TUX Issue #5 Now Available

Issue number five, August 2005, of TUX is now available.  Subscribers, you can download this issue here or simply follow the Download TUX button on the right to download the current issue. If you're not yet a TUX subscriber, consider subscribing today for instant access to this issue and many more! 


TUX Cover


Issue #5, August 2005: Table of Contents

From the Publisher

  • Drawing Upon the Community by Phil Hughes

From the Editor

  • An Evolution of Linux Distributions by Nicholas Petreley


  • Letters to the Editor
  • Q&A with Mango Parfait by Mango Parfait

Suited Up

  • How to Use the OpenOffice.org Calc Spreadsheet, Part II by Kevin Brown

TUX Explains

  • Guarddog Firewall Configuration by Phil Barnett
  • Introduction to Quanta by Ryan Paul
  • Dancing with Windows by Allen Mercer
  • A Matter of Choice (or Selections, That Is) by Michael Hammel


  • Linspire Is Filled with Linspiration by Ricky Freedlander
  • Gadget Guy: Snap Snap! by Sean Carruthers
  • digiKam by Xavier Spriet
  • Impress by Xavier Spriet
  • Planner by Xavier Spriet
  • Xchat by Xavier Spriet
admin - Mon, 2005-08-01 02:06.

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This PDF doesn't download right...

It fails to open correctly in either Firefox or IE on WinXP Sp2. I fail to get the Adobe menu view. I don't like having to click from page to page to just read, I want to be able to print, too. The other issues didn't act like this, I wonder what changed?


ChiJoan (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-13 03:55.


I'm still trying to catch up with all the back issues so I haven't read the latest one yet, but one question seems to pop up a lot in different places and I have never seen clearly explained is sound systems.

I think most installs are fairly good these days at basic system sounds but getting other things like voip or midi to work can be a big problem for beginners. I've been in and out of Linux boxes for about 5 years and have never got midi to work right, it was always easier and quicker to run the midi files through a windows system than it was to make it work with Linux. Now that I am 100% Linux I'm going to have to tackle a midi sequencer and external midi one of theses days, and it would help if I knew what I was doing.

Tinkerbelle (not verified) - Wed, 2005-09-07 06:33.


As much as digikam is great, you should also review f-spot. It's pretty young, but yet powerful! Especially the export features are great!

Ralph (not verified) - Sat, 2005-08-20 15:53.

Cool magazine

I am a newbie at linuc and someone from linux forums pointed me here. After just reading what you had on the front page of your web site I subscribed instanstly. Cant wait to start getting issuea at my front door.

jesssica (not verified) - Fri, 2005-08-12 12:58.

Front Door??

You've got to DOWNLOAD it, it's a PDF you can download for reading...

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2005-08-13 14:42.

Nice magazine ! A lot of use

Nice magazine !
A lot of useful info, and things seem to get better as new issues appear, I mean the articles's topics are growing. I know much people use Gimp or OpenOffice, but having the magazine also talk about networking, web sites, Linux distros (and maybe ... in the future ... shell scripting ? ;) )
is very good.
I'm a long time Unix(and so Linux,BSD etc.) fan, I've been using SunOS ... years ago, when (fortunately) you had to run CAD/CAM apps on Unix only. Obviuolsy I'm not an expert ... actually I'm a newbie for Linux, I've just installed Ubuntu on my iBook (well, I'd say Ubuntu installed itself), after not beeing able to install Debian ... my fault, I know. Maybe I'll try again if/when I'll understand a little bit more about Linux.
Back to the magazine. I agree with Sydney Nash, I know Tux is for people
who simply need to make their apps work, still speaking about Unix/Linux without the how's ans why's feels a little 'alien' ;) ... kind of simply a better Windows. While I think (and I know you'd agree ... may I ?) that the Unix/Linux way is much more that this. It's about reaching complexity putting together many simple things, is about letting the user USE the machine... and so on ... we know the story.
So what I'd like to see is maybe a column about how thing work. Or maybe simply some references to more info.
I don't think that all new Linux users are uninterested about how Linux works, or why it's different from Windows. I think any new Linux user should know that (if and when (s)he likes) (s)he has the right to know how any piece of the whole software works (Being able to understand it is another matter ... obviously I'm not ! ;) ). I'm afraid that what makes Linux different (the openness of the system, the idea that software is a tool for users for making things, not only a tool for software houses for making money) might be hidden behind what seems 'simply a better Windows'. I know in every issue you're talking about all the wonderfun things Linux can do, but maybe seeing in practice what makes it different, and better, ... say a shell script or a configuration file, might help.
Ok, enough of that. I think you know your business well enough ! :)
One more thing. As I've said, we use CAD/CAM software for our work,
and ... guess what... I'm forced to use Windows because the CAD program
we're using (which I like very much, and think is a really good program,
also very cheap compared to what you can do with it)
only runs on Windows. They say that simply nearly no one is asking for a Linux port (and that's true, you only have to look at their newsgroup). That is to say that no matter how Linux can be affordable, fast, or user friendly. If WE don't ask for Linux software, commercial software makers can happily stay on Windows for ever. I'm not asking for a solution ... I'm only groaning here, when people say that Windows works better enough ... nothing more to say.
Anyway, long live Tux !
Thank you for this very useful magazine !
Keep up your good work, and keep on saying what you think. Opinions, expecially from experts, are very interesting, and responses to your opinions may be very interesting as well, while complaining because people write/say what they think is IMO stupid. BTW I "strongly support" Mango ... ;)

Emilio Morello

(sorry for my English)

Emilio Morello (not verified) - M - , 2005-08-08 04:58.


I love this magazine. It reminds me that using Linux isn't just about figuring out how to do everything I did in Windoze...but also about all the additional things I can accomplish with Linux.

I have been surprised by the extent to which the magazine has shied away from using the Terminal Window. I think it's a disservice to the new user (like myself -- I've been using Debian for about two months) since it's frequently the easiest way to do something, and I don't think we need to be "scared" of the Term window. Unfortunately, when I'm running from site to site trying to figure out how to fix a problem I'm having, I end up rotely copying commands from a tutorial without any understanding of what they mean or what I just did. Although this method (surprisingly enough) works for me quite frequently, I hardly learn from it because I don't understand what I'm doing.

Most of us new linux users were pretty experienced Windows users...we could make windows work for us. It's disconcerting to be set down in a new environment where things are dumbed down for US. I haven't found a quick tutorial/reference for Bash that I like...I bet TUX could do something like that. "50 Commands Every Linux User Ought to Know". Besides, it's standard for all distributions. When it comes down to it, it's frequently a lot harder to figure out how to do something graphically than it is to do it by a one-word command. I don't think TUX should shy away from the simple way of doing things, even if it means that the answer is not a "point-and-click" answer.

Sydney Nash (not verified) - Fri, 2005-08-05 15:06.


50 Commands Every Linux User Ought to Know

No. No. No.

We all want Linux to become a viable desktop alternative to Winblows, right?

Then don't ask users to drop to a CLI. Evar.

Let's save the mystical commands for 133t users like us, but make the Linux desktop usable by non-geeks.

Who's with me? Eh? Eh?

Uncle Gropey (not verified) - Sun, 2005-08-14 22:54.

TUX agrees, I almost agree

TUX isn't going to ask its readers to do things that can only be done with the command line. This is the right approach for the majority of the TUX readers. But, just like knowing how to drive that stick shift car, even if yours is an automatic, I don't think we should forget it is there.
Let me offer an example. If I want to know the IP address of my system I know I can type /sbin/ifconfig on any Linux system and see the answer. I also know that isn't the only way to find that answer but, for me, it is the easiest and the most portable.
When might you want to know that? The most likely case is when you are having a problem connecting to a network or to your ISP and the person on the other end asks that question. It is likely they will tell you what the command is so it isn't a matter of you remembering it. But, not being afraid is the other side of the issue.

fyl - M - , 2005-08-15 08:27.

Command Line -- Run command

Ok a very windows-like form of the command line is the Run dialog which is in itself a gui command line with no output. Even if it's generally used to run applications, it is also used as a command prompt on windows.

On Linux is exactly the same, you can use the run dialog as a command line. However I think is not on Tux best interest to provide this information that will make their users shy away from the whole experience.

I think if you are doing Bash stuff, then you have graduate into Linux Journal. There are many sources for bash and I think that Tux if ever get into bash should be just to make also basic things like 'cp', 'mv', 'rm' etc..

If you think this is fundamental for your needs, then I think you have graduated from TUX tutorials and can get better more 'mid-level' advise from other publications like for example Free Software Magazine, or Linux Journal.

A good reference can be found on LinuxDevCenter, which also explain a good part of the usual command line problems. Googling around I found this.

Alex (not verified) - M - , 2005-08-08 03:49.

Which Distro?

In Issue 5, "Alan" asked a very good question:

"What distribution would you recommend to potential Linux users, given that the main objective is to give them the best chance of a 'hassle-free' install and set up and keep them interested enough to try other distributions?"

You didn't give much of an answer. Instead, you punted. Which is understandable, given how difficult and complicated that question really is.

Nonetheless, I think that this is the single most important question for the future of Linux. It's also a question that desperately needs a good answer.

You're right that no online poll is going to yield a good consensus. However, you folks at Tux are probably in the best position of anyone to come up with one.

My challenge to your staff is this: Sit down and brainstorm for 4 or 40 hours and come up with a recommendation. If you have, name two distributions. Or even 5. But forget loyalties, forget endorsements, forget friendships. Just think about all of the installs you've done and all that you know about Linux, and decide which distribution is most likely to work for the typical potential Linux user (you probably first want to think about the characteristics of this would-be-user -- e.g. experienced with Windows, wants an office package able to read .doc and .xls files, etc.)

Don't wamble and answer with, "Well, if you have a 1998 Dell with a PDA...". Think general. And don't focus on down-the-road issues like, "If you want customizability" or "If you want a purple desktop". Potential users don't want to have to dig into the Gnome vs. KDE wars. They just want to have a Linux system up and running. Get their appetites whetted, and they'll want to learn more. But to get them started, you have to get them up and running.

Bite the bullet, and answer the question.

Then, for bonus points, come up with a short, simple, step-by-step guide to doing it, right down to how to get that .iso file onto a CDROM.

If you can do all that, then spread it around the world. You'll have done the biggest favor to the future of Linux -- and possibly to the future of software -- that anyone ever could.

Anyone else have any thoughts?


John (not verified) - Fri, 2005-08-05 07:05.

I think they did already... Linspire

Now my suggestion goes a little beyond that, and is more like get a Linspire PC.. Why? Because is pre-installed. As opposed to Windows which crash miserably everyday. Linux has almost no screen of death. So if you have a pre-installed Linux you also skip the actual installation,partitioning etc etc..

I agree.. eventually they should learn that, but do you really want your grandma to have to fit partitioning, users, blah blah on her first day of Linux.

Now linux on the desktop has 3 main difficulties from Windows users point of view.
1 - Does it looks like windows
2 - Does it run my data
3 - how do I install new software
4 - it comes with the computer

Linspire PC solves most of this issues, since it packs some of the plug-ins allready installed and also CNR cna install the software easier. The only low point is that most programs wont run but the data mgiht be accesible from one of the Linux packages.

Alex (not verified) - M - , 2005-08-08 04:43.

One hell of a gauntlet - well

One hell of a gauntlet - well said!

(not verified) (not verified) - Fri, 2005-08-05 12:45.

Hi everybody, i really lov

Hi everybody,

i really love that magazine and want to say a big THANKS for making it avaible.

However in the article "An Evolution of Linux Distributions" by Nicholas Petreley stated that he was (or is?) annoyed by the update frequency of some packages in Ubuntu (hope i got you right here).

I just wanted to suggest the Ubuntu Backports Project and their repository (see the Ubuntu forums) who are doing a great job porting some of the most famous stuff back so we can use the latest stuff in Ubuntu like Firefox 1.0.6 which i am running here on my laptop.

Just a suggestion for giving something back for a great article. Thanks again Nicholas.


André (not verified) - Thu, 2005-08-04 05:24.


Superb articles...........specially "Introduction to Quanta".I needed information on quanta.
U r the best.Trust me on this.All ur issues are rocking.

I am gonna advertise ur mag for sure.I am from india so people will love to read mag like TUX as they love linux. :D

Ramchandra Kumble (not verified) - Tue, 2005-08-02 13:21.

TUX Magazine

Having read all of the first issues, and found them to be excellent, I just wanted to say thanks and keep up the great work. I've read all of the critical comments and I'd like to say that the format is the best I've encountered. The content is right on target for the intended audience, and I've learned a tremendous amount from your publication. Looking forward to each and every issue. Each has been better than the last.

Alan (not verified) - Tue, 2005-08-02 07:19.

the magazine

All I see are a bunch of questions and you guys giving answers like we will address that.Hey how about some answers.Other wise why publish the question.After all we all want to know about drivers and printer compatability.
Hey heres a thought why not find out the make and model and see if there is a linux driver for it and try it yourself .Then give an answer.Something real!!!!

An - ymous (not verified) - Thu, 2005-09-22 12:56.