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Windows, windows everywhere, but not for long

Inside Nginx

Tiling managers

Robotics with MicroPython How to build remote control battle bots!

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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.

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This issue we asked our experts: We’re Jedi mastering the terminal, what’s your most useful/ favourite command line tool or trick that everyone should master? Jonni Bidwell Ctrl-R is much more useful than using the cursor keys to search your Bash history. Then there are the laconic curly brace expansions. It would be nice to understand the effect of putting slashes at the end of directory names in an rsync command too, but this is a secret that mere mortals cannot behold.

Neil Bothwick Without a doubt it’s a terminal multiplexer like tmux or screen. Until you have tried using one of these, and got over the initial learning hump, you will never want to do without them. While I find that screen is the best known multiplexer, I find tmux is more capable and no harder to learn, so why not give it a try.

Les Pounder For me it’s the handy && conditional operator. It means that if the first command completes correctly, then a further command can be chained to it. For example sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade will update the repos, and then show all the upgrades for my system, prompting me to install them.

Mayank Sharma There really is no end to the awesomeness that one can achieve with the sed utility and awk programming language. If you intend to spend time working in the terminal, mastering these two is as important as learning to make sense of dmesg, and identifying devices with commands such as lsusb and lspci.

Alexandar Tolstoy There are so many to choose from. It’s hard to know where to begin. But if I must, one of my favourite bookmarked commands is $ cat content.xml | perl -p -e “s/<[^>]*>/ /g;s/\n/ /g;s/ +/ /;. This little puppy enables me to read an unzipped ODT file in those situations where I don’t have LibreOffice to hand.

The Terminal Man It’s one of those issues where we’ve had to sneak the main feature past management to get it into the magazine. But using the terminal is so core to Linux day-to-day life we were way overdue a decent look at the subject. Over the last year of Linux Format we’ve been slowly pecking away at the terminal with a regular tutorial section, but like the clichéd guided horse there’s no reason that someone might try it unless they’re forced to! So we’re forcing you by dedicating our cover feature to mastering the Linux terminal. We’ve been inspired by the Linux Foundation LFS101 course you can try at for free. If you’re at all interested in boosting your Linux skills we’d encourage to take a look, as it’ll take you even further. But in an age of highly advanced GUIs, touchscreens and ultra high-definition displays why even consider the 80-character wide text-only terminal option? Control and universality. The ability to administer every aspect of a system is attractive enough, but when you realise these skills are transferable in one guise or another across – not perhaps the entire Unix world – but a large chunk, surely you can see the advantage? Nevermind the remote administration features it opens up for servers too. Your Terminal master will be the wise and knowledgeable Mayank Sharma (see p30). We’re also kicking off a new series on running your own server; from some awesome reader feedback it seems people want advice and tutorials on setting up, maintaining, enhancing and generally fiddling with home and remote severs. We kick things off with creating a base Debian server. We delve into open-source filesharing, tiling windows managers, the Nginx webserver on and off the Raspberry Pi, assess the state of privacy distros and loads more! As always, enjoy.

Neil Mohr Editor

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On digital and print, see p28

April 2017 LXF222    3


“One of the unsung freedoms that go with a free press is the freedom not to read it.” – Ferdinand Mount

Reviews Intel Pentium 4600G..........15 Something amazing has happened, Intel has released a budget processor that’s capable of stunning performance! Is this your next best CPU upgrade? Go find out!

Master the


Click, click, click. Dump the GUI, embrace the dark side of Linux and discover the true power of the command line. Do it now on p30.

The Pentium name has been reborn in a better package, so this is good!

Intel Core i3 7350K............16

Roundup: Privacy distros p22

An unlocked Core i3 Kaby Lake CPU hits the shelves. Promising Core i5 speed but from a budget line, something has to be too good to be true, we investigate…

Chapeau 24......................... 17 Look, a distro that’s not based on Ubuntu or Debian but is built from Fedora, looks amazing and is bundled with all the essential desktop tools you’d want.

Peppermint 7......................18 Alexander Tolstoy is a big fan of low resource tools and distros, so he thinks you’re going to love this Ubuntu 16.04 LTS spin that uses the LXDE.

FreeDOS 1.2........................19 A new version of FreeDOS was released at the end of 2016, four-years after the previous update. Alexander Tolstoy digs in the DOS to see what’s new.

Dirt Rally............................ 20 Get your motor running, head out on the freeway, lookin’ for adventure and whatever comes our way. Probably traffic jams.


The latest update to TuxRacer looks amazing! Sorry, what was that?

4     LXF222 April 2017

The reason GCHQ’s spying is so out of control, is that no one thought it should be better. Cory Doctorow on fighting for digital freedom! p38

On your FREE DVD Mint 18.1 Cinnamon Mint 18.1 MATE Scientific Linux 7




Only the best distros every month Plus HotPicks, code and library

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Raspberry Pi User

In-depth... The ultimate server.............. 44

Pi news.................................... 58

Read the first in our exciting series of features   on setting up the ultimate home server.

Google is adding machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to the Pi, DIY robot arm kits incoming and the Asus Tinker board is delayed.

Compute Module 3............... 59 Les Pounder goes hands on with another slice of Pi that’s packed with quad-core power!

Pi Digital Assistant............... 60 Les Pounder builds a digital assistant with some Python libraries and an open data API.

Build a Pi web server............ 62 Sean Conway guides you through setting up the Nginx server then configuring your own CMS of choice for a custom web server.

Coding Academy

Tutorials File sharing Open source sharing.......68

Apps in AngularJS................ 84 Kent Elchuk explains how to build AngularJS applications for the web in no time at all and feel like you’re launching your very own dot com business. We’re old aren’t we?

Alexander Tolstoy helps you become a leecher, a peer and host to a small pile of precious encrypted files.

Windows Tiling managers...............72

Build the wc command........ 88 Mihalis Tsoukalos shows you what you need to know to develop a handy system tool in Python 3 that will make your life easier, as we recreate the wc tool in our own image.

Mats Tage takes you through the different window managers available to you and shows the pros and cons for each.

Regulars at a glance News.............................. 6 Subscriptions............28 Overseas subs...........66 Is Munich about to end its love affair

All other subscriptions are fake, you

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shedload of data and the days of

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32-bit distros are numbered.

User groups............... 10

Sysadmin....................48 We wave goodbye to Mr. Brown who

Next month................98. Time to get your maker face on and combine Linux, Python and the new

Les Pounder gets excited about a

puts the last of his Azure credits to

Pi to create secure IoT devices and

Makefest in Manchester.

good use finishing off his Datacentre

try out open source CAD apps.


Operating System overview.

Readers keep breaking our PDFs and

HotPicks..................... 52

we ask: are there any female experts

Alexander Tolstoy is too busy to

keen to write for the mag?

have back channel conversations,

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

RawTherapee, Qtf Flif Plugin, Babe-

Mayank Sharma won’t tell us what

Qt, Neofetch, QtPass, KDE Connect, QStardict, Air Combat, Operation

it’s privacy distros.

Nautak, RCloneBrowser and Marble.

Les Pounder shows us how to use two BBC micro:bits and some MicroPython to build radio-controlled robots for our own wireless robot battles!

Webservers Inside Nginx..................... 80

he’s engrossed in FOSS gems like:

the Roundup is about, but we think

Windows, windows everywhere.

Embedded Micro:bit robots................ 76

Our subscription team is waiting for your call.

If you’ve set up your own webserver now’s your change to tweak and improve its performance as we dive inside the Nginx project for faster web pages.

April 2017 LXF222    5

This ISSUE: Microsoft Munich

GitLab failure

Goodbye 32-bit

Kodi crackdown

Open source outrage

Munich may drop Linux The mayor of Munich favours Microsoft and has pushed through a review.


he City of Munich was often highlighted as a great example of a government ditching its reliance on closed source, and predominantly Microsoft-made, software. However, there are recent rumours that suggest the Munich City Council, which over a decade ago ditched Windows for the Ubuntu-based LiMux, is now considering moving back to Windows. Despite the scale of the open source migrate all those years ago, which saw around 15,000 PCs move to Linux, there have been wobbles with Munch’s embrace of Linux and open source software in the past. One of the biggest hurdles was the arrival of the Social Democratic Party’s Dieter Reiter as lord mayor in 2014, who has publicly announced his admiration of Microsoft and asked for a report (which can be read here LXF2222munich, as long as you don’t mind wading through 450 pages and can speak German) on Munich’s IT infrastructure. The report was created by Accenture, which as many people have pointed out, is a Microsoft partner. Accenture polled a number of staff and IT workers, as well as analysing documents, and claimed that there was dissatisfaction with using software to print, view and edit documents, program instability and poor user friendliness. A previous survey in 2016 found 85% of Munich employees surveyed saying that software problems interfered with their work at least once a month. However, Mayor Reiter’s previous statements and Accenture’s ties to Microsoft have led many people to worry about the impartiality of this report. In February, The Document Foundation released an announcement (

6     LXF222 April 2017

Munich) and pointed out some aspects of the report that contradict Munich council’s rush back to closed source. “According to the report, only a minor percentage of users (between 18% and 28%, based on different applications) had severe issues related to software, which could be solved by migrating these users to Windows and Microsoft Office. Incidentally, 15% of users acknowledged severe issues related to Microsoft Office.”

Munich was once heralded as an example of local government embracing open source—but that may change.

“The report was created by Accenture, which is a Microsoft partner.” However, at the time of writing it appears the wheels have already been set in motion, with Munich City Council discussing a proposal to install Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016 on all workstations by 2020.

Moving so many people on to Linux and open source software was always going to bring up some problems, especially for people who are only used to Microsoft’s way of doing things, but we’re disappointed that Munich appears to be taking a step backwards by going back to Microsoft. Not only does that mean Munich loses its vendor-independence, which was such a key argument to the city council switching to open source in the first place, but as the Document Foundation notes, going back to Microsoft Office most likely means a return to proprietary documents that lack interoperability and transparency, putting it at odds with the move to open document standards by a number of countries, such as the UK and France. The costs of moving back to Microsoft will also be steep, with many viewing the €66m estimate in Accenture’s report as being too low and, of course, it will be paid by Munich’s tax payers.

Newsdesk Development news

GitLab catastrophic error Developers and companies that rely on GitLab are left without data after a serious failure.


itLab is a popular and important resource for many companies and developers, such as Intel and Red Hat, so when at the end of January 2017 the service went offline for what the GitLab Status Twitter account called ‘emergency database maintenance’, many people were understandably concerned. A later tweet offered more clarification about the problem: “We accidentally deleted production data and might have to restore from backup.” Not a terribly reassuring message and, after six hours of downtime and concerns over data loss, a better picture of what happened started to emerge. A detailed blog post by GitLab ( GitLabDBIncident) explained that the first incident occurred on January 31 at 6pm, when a number of spammers began attacking the database by creating snippets and making the database unstable. Troubleshooting began in earnest, but three hours later the attacks escalated, causing a lockup on writes to the database, causing it to go down. An hour later, a second incident occurred, as although spammers had been blocked, the database replication was lagging too far behind, essentially stopping due to a spike in writes.

Around an hour later a third incident occurred, where backups were failing. Unfortunately, an employee accidently GitLab ran into a series removed a directory on of problems that most of the wrong database to us dread would happen to us—let’s just hope try to fix the problem, lessons were learnt. leading to more data loss. At this point GitLab was taken offline. This unfortunate combination of hackers, software problems and human error turned into a rather alarming problem, and wasn’t helped by the fact that snapshots and backups are only taken once every 24 hours. While some of the data was recovered, GitLab learned some harsh lessons—and ones we can all learn from. Make backups regularly, keep those backups safe and try not to let overworked and tired engineers try to fix any problems. To GitLab’s credit, it was transparent about what was going on, both with its in-depth blog post detailing what happened, as well as regular Twitter updates during the incident that kept its users informed.

hardware news

Microarchitecture drop If you’re running a 32-bit CPU, your options are shrinking.


hile 64-bit processors are becoming ever more popular, there’s still a number of us who use 32-bit hardware and while there will always be distros available that support older and legacy hardware, there have also been some recent announcements that make finding a distro to run on 32-bit software much more difficult. For example, it has been announced that Tails 3.0 will require a 64-bit x86-64 processor, with support for 32-bit ending on June 13, 2017. As the Tails project mentions in its announcement of the news, only 4% of Tails users use a 32-bit computer. While it’s not good news for that small minority, the team behind Tails say that the move to 64-bit only will benefit its users, thanks to improved security features and greater compatibility

between the 64-bit Linux kernel that it uses and 32-bit software. Meanwhile, the February update of Arch Linux has been revealed to be the last that will include a download option for 32-bit hardware, with an announcement ( stating that “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture”. 32-bit users won’t be left in the lurch completely as people with 32-bit installs will continue to receive upgraded packages for a ‘depreciation period’, but by November 2017 32-bit support will be completely dropped. While we’re sad to see distros ditch 32-bit support, we can see their arguments. Thankfully, Linux is such a broad church that there will always be the likes of TinyCore, Absolute Linux and Linux Lite that will make sure people with 32-bit and older hardware still have access to an operating system.

Newsbytes Kodi is a very popular piece of open source media playing software, and while it’s easy and free to download and install Kodi on a large number of devices, including the Raspberry Pi, there is also a growing market for set top boxes that are sold with Kodi pre-installed. The problem is, there are many third party add-ons that aren’t endorsed by the Kodi team, and are primarily used by people to stream and download subscription and pirated media for free. Boxes with Kodi and these add-ons pre-installed are being subject to a crackdown, and a shopkeeper from Middlesbrough is pleading not guilty in a landmark case that could determine the legality of selling ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes in the UK. The trial begins in May. Mesa 17, the latest release of the open source graphics driver for Linux, has been released after a short delay, but the latest benchmark results prove that the wait was well worth it. It brings OpenGL 4.5 support for Intel Haswell processors, better performance for many recent games, especially on AMD cards, and noticeably improved Vulkan performance. For a full run down of the benchmark results and improvements in performance, visit Benchmarks. Fancy building your own open source laptop? If so, the TERES 1 laptop is the machine for you and everything you need to build it yourself is now available, including the building instructions (found at TERESIPDF). Meanwhile the hardware CAD files and Linux build scripts are available on GitHub (, and as the creators, OliMex LTD, explain on its website (http://, the idea is that anyone can view, edit, modify and create their own versions of the laptop. If you don’t want to start completely from scratch, you can buy kits for €225 from https://www. Laptop/KITS, though at the time of writing both kits are sold out.

Build your own laptop with TERES 1.

April 2017 LXF222    7

Newsdesk Comment

Distro watch

Linux breaks new ground in China Angela Brown The infinitely customisable nature of Linux has resulted in its expanding footprint across industry sectors and world regions. Beyond the internet and data centres, it’s now found in devices such as Kindles, smart TVs, and even Tesla cars. Geography-wise, China is a country that has witnessed tremendous increase in Linux use. According to the 2012 IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, Linux server market growth in China surged from 9.2 to 33.2% between 2002 and 2012—a rate surpassing the global average. And there are other telling signs. Tencent, one of the biggest tech companies in China and the world, was among the first to use the OpenDaylight Project’s Software Defined Networking controllers to manage its massive data flows. The Chinese government has even developed Ubuntu Kylin, a national Linux distro which, as of 2015, comes pre-installed on 40% of all Dell computers sold within the country. Responding to China’s growing interest and demand for Linux knowhow, two open source technology events have been organised here previously – Cloud Foundry Summit Asia 2015 and MesosCon Asia 2016 – both of which were very well-received. This year, we decided to take things one step further. From June 19-20, three flagship Linux conferences – LinuxCon, ContainerCon, and CloudOpen – will be taking place in China for the very first time. Known as LC3, this landmark event will cover the most exciting topics in open source, such as open networking, Blockchain, microservices, and compliance issues. Our ultimate aim is to help foster local leaders in open source communities around the world. We hope that LC3 will serve as a springboard for further such projects in China. Further information on this and other Linux Foundation events can be found at http:// Angela Brown manages the Linux Foundation’s global conferences as VP of Events.

8     LXF222 April 2017

What’s behind the free software sofa?

DEFT 2017.1 Zero DEFT (Digital Evidence & Forensic Toolkit), a customised version of the Ubuntu live CD, is back after a hiatus of two years with version 2017.1, also known as ‘Zero’. Specially designed as a lightweight tool for performing forensic acquisition of digital evidence, the new version supports NVMExpress memory (found in the 2015 MacBook), eMMC and UEFI. It can be run entirely in RAM (as long as you have over 400MB) and it is based on Lubuntu 14.04.02 LTS. DEFT Zero will be updated and developed alongside the full version of DEFT. You can find out more and

download the live CD at www.

DEFT Zero is back from the dead, and with no calories either.

Crux 3.3 Crux is a lightweight distro that doesn’t rely on systemd and is aimed squarely at experienced Linux users. A new version of Crux, 3.3, has now been released —the first stable release for 15 months and comes with the Linux kernel 4.9.6, and includes glibc 2.24, GCC 6.3.0 and Binutils 2.27, as well as X.Org 7.7 and X.Org Server 1.19.1. You can download and install the ISO image onto either a blank CD or USB stick (thanks to isohybrid) and UEFI support is available. For more information, the release notes can be

found at ReleaseNotes3-3, and it can be downloaded from Main/Download.

The lightweight distro Crux has been updated and released.

NethServer 7.3 NethServer is a CentOS-based distro for servers, featuring a modular design and web-based administrative controls for easy access and maintenance. The latest version, 7.3, now acts as a Samba Active Directory Controller, which can replace a Microsoft Active Directory Domain controller. It’s compatible with native Microsoft tools, making it easier to bring workstations over to NethServer. Version 7.3 also includes centralised account management, a new firewall with deep packet inspection, a new interface for traffic shaping and a lot more. Find out

more with the release announcement at

If you want to move on from Microsoft Active Directory, NethServer has you covered.

Newsdesk Comment

Mesa 17 & OpenGL 4.5 TITLE DNF 2.1.0 DNF, also known as ‘Dandified Yum’ is a version of the Yellowdog Updater, Modified (more often known as yum), which is a package manager for RPM-based distros. Most famously, it’s been the default package manager for Fedora since version 22, and the next major version has been released. This brings a host of major user experience improvements, better help invoking and over 60 fixes for various bugs. It also focuses on improving yum compatibility – though it is not fully compatible with DNF-1. For more information, and a

Guy Lunardi list of DNF-1 and DNF-2 incompatible changes, head over to http://dnf.

Want an improved yum? DNF is the package manager for you.

ToaruOS 1.0 New distro alert! ToaruOS is a hobby kernel and userspace made by Kevin Lange and, while it’s been in development since 2010, it is now finally released in a ‘user-ready’ state. According to the release statement ( toaruos/releases/tag/v1.0.0), it uses a 32-bit monolithic (et modular) Unix-like kernel that ‘supports processes, threads, shared memory, files, pipes, TTYs, packet-based IPC, and basic IPv4 networking’. While you probably won’t want to use ToaruOS 1.0 for your day-to-day OS, it’s great to see the progress the project is

making. Find out more at http://

ToaruOS 1.0 is a labour of love, and it’s always good to see hobby OSes entering the scene.

GhostBSD 11.0 Alpha 1 A new test release of GhostBSD, you’re running an earlier version of which is based on FreeBSD 11, has GhostBSD 11, you’ll see the update been released. This new alpha pushed through the update manager. includes up-to-date proprietary For more information visit the release Nvidia video drivers, as well as the announcement at http://ghostbsd. org/news/11.0_ALPHA1. Whisker Menu as the default application menu for the Xfce desktop environment. The MATE desktop is also available, and GhostBSD comes with a number of fixes for the Xfce desktop, as well as the ZFS filesystem. You can download a hybrid ISO that can be installed on GhostBSD 11.0 has now reached Alpha 1 – download it to see what’s new either disc or USB, and if

Mesa 17.0, the latest release of the open source 3D graphics library was made available this February 2017. With nearly 2,500 commits from over 120 developers, Mesa 17.0 is without a doubt a hefty upgrade over the previous development release. It also brings a new versioning scheme reflecting the release year For the first time an open source driver meets all the latest conformance test suites for OpenGL, OpenGL ES and now Vulkan, a feat achieved through significant investments in Mesa over the years. Key features of this latest release include OpenGL 4.5 support for Intel Haswell, Open GL 4.3 support for NVIDIA Maxwell, support for multiple devices with the Radeon Vulkan driver (RADV), and Float64 support as well as tessellation shader support with the Intel Vulkan driver (ANV). The RadeonSi driver received Polaris 12 support as well as dozens of performance improvements. The Gallium 3D driver received numerous fixes and updates also. The Mesa core is receiving lots of work regarding the GLSL Shader Cache. Also noteworthy is the arrival of etnaviv, the Gallium3D community-written, open source driver for Vivante GPU IP. “Mesa 17.0 presents a major jump in more than just the version number. It is the first release to feature a render-only GPU driver” says Emil Velikov, Mesa release manager. This is indeed an exciting upgrade that will be particularly appreciated by gamers. Mesa 17 support will be available in the coming months on a number of Linux distributions, including Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed and Ubuntu. Interested in getting the latest release? Head on over to Guy Lunardi, Vice President, Business Development at Collabora Ltd.

April 2017 LXF222    9

Linux user groups

United Linux!

The intrepid Les Pounder brings you the latest community and LUG news.

Find and join a LUG Alpinux, le LUG de Savoie Meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at the Maison des Associations de Chambéry

Bristol Hackspace Studio G11, 37 Philip Street, Bedminster, Bristol, UK, BS3 4EA Cheltenham Hackspace The Runnings trading estate, Cheltenham. Thursday night from 7pm. Lancaster and Morecambe Makers Unit 5, Sharpes Mill, White Cross, Lancaster, Open Night on Wednesday evening 18:30pm till late.

Huddersfield Raspberry Jam Meet every 4th Saturday of the month at Huddersfield Library. Hull Raspberry Jam Every other month at Malet Lambert School, Hull.

North Kent Raspberry Pi User Group Every two weeks at Medway Makers, 12 Dunlin Drive, St Mary’s Island, Chatham ME4 3JE

Preston Hackspace Open night 2nd Monday of the month from 7pm. 28A Good St, PR2 8UX. Surrey and Hampshire Makerspace Open evenings Tues and Fri at the Boileroom Guildford.

Makefest returns Head to Liverpool for a great, free family day out.


new event entered into the including sessions on 3D printing, already crowded Maker learning to code, photography. calendar in 2015. Makefest is a We’ve been to the past two Makefest one-day event that offers something for events and been truly blown away at everyone. From art, electronics, prop how family friendly the event is. We making, make-up and visual effects, loved seeing the children hacking their there’s a plethora of interesting topics own vehicles with Lego and a few to keep everyone entertained. Taking motors, then watching families paint place on June 24 in the city of using conductive paints to draw circuits Liverpool’s Central Library, this event on a piece of paper which are then will once again welcome over 3,000 connected to a Raspberry Pi and LEDs people through its doors. Spanning the to produce custom circuits. entire library, which is a beautiful But why should you go to this event? modern building offering great facilities. Quite simply, it’s a free day out that will Over the course of the day there will inform and entertain the whole family. be over 100 stalls across the venue, Take a picnic and prepare to enter a showing off the latest projects using world full of technological wonder! equipment such as the Raspberry Pi, LXF Arduino, micro:bit and Codebug. You can get hands on with these projects and meet the makers behind them. If you need a little retail therapy, there will be stalls offering kits and projects to suit every pocket. If you want to get your hands dirty then there will be workshops and lessons Liverpool Makefest makes use of every square inch of the Central Library. throughout the day

Community events news

Wuthering Bytes 2017 Hebden Bridge is deep within the UK’s ‘Maker Belt’ that stretches across from Liverpool to Hull. Every year this quiet town plays host to a series of tech-related talks and workshops on 1

10     LXF222 April 2017

September, which spans 10 days! There will be the Open Source Hardware Camp including soldering classes and talks from notable speakers. There’s also a talk on embedded system designs from transistors to the Linux user space. GUADEC 2017 The GNOME conference, otherwise known as GUADEC comes to Manchester, UK from 28 July to 2 August. The

conference covers the latest technical developments in the GNOME desktop environment, as well as talks, workshops and panel discussions. Conferences such as this are a great place to kick start new ideas, learn from experts and become more involved with the project. OpenTech 2017 From away days for developers to hone their skills, to using open data to create random musical

compositions, and hacking useless objects just for fun, OpenTech is an informal event that focuses on low cost to ensure everyone can access the event. It may not be a big shiny corporate conference, but you will see big names such as the Open Rights Group, the BBC and MPs rubbing shoulders with hackers, developers and makers of all abilities. This year the event is in London on May 13, costing just £5 on the door.


Write to us at Linux Format, Future Publishing, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA or

Broken PDFs I have subscribed to LXF for several years and often read the PDF version when looking for a specific past item. I have noticed that issues 213 and 214 appear with no text content—I assume the PDF’s are broken… Graham Andrews Jonni says: I’ve just checked those PDFs and they appear to be OK. They work in Firefox’s built-in viewer on my Linux install and they work in macOS’s preview on my Mac. Which PDF viewer are you using? We often get people writing in with difficulties when using old versions of Evince (Gnome’s PDF viewer), but I’m assured it works in newer versions. In fact, I’ve just tested it in the latest one and it’s fine there

too. So I’m pretty sure this is a problem on your end.

Entrowon’t LXF218 has arrived, with its Roundup of Chromebooks. Although this brought about a yawn (sorry, I know some people love them), it has reminded me that while we are treated to the occasional laptop review, we’ve not yet seen Entroware’s range of six Linux laptops and three desktops reviewed. Surely this UK-based supplier of preinstalled Linux machines is worthy of your attention? I do enjoy your monthly take on your subscription team. There are months when you hit the nail right on the head! Graham Gough

12     LXF222 April 2017

Send us your Linux laptops and we will review them!

Enthusiastic Had to write in after reading December’s edition [LXF218]. Bought a CTC Reprap 3D Printer Kit. Saw the coding, bought a Raspberry Pi (as a project) Bought Linux Format. Totally hooked. Installing Linux variants on all my old computers. Other half thinks I’m mad. I retire within three years. I’m really looking forward. Great mag, btw. I’m 63. Bruce Foster, via email Neil says: I’m glad you’ve found Linux to be so much fun. For people that want to play, tinker and generally get their hands dirty

This is how your PDF should look, if there’s corrupt text try a different reader as that’s usually the issue.

Neil says: This is what tends to happen. Entroware contacted me back in 2015 asking about reviews, I obviously jumped at the chance, gave them all the required details to submit a machine for review and heard nothing back. It’s free publicity targeted directly at its core audience, so you’d think it’d want to get something sent in for review. I should probably prod them again over it. You can check out the range over at www.entroware. com. See we’re nice really!

with computing it’s the only option. Throw in the fun that you can have with maker kits, plus coding and there’s endless experimentation and learning to be had. While many companies are busily trying to lock down every aspect of their own operating systems and hardware, at least x86 and a good portion of Linux-based devices do remain open. Have fun!

Messed up Mint I followed your instructions under Minted [Mailserver, p13 LXF217], including refreshing the APT cache using ‘Refresh’ in the Update Manager until I got the ‘Your system is up to date’

Linux Format 222 (Sampler)