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Pi Zero HAT Reviews

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Features at a glance

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Rag and bone

Giving a second life to ageing computers reduces the electronic waste in the world

Emmabuntüs on how Linux can revive old PCs Roundup

Security

Open source 3D printers for makers, schools and business

Dive into the pro-level suite to stop the hackers

3D printers

Master Kali 2016

Quick tip

Pi cucu mbers African the Pi

Smart farming with

T

Verdict

Pi labs

Powering education

T

Rating 8/10

pads to to Bob” you both make sure don’t accidentally messages encrypt same pad. with the

60 LXF216

October

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Make music with dance mats One-time password machine Enviro pHAT for real-time data


Welcome Get into Linux today!

What we do

We support the open source community by providing a resource of information, and a forum for debate. We help all readers get more from Linux with our tutorials section – we’ve something for everyone! We license all the source code we print in our tutorials section under the GNU GPL v3. We give you the most accurate, unbiased and up-to-date information on all things Linux.

Who we are

This issue we asked our experts: We’re all about privacy this month, so what trick or tool do you use to protect all your private things online?

Jonni Bidwell I have built up a series of false identities between which I alternate depending on the corner of the internet I’m visiting. There’s Pirate Jo (a scurvy seadog with a penchant for correcting people’s grammar), Sloop John B (a die-hard Beach Boys Fan) and Long John Bidwell (don’t ask).

Neil Bothwick Apart from the obligatory tin foil hat and matching (and very uncomfortable) underwear, I always have a browser tab open and spoofing as IE6. That should keep the script kiddies so busy they don’t see the important stuff, although it does slow down my network connection a little.

Nick Peers LastPass, the popular password manager, would be my response if that was allowed in this case, but it’s neither open source or (in the way I use it) free to use. There is, of course, a perfectly good open source alternative called KeePass. I could use this but I like wasting money for no reason.

Les Pounder Stay suspicious. It’s not really a trick, more a state of mind as, eg emails are a major source of phishing! If it seems too good to be true, or just highly unlikely, then take a look at who sent the email. If its your bank, ring them or use their online chat for help. Do not click on any links in the email.

Alexander Tolstoy Protection would be an issue if I was running my own mail server these days, but instead Google keeps an eye on my privates for me. One day it even banned my account for a few days for sending too large attachments. Luckily, the data I value the most is kept firmly away from the internet.

Privacy, privacy, privacy “Please, come into my home nameless government agent. Yes, I have no issues with you looking through my letters, my computers, my phone, my messages, my photos and my emails. You want to store copies on your own servers forever? Fine, fine, take what you want, what a wonderful use of my tax money!” That’s effectively the situation that’s happening every second of the day while you’re online. Without being told, or warned, or asked, it appears all of our internet traffic has been stored away by government agencies in a number of secret programmes around the globe. It’s all done to protect us, you understand, despite the documented misuse of this information – and that’s only the leaked cases we know about – and the almost zero documented cases of it actually stopping anything, but unlimited government surveillance is here. Thankfully with FOSS we have the tools, know-how and organisation to block prying eyes and protect sensitive data. In many ways, the tinfoil hat brigade were right all along, but it’s not just a matter of protecting your privacy, many of the techniques are just good practice. And securing sensitive information will help if equipment is stolen or hacked. So even if you’re fine with the government having unfettered warrantless access to all your data, there’s still reason to defend yourself. This issue we’ve focused on ways for you to protect yourself on and offline. We’re using the stalwart Tails and Tor in one hand, while in the other we have Kali Linux and encryption in its many forms. Together they offer an industrial-strength set of security solutions. Once you’re feeling more secure about things, we have a host of practical projects this issue: build a custom coffee machine with bespoke touchscreen for your artisan espresso, get accurate time through GPS, build a blog with Cassandra from Apache, leverage Jenkins for big data, automate Linux with Bash scripts, discover terminal shortcuts, get the best 3D printer and much more!

Neil Mohr Editor neil.mohr@futurenet.com

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October 2016 LXF216    3


Contents

“These programmes were never about terrorism… They’re about power.” – Edward Snowden

Reviews Onda OBook 10 SE............ 17 Us? Buy hardware from a Chinese retailer? Never, but that sounds like the sort of postBrexit world we live in now. The interesting part is Remix OS that comes with it.

STOP THE HACKERS

Our 2016 guide to the tools and tricks you need to protect your privacy online. Secure chat, file protection and private browsing. All on page 30.

We can see Remix OS getting attention, the hardware not so much.

C.H.I.P.................................18 Sold as the first $9 computer can the C.H.I.P. push the Raspberry Pi Zero off our IoT top spot? It’s a 1GHz device with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, storage and more.

Black Panther.....................19 Shashank Sharma tries out a new KDE distro that’s pleasing to look at, but discovers that sometimes appearances can indeed be deceptive.

Apricity OS 07.2016......... 20 Fearless admirer of all things Arch Linux, Shashank Sharma tries out a derivative distro to determine if its bogroll or a chip off the old block.

Roundup: 3D printers p22

Roll around in fields of flowers enjoying the sounds of laughter.

Skype for Linux Alpha......21 Afnan Rehman catches wind of a new version of Skype for Linux. Can it live up to expectations? Also, rhetorical questions.

Enviro pHAT.......................57 Les Pounder loves data and is always looking for new ways to integrate real-time data into his latest project, perhaps this board can fulfil his needs?

4     LXF216 October 2016

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On your FREE DVD Kali Linux 2016.1, Tails 2.5, AntiX 16, SystemRescueCd 4.8.1 64-bit

32- & 64-bit

32-bit

32 & 64-bit

Subscribe p96 & save! p28

Only the best distros every month PLUS: Hotpicks, Roundup & more!

Raspberry Pi User

In-depth... Discover Kali 2016................ 42

Pi news.................................... 56

Jonni Bidwell thinks everyone’s trying to hack his servers, but this way he can hack them himself! That’ll show them all.

10 million Pis have been sold, we’ve counted them all! Pis in Togo, Africa and Japan too.

Enviro pHAT............................57 Monitor your Pi’s environment with the most accomplished of sensor HATs.

USB Dance mat..................... 58 Les Pounder busts out his best moves on the dance floor and shows us how to create music with a dance mat.

One-time pad......................... 60 Nate Drake, in theme with this issue trusts, no man – just his Pi-packing girlfriend – so he’s using it to create one-time password pads.

Metasploit yourself right in the servers.

Coding Academy

Tutorials Terminal basics Shortcuts...........................66

The Phoenix framework...... 84 Build a blog with the help of Mihalis Tsoukalos as he explains how to leverage this web framework to rival Ruby on Rails.

Nick Peers figures out how to configure your screen resolution from the terminal and hits the configuration files hard.

Jenkins for big data.............. 88

Scripting Automate with Bash........68

Ramanathan Muthaiah explores the basic nuances of accessing Jenkins via Python that opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

Alexander Tolstoy explains the basics of Bash scripting so you can get tasks done while holding down your zero-hours day job.

Pi project Build a coffee machine... 72

Regulars at a glance

New boy, Dan Smith builds an espresso machine hipsters would be proud of.

News.............................. 6 Subscriptions............28 Back issues................64 AMD announces its Zen CPU. Intel

Help management hit its targets,

Want to know how the kernel works?

announces its Kaby lake CPU. Google

children need to be fed, gruel needs

You need to grab LXF215 now!

announces a new kernel and we’re

to be bought! Subscribe today.

going to need a new Tor system.

Mailserver.................... 11

Sysadmin....................46 Mr. Brown pits machine against

Next month................98. Build a Super Pi! Nick Peers looks at how to get the best desktop Pi,

Linux running on Mac latops, Linux

machine in the DEF CON battle of the mobile Pi, IoT things Pi and more.

running on Windows laptops, Linux

bots and takes a look at sysdig to

running old desktops!

solves your sysadmin problems.

A frapadapadoochino, please. Punch.

Big data Cassandra & Spark.......... 76

User groups.................15 HotPicks.....................50 Les Pounder runs up that hill to

Alexander Tolstoy hasn’t been

attend the Wuthering Bytes festival.

complaining to the authorities about

Roundup..................... 22

Mihalis Tsoukalos takes on big data with Cassandra and Spark from Apache.

GPS Time sync.......................... 80

his rations, he’s too stuffed on FLOSS like: Lumina, EncryptPad, Qt5-

Grab only the best 3D printer with

Fsarchiver, Fontforge, Museeks, Tor

the help of Alastair Jennings as he

Browser, Pitivi, Bovo, Blobwars: Blob

tests the best on the market.

Metal Solid, Krop and Clementine.

Our subscription team is waiting for your call.

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With a working GPS dongle, Sean Conway explains how you can use it to synchronise your time through NTP.

October 2016 LXF216    5


This ISSUE: AMD Zen

Google drops Linux?

Tor alts

Powershell open-sourced

Processor news

AMD fights back

Launches new Zen CPU architecture to compete with Intel.

T

he CPU market has been quite lopsided for a while now with Intel ruling the x86 roost with its Core i3, i5 and i7 offerings, which were roundly beating AMD’s processors in the power stakes. But it looks like things could be changing with the release of AMD’s next generation of processor architecture known as Zen. According to AMD’s press release (which can be read at http://bit.ly/AMDZenCPU), Zen processors have been designed for maximum data throughput and instruction execute with high bandwidth, low latency cache-memory support, which gives them a 40% improvement in instructions-perclock cycle over the previous generation AMD core, but without increasing the power consumption. Although those claims could prove to be marketing bluster, if the Zen processors do reach their full potential Intel could be in for a shock. Intel’s power advantage, along with large market share, allowed it to effectively set its own prices as Intel CPUs often cost a lot more than its AMD counterparts. If AMD is closing the power gap with Intel, it could cause Intel to rethink its pricing strategy and consider more competitive prices. We’re often partial to AMD’s offerings thanks to the company’s support for open source projects, eg AMD contributes Mantle technology to the open source Vulkan codebase as well as offering open source solutions in the ACL (AMD Compute Libraries) and providing the open source Radeon Graphics driver. AMD also contributes to the Linux kernel. We’re not fans of monopolies either and while Intel hasn’t quite got a monopoly over the CPU market thanks to AMD’s continued presence and the

6 LXF216 October 2016

growing popularity of ARM, having AMD provide some proper competition will certainly benefit customers. It should also stop Intel from resting on its laurels and get around to releasing a major upgrade to its line of CPUs, instead of the rather uninspired iterative updates it’s been tossing out lately. Zen is AMD’s first new, ground-up processor design since Bulldozer, which was released five years ago. Thanks to a number of leaks, we expect the Zen chips (for servers at least) to have 24 and 32 cores in two variants. Desktop Zen CPUs look set to come with 4 and 8 cores, 8 and 16 threads and base clocks of 2.8GHz. AMD will be using 14nm FinFET lithography and support DDR4 RAM. We’re not sure when the CPUs will come out, but you’ll need a new motherboard to support them. With the two desktop CPUs running at 65W TDP for the quad-core and 95W for the eight-core, the Zen CPUs look set to be less power-hungry than Intel’s. The

Can AMD challenge Intel’s dominance in the processor market? We are hoping it can.

chips designed for tablets and other handheld devices (known as Kaby Lake-Y chips), and processors for laptops (Kaby Lake-U) which means the headline features here are lower power draws (4.5W and 15W, respectively). This means a bump in processing power while keeping battery life as long as possible. If that doesn’t sound too exciting then you may have to wait for 2017, when the desktop Kaby Lake processors are likely to drop. Check your excitement, though, as Intel has all-but dropped [no competition–ED] its tick-tock processor release schedule, and is positioning this as the middle generation of chips, which means no new architecture or production process. So while the top-of-the-line Intel Core i7 7700K CPU is set to arrive with a base clockspeed of 4.2GHz and a Turbo of 4.5GHz, the speed increase may be all we’re going to get. AMD’s resurgence can’t come quick enough.

“To have AMD emerge from the wilderness and take the fight to Intel has got us excited.” CPUs range from 91W to 140W making them a more tempting choice for embedded and server PCs. The lack of competition in the processor market has stifled innovation and led to a number of rather unexciting years, so to have AMD emerge from the wilderness and take the fight to Intel has certainly got us excited. Meanwhile, Intel itself has been busy with its latest processor architecture, Kaby Lake, which is the follow-up to its Skylake platform. So far we’ve only seen the mobile Kaby Lake

www.linuxformat.com


Newsdesk newsdesk Os news

Is Google dumping Linux?

Scrutiny of recent project code suggests that the company is working on Fuscia, a new OS without the Linux kernel.

W

reports that this new OS is running on Intel NUC e don’t like starting a news story with PCs and various laptops, and a Google developer the line ‘Google is up to something’, but working on the project has stated that it will soon Google is up to something. It’s been support Raspberry Pi 3. While further details are revealed that a project known as Fuscia could be a thin on the ground, it looks like Google’s Fuscia OS completely new operating system that the search could end up on a range of devices. There’s giant is working on. Code has been added to certainly one person who doesn’t think this upstart Google Git (https://fuchsia.googlesource.com), OS will be a success, however, thanks to the fact which highlights some interesting features of the that it won’t be made available under the GPL, and OS. One thing that’s missing is any reference to the that man’s name may be familiar to readers of this Linux kernel, which means that this operating fine magazine: Linus Torvalds. Torvalds has system could be a complete departure from commented at the recent LinuxCon that operating Android and Chrome OS, Google’s other operating systems, such as Fuscia that shun the GPL will systems that are based on Linux. suffer from a lack of community. Instead, the OS uses the Magenta kernel, which is based on LittleKernel (https://github.com/ littlekernel/lk), which is designed for embedded systems, so there’s a possibility that Google’s OS could be aimed at Internet of Things and It looks like Google is building a new other smart devices. OS—and Linux isn’t invited. However, there are

Privacy News

Tor replacements pop up

Newsbytes For many people the name ‘PowerShell’ will take you back to when you had to use Windows, as it’s the command-line shell for Microsoft’s operating system. It looks like PowerShell may once again be a part of your life, Microsoft is open-sourcing the command line shell and is looking to bring it to Linux and Mac OS X. This follows on from previous news that Microsoft has open-sourced its .NET framework, and shows that the company finally recognises that people like to choose their own operating systems (which, shock, horror, may not be Windows), while still wanting to use its cloud platforms, such as Azure. Stellar animation studio, Pixar has recently revealed that it uses open source software, namely Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenGL, when animating its films, and uses System 76 machines, which come with open source software installed. Most excitingly of all, Pixar has opensourced its Universal Scene Description (USD) technology, which is a powerful set of tools for filmmakers. Pixar views open sourcing its technology as a way to encourage innovation, with Disney, the owner of Pixar, commenting that “we want to contribute back to the community; therefore, we have established this platform. We encourage you to investigate and use the technologies we are sharing. We also very much welcome your collaboration and contribution in these areas.” You can download the source code from https://github.com/ PixarAnimationStudios/USD.

Network struggles under strain from security agencies.

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hanks to a number of high-profile news stories, not least involving Edward Snowden, the Tor network (see p34) became the go-to solution for many people seeking anonymity on the internet. Sadly, Tor’s increased popularity has also meant that government agencies, such as the NSA and GCHQ, have also taken a keen interest in discovering ways to de-anonymise Tor users and it looks like their attempts to crack it are making headway. A study that was undertaken at the US Naval Research Laboratory found Is that faithful onion going that 80% of Tor to make some users cry?

users were at risk of being de-anonymised in the next six months, (http://bit.ly/ UsersGetRouted) as Tor is vulnerable to traffic analysis attacks that can see traffic entering and leaving the Tor network, which can lead to users being identified. While the Tor project is looking at ways to make these attacks more difficult to launch – and improving user-friendliness by lowering the latency of its service – a number of projects aiming to dethrone it have emerged. The most notable ones are Aqua (https:// aqua.mpi-sws.org), an anonymous file-sharing network, and Herd (http://bit.ly/HerdAnon, PDF), which is based on Aqua and concentrates on anonymising VoIP communications. Both projects use ‘chaff’, which is random noise mixed in with network traffic, making individual users’ traffic more difficult to distinguish and identify.

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By open sourcing its technology, we love Pixar even more. Mozilla will allow the Let’s Encrypt root key, which provides a free SSL/TLS certificate authority, to be trusted by default in the next version of Firefox 50. This means that websites with certificates from Let’s Encrypt are now more widely supported, and Let’s Encrypt doesn’t have to rely on its partnership with IndenTrust to supply trusted roots. The project has also applied to Apple, Microsoft, Google, Oracle and Blackberry to trust its root key by default.

October 2016 LXF216 7


newsdesk Comment

The double-pointed nature of forks Alex Campbell

It started innocently enough. There I was, setting up my VPS with Docker, getting my blog and other services running. Eventually, it came time for me to install OwnCloud, so I headed over to Docker Hub to look for the right container to pull. I looked at the most popular container that wasn’t the official one provided by OwnCloud, which turn out to be NextCloud. There have been a few famous forks to note. LibreOffice and MariaDB forked from OpenOffice and MySQL respectively, after Oracle acquired those two. More recently, the Chromium team started Blink. Plex is a proprietary fork of Kodi. Even the popular WordPress is a fork from b2/CafeLog.

Fear the fork?

Forking a project can create a lot of strife, as developers are often forced to choose sides by deciding which project they will contribute code to. Users are faced with problems whenever there‘s a fork, too. Users of the old software have to choose whether to continue with the current product or switch to the new one. Compatibility becomes an issue over time, so this choice can become quite time-sensitive, as the fork and original projects release new versions. New users or users looking to install software on clean systems are faced with a similar problem. So, is it better to go with a fork? Maybe. Major forked projects that I’ve listed, such as WordPress, LibreOffice, and MariaDB, are better maintained than the projects they originated from. But forking is never a smooth path, and the fork may experience bumps in the road as it tries to find its footing. For projects like Nextcloud, that you’ll be entrusting your data to, it’s a good idea to keep backups of your data, just in case something breaks. As for my VPS, I’ll install Nextcloud (via the greyltc/nextcloud Docker container) and cross my fingers.

Alex Campbell is a Linux geek who enjoys learning about computer security..

8 LXF216 October 2016

Distro watch

What’s behind the free software sofa?

AryaLinux 2016.08

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he latest release of the AryaLinux distro, which was built with the Linux From Scratch, is now available for download, and comes with Mate 1.15, KDE and LXQt desktop support and Qt 5. The GCC has been updated to version 6 and the latest Linux

kernel – version 4.7 – is also present and correct. As a sourcebased distro it uses source/ports package management with a custom package manager known as ALPS (Arya Linux Packaging System). To find out more about this version head to http://bit.ly/ AryaLinux2016_08.

AV Linux 2016.8.30

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V Linux 2016.8.30 has been released and offers a Debian-based project (it doesn’t consider itself a Linux distro in the proper sense) aimed at users working with audio and video formats. There are big changes, including fixes and improved support for AMD

video cards, a new Zukitre-based theme, and the removal of a some software, such as Kdenlive and KDE 5 runtime components, which the project felt were holding it back For much more information check out the release announcement at the official site: http://www. bandshed.net/avlinux.

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Fan boy! I recently re-subbed for two more years as Linux Format has become my favourite Linux magazine. I hope the recent vote on EU membership won’t impact you guys negatively. I’d love to know what folks at the magazine favoured and why? I have wondered if Britain, Canada and America shouldn’t be forming an AU (Anglo Union) that unlike the EU was just based on free trade (especially that favoured small- and medium-sized businesses) and exchange of culture… and of course that supported free software and hardware. Thanks so much for the tutorials on Rust. I think it just might be capable of replacing C for me. I also enjoyed the firewall Roundup. I saw in a video that Linus Torvalds said they now use three separate hardware

firewalls since GitHub was hacked. I wonder what they use, what Linux and firewall is inside, and the hardware firewalls you guys favour? I hope Neil Bothwick will do his magic on Fedora 24 when it’s seen to be reasonably stable. Ed Scott, via email. Neil says: Thanks for subscribing! It’s humbling enough that people trust us to stump up their hardearned money for a three-month subscription, never mind for two whole years. As for politics, that’s something I’d usually avoid, wanting to stick to the software stuff. I personally would have preferred to stay in the admittedly flawed EU, as free-trade access to our biggest trading region seemed to be a no-brainer, while free movement of EU citizens is pretty handy for the holidays along with the free health-cover while in the EU. But not anymore, and anyway,

everyone has their own view on the topic. I don’t think Linus has anything to do with GitHub other than creating Git in the first place, but I’d imagine they’d want to keep any security details about its internal architecture a guarded secret. Perhaps we could nudge Jolyon into revealing some of his security secrets?

Mac Linux Over the last few months I’ve started looking at some cheap secondhand laptops to run Linux. But after trying a few distro discs and even setting up a few USB drives, I decided to convert a four-year old MacBook Pro I’ve had since new to Linux (I’ve also completely wiped the Mac OS X). Madness, I suspect some Mac lovers would say but hear me out. A few recent products I purchased on the app store

(including a well-known photo and video suite which has been plagued with problems, neither which have been addressed by Apple or the provider) left me searching for alternatives. Also a variety of high profile music plug-in companies advised El Capitan wasn’t compatible at the time of initial release and in some cases it took months before they advised it was OK to upgrade. I’m a newbie to Linux and the journey to find a suitable distro has been an interesting one. The first one I loaded couldn’t read SD cards directly from the laptop; one distro worked great via the Live disc, but there was a problem connecting to Wi-Fi when I loaded it permanently. With another distro I found that I could easily connect via Ethernet, but couldn’t get it to connect to Wi-Fi.

Letter of the month

Windows, tisk!

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aving doubts over Windows and its download shenanigans and its unpredictable behaviour, I decided after some thought I would try Linux. We have two Lenovo tablets, an HP laptop and a Dell Optiplex 745 desktop donated free from my sister, so I purchased your magazine with the 16.04 disc, tried the disc, that did not work on the laptop, so I went on the Linux Mint website and proceeded to download Mint 17.3 Cinnamon 64-bit as recommended, but as the website runs at walking pace here, some of the data was missing… Off I went to work and decided to try a download on my work computer. As I was doing this, an IT friend asked what was up and instead he did two discs: one

Cinnamon and one Ubuntu 16.04 desktop both 64-bit, and decided to put it on the Dell. If I broke out the BIOS then a free computer is less of a loss. It took a while to adjust the BIOS to start from the DVD drive, but I did find the right place and it booted and installed from the drive. Now I have a computer running Ubuntu 16.04 desktop 64-bit. I have set a firewall, installed Chromium, and so far have Facebook, photos in Gnome and some music—all this from a 60-year old former technophobe. Do I need antivirus as there doesn’t appear to be any on Ubuntu Software Center? Now all I need to do is decide to replace Windows 10 from my HP laptop! Ray Lee-Adams, via email. Neil says: Sounds like despite encountering

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all manner of the standard PC problems you managed to power through and get Linux up and running—good work! If you’ve never used the BIOS/UEFI it can be a strange place. The general thinking is that Linux doesn’t need antivirus, yet, but you need to maintain good security practices.

The UEFI and BIOS can cause all manner of headaches for people.

October 2016 LXF216    11


Mailserver All the above problems I found comments on and often solutions were available on different forums or YouTube. Now today, thanks to your Best Distro feature [Features, p32, LXF203], which I sourced via Zinio and then a hard copy from the library, I thought I would set up Korora (via USB flash). There were no problems with it reading SD cards and this has been the easiest system to connect to Wi-Fi. I’ve had a bit of a learning curve, but trying different distros and reading your magazine has really helped me to persevere as well as get a better understanding of Linux… and find a distro that suits my needs. As far as running Linux on a Mac goes, loading the distros and booting up has never been a problem, but I can’t say the same about a Sony Vaio that I have been unable to boot up with any Linux distro. I hope that in the future more companies come on board providing computers pre-installed with Linux, giving the public an alternative to Apple and Microsoft. Brendan, Adelaide, Aus.

Maximum Linux I am a long-time Maximum PC reader, and read some of their recent articles on Linux topics and picked up a subscription to LXF as a result. So far I really like the magazine. I’ve tried Linux multiple times over the years and want to completely abandon Windows. I love the idea of one source and hate proprietary technologies, but the software issues have stopped me.

Gaming on Linux is a thing and it’s bringing in new users.

As a former Mac user, I found that even with Mac OS, and now with Linux, that I spend most of my time trying to make software I own run on it. LibreOffice is a fine alternative to Microsoft Office, but what about more specific things? Like games. I read the recent coverage on games and was encouraged, but for those that don’t have Linux versions Wine Isn’t always an option either. Any suggestions? Dave Kings, NC, USA. Neil says: Glad to hear you’re enjoying the magazine and Linux! At this stage I think for people that really like to play with their PCs, Linux is the only option these days, but being pragmatic you don’t have to abandon Windows. A dual-boot orVirtualBox installation can eliminate most problems for non-3D accelerated programs, though migrating to native Linux or browser-based software is really the only longterm option. As for games just four years ago, Linux was a borderline unusable gaming platform—next

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Running Linux on a MacBook is more common than you might think.

Neil says: Congratulations on persevering and getting Linux how you want it on the hardware you want. There’s a bit of a DIY element to installing Linux, but then that should be the expectation—and let’s face it, installing Windows isn’t without its issues. It seems odd that at this stage Apple makes hardware that’s more open than many Windows box shifters, making them ideal for a Linux install.

12     LXF216 October 2016

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to no games, poor graphics driver support and no optimisation. Then Steam appeared in early 2013 and now there’s almost 2,000 native titles with quite a few AAA releases in there. I’ve started only buying games that offer Linux support. Drivers are now almost sorted and once Vulkan goes mainstream (in a year or two) performance will be nearing parity with Windows outof-the box. For day-to-day computing you can dump Windows, but for gaming it depends how choosy you feel you want to be with titles.

Linux laptops Recently, I thought my threeyear-old laptop had finally bitten the dust. It had suffered too many careless drops, and I had thought I would have to replace my faithful companion. While my laptop was in the hands of my IT guy, I did come across what I thought was a great deal. It was a Lenovo unit and very similar to the Lenovo I own. I bought it only to discover the challenges of UEFI.



Linux Format 216 (Sampler)