Issue #217 / Dec 2018

DVD: Linux Magazine Archive DVD

Article Code

Approximate on sale dates:

  • UK/Europe: Nov 03
  • USA/Canada: Nov 30
  • Australia: Dec 31


Public discussions of Linux often focus on the same few distros – Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE, RHEL – but the FOSS space is home to hundreds of other worthy Linux distributions, and all were created for a reason. This month we examine some promising alternatives. Other highlights include:

• Git Remote Repositories – Our Git workshop continues with a look at how to manage projects with multiple servers
• /proc Filesystem – We show you some example scripts that extract information on running processes

In this month's MakerSpace, we use Python to interface with littleBits IoT blocks. And check out LinuxVoice for an update on the classic Usenet discussion network and a tutorial on RSS.

SERVICE: Welcome

It's Gonna Be OK

I've written a lot of these columns through the years (169, actually – one for every month since August 2004), and in all that time, I don't think I've ever written on the same topic twice in a row. But now I can feel some unfinished business. Last month I discussed the new Linux kernel Code of Conduct, venturing to suggest that it was perhaps overdue and indeed a welcome thing.

SERVICE: This Month's DVD

Debian 9.5 Live Gnome and Emmabuntüs

NEWS: News

Red Hat reports $823 revenue for second quarter 2019; Debian, Ubuntu, and other Distros are leaving users vulnerable; Nextcloud 14 arrives; Linus Torvalds takes a break, apologizes; Chinese spy chip in US servers?; Is North Korea hacking US ATM machines?

: Kernel News

Zack describes recent discussions of the new Linux kernel Code of Conduct.

: Bodhi Linux 5.0.0

Exploring Bodhi Linux 5.0.0

Bodhi is a lightweight Linux that features Moksha – a simple but colorful desktop based on Enlightenment 17.

: Heads

Secure and anonymous on the Internet with Heads

Several live distributions support anonymous surfing on the Internet. Heads is a leading alternative that lets you surf secretly on older hardware.

: Nitrux

This Linux from Mexico offers some convenient tools and a customized KDE environment

Nitrux Linux integrates a flexible new package tool, an easy-to-use encryption system, and other useful innovations.

: Qubes OS 4.0

Isolation with Qubes OS 4.0

By isolating complete work environments in virtual machines, Qubes OS offers a significant security boost.


Linux laptop manufacturer Purism

At Purism, a company specializing in Linux laptops, social and ethical considerations are as important as profit.

: Remote Git Repositories

Manage and share files with Git

Software projects often comprise several code  branches, some of which exist in parallel. Git supports community code development through remote repositories and code branching.

: Exploring /proc

Exploring the /proc filesystem with Python and shell commands

The Linux /proc virtual filesystem offers a window into a running system – look inside for information on processes and kernel activity.

IN-DEPTH: Eye Candy

A command-line presentation app with purpose

Contrary to conventional wisdom, a command-line presentation app can be easy to use. Impressive does just that and gives you more flexibility to boot.

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

Cheat Sheet

Whenever you really need documentation, it's almost always incomplete or outdated – or both. Sys admin columnist Charly K¸hnast recommends a radically different approach: the universal community documentation, which no Linux command and hardly any programming language should do without.

IN-DEPTH: A backtracking algorithm tries its hand at the bridges of Königsberg

Seven Bridges to Cross

Pretty much any computer science lecture about graph theory covers the "Seven Bridges of Königsberg" problem. Mike Schilli puts a Python script to work on a solution, but finds that a new bridge must be built.

: littleBits and Python

Connect littleBits components directly to your PC or Pi

Communicate with your littleBits sensors and devices through Python programs.

NEWS: upribox 2.0: secure communication on the Internet

upribox 2.0

Upribox 2.0 acts as a router and filters both trackers and ads, saving you the annoying task of manually hardening your web browser with countless add-ons.

: Laptop Reform

DIY portable computer

An open hardware laptop that encourages hacking and repair while offering security and transparency – all for an affordable price.

LINUX VOICE: Introduction

This month in Linux Voice.

LINUX VOICE: DOGHouse – Thanks for the Numbers

Thanks for the Numbers

Published rates of "pirated" software give an indication of how much most countries lose by investing in proprietary licensing.


OpenAstro helps users determine the positions of stars and generate charts to use when creating horoscopes for friends, relatives, or celebrities.


Before the web as we know it existed, Usenet performed the same tasks now done by web forums and social networks. Despite its declining popularity, Usenet is still employed to publish articles, sustain mailing lists, and even upload files.


Synth-nut Graham pulls himself away from Moog One hype to unveil the best free software released this month.


Reading news is part good citizenry, part necessary evil, but your news feed notifications on Linux don't have to be distracting or intrusive.

Issue 217/2018

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