The freedom to choose is a key pillar of the open source world; hairy Richard Stallman wanted to ensure that we all had the freedom to access ‘computing’ and it’s a good thing too. Could you imagine having no other choice than Windows 8? What would you do if Apple iOS was the only option? If the GNU/Linux system didn’t exist you’d find your freedom to choose severely limited. Our main feature this issue celebrates that choice by looking at the big five distros: Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Mageia and OpenSUSE. We are pitting them against each other and highlighting their pros and cons so you can find out which one is the best for you. They’re all stand-out distros in their own ways, but what makes one the right choice for your desktop, server or laptop? We know that you will have your own opinions, and our scope isn’t limited to just those five distros, so we take a look at the hardcore and lightweight options as well – at Linux Format, we’re always excited at the host of choices on offer!
Something that’s not quite so open – but still rather empowering – is everyone’s favourite diminutive ARM-powered board, the Raspberry Pi. Excitingly, it took a step closer to becoming a fully open platform when Broadcom – manufacturer of the Pi’s SoC – open sourced its GPU stack. This is a first for Broadcom and can only be down to the fantastic work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. While many parts of the Pi’s Broadcom SoC will remain blobs, this additional open sourcing is another step in the right direction. Elsewhere, GPL 3D printer models have the ability to revolutionise manufacturing and we are therefore taking an open source first look at just how you can get involved with 3D printing. However, if you fancy something a little more down-to-earth, you could try out the open source Arduino Shrimping.it project.