Linux Format January 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
13 号


who we are

This issue we asked our experts: It’s the final Linux Format of 2019, what open source are you looking forward to in the coming year of 2020? Jonni Bidwell More crippling CPU vulnerabilities please. Oh and Edge on Linux. There are probably lots of open source treats awaiting our delectation. New Ubuntus and Mints. Linux on phones (done differently this time). Installing Arch on my laptop, which I’ve actually been meaning to do all of this year. Maybe they’ll even let me out of the office again. Christian Crawley After many false starts, 2020 could be the year that Linux finds a home on mobile. Librem 5 should finally be on general release, Pinephone is upon us, and UBPorts’ continuation of Ubuntu Touch is also looking good. I expect 2020 to be the year we…

happy hackers

Linux remains the number one destination for hackers: white hat, black hat or any colour in between. A key part of that is the ability to engineer open source code to do your bidding, but also that the tools are open source and available under open licenses. With Jonni fully refreshed and updated from his sabbatical now – packing a techno boat to live on – he’s crowbarring Kali Linux onto the DVD and writing up a handy guide to using its hacking playground the Metasploit framework. We’re not saying you’re going to become elite hackers overnight, but it might offer a sense of how systems become vulnerable and the basic ways you can stop attacks. A while back (perhaps even when I started) many thought Linux was only good for hacking,…

google mulls over mainlining android

Android is the most widely-used operating system on the planet, and it’s also a remarkable Linux success story, being built on a heavily modified version of the Linux kernel. Due to the number of Android devices that exist from a huge variety of manufacturers, and how often they’re updated, the Android common kernel has grown into a divergent and difficult-to-manage beast. For many years, Google has talked about wanting to bring Android closer to the mainline Linux kernel, and at the Linux Plumbers Conference (, held in Lisbon, Portugal, Google engineers explained how the company was planning to do this. As Matthias Männich, who is on the Google Android kernel team, says, the aim is to have a stable ABI (application binary interface) that will reduce the fragmentation of Android kernels…

microsoft defender for linux

Microsoft is looking to bring its Defender antivirus software to Linux devices in 2020. Once known as Windows Defender and shipped as default with Windows 10, in March 2019 Microsoft changed the name to drop the reference to Windows, while bringing the software to Mac. It is now looking to bring its software to Linux to help protect against malware and phishing attacks, perhaps not how you think. It might seem like an odd move, but Defender has moved on from the feature-light free version aimed at protecting Windows users who don’t know they should have antivirus installed, and is now aimed at enterprise users as well. In October, an independent testing lab rated Defender pretty highly, above the likes of BitDefender, Kaspersky and McAfee’s software. It’s also yet another example…

future chromebooks to use fwupd

There’s word on the grapevine (reported by Richard Hughes of Red Hat at, that Google will begin to request that Chromebook makers use fwupd, an open source firmware updater, if they want to get the “Designed for Chromebook” certification and branding. Hughes should know, considering he’s the lead developer of fwupd, though as he mentions in his blog post, Google has not currently been in touch with him. Instead, he’s heard the rumours from “several” sources. As Hughes states, the move “does make a lot of sense for Google, as all the firmware flash tools I’ve seen the source for are often decades old, contain layer-on-layers of abstractions, have dubious input sanitisation and are quite horrible to use.” He also suggests that some hardware makers may feel “mild panic” with…

grey is my colour

“Seasons greetings penguinistas! This issue I again try my hand at hacking, which ties in nicely with a) our interview with polyglot hacker Christina Quast and b) a massive databreach at the Cayman National (Isle of Man) Bank by Phineas Fisher. They’ve gained notoriety by hacking Hacking Team and Gamma Group (both plyers of surveillance tools used by repressive governments and police forces). Even if you don’t like the means here (which are obviously illegal), they are on some level justified by the ends. These grey areas are nothing new. Robert Morris (of ‘Morris worm’ fame), Clifford Stoll (see The Cuckoo’s Egg) and Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko (of Boston hacker collective the L0pht and later DARPA) all probably bent the rules to some extent but also did great things. A new…