Linux Format 286 (Sampler)

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BUILD LINUX FROM SCRATCH Create and compile your own distro from basics to a final release

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REVIEWS Linux distribution

Pop!_OS 21.10

Keyboard-driven Jonni Bidwell is excited by the prospect of new shortcut keys and swish application launchers. Will his enthusiasm be curbed? IN BRIEF

A slick, easy-touse distro that’s not afraid to deviate from its Ubuntu and Gnome underpinnings. See also: Zorin, elementaryOS, Linux Mint.

SPECS Memory: 2GB RAM HDD: 16GB Build: 64-bit only

Through the magic of Gnome Extensions, desktop icons are still available in Pop!_OS.

e’ve been using Pop!_OS on a seventh-generation Dell XPS 13 since the 20.04 LTS release, so were excited to see how the new edition worked. The upgrade was smooth (if a little slow, which was probably the result of our root partition being quite full) and as is becoming the norm, takes place after a reboot in a minimal environment behind a splash screen. To make the most out of Pop it’s worth learning some keyboard shortcuts. They occasionally differ from Gnome’s incantations, but Applications! Only this time they don’t cover the whole screen. You can add your own folders, too. there’s an undeniable consistency to them. Being able to launch the file manager, web browser (what you used to see when you clicked the grid icon in and terminal with simple Super-key combos, for example, Gnome’s in your face launcher). Applications are will save you a lot of effort compared to doing so with a categorised into Office, System and Utility rubrics. Or you mouse. All the more so if you’re using a trackpad. If that’s can search, which will also show programs available from the case, then good news. Pop has (even) more threethe Pop!_Shop. If you’re happy with the small launcher and four-fingered trackpad gestures. So (on supported you may not use this so much, but it’s nice to see large hardware, which happily includes our XPS) an application icons when you’re browsing. authoritative swipe right will bring up the new Applications If you drink System76’s delicious keyboard-drivenLibrary, and in the opposite direction will summon the workflow Kool Aid, you might not use the dock so much. Workspaces view. Or like us, set it to autohide and more or less forget that The last release introduced a tiny, efficient launcher it’s there. It can be a compact, Plank-like affair, or extend to replace Gnome’s full-screen affair. This is now along the whole screen if required. Traditionalists will like complemented with a medium-sized Applications Library that you can launch the App Library, Workspaces View and indeed the Launcher from here too. Incidentally, the launcher, dock, and library all come under the aegis of the Cosmic desktop. They’re currently all implemented through Gnome extensions, so you can turn them off if you want. The big news is that they’ll also feature in System76’s new Rust-powered desktop of the same name, of which we might see a preview in the summer. Pop!_OS is well-integrated, but the other side of this is that it’s not all that configurable. Sure, the slightly awkward looking Workspace and Application shortcuts in the top-left can be turned off. Likewise the helpful-butannoying-once-you’ve-got-the-hang-of-it active window hints. Or you can attempt to do any number of things with Gnome extensions. But lots of these won’t work with the

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RASPBERRY Pi!_OS Besides the two usual editions, for proprietary (Nvidia) and free (AMD/ Intel/Nouveau) graphics drivers, Pop 21.10 introduces a ‘tech preview’ for the Raspberry Pi 4. We couldn’t but help give this a whirl, expecting from the name a few rough edges. Cosmetically it’s identical to the x86 edition, but the initial set up looked odd

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on our 1,440p monitor. Like the Pi edition of Ubuntu on which it’s based, Pop!_Pi suffers from lag and a lack of responsiveness. Powerful though the Pi 4 is, it seems to be no match for Gnome. Another problem is that Flatpak applications in Pop!_Shop aren’t filtered by architecture. So while it looks like you can install Slack or Steam in a single

click, that is in fact impossible. ARM builds of those programs don’t exist. Anyway, we’re not judging this version. It’s a tech preview after all. At any rate it’s nice to have another true 64-bit OS for the Pi. Even if the Popsicle USB flashing utility still doesn’t open compressed images, like the img.xz Pop for Pi ships as.

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ROUNDUP GUI text editors WE COMPARE TONS OF STUFF SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO!

Roundup Geany 1.38 Visual Studio Code 1.63.2 Atom 1.58.0 Notepadqq 2.0 Kate 21.12.0

Michael Reed has edited thousands of Linux configuration files. And that was just the last time he installed Gentoo.

GUI text editors

Within the world of Linux, so often we need to invoke a text editor to get the heart of the matter. Michael Reed investigates the best of the current crop. HOW WE TESTED… We put each of the text editors through their paces by opening up and editing source code files in the C, Dart and C# programming languages. We also opened a variety of configuration and log files of the type that you’re likely to encounter on a typical Linux system. Some text editors are touted as ‘lightweight’, and if you had to outfit a constrained platform such as an older computer or a Raspberry Pi, then that might be worth taking into account. However, in this era of computers with fast, multicore processors, lots of RAM and SSD drives, we don’t consider that to be as important a factor as it once was. The modern, heavyweight text editors in our Roundup – Atom and Visual Studio Code – loaded slightly more slowly and exhibited some lag when run on a typical desktop computer, but it wasn’t a problem in actual use. For this reason, we decided not to focus on performance as a category when testing.

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his month we’re looking at Linux text editors. Specifically, we’re looking at GUI text editors, and the ones we’ve chosen are all free and open source. We’ve decided to exclude hybrid editors that owe their underlying technology to the two mighty titans of Linux text editing: Emacs and vi. We’re also restricting our selection to what you might call ‘serious’ text editors rather than lightweight options. Two of the editors we’re looking at, Atom and Visual Studio Code, are implemented using the Electron framework. Admittedly, it’s a “high performance” (I do not think those words mean what you think they mean – Ed)

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framework, but they’re ultimately similar to a type of web application that’s contained within a window. It means they lack the native feel of the operating system and desktop environment that they’re running under, and it also means that they can lack the responsiveness of a truly native application. However, this approach gives them the advantage of increased configurability and a greater amount of control over the GUI layout. Notepadqq, Kate and Geany are more traditional text editors that use native Linux user interface toolkits, potentially giving them snappier performance and a look that fits in with other native applications on the system.

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Pi USER

TUTORIAL Raspberry Pi at 10

Celebrating the Raspberry Pi at 10

Les Pounder works with groups such as the Raspberry Pi Foundation to help boost people’s maker skills.

LIFE CHANGING Ten years ago, I was sat at my computer waiting to purchase a Raspberry Pi. I got my Raspberry Pi, but alas I had to wait weeks for delivery. Between buying and receiving my Pi I went to the first Raspberry Jam in the world. The organiser, Alan O’Donohoe, had gathered together Raspberry Pi fans to create an evening of Pi. We played Quake 3 and ran a thin client to a Windows server. When the Raspberry Pi was still hard to buy, Pete Lomas came to Oggcamp 2012 with a car-boot full! The Raspberry Pi has evolved. It’s now a viable desktop computer that’s sold over 40 million units. The community has grown along with the Pi, and the children who were there at the start are now adults, going into the world with fresh ideas and knowledge born from their experiences with the Pi. What makes Raspberry Pi much more than just another computer is community. The Pi community has helped me immensely, and I have paid it forward for many years. The Raspberry Pi was the gateway to my career and it could also be yours. Happy anniversary Raspberry Pi!

The Raspberry Pi has achieved so much more than just material success, as Neil Mohr reveals… ack in 2006 Eben Upton was playing with a veroboard-based prototype for a home-build computer concept. No one would have guessed that his project was going to kick-start a revolution in world-wide computing, not just the UK. While the focus with the Raspberry Pi is often about the little single board computer system (SBC), its success is down to many more factors. One or two you might be able to put down to luck, but by and large hard work and a genuine need to bring low-cost, accessible computing to all, thanks to everyone at the Raspberry Pi Foundation and beyond, would be at the top of our list. Some might find it strange that the original motivation behind creating the Raspberry Pi wasn’t to make money, but rather to educate children and young adults. In fact at the outset of the Raspberry Pi Foundation the trustees and everyone involved was doing so for free in their spare time! Back in March 2012 we asked Dr Robert Mullins – one of those hard-working trustees – about the motivations behind creating the Raspberry Pi. He told about the project’s origins. Eben Upton, who Robert described as the project’s catalyst, had been working as the director of studies for the computing programmes at St John’s College, Cambridge. As part of this role, he was responsible for

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Liz and Eben Upton, the brains behind the operation.

overseeing the admissions process, and began to notice a steady decline in the applicants’ programming skills, and in the number of students applying. This was obviously a worrying trend. Lesscapable students at the start of a degree obviously means that more time will be spent teaching the practical prerequisites, such as programming, and less time will be devoted to higher-level topics, such as advanced data structures. Furthermore, fewer students means that industries would have a smaller talent pool from which to choose the next generation of graduate employees. When it came to identifying the reasons behind this trend, Eben, Robert and their colleagues came up with a laundry list of possible explanations. At its heart, however,

THE Pi LINE – WHEN EACH Pi WAS READY FOR CONSUMPTION Cretaceous period – 2006

Eben Upton had the idea of an easily built home-PC kit. Behold the Atmel ATmega644 system, which sat on a Veroboard with a block SRAM. The device ran at 22.1MHz and had to drive the display too, leaving blanking periods for processing. Upton later decided that a SoC capable of running a general operating system would be more useful, good lad! http://bit.ly/RaspPi2006Ed

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May 2011 – Proto Pi

Early in 2011 David Braden of Elite fame was showing off a prototype USB device that he was calling the Raspberry Pi (http://bit.ly/ EarlyPIOnBBC). Resembling a USB stick than the Pi we have today, this compact concept was dropped in favour of one that enabled the device to have more connections and the crucial GPIO pins.

August 2011 – Alpha Pi

An alpha board went into production and was ready for testing in August 2011. This was used to demo the capabilities of the final Raspberry Pi build. Still capable of running Debian and accelerated Quake 3, the board was slightly larger than the final design. It was shown off to the public at Transfer Summit in September 2011 – see http://bit.ly/ PiDemo2011.

December 2011 – Beta Pi

Beta PCBs designs were completed in November and the finished boards rolled into the spiritual Pi HQ just before Christmas 2011. It was soon discovered there was a problem in manufacturing, involving a replaced component. This caused delays in the final release boards.

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TUTORIALS Mutiple HATs

PHAT STACK Credit: https://shop.pimoroni.com

How to easily create multi-HAT Pi projects Les Pounder serves up a double helping of Raspberry Pi HATs for a pHAT project. Can he manage another slice of Pi, though…? dd-on boards for the Raspberry Pi, known as HATs, expand the usefulness of the $35 single board computer. The Pi has a single 40-pin GPIO header, but with pHAT Stack from Pmoroni we can add three HATs, or five pHATs to a single Pi. In this project we’re using two older HATs from Pimoroni. The Skywriter HAT is a gesture sensor that reacts to flicks, taps and touch using a sensor which can detect your fingers in the air. We’ll use Skywriter as an input to control the 64 NeoPixels housed inside of Unicorn HAT. The LEDs will change colour at the flick of our hand. Best of all, there is no wiring to worry about. PHAT Stack connects to the Raspberry Pi GPIO via a ribbon cable. We can then attach our Skywriter and Unicorn HATs to the pHAT Stack. You may need to use GPIO extension headers and M2.5 standoffs to prevent the underside of the HATs touching any GPIO pins. When you’re ready, connect your keyboard, mouse and so on to the Raspberry Pi and power up to the desktop.

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OUR EXPERT Les Pounder is associate editor at Tom’s Hardware and a freelance maker for hire. He blogs about his adventures and projects at bigl.es.

YOU NEED Any Pi Pi OS Pimoroni pHAT Stack Pimoroni Unicorn HAT Pimoroni Skywriter Male GPIO extension header M2.5 standoffs Code at https:// github.com/ lesp/LXFUnicornSky/ archive/ refs/heads/ main.zip

Project code

Open a terminal and run Pimoroni’s installers for the two HATS. Follow the instructions and install the example files. For Skywriter: $ curl -sS get.pimoroni.com/skywriter | bash

For Unicorn HAT: $ curl -sS https://get.pimoroni.com/unicornhat | bash

Once done, open Thonny, found under Programming in the main menu. We start the Python code by first importing a series of Python libraries to use Skywriter

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The final project requires no wiring or soldering. It all just fits together using pHAT Stack to connect multiple HATs to a Raspberry Pi.

and the Unicorn HAT. We also import signal to prevent the code from exiting, time to pause our code and random to generate random numbers: import skywriter import signal import unicornhat as unicorn import time import random

Next is a little Unicorn taming. There are multiple Unicorn boards, so we use auto to detect the model of the board. Then we say there’s no rotation, the LEDs should be lit at half brightness and finally we detect the number of pixels horizontally and vertically: unicorn.set_layout(unicorn.AUTO) unicorn.rotation(0) unicorn.brightness(0.5) width,height=unicorn.get_shape()

Next, we start the meat of the Python code by using a Python decorator. This is a function that takes another function as an argument, to detect and act on a gesture event. In this case we want the code to react to a tap, so we shall call the decorator just that. @skywriter.tap()

We then call a function, tap and give it the argument, position. So when we tap, the location of where we tap is also given. def tap(position): Skywriter is a simple, yet wonderfully magic interface that can detect movements of your hand in the air, touch and detect direction.

A for loop will iterate 1,000 times, running the code within and then exiting once we hit 1,000 iterations. for i in range(1000):

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IN-DEPTH Linux From Scratch

LINUX

FROM SCRATCH

Part One

Don’t miss next issue – subscribe on page 14!

Aaron Peters examines building a distro from the ground up with Linux From Scratch, because why take the easy way?

ne of the great things about Linux, and open source in general, is the ability to leverage the work of others in order to make something better. Or at least better for you. Today’s Linux distributions do exactly that, assembling individual upstream projects such as the Linux kernel, GNU utilities and applications into a cohesive operating system that’s easy to install and use. Of course, you can always customise a Linux distro by adding packages, features and applications as desired. But the Linux From Scratch (www. linuxfromscratch.org) project (hereafter also written as LFS) takes a different tact. LFS enables you to build a Linux distribution from the ground up. Sound fun? Well it is, but it’s also a fair amount of work. There are many modern conveniences that will be missing, because you’ll be building everything by yourself from source code and configuration files. The good news is that if you’re someone who’s willing to “read the manual," and you

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can follow instructions, you too can build a Linux system and gain an understanding of how distribution developers assemble these systems today. And you’ll learn a lot along the way. There are a few things you’ll require in order to get started with LFS. The first is a compatible Linux system to act as the “host," or the system that provides the

great distributions exist?” There are two primary reasons. The first is that the LFS exercise is a fantastic way to learn how Linux works at a very basic level. Modern distributions do a lot of hand-holding, from convenient administration scripts to built-in hardware detection to package systems with automatic dependency resolution. All these make it easy to forget how intricate all these moving pieces are. So working though an LFS build will not simply bestow knowledge about how they work, but will give you a better background to troubleshoot issues on your regular distro. But taking this a step further, LFS can begin to equip individuals who need to create specialised Linux distributions with the background to do so. An example of this use case might be creating a version of Linux for a specific type of hardware. The LFS book notes that many distros contain a great deal of unnecessary

PUT YOUR STAMP ON A DISTRO “The Linux From Scratch exercise is a fantastic way to learn how Linux works at a very basic level”

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tools to get the first parts of LFS built. The second is the “target” system, or where LFS will be installed and boot from. Finally, you need the LFS book, which can be downloaded from the project’s website.

Why from scratch?

A natural question to ask at this point is, “Why on earth would someone want to build Linux from scratch when so many

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TUTORIALS Set up timelines

TIMELINE Credit: https://thetimelineproj.sourceforge.net

Build your own dynamic timelines Nick Peers reveals how to gain a chronological view of both historical events and personal projects with this powerful free tool. hat better way to visualise history than with a timeline? Whether you’re looking to chart the progress of a project, or delve into your family history, a timeline can provide you with a clear visual guide, revealing everything from the length of time it took to complete certain tasks to which ancestors’ lives overlapped with each other, and by how much. You can, of course, create timelines using design software, but why do that when there’s a dedicated tool – conveniently called Timeline – to make the job as easy as possible? Timeline provides you with all the tools you need to make visually attractive, informative timelines with the added bonus of being able to add extra details in the form of additional descriptive text, web links and even a small image to aid the viewer on their journey.

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OUR EXPERT Nick Peers has a history degree, yet his mother always says “That’s why I sent you to university” when asking for tech advice.

NAVIGATING YOUR TIMELINE 1

Timeline is available through snap, which means if you’re running Ubuntu 18.04 or later, you can access it through Ubuntu Software – search for ‘timeline’ and it should be the fourth entry on the list of results (and crucially the only one called ‘timeline’). The latest version – 2.5.0 at time of writing, but likely to be 2.6.0 by the time you read this – should be offered. Once installed, open Timeline from the Launcher. It should open to a blank Timeline offering you a shortcut to the ‘Getting started tutorial’, which is basically an example timeline that serves as an introductory tutorial. If it doesn’t appear, or you want to refer back to it later, choose Help>Getting started tutorial to open it. You’ll see how events are displayed in colour-coded boxes according to the date or time span you assign to them. Hover over selected boxes and you’ll see tooltips appear, providing you with a whistle-stop tour of the program’s key features. Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything mentioned here in this tutorial.

Time keeps on slipping

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Change view options Use these buttons to determine the orientation (left or centre) of both event descriptions and timeline links.

Event description Roll your mouse over an event to view a description (and optional image) as part of a pop-up tooltip.

View sidebar Access options for filtering the timeline view by both category and label.

Event options Right-click an event to access additional options and shortcuts related to that event.

Events Each event is shown in a colour-coded box (according to its category) that displays its title.

Timeline position By default, the timeline sits in the middle of the screen – use this slider to move it up and down as you require.

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For now, let’s create the first timeline from scratch. Choose File>New and you’ll be given a choice of timeline types. Gregorian is the traditional date-based timeline, but you can also create timelines with simple numeric or decimal points instead of dates, and access different types of calendar, from ancient Egyptian (Pharaonic) to fictional (Bosparanian). For the purposes of this tutorial we’ll stick with chronological timelines, so leave Gregorian selected and click OK. Next, choose where to store your timeline on your hard drive, give it a suitable name and click Save. You’ll see your timeline appear in chart-like form, one column per day with a horizontal line in the middle indicating the days of the month. Click and drag left or right to move back or forward in time, respectively. Zoom into and out of the timeline using Ctrl plus either the + or – keys to show a broader or narrower period of time. You can also increase the size of the displayed text using the Alt plus +/- keys. You can also zoom in and out using the Navigate menu – more on that shortly.

Events and categories

Timeline’s primary focus is to display a series of events in chronological order. You can create events in a

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TUTORIALS Emulate the MSX

OPENMSX Credit: https://openmsx.org

Emulate the classic MSX system Les Pounder travels back to a time when VHS and Betamax fought for supremacy, but there could be only one! ack in 1983 we were spoiled for choice when it came to home computers. But one machine that never made it to our school yard was the MSX. The MSX wasn’t the most well-known home computer in the UK. In Japan, though, the MSX family of computers sold seven million units. That doesn’t sound like too much of a big deal, but the total number of MSX sold worldwide was nine million! The MSX isn’t one computer; rather it’s a family of computers that all use a standardised architecture. There were MSX machines from big names such as Sony, Samsung and GoldStar (now known as LG) in an attempt to create a standard home computer. Microsoft provided its software knowledge and at that time MS-DOS was still only at Version 2. The goal of the MSX project was to replicate a standard similar to the VHS videotape, which dominated the late 20th century. At the core of the MSX was the venerable Zilog Z80 CPU, the same CPU found in Sinclair’s ZX Spectrum,

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OUR EXPERT Les Pounder is associate editor at Tom’s Hardware and a freelance maker. He blogs about hacks and makes at bigl.es.

Sony’s HB-10P was a European MSX that came with 16KB of RAM and two cartridge slots. UK readers may remember the HB-10B, which was practically the same but with a UK PSU.

and Radio Shack’s TRS80. The Z80 ran at 3.58MHz and was backed up with between 8KB and 512KB of RAM (later models having the larger RAM capacities). The MSX operating system is an oddity for 1980s home computers. It used a BASIC interpreter to load games from cassette, but with newer models it could also load floppy disks. Why is this odd? Well, when working with disks we see familiar file types such as .com and .bat – commands and batch files often used in the MS-DOS (and sometimes found even today) operating system. The MSX hides a treasure trove of games and solid hardware, and with prices rapidly increasing via online auction sites, emulation looks to be the best way to dip your toe into the wondrous world of the MSX. So let’s fire up the time machine, set the destination to 1983 and travel back to the height of VHS/Betamax war!

Emulating an MSX

On our Ubuntu test machine we install openMSX using apt. Open a terminal and run the following commands to update your repos and install open MSX: $ sudo apt update $ sudo apt install openmsx

To rest the MSX go to the top left menu and then select Reset MSX. If you have a floppy disk inserted, the system will autoboot.

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This will install the openMSX emulator that comes with its own Compatible BIOS (C-BIOS), a BIOS that we can use to play games and do most tasks. But for a true MSX experience we need to either clone our own MSX BIOS, or download BIOS images. The latter is an exercise for the reader to investigate based on the laws of their country.

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TUTORIALS Recipe management

LXF SERVER Credit: https://hay-kot.github.io/mealie

Part Five

Don’t miss next issue – subscribe on page 14!

Recipe management done by the book

David Rutland steps out of his stainless steel dream kitchen and makes a meal of cookbook applications on the unofficial Linux Format VPS. veryone loves food, and there’s a good chance that somewhere in your house there’s a stack of recipe books or magazines gathering dust. Maybe you inherited them, or perhaps you’ve been acquiring a collection over the years. At Chez Rutland, there’s only one recipe book in regular use: The Curry Guy Bible by Dan Toombs For everything else, we turn to the internet. Need ideas for an impromptu 100-person impromptu garden party and already fed up with cheese and wine (careful now–Ed)? Hit up a search engine for ideas and recipes. No clue what to do for date night? DuckDuckGo it (as always, other search engines are available). Doing all this leads to comfortably full stomachs, and more questions. How do you keep track of what you’ve cooked, how well it was received, and, more to the point, how do you find it again once the initial sated satisfaction has subsided? Sure, you vaguely recall that the salmon wellington you made at Christmas was particularly popular, and you’d like to impress your new girlfriend with your culinary skills, but where on earth are the instructions? For some people, it seems like a great idea to painstakingly print out recipes directly from the site, laminate them, and store them in a binder. Others prefer to rely on browser bookmarks to store the location of their preferred puttanesca. Neither of these approaches is good enough. Printed recipes take up space and are only searchable using the most primitive of technologies, while bookmarks are mere pointers to a Schrödinger’s web address which may or may not still exist. No. Cooks need, and deserve, something better: a way of storing recipes in a searchable format, which won’t disappear when the original blog author loses interest and their web space is taken over by Eastern European cybersquatters shilling spurious crypto coins. Fortunately, we aren’t alone in thinking this, and there are a number of self-hosted FOSS projects devoted to making your culinary life easier. This will enable you to store the secrets of your sauces on your very own VPS – accessible to you from anywhere in the world. Browse ours at https://recipes.lxf.by. A moment of honesty: this author has only come up with two or three completely original recipes in their

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OUR EXPERT David Rutland is chained to a hot stove for most of the day. He wouldn’t mind, except nobody likes his cooking.

Read our original VPS features in LXF281 and LXF282 at https://bit.ly/ lxf281lxfserver and https:// bit.ly/ lxf282lxfserver, respectively.

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Tandoor can import recipes in bulk from dozens of other recipe apps and services, making it the best for amassing large collections quickly.

entire life, mostly based on random food items found in the discount bin of the local supermarket. Nonetheless, he’s pretty proud of them, and would be upset if his culinary creations were altogether lost to the mists of time. Any recipe management software needs to enable users the ability to create recipes from scratch, list their own ingredients and methods, and supply photographs.

Rummaging in the online cupboard

For the most part most amateur cooks will pull recipes straight from the web. This is possible due to online recipes being formatted in a particular way using a JSON recipe schema. The reason behind this is SEO. Google ranks recipe blogs higher if they conform to the expected standard. Any good cookbook software should be able to use the same trick and pull ingredients, methods, timings, and nutritional information direct on to your server with a minimum of user input. When this author is searching for recipes or adding them to my cookbook software, it’s done from the comfort of the couch, using a 15-inch laptop (with glowing green keyboard). In the kitchen such recipe searches are more likely to be carried out using a small handheld device, such as a phone or tablet. Are the instructions still readable? Is the app usable? If a recipe manager doesn’t fulfil at least these criteria, it’s not making it on to this list. As always, make sure that you’ve set the DNS records for your domain or subdomain to point towards

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9000

THE BEST NEW OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE ON THE PLANET

HotPicks

Alexander Tolstoy has a hotline on the hottest new open source programs that will certainly enrich your Linux experience

System Monitor Center Tesseract Libtree Video trimmer Ntfy Rusty Aquarium Caravaggio FishFight AssaultCube Kage Studio System G SYSTEM MONITOR

System Monitor Center Version: 0.3 Web: https://github.com/ hakandundar34coding/system-monitoring-center swathe of interesting system monitor programs has recently become available for Linux. If the Monitor tool that we covered in LXF283 is a little too minimalist for your tastes, you’ll want to take a closer look at System Monitor Center. The program packs multiple system tools into a single-window GTK application. System Monitor Center has as many as eight sections, of which Performance and Processes cover most features that other Linux monitoring tools usually provide. Under Performance you can find sub-sections with live CPU/disk/RAM graphs, and even thermal sensors. The remaining six sections monitor user sessions, storage information, desktop startup items, Systemd services, environmental variable and detailed system information. Many sections and their views have the gear button for customising elements such as units and the amount of columns on show. Overall, even despite the fact that the System Monitor Center window is densely populated with sensors, buttons and plots (even the CSD titlebar contains extra program options), the interface never looks cluttered. Instead, it resembles a control panel or a minidashboard that enables you to carry out various administering tasks without switching between different tools. Some features appear unique for a GUI system monitor. In particular, we appreciate the program’s ability to change labels for drive partitions, or disable the plethora of hidden services that most mainstream desktop environments run after logging you in. The project’s Github offers pre-compiled RPM and DEB packages of System Monitor Center. Otherwise, you can build your own copy of this versatile Python3powered application using $ python3 setup.py install . You’ll need the python3-pyopengl dependency if you want the tool to monitor FPS under Performance>GPU. System Monitor Center is an impressive program. It’s as if several standalone GUI system utilities were reimagined and then merged into one super-tool!

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www.techradar.com/pro/linux

A one-stop place to monitor performance and control dozens of Linux system and desktop settings.

THE SYSTEM MONITOR CENTER INTERFACE 1

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3 A better application titlebar The CSD header bar is nothing unusual for a modern GTK application, but here it’s enhanced with extra sensors.

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to help you filter out the list with the help of various conditions.

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Granular performance sensors The Performance section has six switchers for exploring select subsystems, including GPU and thermal sensors.

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More control over a section layout The gear buttons enable you to add or remove columns, change units and sensors’ precision settings.

Eight monitoring sections Explore every tiny detail of your Linux system performance, from processes to disk details and shell variables. Customise the displayed data Most sections here have extra buttons

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