Free Linux DVDs for schools, unis, LUGs...


Yes, it's that time of the year again: we've built up a stack of spare Linux Format magazine coverdiscs in the office, and we'd love to give them away to Linux advocates: eg if you work in education, run a LUG or have another way to spread the word of Free Software.

These DVDs include a variety of bootable distros - Ubuntu, Fedora, CrunchBang, Slackware and more - and also have newbie-friendly guides (in the Help/New to Linux section of the HTML interface).

UPDATE: We've had a huge response to this, so to make sure that everyone who applied gets a decent amount of DVDs, we're closing this offer now. Thanks!

A newbie's guide to Fedora 12


Sometimes it's easy to forget that we all had to start somewhere with Linux. When you're not used to the way it works, or the kind of concepts involved, Linux can seem like a foreign language. If you're struggling with free software, or if you know someone who needs help making the switch to Linux, we hope this feature will help.

Fedora is a great choice of distribution to start with. It's easy to install and just as easy to use. It's one of the most well-respected distributions available, and has a very tight relationship with its parent and chief sponsor, Red Hat. With Fedora, you have access to one of the largest communities in the world of Linux, and one of the the biggest selections of software to play with. In this mini-feature, we're going to walk you through your first steps installing and using Fedora 12 so that everyone can get started and have fun in the Linux community.

(If this really is your first time using Linux, you might want to read our extensive Linux newbie FAQ before you start, then, when you're up and running, check out our guide to fixing Linux problems yourself. Finally, place a bookmark to our searchable archive of Linux solutions - you never know when it might come in handy...)

Build a Linux distro via the net


Building your own Linux distribution sounds like a hair-raising experience, and it would be if you had to compile every source file from scratch with no guidance. Thankfully, though, the OpenSUSE folks have made it much simpler with their SUSE Studio build service, as our friends at PC Plus explain. With just a few mouse clicks you can generate your own custom version of OpenSUSE - and even test it inside a web browser! Good going.

Reviewed: Linux Mint 8


Bored with brown? Looking for more oomph in your Ubuntu installation? We test the latest release of Linux Mint, the shiny green distro that stands on the shoulders of giants and offers its own unique tools. Read on to find out whether Mint is actually a better Ubuntu than Ubuntu...

Build your own Linux distribution the easy way


Many people want to create their own Linux distro, perhaps for fun, perhaps to help them learn more about Linux, or perhaps because they have serious neds to solve. But the secret is this: it doesn't need to be hard to get the perfect distro for you. In fact, we've put together several ways that everyone - yes, even you - can make your own perfectly customised distro that suits your individual needs, applying as many or as few changes as you want - it's your Linux, your way.

How to install software in Ubuntu


So, you've heeded the security warnings, run Ubuntu's update manager and you're happy that your system is now bang up to date with the latest whizz-bang software. But is it?

The truth is that packages are only added to Ubuntu's main repository as and when the maintainers deem them stable enough, so often users are left for months waiting for packages with the latest killer features. You can download these packages and compile from source, but you then have the trouble of satisfying the list of dependencies. Also, when you come to update the package you've compiled from source, you have to purge the current install from the system, satisfy any new dependencies that have sprung up, apply patches and then recompile, which is a messy solution.

Ubuntu Personal Package Archives (PPAs) are APT directories provided by third parties on Launchpad (Ubuntu's third-party developer platform). This is where the latest and greatest software is bundled into a Debian package and made available for download. The likes of Google and the Wine community are well known for using this service, so if you'd like to take advantage of their hard work and install some cracking new software for your Ubuntu, read on...

Mandriva 2010 released


Clearly not ones to bother about such trifling matters as the year we're actually in, the Mandriva team has delivered a shiny new release. Codenamed "Adelie", Mandriva 2010 brings a bunch of improvements as detailed in the announcement. The new "Smart Desktop" technology lets you assign tags and notes to documents, images and other files, while boot times have been reduced and the latest desktop environments (KDE 4.3 and Gnome 2.28) are included. Read on for a summary of the changes.

Ubuntu 9.10: the net's opinion


It has only been out for a week-ish, but already the reviews of Karmic Koala are scurrying around the intertubes. Jamie's Random Musings at ZDNet has "mixed impressions" of the release, comparing it to 9.04 which he thought was "truly excellent". The Globe and Mail, meanwhile, looks at the Koala from a non-geek perspective, describing it as "a package that won't be a horrible stretch for the novice". Linux Critic gives thumbs-up to the faster boot times, improved artwork and inclusion of the Empathy IM client, but criticises the poor integration of the Ubuntu One cloud storage service.

Vista, Windows 7, Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10 boot speed comparison


The Great Boot Race

Hot on the heels of the final release of the Karmic Koala, we've put together a video montage of 64-bit versions of Microsoft's Vista and Windows 7 operating systems booting alongside Canonical's Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10. Watch all four at once and see which one wins!

Each operating system has been freshly installed and features exactly the same hardware configuration. Auto-login is enabled, and each will launch Firefox which will then proceed to load our homepage.

The BBC takes on Linux


A few days ago, a BBC journalist was on air saying that Ubuntu was "a whole sort of little community of enthusiasts building operating systems for absolutely nothing." Since then, as you can imagine, he's had some angry emails from Linux users, so Canonical sent him over a laptop with Karmic Koala Netbook Remix installed.

The result, sadly, isn't great for Linux, but there's a lot we can learn from the results of the test.

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