Issue #230 / Jan 2020

DVD: Fedora Workstation 31 and Ubuntu Desktop 19.10

Article Code

Approximate on sale dates:

  • UK/Europe: Dec 02
  • USA/Canada: Dec 27
  • Australia: Jan 27


Home automation is no longer the stuff of science fiction. This month we explore some versatile tools for Linux users who are interested in IoT but don't want to surrender the freedom of open platforms and open source. Elsewhere inside:

  • PXE Boot with TinyCore -- Your old computer can live on even without a hard drive. Boot across the network with PXE.
  • Symphytum -- Create a simple and practical database for your notes, recipes, or pine cone collection.

Turn to MakerSpace for a real-world project with the Python Remote Objects Library (Pyro), and check out LinuxVoice for a look at the Gotify push notification tool.

SERVICE: Welcome

California Dreaming

We in Linux publishing have spent a lot of time holding Microsoft accountable for all the FUD and monkey business they have subjected us to through the years, so it is only fair to acknowledge them when they take a positive step. 

SERVICE: This Month's DVD

Fedora Workstation 31 and Ubuntu “Eoan Ermine” Desktop 19.10.


In the news: Microsoft Edge Coming to Linux; Open Invention Network Backs Gnome Project Against Patent Troll; Fedora 31 Released; openSUSE OBS Can Now Build Windows WSL Images; Sudo Vulnerability; Hetzner Launches New Ryzen-Based Dedicated Root Servers; and IBM Joins the Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project.

NEWS: Kernel News

Zack Brown reports on: Trusted Computing and Linux; Load Balancer Improvements; and New Random Number Handling.

: Alexa Skills

Using voice-controlled interfaces via Amazon Alexa

Want to add voice activation to your IoT environment? Create an Alexa skill.

: WebThings

Linux lab: Mozilla's WebThings Gateway

The smart home is gaining momentum, and Mozilla joins the fray. Mozilla WebThings is billed as an open platform for managing IoT devices. We decided to investigate.


FHEM – Setup, practical use, and alternative interfaces

If you want to equip your home with smart technology, you will need to deal with a variety of providers and what are often incompatible standards. FHEM is a free integration platform that houses the building blocks under one roof and offers visually appealing interfaces.

: Z-Wave

Setting up a smart home command center with Z-Wave

The RaZberry daughter board for your Raspberry Pi unlocks the power of the Z-Wave home automation environment.

IN-DEPTH: Vim Housekeeping

Choosing a Vim Plugin Manager

A plugin manager can help you corral your growing collection of Vim plugins. Choosing one depends on your personal preferences.

IN-DEPTH: PXE Boot with TinyCore

Breathe new life into an old computer with PXE boot and TinyCore Linux

Implementing PXE boot with TinyCore Linux lets you boot a computer over the network – a great solution for revitalizing old computing hardware.

IN-DEPTH: Symphytum

Databases Made Simple

From a simple task list to a collection that keeps tabs on your books, Symphytum lets you quickly and easily build databases for storing and working with any type of data imaginable.

IN-DEPTH: The sys admin's daily grind: urlwatch

What's New Pussycat?

Experienced system administrators attach great importance to always being up to date when it comes to information technology. Urlwatch is a command-line tool that presents the latest news from websites that do not offer RSS feeds by email.

IN-DEPTH: Flatpak

Flatpak integration with desktop systems

Flatpak's development may have been prompted by container development, but its future depends on the desktop.

IN-DEPTH: Open Heart Surgery

Watching activity in the kernel with the bpftrace tool

Who is constantly creating the new processes that are paralyzing the system? Which process opens the most files and how many bytes is it reading or writing? Mike Schilli pokes inside the kernel to answer these questions with bpftrace and its code probes.

: Python Remote Objects Library

Pyro – Networking made simple

Pyro allows multiple hardware devices to interact as if they are all on a local machine by hiding the networking.

NEWS: Recycled E-Ink

Open source e-paper

Combining open firmware with recycled hardware, Inkplate launches a crowdfunding campaign for an open source e-paper display.

: Simulated Pi Hardware

Simulate Raspberry Pi add-on hardware

Python and tk_tools let you create software versions of Raspberry Pi mini-displays, LED keypads, and NeoPixel hardware.

LINUX VOICE: In Support of Women Programmers

Women in Tech

Maddog ponders how the number of women in programming has changed over the course of his career and is pleased to see more women coming back into the tech workspace.


Get push notifications with Gotify

Replace proprietary cloud-based push notification services with a self-hosted open source notification solution.


Manage your ebooks

Calibre can help manage your ebooks by bulk converting files, adding metadata, and making content available across all your devices.


This issue's copy was almost late after Graham rediscovered just how immersive and addictive the 1997 game, Blade Runner, can be when recreated on the latest release of ScummVM. Plus, Graham explores Blender 2.8, Amass, Cookbook, Mangl, Cawbird, Chiaki, and more!


Build your own Mastodon client

Creating your own clients to interact with your friends in the Fediverse is easy. A bit of Python and an off-the-shelf module will do the trick.

Issue 230/2020

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