. They do tutorials based on ubuntu and cover what ubuntu does because that is what the general reader wants. They can't write tutorials based on EVERY distro, that would be ridiculous.


    Wow - Ubuntu haters. I agree there is a wide variety of other distros covered in the magazine -I`m a subscriber and look forward to it coming each month.

    I do agree with a guy above me asking for Andrew`s contribution. Has he ever done a challenge properly? He barely played nethack, chose Spanish ubuntu for his distro amongst countless others. He might not be a hardcore programmer like you others but he could at least make an effort. At least the new challenge is natural language...

    Accuracy of Predictions

    I would just like to say that, if I am pummeled to death by meteorites, I'm holding you all accountable. Consider yourself warned.

    As a side note; fantastic podcast, keep up the good work, blah blah etc. and so on. :)

    Games + RE:Ubuntu haters

    So heres the report on the games, I will count down to the best game. (best IMHO)

    3) - Switcharoo - Didn't work...

    My rating: 0/10 (Couldnt test the game.)

    2) - Tracer - Apart from being amazed that Graham can do programming I did find this quite fun and enjoyable. It is hard/challenging to get a good time though. The only problem is it gets boring pretty fast.

    My rating: 7/10

    1) - Vzzbux - Neato graphics and very fun gameplay. This game can be played for quite a long time because of the goal of getting the ultimate highscore! However the AI didn't give me any real challenge... I was actually surprised when I died!

    My rating: 9/10
    Now to deal with Ubuntu haters...

    Listen guys Ubuntu is used probably more than all other distros combined so of course the magazine will cover more things in Ubuntu. Also any tutorial done using Ubuntu can also be done in another Linux distro. Unless of course its a tutorial using specific Ubuntu software.

    You should be happy that other distros get good coverage as it is right now and stop complaining!!


    What's the name of the ambient music that gets a mention? I can't make it out.


    Ubuntu hater?

    "Ubuntu is all they seem to write about"

    Ok, so I exagerated, who doesn't when they are passionately trying to get a point across.

    And to all those branding me an Ubuntu hater? You could not be further from the truth. As stated (albeit vaguely) I would not be using Linux today if it was not for Ubuntu. I don't hate Ubuntu, I just have a different philosophical view from where the distro is heading, hence my switch to another distro.

    Yes, I have acknowledged that I understand the why Ubuntu get's the majority of coverage. I'm just trying to make the point that blanket saturation (yes, another exaggeration - slight, but none the less an exaggeration) is going to convince the wider community that all of Linux is Ubuntu, and I am afraid that will be to the entire community's detriment.

    As an example, I will use the coverdisks over 2009 and 2010, and before anyone shoots me down, I am fully aware that many, many other distros are also released on the coverdisks, but this illustrates my point regarding my blanket saturation exaggeration above.

    Jan Ubuntu 8.10
    Mar Mint 6
    Jul Ubuntu 9.04
    Oct Ubuntu 9.10a
    Christmas UNR 9.10
    (I can not account for August 2009, I missed that issue unfortunately)

    Ok 5 releases of Ubuntu, covering the 6 monthly release cycle, fair enough (and I do not wish to offend any Mint users by using it in arguing my case, but it is an Ubuntu respin)

    Jan Ubuntu 9.10
    Mar Mint 8
    Apr Lubuntu 10.04a, Mythbuntu 9.10
    May Ubuntu 9.10, Xubuntu 9.10
    Jul Ubuntu 10.04, Kubuntu 10.04, Xubuntu 10.04
    Aug Mint 9
    Sep UNE 10.04

    11 releases, and we are not even through the entire year. And what surprises me is May, after 10.04 is released we are presented 9.10 on the coverdisk again)

    So please do not get me wrong, I do not hate Ubuntu and I do not hate LF, on the contrary, without either, I would not be using Linux today.

    I just do not want Linux to end up as being though of as Ubuntu alone. Like in my original post, the way MS distributes windows has very cleverly convinced the masses that there is no difference between a computer and windows. Let's not perpetuate the myth that there is no difference between Linux and Ubuntu.


    Not to be annoyingly positive but...

    Really enjoyed the energy of this one. Everyone seemed to be having good fun, humor abounded, sound effects superb.


    "And what surprises me is May, after 10.04 is released we are presented 9.10 on the coverdisk again)"

    No, incorrect again. The May issue was on sale 31 March. (Because LXF is released every four weeks rather than monthly, the issue 'month' names get out of sync.) Ubuntu 10.04 was released on 29 April.

    Additionally, Ubuntu was included on the disc to tie in with a complete, free 121 page book introducing beginners to Linux. The book was based on Ubuntu so it made sense to put Ubuntu on the disc.

    I've just gone through the LXF 2009 issues. There were 46 non-Ubuntu/Mint Linux distros and operating systems on the discs over the year. 46, versus the seven Ubuntu/Mint flavours. "Blanket saturation" isn't a "slight exaggeration" -- it's just ridiculous. The vast, vast majority of distros and OSes on the LXFDVD are not Ubuntu at all. Please get some perspective before posting.


    Ubuntu haters unite and

    Ubuntu haters unite and crush the mighty.... oh wait I'm running Ubuntu on three computers... I'm off outside to give myself a good kicking....

    Love the show + Magazine etc

    Just wanted to shed a bit more positive light onto you guys.

    Love the magazine, love the podcast. I disagree with all the negative comments here.. Keep doing what you guys do, you're an amazing team and I truly appreciate an informative podcast that's also hilarious.

    I also love the theme music, your sense of humour, the pisstakes, the challenges, etc everything.

    Even the latest episode.. I appreciated you guys putting something together (and it was quite funny).. instead of just releasing nothing.

    Keep up the good work, I'm sure there's heaps more people like me that love what you guys do and want more more more. (For the record, I'm not an Ubuntu user. I use Fedora, Centos, Rhel, Debian and Arch).


    Two quick comments

    First, you were imagining having a menu bar that ran away from the mouse as it approached - try using the VirtualBox OSE with builtin VNC server and you will be able to play chase the virtual mouse with the real mouse. But hurry as they keep trying to fix it.

    Second, I cannot believe that there was a full discussion of how to get rid of command line and never a single mention of emacs and its shell. Even Graham's grandmother or whoever it was would master that in a trice. Personally I wish I could post this comment using mailx (there's a subject for a podcast).

    I LOVE the podcast

    I've been a sys admin from way back and I've been tinkering with Linux since near the beginning, but I never really took the leap to full-time Linux until I started listening to the Tux Radar podcast towards the middle of Season 1.

    I have to say that I love it all. The positive AND the negative. It was great to hear that I'm not the only person in the world who thinks Gimp's interface is a p.i.t.a., and that pulse audio is, let us say.. "complicated". Listening to the podcast I have learned that some of the Linux aspects I find difficult actually ARE difficult, and it's not because I'm a moron! This has encouraged me to forge on and make it work, where I might have given up a few years ago.

    While I appreciate the hard work of people in the broader Linux community, I find it helpful to hear the REAL opinions of the LF guys without pretense, or affectation. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that one of the main goals of the Tux Radar podcast is to bring Linux and the Open Source world to a broader audience, and in that sense the podcast is a palpable success.

    Since becoming a fan of the podcast, and the magazine, I have subsequently installed various distros on all the computers in our home. My young children use Puppy Linux and Ubuntu with much success, my wife uses Lucid, and I jump back and forth from Jaunty, Lucid and Slackware. With the help of LF and Tux Radar, I have been far more successful than I would have been on my own at making full use of the Linux OS. I have built a recording studio, and also created two short films, one of which is quickly gaining popularity on YouTube. I was able to do EVERYTHING on Linux, and that is due in no small part to the help I've received from aforementioned Linux elite!

    Bottom line, I'm a big fan. Keep it up! Flamers can go make their own podcasts.


    @Dylan C

    You probably need to install some packages to get switcharoo to work. Try (assuming you're using apt, if not you can use your graphical package manager for your distro):

    sudo apt-get install python-pygame python-opengl

    Switcharoo is worth the bother, it's pretty slick!


    I think the music is Scheming Weasel, google it and you should find links to listen to it. Alternatively, it's included as a file for Paul's game, switcharoo, at the top of the page (look in the content folder).

    grrreat stuff!

    Those games are tremendous fun, thanks guys!

    I need to put far more practise into Graham's Tracer as I'm rubbish at it; thank goodness the craft doesn't explode when it hits the walls!! Love the creepy space music, and nostalgia-inducing vector graphics. A definite keeper!

    Vzzbux is the game my 8 year-old self would have played forever; fortunately I haven't grown up that much. The music is an ear-worm too.

    Switcharoo is great fun too. Please release an iPod touch version so my wife will let me have my computer back.

    All three are a triumph, and showcase what can be achieved by the collaborative strength of free/open software in addition to your own talents; they, along with pretty much everything I've seen you do, show the criticism as to your contribution to Linux, cynicism, bias, etc, to be deeply unfair.

    Thank you.

    @ TuxRadar


    TuxRadar - September 19, 2010 @ 11:08am

    "And what surprises me is May, after 10.04 is released we are presented 9.10 on the coverdisk again)"

    No, incorrect again. The May issue was on sale 31 March. (Because LXF is released every four weeks rather than monthly, the issue 'month' names get out of sync.) Ubuntu 10.04 was released on 29 April.

    Additionally, Ubuntu was included on the disc to tie in with a complete, free 121 page book introducing beginners to Linux. The book was based on Ubuntu so it made sense to put Ubuntu on the disc.

    I've just gone through the LXF 2009 issues. There were 46 non-Ubuntu/Mint Linux distros and operating systems on the discs over the year. 46, versus the seven Ubuntu/Mint flavours. "Blanket saturation" isn't a "slight exaggeration" -- it's just ridiculous. The vast, vast majority of distros and OSes on the LXFDVD are not Ubuntu at all. Please get some perspective before posting."

    Have a look at your post again, which I have pasted above.

    For the May 2010 issue, I was referring to Ubuntu 9.10, which had already appeared on the January disk, I know the magazine was released before 10.04 was released.

    Fair enough, there was a beginners special so you included Ubuntu.

    As for the rest of your post, again, you did not get the point of my post. I acknowledged that there are many many other distros on the coverdisks, and I pointed out that 2009 was what you would expect, the buntus appeared on the coverdisk at release time.

    I was comparing 2009 to 2010, as my entire posting has been regarding the more recent issues.

    As you can see in the 2010 list I put together, Ubuntu has appeared on the coverdisks of 7 out of 9 issues so far this year. That, I would say, is neat blanket saturation.

    (I love a good debate!)



    2010 issues so far (LXF127 - LXF137)

    U/X/Kubuntu/Mint appearances on the disc: 8

    All other distro appearances on the disc: 38

    Again, the vast majority of distros are not Ubuntu. Anyone else can see that. This "debate" doesn't make any sense!



    You just don't understand "philosophy" ;) . Leave the young man alone with his (harmless) convictions.

    I now feel sheepish for posting the first criticizing post and I want to distance myself from people who see Ubuntu everywhere (closing in on them and kneeling on their windpipe). Their madness makes me see my own overreaction to the piss-taking over Pulse. I guess I'm a sense of humour amputee.

    I just felt sorry for Pulse's devs, the same way I guess they feel sorry for their users ;) .

    ...I guess now I should contribute to Pulse as a penance as well.


    I wanted to break from the norm and not bitch and moan about the supposed Ubuntu favouritism. As with most Linuxy type stuff anyone with quarter of a mind can take advise aimed at Ubuntu and inflict in on almost any other disro out there anyway. There could even be the argument that its better for you because you have to work out any discrepancies yourself and thus, learn more about your particular disro. . Its never as satisfying if how-to's are perfect anyway.. I like to troubleshoot, it's rewarding.

    I'm a little confused as to all the pulse bashing, I've never had any problems with it for general playback and web browsing etc.. and if I want to do anything remotely clever with audio I just switch to jack.

    Oh. And I wanted to extend thanks for the game code that was released, I've been having fun playing around with it on my machine.

    Give a U, give me a B, give me another U...

    Poor old Jono Bacon must have been up all night preparing those replies! :)

    @ Pisstake Penguin

    It's a podcast u pillock not a dictum.(at least not yet)

    I think all that standing about on cold yellow surfaces has made your head go numb.

    Great work

    Thank you, Loretta & all! Quite a funny episode. I am, as always, looking forward to the next episode!!!

    To be fair, but nasty

    To be honest, I have not had as many issues with any other distribution as I have with the buntu family. There is so much breakage and confusion in this system - though it is hidden behind the shiny desktop surface. The unpleasant reality emerges once you start looking at log files.
    It seems unfair to attack Pulse, because it is fairly new; but one might question the wisdom of the release manager who finds it great.
    So in other words, having a lot of Ubuntu articles seems reasonable, given that it is the most popular distribution and has a lot of issues which need to be discussed!

    Enjoyed It!

    Don't know what all the negative comments at the beginning were about... (bit ironic that they are being negative about being negative...)

    But very much enjoyed it!

    Can we have a Linux Format meet up sometime soon?

    All best,


    Never mind the pro-Ubuntu bias...

    ... which bothers me not one whit, (especially as the #16 and #17 podcasts seem to make some light of it). But "ditch the command line" - BURN THE HERETICS. Where did I put that barrel of tar and those feathers?

    Seriously, anyone that suggests that needs to be forced to use Vista+Norton360 on a machine that _just_ meets the minimum specs for Vista.

    I'm predominantly using Ubuntu - heck even got RHEL and Debian VM's hosted on Ubuntu. And I HAVE to use the command line for this - because wonderful VMware doesn't work properly on Ubuntu since release 9.

    If you don't want to use the CLI, then fine. And I'd fully appreciate any work to replace it with _better_ gui-based alternatives. But leave it for us techies who don't want to risk RSI by having to wade through endless clickery. :p

    Long time reader first time commenter

    First off.
    You guys are hilarious. I find my self laughing more and more as each episode is released.

    I don't have a subscription as I am currently unemployed however I keep feeling more and more inclined to scrape up the money and nab one.

    Now, onto the ragefest.

    Ubuntu holds the largest share of users out of all the GNU/Linux community, this means their largest potential reader-base is in Ubuntu users. Having a slightly larger than other amount of Ubuntu based information seems logical.
    But, like I said, I don't actually read the magazine itself but from what it sounds, there is still a fair variety.


    @BobTheLinuxHacker, @sc93

    Bob: I don't think any of us wants to fully do away with the command line -I can promise you that at least three of us (you can guess which three!) use it every single day, often more than we use desktop tools. But we do all feel that you should at least be able to perform all the important tasks through the GUI - there should be very little need to say "open a command line and..." to a newbie.

    sc93: Send an email to paul.hudson@futurenet.com along with your address - we'll send you some free issues :)

    Command line in ubuntu will NOT go away

    The day the command line goes away in Ubuntu will be the day that Mac gets more viruses than Windows...

    Yes, Ubuntu is one of those "user-friendly" distros that make life easier to those who wants a free OS alternative to those pricey windows/mac, but that doesn't mean that Ubuntu will be everyone's best friend. In all honesty, just about anyone who even tries Ubuntu are people with at least enough knowledge to know how not to get a virus on a Windows OS (that could be just me being bias, so do correct me). Otherwise, Ubuntu's got all the basics you need such that the only thing you'd only really need the terminal if you need specific software aside from your general media/browser/office programs (again, do correct).

    Oh, and while windows command-prompt fails so much more than terminal, its still there for advanced troubleshooting. Even Mac has the terminal.



    virtualbox works fine for me and you can use in non commercial endeavors. If you are one that sticks with FLOSS philosophy then qemu-kvm works just fine if you are in the mood for some googling.

    @BobTheLinuxHacker, @sc93
    TuxRadar - September 23, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    I would love some free issues but I would rather pay for it when I have the cash-flow...lololol.
    I say this because I really like this podcast and anything that I've said in previous post's seems bashing then I would like to apologize because it was not my intent.

    @And now the actual post...

    I am fairly open to opinions and the pod-caster's ones are(mostly) fair.
    Ubuntu vs something is not, IMHO, what this cast is about, and this discussion seems bloated. CLI obliteration is, obviously, impossible for techies, but hiding CLI from the average user is a good thing. It brings non-techies closer to linux and that's an improvement.
    I think that making OSS(not as free beer) commercial is the future. Mind this:

    If you buy software, you want it to run on every hardware you have, so, compiling it is a necessity. How can you do it without the source code?
    If you buy hardware, you want your software to...etc...

    My point is: you don't have buy "Linux Format"® and you don't have to listen to tuxradar pod-cast, so you don't have to make it compliant to your hardware(mind).


    Ah, yeah. Of course, I got it. I was so far away from my desktop that when I reached over to ring the bicycle bell I fell over and broke my ankle - these stupid "knee chairs" !!!

    Very very funny that. "A notification shows up on your desktop saying: Ring ME!" and you ring the bell. SROFLMAO.

    But it got me thinking.... perhaps you could install linux on your bicycle somehow?

    Great work, and enjoy your hols.


    You know that the Reinheitsgebot was repealed under the EU as protectionist, right? Probably not the best name for a pseudo-opensource license, guys ;)

    the games

    I have got to say that all of those games are AMAZING!!!

    I think that Mike's is the best personally, that's just the type of game that I like to play, (I'm 13-year-old-boy).

    I took a look at the programming and changed Mike's so that it worked a little bit better still not perfect though.

    I think that Graham's had the least amount of glitches in it but I don't really like that kind of game. Nice music

    Paul, although I wouldn't play your game for fun I still think that that must have been a lot of work.

    I still admire the amount of work that it must have took for all of you to do these games.

    I love! your podcasts! keep up the good work


    the GNUrd

    PS #!

    Graham's Game

    Was going back through the old podcasts and got to this one. Played Graham's game adn it is amazing. I love the simple idea of it. My best time was 20.05 seconds

    btw there is a little glitch in the music when the track restarts

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