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Linux Format November 2020

Linux Format is your complete guide to the world of Linux. Whether you've just discovered Linux, or you're a full-time guru, Linux Format has everything you need to make the most of your OS. The editorial formula is a mix of features, reviews and practical tutorials that tackle topics as far ranging as installing software to socket programming and network management. Thought-provoking features and interviews also provide a focus on key technologies, trends and issues in the fast-paced world of Free and Open Source software.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
who we are

Jonni Bidwell “Fun” is subjective but despite all the fiddling and confusion I really enjoyed using docker-compose last issue to get Collabora Online, Nextcloud, MariaDB and Let’s Encrypt all working together. ’Twas like a string quartet performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, orchestrated container stylee. Nick Peers I’ve so many memories of fun Linux projects. Perhaps the most satisfying one in recent times was turning a Raspberry Pi into a multi-machine game emulator using RetroPie. Reliving all those old classics brought back so many memories of my – sob – lost youth… Les Pounder The ls command is used to list directory contents, but what happens if we type it backwards? The sl command will show a train moving across the screen. The -a and -f options show a flying train with people screaming (like LXF Towers–Ed)…

2 min
linux is fun!

Some people have gained the impression that Linux might not be fun. How did that happen? So this issue we’re putting the fun back into Lin(f)u(n)x! We’re not sure that’s actually going to catch on… For an age now, Linux has had access to a full suite of media capabilities and software. Over the years we’ve covered most of them, from the crazy TV-tuner packing MythTV, the undeservedly scandal-dogged Kodi, to Emby. All of them are fantastic options. For this issue we’re going to look at Plex. While no longer open source, it’s always treated Linux as a first-class citizen and delivers a super-slick media streaming experience across networks, devices and all media. You can use it for free and if you get on with it there are membership levels that…

2 min
questions over mozilla ceo remuneration

Discussion sparked in the community in September on the subject of remuneration that the Mozilla CEO now receives. Since 2009 this has increased 400 per cent, going from $500,000 to $2.4 million. The same period saw the percentage share of Firefox drop from 30 to four per cent. As we reported last issue, Mozilla Corporation is laying off around 250 employees, cutting its workforce by one quarter. The company justified the job losses by stating it had been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which has reduced its usual income stream. At that time CEO Mitchell Baker wrote in a blog post “Over the last while, it has been clear that Mozilla is not structured properly to create these new things.” Missing from her statement is the fact that she’s been…

1 min
apple swift system

Swift was brought out by Apple in 2014 to replace the out-of-date Objective C language. Initially proprietary, it was open sourced at version 2.2 under the Apache 2.0 licence and Linux Format has featured it over the years, in issues LXF208, LXF209, LXF210 and most recently LXF241. Back in June 2020 Apple introduced Swift System. This added the ability for Swift to access system calls and low-level types, which removes the need for C system libraries, and enabled the use of Swift’s type safety and native system calls. Apple is now releasing Swift System, not only as open source but with Linux support. System is a multi-platform library, not a cross-platform one. It provides a separate set of APIs and behaviours on every supported platform, closely reflecting the underlying OS interfaces. A…

1 min
open source powerpc laptop

Since IBM open sourced its PowerPC processors (see Newsdesk, LXF255) there’s been more interest in trying to create open source PowerPC systems, such as the Raptor Talos II. An alternative project that was started back in 2017 (by Power Progress Community, www.powerprogress.org) is attempting to build a complete open source designed laptop, based on the NXP T2080 PowerPC processor. Previous funding campaigns have successfully delivered a PCB design. The current phase of funding will deliver bus simulations of the PCB design. Further goals will include delivering prototypes, full hardware testing and certifications. A Spanish company called Slimbook is set to provide the body of the Eclipse laptop. The body of the laptop is actually the entire case, the cooling system, the screen, the keyboard, the backlight, the webcam, the speakers and the…

1 min
head in the cloud

“I was talking to a business the other day that I thought we (with my business hat on) may be able to help. “No," said the person I was talking to, “We don’t use Linux. We’ve moved everything to the cloud.” It was as if “Linux” and “the cloud” were mutually exclusive, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Businesses don’t want to run Linux: they want to solve problems: deliver faster, improve quality, lower the cost of doing business, and so on. Maybe Linux can help, but that’s irrelevant to them. We should remember that Linux is, for businesses, a means to an end rather than the end itself. That applies to other operating systems as well. So the correct answer to the person I was talking to would be to ask what they…