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Open Source Learning

You get an education! You get an education! You get an education! It’s not something Oprah Winfrey would give away, as I guess to some a free car would seem more valuable, but how much is an education worth? I’d suggest on a purely practical level a huge amount, and we all know it’s something that’s truly invaluable. It’s one part of FOSS that we almost take for granted, but by providing the tools and documentation it’s assumed that people can and do educate themselves in everything they need to know.

Next-gen Linux

Next-gen GNU/Linux, what does that even mean? The FOSS world is so unlike the proprietary world. In that closed universe, new releases are considered so important that secrecy becomes paramount. So the next-gen release of Windows becomes so crucial. With FOSS and Linux development everything is laid bare. Sensible folk stick with the stable release but the brave-hearted can jump into an unstable, development branch and compile where angels fear to tread.

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.

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.