One of the easiest methods that I have found to efficently keep up with various topics is to listen to podcasts. The audio format of a podcast means that you can do tasks, like cleaning or yardwork, while still being able to catch up with news or learn about something. Being rather captivated by computers, the majority of my listening focus on Linux and general open source software. Having spent several years building up a list of podcasts, here are some of the best.

  • Linux Outlaws - despite a very causual and humorous approach to covering the news of the Linux and open source world, Dan and Fab keep me up-to-date on current events. In many way, the show reminds me of the older The Linux Link Tech Show, but through its more organized format it manages to provide more interesting information in a given amount of time than TLLTS. The fact that a German and a Brit host the show makes it the highest priority in my listening queue, mostly because as an American I find their approaches to many topics different enough to be quite fascinating. Unforutately for the easily offended, profanity is common in every episode, so consider yourself warned.

  • The Command Line Podcast ranks about the same as the Linux Outlaws, not due to its well done weekly tech news coverage, but rather the insights given in the features shows. Thomas Gideon takes time to truly consider every feature that he runs, features which range from in-depth coverage of aspects of programming to well-considered discussions of free culture and copyright. I would rank this as being as good as a show as the no longer in production, Linux Reality (one of the best), for sheer usefulness of the information and the well developed, effective format.

  • Hacker Public Radio - right off the bat (unfortunately), a definite of hacker is needed for this section. Although the media defines a hacker in a negative fashion only, the orginial definition was positive and refered to someone who was interested in learning the workings of a computer system and related systems (such as networks). It is this definition (see the wikipedia page on hacker) which is used by the free software movement and is refered to in the title of this podcast.

HPR’s strength and weakness are based off the same thing, in that all the podcasts are user generated, so some are worthless while some are brilliant. Topics range from tutorials, introductions and discussions about specific subjects to recordings of Linux User Group sessions. In short, some episodes you will want to skip over within a few minutes of listening, but others will be worth retaining for an indefinite time, just to be able to listen to again.