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Linux evolution

We’re picking our best Linux distributions for 2014. It’s always an odd task and this year we’ve decided to take the chance to delve into the genus behind the distros that we use every day. We’ve been inspired by the GNU/Linux Distribution Timeline at which we’ve mentioned before, and decided that we’d explore why the major families in the GNU/Linux world sprang up and how they’ve evolved over the years.

Supercomputer speed

Linux is a fast operating system. In fact, we feel pretty safe saying it’s the fastest operating system. OK, so there are different metrics, but considering the world’s fastest supercomputer with a mere 3.1 million Intel Xeon
processors runs Linux, we feel on very safe ground for at least one of those metrics. Almost as impressive is that 97% (Source: of the world’s top-500 supercomputers happen to run Linux. Check out the statistics yourself at, they’re really impressive.

Growing pains

“This is the year of Linux on the desktop” is the oft used battle cry from parts of the Linux community. A dive into comp.os.linux – or if you dare into advocacy
( – and you can trawl all the way back to 2002 and see the same old cry hoisted high. But with Linux desktop use at around 1.5 percent ( and with the Steam Hardware Survey ( showing it at 1.1 percent, what happened?

Cognitive Dissonance

Ubuntu is the distro people love to hate. That is ironic, as it’s spawned a larger number of currently forked
distros than any other flavour of Linux. Just take a look at the GNU/Linux Distribution Timeline from It’s a truly nuts diagram of just how forked the Linux world has become. Totting up the currently live distros, Ubuntu is easily the most fertile with 70 forks. Debian and Red Hat have just over 60 each, and as for the total? We lost count after 280...

Linux, Linux everywhere

The Linux Format team genuinely hope you love this issue, as we think it shows how GNU/Linux is touching
every aspect of not just the computing world, but our everyday lives too. Nothing highlights this better than our lead news story and the fallout from Heartbleed. Suddenly the world woke up and realised an open source project – OpenSSL – was a vital element in their lives, but from a near-disaster comes an amazing new solution.

Long live Linux!

We tend to avoid the ‘W’ word but this is a special occasion because Windows XP is officially dead, killed by Microsoft. Support for the longstanding desktop operating system has ceased and it has left millions of PC
systems on security life support. It’s a sickly side effect of the proprietary world that people can be forced into using an insecure operating system, unless they keep buying new releases or new systems.

A minty fresh start

We’re into a new year, so isn’t it time you thought about a fresh new start? Mint 16 is out and it’s easily the best version of Mint to date, packing Cinnamon 2.0 as its desktop. To celebrate its launch we’ve got eight pages dedicated to how the Mint community pushed through these key features, bug fixes, taking Mint 14 from what it was, to today; making Mint 16 a truly awesome Linux desktop experience. We also look forward to Mint 17, which creator Clement “Clem” Lefebvre and the Mint community have huge
plans for.

Digital engine of the world

As we dive headlong towards a new year, it seems everything is changing. So welcome to the next issue of Linux Format and a new editor graces this page. While the faces may change, the game most certainly stays the same; packing as much informative, fun and inspirational content into the hallowed pages of the world’s best GNU/Linux and open-
source software magazine.

Update && Upgrade

Welcome to the new, but same-old awesome Linux Format. While the title remains the same, the team behind it has changed. I'm Neil Mohr and will be taking the open source championing reins, as the new Linux Format editor.

We're currently mid-production on the next issue, 179 of Linux Format, and you can be assured it's going to be packed with the features, tutorials, coding and interviews you know and love. It has been your support and that great content, which has made LXF the number one title for free software it is today.

Bishop to King 7

Nine years ago, when I started working for this wonderful magazine, the Linux landscape and the general outlook for open source was very different.

You couldn’t use the Linux desktop to access your online bank account, you could barely play any video and audio media and mentioning Linux to strangers was akin to admitting to a criminal past.

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