Before I go any further I'll define some terms that will be used in the magazine reviews.
Linux is a type of operating system (OS), it performs the same function as MacOs or Windows.
A Linux distro is a combination of the Linux OS and a selection of software. The software is mostly high quality and free to use and performs most of the tasks that the average computer user will need.
A live Linux distro is a a way of trying Linux without installing it on the computer hard drive. It runs from the CDROM/DVD drive and the computer's memory (RAM).
The average Windows PC user is first exposed to Linux by reading the Linux section of a PC magazine or picking up a magazine dedicated to Linux from the shelf of a newsagents. So I'll start with general PC magazines that have some Linux coverage.
This magazine has always had a few pages dedicated to alternative operating systems. It was the only mainstream computer magazine to keep some interest alive in the Spectrum, Atari and Amiga computers long after dedicated magazines ceased to exist. The covedisk is aimed at Windows users.
Personal Computer World
This magazine has had a dedicated section for Linux users and sometimes back issues of magazine features in PDF format. It often has a live Linux distros on the DVD.
This has some Linux coverage. It often has a live Linux distros on the DVD.
(They will need to be burnt onto a CDROM or DVD as they are in ISO format, just follow the instructions in the magazine.)
It has a small section on Linux.
Future Magazines, PC Plus, PC Answers and PC Format sometimes put a live Linux distros on the DVD.
Future also publishes Linux Format a magazine dedicated to all things Linux. If you live in the UK, then this is the most easy to find Linux magazine. It is even available in Tesco supermarkets!
If you ever read Amiga Format you will recognise some of the names of the magazine staff. The magazine has reviews and features on hardware, software and programming. The writers usually make even complex Linux tasks accessible to a beginner.
The cover DVD is excellent often featuring two live distros that can boot via a menu straight from the DVD and also squeezes in additional free software plus magazine tutorials. Other months may feature a full distro.
If You want get a taste of what the magazine is like, go to the website at www.linuxformat.co.uk, a few articles from past issues are available for download in PDF format.
Available in good newsagents, Linux Magazine has good in-depth features Some of the reviews can be a bit opinionated and push the Free Software Foundation and Gnu point of view. I cite the Freespire review as an example.
The website has complete PDF articles from the first issue to six months before the current issue. As you can imagine this provides a valuable resource to the Linux community
The magazine tries to put a full distro on each DVD. This gives the user the opportunity to fully customise the software and features of the Linux system they install on their PC. (If you have a problem downloading Linux due to a slow or unreliable connection then a coverdisk is the best way to get hold of a full distro.)
This magazine can prove hard to find and the website does not promote the magazine very well . In fact it seems very keen to promote the PDF subscription version.
When you finally get you hands on an issue it is a good Linux read!
The coverdisk tries to put a full distro on each DVD with the same advantages that I listed above.
Not all magazines are paper based
Named after the Linux penguin mascot this is a downloadable PDF magazine (for a small subscription $9.95). It is ideal for the new Linux user with lots of reviews and tutorials. How many computer magazines can claim that the help section has a sense of humour? It opens up in full screen presentation format on the screen. Visit the website.
Free Software Magazine
This is now available in four versions. An on-line--- HTML format a black and white PDF of individual articles, a full colour PDF of the complete magazine and a printed paper version! All are laid out in traditional portrait format
As you might expect it promotes the Free Software Foundation and Gnu point of view but has good step by step tutorials. It is free so take a look at the website
This is a magazine aimed at the PCLinuxOS user community the two issues I have downloaded been interesting, even reviewing other distros in an impartial way. It has two versions, one is PDF which opens up in full screen presentation format and also a html version to read on the screen. Visit the website.
This PDF magazine is laid out in laid out in traditional portrait format and the content is aimed at System Administrators in charge of servers. A very well written magazine for the more advanced Linux user. Take a look on the website.
The first 6 issues of this well laid out, traditional portrait PDF format magazine are still available on-line at this website. It is aimed at the more experienced Linux user and even though the last issue is dated October 2005 much of the content is still relevant.