TUX Issue #6 Now Available

Issue number six, September 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 #6, September 2005: Table of Contents

From the Publisher

  • Linux Evolution by Phil Hughes

From the Editor

  • Diary of a Well-Dressed Penguin by Nicholas Petreley

Letters

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

P2P

  • 2005 TUX Readers' Choice Awards by James Gray

Home Plate

  • Digital Exhibitionism, Part I by Jessica Hall

Suited Up

  • Open-Source Metadot Makes the Grade for Schools by Daniel Guermeur

TUX Explains

  • Having the Audacity to Manipulate Sound by Joshua Backfield
  • Introduction to Inkscape by Dmitry Kirsanov
  • Extending Thunderbird: the Best of All Worlds by Randall Wood
  • Google Suggest Toolbar for Konqueror by William Kendrick and Melissa Hardenbrook
  • The World Beyond KDE and GNOME by John Knight

Reviews

  • OpenOffice.org 2.0 Calc by Xavier Spriet
  • Gadget Guy: Power to the People by Sean Carruthers
    • Electrovaya PowerPad
    • Socket Mobile Power Pack
    • Voltalc Backpack
admin - Wed, 2005-08-31 23:36.
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Page Numbers?

TUX is great! - But as a digital magazine page numbers should reflect the reader's perception not the designers. In other words if Acrobat thinks page #10 is really page #11, fix it. Include the cover page in your page count and make the readers of your digital only magazine even happier.

-jh

J - Harrell (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-06 15:22.

The reader survey on page 4

It doesn't work when using Kpdf or Xpdf... I don't have Acrobat on this machine as I find Kpdf is perfectly good for general use... It would help if the survey was also available on this website... also non of the links in the magazine work in Kpdf or Xpdf either... :(

Paul Cooke (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-02 12:36.

Valid point

The need for another way to fill out the form is a valid point. We will add this. As for the links not working, I am not sure. With Kpdf on SuSE 9.3, clicking on them caused the to open in Konqueror. With Xpdf they didn't work but I realized I didn't have a configuration file for Xpdf. I created the file .xpdfrc in my home directory, put the following line in it urlCommand "firefox -remote 'openURL(%s)'" and when I click on a link it now opens in Firefox.
fyl - Fri, 2005-09-02 18:09.

The Reader Survey on Page 4

I too cannot fill out the survey, nor do any of the links work.
I have tried using every PDF viewer on my Mandriva 2005LE sytem:
KPDF, KGhostView, XPDF, Konqueror & Gnome PDF Viewer 2.8.3 (based on XPDF).
I even tried your suggested workaround of creating and editing .xpdfrc...N/G.

Thanks for a great Zine though!

Lance D. (not verified) - Sun, 2005-09-11 13:23.

Future? Multi boot tutorial ideas and comments

About linux multi-boot,
I agree this is a good subject.
As a 3/4 of a newbie, but relatively competent PC user, having installed zindows many times, OS2 as well,
I found some information about multi-boot on the net, but I agree there is not that much, and not for newbie, or people not clued up with installing OS's

I would consider showing different methods
- w/w disconecting HD / w/w some zindows in place
- with only 1 HD, with more than 1

To your reader with a spare HD: I suggest to disconnec the XP hd,
no risk then for XP (yet :-), and install linux on the spare HD with grub.
CHange the bios set up to boot from the spare HD,
setup grub to launch XP (I suppose it is possible, but I do not have XP so I do not know).
Grub can launch win2000 I heard ;-)
Reconnect the XP hard drive

Some experience
- ban lilo for multiboot learners
- some of the distro on big HD after what 100 Mo? cannot be accessed by grub (I think). I mean there is a distance limitation from the
start of the HD where distros cannot be booted anymore
- Xandros 3.0? has been a bugger and does not want to boot properly (could not finish the install properly)
because it was going to use lilo and not grub, or I could not skip something, anyway not a happy camper
on a HD with already 2 distros + zindows.
Only my experience and having read once it does not coexist well
with other distros
- beware if one cut in two (or three) a parition to install another distro then the grub references
becomes all shifted (and so are the fstab in each of the distro)
vim skills are a must, and it is quite easy to fix, but a newbie would need explanations or warnings

Hope this helps toward what us newbies face when playing around

Emmanuel (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-02 06:40.

Grub or lilo?

Being a newbie myself - I never installed Windoze, and I started working and installing Linux only one year ago - I must say that I have found lilo much easyer to install and work with than grub, and can I say - no matter what Mango Parfait thin-,, Mandrake-Mandriva is by far the easyest and more friendly Linux distro I have tryed. And I have tryed many and only because I like to install many different distro on my computer.
I have decided to ban Fedora from my computer ; I tryed a few times and I always end up having to reinstall everything from scratch not to mention the very limited number of packages it offers...and the Grub installation especially if one have more OSs or other different version of Linux is very criptic...
One thing I do not understand...why suggesting to disconnect a hard drive during installation?
One is always given the chance to select the HD and partition where to instal the OS...no?
Santo

santo (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-09 21:01.

Grub or Lilo

Your comment on easy to use Linux distros made me want to tell you to give Ubuntu a try sometime.
For me, that was the easiest distro to install and to keep up to date.
The Ubuntu Forum's are terrific.

Phil (not verified) - Wed, 2005-09-14 19:03.

For paranoid people, disconne

For paranoid people, disconnecting the HD on which linux will not be
installed is the safest way not to format the existing HD. or install over,
or "destroy" the MBR of the existing working OS.
I only suggest this for paranoid people, or for concerned people
who have never installed an OS before.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2005-09-11 11:26.

Congratulations on your magaz

Congratulations on your magazine.

Here's my advice to make it even better.
I really wish there was an html version of the magazine on your website, optimized for reading on handheld devices (smaller pictures).
That way I could download it to my pda (I have mobipocket but many have AvantGo etc. ) and read it when I have time.
The PDF format is just not the right format for handheld devices.
Many sites are offering areas to connect and download a copy of the magazine to read on handheld devices, and I wish my favourite e-magazine (TUX) would offer such feature.
I think it is difficult for many people to find the time to just sit in front of the desktop or laptop and read. Specific Ebook reading software is much better for that purpose, and most can read html or conversion can be done quite easily.
I don't know what format you are starting from to publish your magazine, but it shouldn't be difficult to publish an html version.

Keep up the good work and.....think about my suggestion.

Gumbo (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-02 04:10.

Thanks for the Inkscape article

These issues of Tux are getting better and better. Kudos to everyone putting it together. I wanted to pay special thanks to Mr. Kirsanov for the article on Inkscape. I had been contemplating loading it on my desktop for a few weeks now and after reading the article did so immediately. I'm totally impressed with this app. Adobe is really missing this boat.

brian o (not verified) - Thu, 2005-09-01 14:35.

One-sided results in Reader's Choice Awards

I subscribed to the mag when it was first announced. When the first issue came out I was disapointed to find that the coverage was almost exclusively focused on KDE desktop environments (there was one small peek at a program based on Gnome). I quickly realized that this magazine would be of little use to me because it didn't have much interest in the desktop tool I use most.

I would be surprised to find I am alone in this.

Therefore, KDE users will likely dominate your reader base and therefore all votes will largely favor KDE. It's kind of like going to a MSDN convention and asking everyone what their favorite IDE is.

Ideally, instead of favoring one desktop at the beginning, you should have given both major desktops equal coverage, and included some info for users of the minor desktop environments. Then, instead of assumming that KDE is the desktop your readers are most interested in, you could have run a poll or a reader's choice award and tailored the content based on the response. This would have avoided disenfrachising a possibly substantial portion of your user base and would have saved your credibility.

As it is, your reader's choice awards are worthless because you've only gathered data from a narrow segment of the Linux desktop users.

You should rename the rag to "TUX/KDE magazine, the first and only magazine for the new KDE user."

Oh, and is it just me, or does it seem odd to be asking new Linux users which tools are the best? By definition, new users will have little experience with different tools and largely will have only used the ones with prominent icons on the desktop or panel. It's kind of a dichotomy. It strikes me as odd that your readers, new linux users, voted vi to be the best editor.

Matthew Nuzum (not verified) - Thu, 2005-09-01 09:54.

We did run a poll

If you look here you will see the poll we opened starting on the 1st of April. Research prior to that poll indicated that KDE was by far more popular in the non-Programmer community but we did want to make sure. While the poll is still open (and has over 10,000 responses) it has pretty much shown a 2:1 ratio between KDE and Gnome users.

For a large percentage of the articles in TUX it makes no difference what desktop environment you choose. We do, however, favor KDE because that is what people are asking for.

fyl - Thu, 2005-09-01 14:39.

More Gnome please

"While the poll is still open it has pretty much shown a 2:1 ratio between KDE and Gnome users."
Unfortunately, your mag shows a 100:1 ratio between KDE and Gnome articles. Your argument does not make any sense.

Fedora Core 4 (not verified) - Wed, 2005-09-14 03:51.

Agreed

I have noticed the same thing as you Matthew. I believe that the second issue contained a letter to the editor about the KDE centric coverage. It basically responded with KDE is more popular so that what we're going to focus on. Considering the Ubuntu is a GNOME distrobution and currently the most popular, I find it hard to believe that KDE out paces GNOME by much.

Russ Berckmoes (not verified) - Thu, 2005-09-01 12:26.

However, you seem to miss out

However, you seem to miss out that the top players always have been, and probably will be for a while the following: Red Hat/Fedora, SuSE, Mandrake/Mandriva. These three distros tend to have about an even split, and of them, RH/Fedora is the only one that is a Gnome default desktop. SuSE and Mandrake/Mandriva both run KDE, and there are even alot of freaks like me that will install Fedora and immediately switch it to KDE. Let's face it, people love eye-candy, and Gnome just doesn't do eye-candy. If you want a flashy desktop that people will be impressed with or cool effects when opening/closing screens, KDE is where it's at. If you are interested in streamlining your computer and making it friendly, yet fast, Gnome is the place to be. There is just a lot more people in the former group than the latter. Oh, and btw, if you really want a fast computer, dump both and switch to ice. The only problem with ice is that it's too much of a pain for regular use, so I stick to using it on server applications.

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-02 16:01.

I chose KDE above Gnome after

I chose KDE above Gnome after trying both on RedHat and later Mandrake, NOT because of eyecandy but because KDE feels better integrated. Whenever I open a file in any program I get one familiar and comfortable dialogue box that works well. Gnome programs used to each have their own dialogue, though this may have changed, but it's a huge problem that it is uncumfortable to use. If they could just put a UP and BACK button somewhere on there. Oh and I use Ice-light to start my games from since it's lightning fast and leaves all the resources for UT2004 or VegaStrike while both KDE and Gnome have sound managers and stuff that make games slower. In Mandriva you choose the graphical environment at login.

Ben (not verified) - Wed, 2005-09-07 05:03.

dito!

I also agree. I used Debian a couple of years with "blackbox", but after installing Ubuntu on a new laptop I switch my Debian-installation to Gnome, too. I suppose that many others are deciding on their Ubuntu-installation to the same direction. Should be necessary to RESTART your poll at the end of this year after the release of Ubuntu Breezy Badger.

carsten lange (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-02 03:07.

dito!

... or maybe if you don't want to read articles that might be about KDE, you could... *gasp* not read them instead of reading them then getting so annoyed you whinge about it ;)

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2005-09-04 03:34.

To Read or Not to Read - ?

My point is that TuxMag is setting it self up as a creadible authority and then publishing a readers' choice award. In my opinion it is very pretentious for a magazine to publish a readers' choice award in the first few months of its existence, especially after disenfranchising a significant portion of the Linux community (imagine being a new linux user and seeing that the screen shots in the magazine articles don't look even remotely familiar).

You can't trust a website poll... it's going to be drastically slanted towards the bias your readers have.

C'est la vie.

Matthew Nuzum (not verified) - Tue, 2005-09-13 08:24.

Now, what were we talking about?

"You can't trust a website poll... it's going to be drastically slanted towards the bias your readers have."

I believe we are talking about a Reader's Choice poll. As the goal was exactly that--to see what our readers prefer--I feel we did the poll in exactly the right place/way.

To clarify the bigger issue, we are not trying to offer coverage that matches the percentage of Gnome/KDE/FVWM/... users. Our goal is to help people transition to Linux and learn more about it. As I has said before, much of our coverage is window environment-agnostic. For example, The GIMP just runs--no matter what windowing environment you use.

When it comes to something specific we will prefer KDE. Sometimes covering another environment is easy to fit in and we may do that. If we do, it will likely be in a sidebar to reduce any possible confusion. We encourage you to explore whatever you are comfortable with. But, for the new user, offering a solution is generally better than offering a set of alternatives.

fyl - Wed, 2005-09-14 15:49.

Lightweight desktops

I hope this doesn't mean that John Knight's articles about lightweight desktops will be stopped. That's what I found more interesting in this issue.
If I understand correctly, you're only interested in readers who need a solution to start using Linux. As soon as they are more experienced, or anyway start looking for alternatives, they should go to other magazines ...
Hmmm ... sounds a bit strange. Many times I read that "Linux is about choice". I think that Linux users may exist that are not absolute beginners, but still are not 'so' geek to make use of all the 'professional' infos about Linux available on the Web. I guess there's still space for intermediate-level magazines, where peolpe can find clear explanations, just like in Tux, but not only for 'point-and-click'ers' or KDE users.
What about yet another magazine ? ;)

Emilio Morello

Emilio Morello (not verified) - Thu, 2005-09-15 10:49.

gnome

whilst i read tux magazine and send it too friends the sheer discrimination of gnome is very unproffesional and unneccassery gnome his an excellent desktop environment, superor to kde in most ways. i used mandrake 10.1 for about a year with kde the bugginess and crashes i experianced drove me back to windows for a while if linux crashes all the time whats the point in using it to avoid windows crashes? i didnt realise at the time was this was purely kde problems, programs failing to start incredibly slow startup times and noto mention konqeurer crashes at the drop of a hat. besides that saying kde has eye candy is a choice of words, all its themes look like they were made by 4 year olds as i said it caused me to ditch linux not realising there were other desktops since switching to suse and gnome followed by ubuntu i soon realised branding linux with kdes gaping inadequacies was an error on my part. you see that ubntu is the favourite distribution gnome default, if your users are truly new users they wont want to change it to KDE. also places like distrowatch show ubuntu having the most votes with kubuntu following in a distant eleventh place i may suggest that the reason KDE is number one is because your users distros (mandrake/suse/etc) are default kde and your users havent discovered anything better, ie GNOME.

Mike (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-16 09:27.

It's true what you're saying.

It's true what you're saying. KDE has a lot of bugs.
I recently change from KDE to Gnome and I get a REAL CHANGE IN LINUX EXPERIENCE. Gnome is the best desktop environment in these days. I never haven't tried "enlightenment".
Bye

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-16 12:29.