Open Ballot: Beginner's Distro


We often introduce new people to Linux, and there's always that niggling question, what distro to start someone on. Not so long ago, the answer seemed obvious: Ubuntu. However that's falling from grace at the moment (Ben says: I actually like Unity. Efy, Graham and Andrew disagree).

Open Ballot: Distro hopping


Distros are funny things. We love some, we love to hate others and we're pretty ambivalent about a few. However, underneath they're based on basically the same code base. Most distros have a similar choice of desktop environments and the same applications, so they should all be pretty similar right? What we want to know this fortnight is: what causes you to leave a distro and install a new flavour of Linux?

Open Ballot: The final frontier


Linux has long been one of the key operating systems in space. It powers all manner of satellites and such like, but now it's taking over space desktops as well. NASA has announced that it's migrating the International Space Station (ISS) laptops from Windows to Debian 6 (

Privacy Enhanced Ubuntu remix

Today, Canonical have released Raring Ringtail, the latest version of their Ubuntu Linux distribution. Here at Tuxradar, we like Ubuntu, but we don't like the way they send all your desktop searches to Amazon. We want to be able to use our computers without Jeff Bezos seeing all our data. So, we've created Privacy Enhanced Ubuntu. It's exactly the same as Raring Ringtail, but doesn't return Amazon results for searches in the default lens. There's still an Amazon shopping lens there if you want to use it (click on the shopping bag icon in the dash).

Download the torrent here

TuxRadar Distro Picker


Announcing the TuxRadar Distro Picker!
To celebrate the cover feature on the latest Linux Format, we've built a web app that helps you find out which Linux distro is right for you. Just enter details of what you're looking for, and it will pick your perfect distro match.

Get started here

Open Ballot: Would you pay for Linux?


Depending on how you pay for it, you'll probably have to part with at least fifty quid for Windows 8, and double (or more) for OS X, and they come with almost no software compared to the average Linux distribution. Yet almost all Linux distributions are free as in zero-cost.

This fortnight we've got a simple question for you: would you (or indeed, do you) pay for Linux?

Open Ballot: The rumour mill (Win free Linux stuff!)

We've received a rather cryptic e-mail from Canonical's PR company:

"Canonical is kicking off the New Year with a bang, and launching a brand new Ubuntu product. We’ll be holding an exclusive event hosted by Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu project, to give full details of what we believe is the next generation of cross platform operating system."

Usually press releases get redirected to /dev/null, but a guy dropping off a brown envelope full of non-sequential £20 notes little bird told us that this is going to be interesting. However, we don't know any more than this.

The best Linux distro of 2012!


As promised in this week's Open Ballot (and thanks for your fantastic contributions), here's our own distro contest from issue 162 of Linux Format magazine.

Our annual distro competition is as close to a tradition as we get here at LXF Towers. We do it because we love distributions – we love their variety and the way that so much changes over the course of a year. If you want to see what conclusions we came to last year, for example, check out our previous feature, The best Linux distro of 2011.

But if we restricted our comparisons to the same old dominant stalwarts, our yearly parade of victors would look more like political oscillation than a reflection of Linux distribution development. Which is why this year we wanted to do something different...

Open Ballot: Best Distro 2012


As 2012 nears its cold, wet conclusion*, we're asking you to look back over the past year and let us know which distro you think deserves the award "Best distro 2012". If you're nominating a distro that's had more than one release, let us know which one.

Trying OpenSuse


Ben says:

I’ve been an Ubuntuer for several years. I know some people look down on it as only suitable for beginners and other non techy folk, but I disagree. It’s the distro used by Ken Thompson, the father of Unix (admittedly he uses it because it’s the distro used by Google, his employer, but I still feel like I’m in good company).

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