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A year in FOSS

The time has flown by but it seems I’ve been in the hot FOSS seat for twelve months; more commonly known as one of your Earth years. It’s rare to talk directly about the magazine, but the good news is we’re still here and doing better than ever. We’re continuing to bring onboard new writers to expand our areas of expertise and we’re planning, what we hope you will find, fascinating new features and tutorials for the year ahead.

I might have started on Linux Format as something of an open source neophyte – though to qualify that I’ve used Linux since 2000 for projects and even looked at the kernel source mid-90s on my Amiga – but even then it was obvious how vibrant, constantly changing and vitally important GNU/Linux is to the world. Over the last year here in the UK open source has seeped into our government infrastructure and is now part of the school curriculum, championed a good deal by the work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

To help celebrate this fortunate turn of events we’re exploring how you can hack Linux on the Pi to ever greater levels with fun projects, advanced Linux services and essential skills. All the fun starts inside issue 191 so we hope you’ve brought your Pi with you.

Not that we want to obsess on the Pi too much, even if it’s a great device that’s changing the world, a big part of that success is its Linux smarts. We’re finishing our Nginx series (which also happens to all work with the Raspberry Pi) but we’re also going deep into Cython to accelerate everyday Python, exploring how to use Git for your own projects and look at how you can get started developing PHP.

We’re also trying to stay musical with a roundup of excellent players and even pro-level production. Plus even more advanced tutorials, reviews and a packed DVD. I hope you enjoy the issue and many more over the next 12 months!

Issue 192, Christmas - on sale now

Power Up

We’re powering up this issue, but this time it’s your brain that’s getting the upgrade (don’t worry it won’t hurt a bit). Your inner Tux is about to get a super-boost of FOSS knowledge. So prepare your sedated synapses, wake your napping neurons and gather your grey matter for an influx of distro secrets and the inner workings of the GNU/Linux system underbelly. You can’t understate how important this system-level knowledge is. It’s valued highly by old-school system admins and enables you to grapple with the inner workings of Linux unlike anything else. It’s so highly prized that recent changes to the Debian caused a group of ‘veteran Unix admins’ aka Unix grey-beards to threaten to (all together now) fork it, find out more over at http://debianfork.org. It’s the old cliché that no one likes change, the loss of SysV init for Systemd, plus the emphasis on the Gnome desktop has got the backs up of a bunch of old-timers alongside other groups that are against the supposed feature creep of Systemd. Like or loath Systemd, the Debian board democratically debated and selected it as the new init (SysV also remains in there) so asking it to then renege on that democratically made decision feels wrong. It’s like the FOSS Godfather is making us an offer we can’t refuse. But it’s their freedom to fork Debian and good luck to them, just quit with the threats. Life remains very exciting in the world of Linux we’ve managed to condense just a fraction of the developments that are taking place in the open source world. To kick things off we’ve got a full report and interviews with the people at Oggcamp 2014, (p42) hearing from the movers and shakers about developments this year. Our lad Jonni has been very busy building a Linux NAS box on page 46, creating the game 2048 inside of Minecraft, of all places, and using Mathematica to control Pi gadgets. Finally, an area we’ve wanted to explore for a long time is robotics and we look at how you can get started building a Linux-powered robot on page 52. With Ubuntu 14.10 on the disc this issue should keep you very busy!

 



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