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Nice packages People will rebuild the same things over and over again and make the same mistakes each time Joe Damato on how to manage your packages
Take your first steps into animation with open source
We put the best Linux VPN services to the test
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Plus: Pi User 8-page Raspberry Pi companion
Time-lapse photography How good is Ubuntu MATE? Networked DOOM deathmatch
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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 helping people put Windows far, far behind them this month, but what would you like to escape from in the Linux world? Jonni Bidwell I’d like to escape from having to mute and unmute my soundcard in order to stop it making terrible noises while it attempts to play music. Gotta love PulseAudio and its weird post-wake-from-suspend ways. And also psytrance (psychedelic trance), which my cohabiters describe as terrible noises.
Neil Bothwick The attitude that Linux is just for Windows users who don’t want to pay for their software. Concentrating on the free (especially as in beer) aspect, detracts from the quality and range of software available. Please escape from Windows to Linux, but because it’s better, not cheaper.
Nate Drake I’m mystified by the zealous frenzy of advocates of various flavours of Linux, particularly when they criticise Ubuntu for having the audacity to be flexible and easy to use. Do we want to give Linux to the people, or show how terribly clever we are because we can compile our own kernel?
Nick Peers I’d like to get rid of most subscriptionbased services. This obsession with making us pay time after time for the privilege of using a particular program, watching a video or listening to music does my head in. If I buy something, it’s for keeps. And I want to be able to format-shift it, too.
Les Pounder You know I could insert a joke about wanting to escape from Vim here, Esc :wq!, but I won’t...oh wait, I did. I’ve nothing bad to say about Vim/vi but I much prefer nano. So my escape tip for people who want to up their text-editing game, is to learn how to quit Vim/vi, then learn how to use it.
Open your mind Don’t use Linux because it’s free, but because it frees you and your hardware. We’re not here to bash Windows, we’re here to give you choice. When you buy a Mac you have to run MacOS. Buy a PC and you’ll be steered in the direction of Windows 10. I’m not even going to mention tablets, phones, TVs and even cars. All are examples of companies attempting to lock-in consumers to a walled software ecosystem. When you own the hardware, why is the software you can run being dictated to you? The PC is a general-purpose computing engine. It should and usually can run any software you like – though recent examples show even the PC is being walled off through its firmware. That’s where open source Linux-based OSes come into play. If you believe you shouldn’t be locked out of hardware that you own, then that’s just one reason open source software is so vital to the world. For us older types, another reason is the fun of getting to play with the inner workings of the OS – something that modern devices and their OSes are making increasingly difficult. Even if you don’t accept the privacy and spying arguments for open hardware and software, surely having full ownership and control over the devices you buy is important? I feel you shouldn’t have to be beholden to huge corporations to do basic computing, worry about what personal information they’re retaining, or forced to use specific types of software. To help everyone enjoy this freedom this issue we’ve got a huge 16-page guide to installing and using Linux, no matter if you’re a novice or computing expert. We have a guide to configuring the Linux desktop in its many forms, while the rest of the magazine offers a small glimpse of the wide range of open source topics, ranging from security and coding to the Raspberry Pi, training and creative tools. There’s never been so much interest in Linux and open source. It’s never been so widely used before, there’s never been so many opportunities to use it, and the quality of the software has never been so high. Enjoy!
Neil Mohr Editor email@example.com
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Sysadmin training on p78
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other…” – Charles Bukowski
Reviews AMD RX 580 GPU..............15 Discover how the latest GPU release from AMD puts more oomph into your gaming PC, but not quite as much as we’d hoped for. It’s a tale of new processes and model numbers.
Escape Windows Embrace the freedom, flee the world of Windows and install Linux today. We explain how to install, use and get inside the open source OS. Discover Linux on page 30. How Linux boots on page 38. Install Linux on page 42.
If you’re planning a complete system update, AMD wins our vote.
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X..........16
Roundup: VPN services p22
The AMD quad-core mainstream Ryzen CPU obliterates the Intel competition, but also its own range! We explain our crazy thinking and why you’ll get the plain model.
Slackel 7.0 Openbox......... 17 Older versions didn’t do much to impress Shashank Sharma. He’s on high alert with this release to see if anything’s changed.
OBRevenge 2017.05..........18 After exhaustive testing, Shashank Sharma is still clueless as to the reasoning behind the name. Perhaps you can help him out?
Skype for Linux Beta.........19 Nate Drake asks whether Microsoft has delivered on its promise of a Skype for Linux that’s as feature rich as those of other platforms we hear so much about…
Kentucky Route Zero....... 20 Normally magical realism sends us into a fit of rage, but in this case we’re happy waiting for over three years to finish a game that has you questioning reality itself. ,
When your game looks and sounds this good, you can excuse a long wait.
4 LXF226 August 2017
Do the simplest things first and then worry about optimisations much later on. We talk to Dan Damato about packages p46 www.linuxformat.com
On your FREE DVD Elementary OS 0.4.1 Zorin OS 12.1 Manjaro 17.0.1
Only the best distros every month Plus HotPicks, code and library
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Raspberry Pi User
In-depth... Install Linux now!.................. 42
Pi news.................................... 58
As part of our Escape Windows feature, learn how to get Linux installed quickly and easily.
Discover the tiny Pi-powered weather system in a tube, we reveal the ultimate Pi case and the Pi gets its own malware (the lucky device!).
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS...... 59 Les Pounder pops desktop Ubuntu on this Pi to see if it still starts and it does! He’s amazed.
Time-lapse photography..... 60 Learn how to take better time-lapse photographs by reading Les Pounder’s handy project.
Chocolate DOOM.................. 62 Nate Drake isn’t gorging himself into a diabetic coma on chocolate, he’s blasting his heart out on his favourite SBPC and the best ‘90s shooter.
Packet redirection on p68
The LXF puzzle!.................... 88
In our first (of many?) LXF puzzles, Mihalis Tsoukalos shows how to generate complex passwords in a range of languages and challenges you to do a better job.
Tutorials Terminal Media tools........................70
Nick Peers explains how you can manhandle all your media from the endless, soul-consuming blackness of the terminal.
Animation Get moving, literally........72
Plotting pi............................... 92 Mihalis Tsoukalos plots pi in various languages, starting with Python, before displaying it as a coloured collection of random-looking pixels…
Mats Tage Axelsson helps you pick up the basics, starting with the classics: the ball bounce and walk cycle.
Regulars at a glance News.............................. 6 Subscriptions............28 Overseas subs........... 67 Moves to make a true open source
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and freed OS for smart phones, the
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yourself from a powerful pound!
GPL is a real legal thing and Linux
for you and it’s good for us!
machine learning gets faster.
User groups................. 11
HotPicks......................51 Alexander Tolstoy isn’t detaining
Next month................98. Everything is virtual! We transport Tux to Docker containers, inside his
Les Pounder looks forward to a
any political activists, he’s far too
own VirtualBox, enable GPU pass
new Raspberry Jamboree in 2017.
busy detaining the best FLOSS he
through and much more!
can round up off the internet:
Flowblade, Kmail, Screencloud,
Missing Linux features, missing
ANGRYsearch, Vitunes, Min, Curlew,
features in Linux Format, missing our
Konv, Feedreader, SpeedLazer,
Dell XPS 13 and more missing!
Extreme Tux Racer.
Nate Drake invites you to play with his little rubber ducky and a USB slot. Don’t do it!
Configuration Linux desktops ................ 80
Join the terminally bewildered Jonni Bidwell as he shows you how to do desktop Linux.
Distros Custom Arch..................... 84
Roundup..................... 22 Back issues................66 The paranoid Mike Williams trusts
Stick it to the man.
Hacking Hello Ducky...................... 76
Strange noises in the attic? Go grab
no one! Especially us, which makes
LXF225 and learn how to protect
his choice of VPN most excellent.
yourself from naughty hackers.
Our subscription team is waiting for your call.
Mark Chisholm shows you how to make your own Arch-based distribution for data recovery.
August 2017 LXF226 5
This ISSUE: Linux on smartphones
Smartphone Linux – don’t dream it’s over
Canonical may have finally pulled the plug on Ubuntu Phone, but don’t fret – there are still determined developers who are keen to get Linux running on your smartphone.
few months ago in LXF224 we reported how Canonical was dropping Ubuntu Phone, along with ambitions to put a version of its Linux distro on smartphones. If that’s left you despondent, then the good news is there are a number of ways to get Ubuntu – and other forms of Linux – on your smartphone, with the demise of Ubuntu Phone giving these other platforms more visibility as people search for alternatives. One of the most popular alternatives is UBports (https://ubports.com), which has been around for a while now, but is gaining attention as an alternative to Ubuntu Phone. Originally created as a way to bring Ubuntu Touch to more devices, the team behind UBports has announced that the project’s gained new sponsors, Private Internet Access (www.privateinternetaccess.com), while its Patreon crowd-funding site has hit $1,500. The growing interest for UBports has been helped by Canonical’s move to ditch Ubuntu Touch, according to the UBports community update (http://bit.ly/2s5Emhx). It’s also been announced that every official Ubuntu Touch device now works with UBports Ubuntu Touch images, which is encouraging news for owners of those devices who were worried that Canoncial’s move would leave them with unsupported devices. Meanwhile, work continues on UBports support for Google’s Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 devices, which were popular ways for users to add Ubuntu Touch themselves via unofficial flashing.
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To find out how to install UBports images on your device, check out the comprehensive guide at: http://bit.ly/2s5PAT4. There’s more good news for people who want to run Linux on their smartphones and tablets, with the news that significant progress is being made on the Halium (https://halium.org) project. Halium was designed to provide a single base that includes the Linux kernel, Android Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and libhybris. This would make it easier for developers to bring non-Android operating systems to Android devices. Rather than mobile GNU/Linux projects such as Sailfish OS, Mer and Plasma Mobile working on their own solutions separately, developers can access Project Halium to use HAL to work on the proprietary bits of a smartphone or tablet, with the kernel providing the source code and libhyrbis bringing Android libraries to Linux. Halium is now able to boot Ubuntu 16.04 with a basic Android container, and while it’s early days, some
Canonical has abandoned Ubuntu Touch and Google has dropped the Nexus 5, but Linux could still appear on a smartphone.
Project Halium is a noble endeavour and we’d love to see Linux-on-mobile projects take it on board, but time will tell whether or not they do. So, despite Canoncial’s actions, the Linux-on-smartphones dream continues to live on, thanks to a passionate community who are eager to carry on where bigger companies fear to tread – or simply lose interest. Smaller projects such as postmarketOS (http://bit.ly/2swFNbn), which aims to provide a touchoptimised, preconfigured Alpine Linux with own packages for older smartphones, no matter what their make or model, prove that there’s still a passion for getting the world’s best operating system on to as many mobile devices as possible. We’ll look into this subject in a future issue….
“So despite Canoncial’s actions, the Linux-on-smartphones dream continues to live on…” important features are now working in 16.04, such as Mir, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, along with sound and voice calling (pretty essential for a phone), and adb and ssh for debugging.
GPL remains strong and stable Good news, everyone! US court rules that GNU General Public Licence can be enforced as a licence and a contract.
ince Richard Stallman released the first version of the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) back in 1989, the licence has been a linchpin of open source’s success, by guaranteeing that end users are free to run, study, share and modify any software that comes with the licence. In 2008, a case in the US appeals court (Jacobsen vs Katzer) reiterated that open source license conditions are enforceable as a copyright condition. Basically, the GPL is a licence that depends on copyright law for enforcement, and that it was a copyright licence − not a contract. You can read more about this ruling in an in-depth article at http://bit.ly/2rWiVkx. Now, a new ruling (Artifex vs Hancom) clarifies the legal basis of the GPL. This case came to be when Artifex Software, the company that owned Ghostscript and provided a dual-licencing method where people could use the interpreter for the PostScript language under the GNU GPL, or using a conventional proprietary licence, discovered that Hancom, a South Korean company, was using Ghostscript without either type of licence.
GPL’s future is more certain than Theresa May’s.
Artifex took legal action, alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract, which Hancom denied. However, the court ruled that the GNU GPL is a contract. The court also upheld the result of the Jacobsen vs Katzer case, which means the GNU GPL is also a licence, and damages could still be awarded. With Artifex now able to proceed with its case against Hancom, the legal position on the GPL has been made much clearer – which could have ramifications for other contracts that relate to free software. We shall be keeping an eye on this.
Linux kernel boost
Heterogenous memory management lends a helping hand.
eterogenous memory management (HMM) could soon be making its way to the Linux kernel, which could give the OS a major boost when it comes to machine-learning applications and other GPU-powered tasks. HMM enables device drivers to mirror the address space for a process under its own memory management. So a graphics card could directly access the memory of a process without having to copy anything or putting at risk an OS’s memory protection feature. Basically, this can give a hefty speed boost to GPU-based machine learning, with libraries such as Nvidia’s CUDA, as well as OpenCL. While this is an exciting development, you’ll need to keep your expectations in check for now. For a start, HMM needs to be committed to the Linux kernel, and this was first proposed back in 2014, so it obviously
is taking quite a while to implement. It’s also likely that you will need a new – and expensive – graphics card to make use of HMM – at the moment only Nvidia’s high-end Pascal GPUs support the feature. So, while there may be a bit of time left until we see HMM support in the kernel, we’d best start saving for a compatible GPU now.
You’ll need a hefty graphics card to make use of HMM.
Newsbytes A Sudo vulnerability has been found – and quickly patched – that enabled a local attacker to gain root privileges. The issue, known as CVE-2017-1000367, made it possible for malicious users to run bash commands to overwrite files – even root-owned data. The security researchers from Qualys revealed that, “We discovered a vulnerability in Sudo’s get_process_ttyname() for Linux: this function opens “/proc/ [pid]/stat” (man proc) and reads the device number of the tty from field 7 (tty_nr)”. Red Hat, Debian and other distros – especially ones with SELinux enabled, have been patched. To find out more read the security advisory at http://bit.ly/2rry8GJ. There are now 3,500 Linux games on Steam, the popular store (and DRM enabler) for PC games. These titles range from quirky indie games such as Terrari, to blockbuster games like Total War: Warhammer and Metro 2033. With a huge library that’s constantly growing – and bear in mind this is only games available in Steam, other methods of buying games are available – it’s never been better to become a Linux gamer, or to convince PC gamers to dump Windows. To see the full list, head to http://store.steampowered.com/ search/?category1=998&os=linux. Elsewhere we’ve talked about getting Linux to work on Android devices, but what about the reverse (sort of)? Anbox (https://anbox.io) – also known as Android in a Box, enables you to operate Android apps within Linux. It does this by running Android apps in a container, while integrating them as if they were a native application. This potentially opens up Linux to a huge range of apps, and with the launch of Android O coming later this year, even more functionality should be made available to Linux machines. It’s early days so far for the software, but it’s extremely promising. Watch this space!
Run Android apps in Linux with the useful Anbox software.
August 2017 LXF226 7
Continuous integration Mark Filion At Collabora, the majority of our customers use the Linux kernel directly within their products. However, a lot of our customers are modifying the kernel to adapt it to their specific needs. While this highlights the flexible nature of Linux, it also creates a problem for these companies because they end up working with an outdated kernel that’s no longer receiving vital security updates. The kernel that shipped with its product has become so heavily modified compared to upstream versions that rebasing it on top of newer, mainline releases becomes too expensive and difficult to plan for. Staying close to upstream as much as possible , by regularly rebasing on top of new releases (typically LTS releases) is the best solution. However, for this work to be feasible, the amount of differences between mainline and downstream sources needs to be manageable. That’s why we recommend contributing back any changes that aren’t specific to their products. Nevertheless, while some companies have upstreaming processes, keeping up with the mainline can take time. Collabora has been working on continuous integration of software components across a range of hardware. This includes sponsoring one of the major efforts to integrate the mainline Linux kernel codebase: kernelci.org, which builds several configurations of different trees and submits boot jobs to several labs around the world, and collates the results. This plays a key role in detecting any changes that either break the builds, or prevent a piece of hardware from completing the boot stage. Along with helping you keep pace with the Linux kernel, having continuous integration of changes in mainline reduces the risk of introducing regressions to your kernel and makes it easier, and faster, for your contributions to be accepted.
Distro watch What’s behind the free software sofa?
TITLE 4.0 Tanglu Tanglu 4.0 – codenamed Dasyatis – has been released. This update to the Debian-based distro has been a long time coming, as the release announcement explains (http:// tanglu.org/blog/2017/06/tanglu4-dasyatis-kuhlii-released). “Tanglu 4 comes – due to being frozen for far too long – without the latest and greatest packages, but still with some notable changes. The KDE Plasma version is at 5.8, while the GNOME desktop is available in version 3.20 with some pieces from
Tanglu 4.0 has a number of different desktop environments preinstalled.
Rosa R9 “LXQt” Rosa R9, a distro that features the lightweight LXQt 0.11 desktop, has been released. Designed for lowpowered devices such as netbooks, Rosa R9 can easily operate on machines fitted with only 512MB of RAM. It comes with the lightweight
NewMoon web browser (which is based on Firefox ESR), along with nomacs image viewer, Rosa Media Player and Audacious. To find out more, read the release notes: http://bit.ly/2rnnANC. The full announcement can be found at www.rosalinux. ru/2017/06/07/ rosa-r9-lxqt, though you’ll need to know your Russian.
Running a low-powered machine? Try out Rosa today!
KaOS 2017.06 KaOS 2017.06 is now available to download, and it comes with the newly released Plasma Desktop 5.10.0 and Qt toolkit 5.9.0, making it one of the first distros to make use of the software. With Plasma 5.10.0 you get a new Task Manager, improved
Mark Filion is marketing manager at Collabora Ltd, which provides open-source training and products.
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GNOME 3.22.” Tanglu now ses usrmerged by default, and it now supports installing on UEFI systems without legacy mode. Head over to http://tanglu.org/download to find out more.
media controls, a virtual keyboard on the lock screen, performance optimisations and more. Outside of Plasma updates, you also get QGit and QDirStat GUI apps for git and much more. See http://bit.ly/2rrwQf5 for the release announcement.
Go-go gadget virtualisation!
TITLE 2017-06-01 TrueOS A new stable release of TrueOS, which is a rolling release operating system that’s based on FreeBSD’s Current development branch, has been released. The stable release brings more extensive testing of features, and less experimentation than the unstable branch. New features and bug fixes have been added, including an improved first boot wizard, a new version of OpenRC and much more. For a full list of changes, visit https://www.trueos.org/blog/ trueos-stable-update-june-2-2017.
TrueOS comes in both stable and unstable branches – the safer stable branch has just been updated.
Grml 2017.05 from file-rc to systemd, head to the A new release of the Grml live disc Debian-based distro has been release notes, available to read at released and is ready to download. https://grml.org/changelogs/ The new version swaps file-rc as the README-grml-2017.05. init software to systemd. As the release announcement states that “grml-live (the build system for creating Grml-based Linux live systems) still supports non-systemd systems using file-rc, though we don’t plan to maintain this in the long run”. This release also shifts the 32bit build from i586 to i686. For more information, including the thought Grml 2017.05 jumps on the systemd init process behind switching bandwagon. If there is such a thing.
MX Linux 16.1 MX Linux has announced the release of a new version of the Debian-based distribution. This new version, MX Linux 16.1, supports home directory encryption, offers the Adobe Flash
plug-in during the installation process, and includes LibreOffice 5.2.6. A number of improvements have been made to the installation process, so setting up MX Linux is now easier and user friendly than ever. For the full details of the new release visit https://mxlinux.org/ mx-161-now-available. Improvements to the installation process makes setting up MX Linux on your machine even easier.
Over the past decade we’ve seen virtualisation fully mature in the data centre. It’s now beginning to move into the embedded space – largely thanks to the low-power devices being produced by Intel and ARM. Virtualisation provides these environments with the same benefits it has for the data centre. First, it makes possible the merging of workloads on to a smaller set of hardware, which reduces costs, power and space usage. Second, the abstraction of the hardware makes it possible for applications to be decoupled from hardware specifics. And third, the benefit of hardware-based isolation results in better protection against software defects – and if any failures occur, they can be contained easily. The hypervisor plays a key role in the virtualisation of embedded systems, especially in use cases like automotive, navigation systems and non safety-critical aviation systems. With automotive and embedded it’s essential to have mature technology, light-weight architecture and a vibrant open source community to meet the performance and compliance needs of these environments. The Xen Project is the top hypervisor choice for embedded systems and automotive because of its maturity, lightweight architecture and open source community. It’s currently being used by GlobalLogic, EPAM, Assured Information Security, BAE systems, Dornerworks and StarLabs. Furthermore, an open source approach to embedded virtualisation brings about standardisation that will benefit embedded and car manufacturers. This, in turn, will lead to reduced costs and greater innovation. More details on the next phase of Xen Project will be discussed during its annual Developer and Design Summit. This takes place on July 11 to 13 in Budapest, Hungary. Lars Kurth has worked in the mobile industry for 16 years and is community manager for xen.org.
August 2017 LXF226 9
Linux user groups
The intrepid Les Pounder brings you the latest community and LUG news.
Find and join a LUG
Raspberry Jamboree 2017 Enthusiastic speeches from passionate makers.
Alpinux, le LUG de Savoie Meet on the first and third Thursday of the month at the Maison des Associations de Chambéry. www.alpinux.org
Bristol Hackspace Studio G11, 37 Philip Street, Bedminster, Bristol, England, BS3 4EA http://bristol.hackspace.org.uk SurreyEARS University of Surrey Makerspace, 18AB04, 7pm Fridays www.surreyears.co.uk
Leeds Hackspace Open night every Tuesday 7pm-late, Open day second Saturday of the month, 11am-4pm http://leedshackspace.org.uk
Hull Raspberry Jam Malet Lambert School, Hull. Every other month. https://twitter.com/hullraspjam
Plymouth LUG (part of DCLUG) Hush coffee, 1 Old Town St, Plymouth. last Saturday of the month (except December), noon. www.dcglug.org.uk/calendar
Huddersfield Raspberry Jam Monthly meet at Huddersfield Library, usually fourth Saturday. www.huddersfieldraspberryjam.co.uk Medway Makers 12 Dunlin Drive, St Mary’s Island, Chatham ME2 3JE www.medwaymakers.com
Cheltenham Hackspace The Runnings trading estate, Cheltenham. Thursdays from 7pm. www.cheltenhamhackspace.org
he Raspberry Jamboree was Childs, who talked about using the originally created by Alan micro:bit to create a geocache hunt and “Teknoteacher” O’Donohoe, Joshua Lowe who talked about his who started the Raspberry Jam Python-based language Edublocks. revolution. But it had been left dormant The quality of talks on offer was for a few years and in that time the superb. We heard from children such as Raspberry Pi Foundation had founded Elise and Cerys, who are leading the their own annual event: The Raspberry way creating groups and clubs for Pi Party. But the Raspberry Jamboree children to experience the Raspberry Pi returned in late May 2017 and found a and other single-board computers. It’s new home, Manchester’s Central great to see children taking charge of Library. This one-day unconference had creating spaces for others to use: they two streams of talks, and in true are the next generation of makers, unconference style the delegates were hackers and tinkerers who will one day the ones talking about their projects, be organising conferences and events. passions and problems. The attendees enjoyed the The Raspberry Jamboree was well Raspberry Jamboree, and there are attended with over 120 people taking already plans for it to return in 2018. LXF part, and only a few days after the Manchester terrorist attack. There was also a single track of workshops, preselected and run by children and adults from the community. We saw workshops from popular presenters such as Martin O’Hanlon, who talked about writing object-oriented Manchester’s Central Library provided a great venue for the many talks and workshops. Python code, Katherine
Community events news
Derby Mini Maker Faire On Saturday October 28, Derby will celebrate its sixth Mini Maker Faire. If you haven’t been to a Maker Faire event, then the basic premise is that it’s a space for makers to show their projects,
and for the public to sample the many different aspects of the maker community. The organisers are looking for makers to submit their projects and secure a stall. So you should check out the website, grab your tickets and submit your ideas! https://makerfairederby.com Mozilla Festival The Mozilla Festival (MozFest), is a three-day conference, festival and unconference for every facet of our digital lives. Taking place
on October 27-29 at Ravensbourne College, London, this festival offers workshops and talks on digital privacy, journalism in the 21st century and new emerging technologies and how they can benefit mankind. If you love the Internet, then MozFest is the place to be. https://mozillafestival.org Deer Shed Festival 8 The Deer Shed Festival isn’t a tech event but a craft, science and literary fair that celebrates
the great outdoors. If you like comedy, sports, cinema as well as getting hands on with soldering, making inventions from cardboard, wood and Arduino then this event is a wellearned break from the complexities of modern life. It takes place between July 21 and 23 at Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire. It’s definitely an event for everyone, so take the kids, pitch up a tent and sample a full weekend of outdoors fun. http://deershedfestival.com
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Write to us at Linux Format, Future Publishing, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missing bits Way back in the 1990s I developed The Digital DJ Dance Manager, which ran on a PC with Windows XP Pro. While it was written using Visual Basic 6 I would like to clean it up and rewrite it to run on Linux. The unfortunate thing is that this program enables one to use seven simultaneous displays, which isn’t easily done with any of the Linux distros I’ve seen. While the current release of DJ isn’t pretty, it does get around the irritations which the use of Tabs pose when using an iPad! One display with tabs is not conducive to programs like this, or for businesses such as stocktaking, banking, purchasing and particularly like multidisplay video gaming. When is Linux going to make it easier to add multiple displays to its otherwise powerful
Dell deserves all of the acclaim it’s built with its Linux-powered PCs.
Direct Cable Connection that Windows used to offer to migrate installs, made obsolete by a networked option. Really, you’re asking the company to support Linux with its proprietary cable solution. Much of what you’re after would be achieved using a remote desktop solution such as TightVNC, which enables live screen/mouse/keyboard capture plus drag-and-drop sharing. As for multiple monitors, from what I can tell X11 has supported multiple GPUs with xrandr since v1.4 was released in early 2013, but this needs to go hand-in-hand with driver support, too. It’s not something we’ve tried but all the information does seem to imply Linux can power up to at least 10 displays (in all likelihood more), even across different GPU manufacturers, as long as you have the hardware to do so. Perhaps using proprietary drivers would make things easier?
Everyone loves more than one display, but six? Matrox says yes!
system? I’ve regularly had to use Windows when setting up multi-display systems for use by all of my business clients – they’re addicted to having more that two displays. Another valuable product that seems to be Windows and Apple unique is called a Wormhole! This enables one to easily connect two different systems together via the USB port and have them work as a single computer from just one of their keyboards and trackball. Electro Group, via email Neil says: The classic Achilles’ heel of Linux is where the hardware and software worlds meet. Both the things you mention here really aren’t features, but products offered through hardware vendors. The Wormhole is the easiest to address, I’ve never come across this, but it looks similar to the USB
12 LXF226 August 2017
Dell fanboy I’ve just read your article entitled Launching Linux Laptops in LXF220. I’m a big fan of the Dell XPS Developer and am on my second machine, having passed my old one (2013) to my wife. We’ve been using Linux as our household’s only operating system for about 10 years. The advantage of the Dell developer machines is that you don’t have to remove Windows from a new machine or leave Windows on a separate partition to maintain the warranty if things go wrong. You also don’t have to worry if the PC you’ve bought is really compatible with Linux. The Dell XPS Developer is a superb piece of engineering. Granted, it costs about the same as an Apple machine, but then the Linux software is free, open source and just works, which is certainly not my