Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Favorite Apps in Ubuntu

A couple of friends have asked me what apps I'm running in Ubuntu since I posted Nine Months in Linux, no more Windows, so here comes a list of the stuff I'm running now and what else I have tested in each category.

OS: Linux Ubuntu 6.10, I also ran version 6.06 LTS (long term support) and the upgrade is very simple using either apt-get or the graphical update tool. Being a Debian variant is very stable, has a large development community and the new releases are frequent.

As I said on the other post I tried Fedora, Gentoo and Mandriva distributions as well, but liked Ubuntu's installation process better, it supports all my laptop features (Dell Inspiron 6400 Centrino Duo with Intel Graphics 945g and Intel Wi-Fi) , even the multimedia buttons in front, and the support forums available from the home page are a great help when you try to configure new drivers for new hardware. www.ubuntu.com

Window Manager: I'm currently running KDE, I switched from Gnome which I used for 4 months (you can just install the KDE packages, no need to install a fresh Kubuntu). I've found KDE to handle better the dual screens (dual head - in Gnome I had to fiddle around with the xorg.conf file quite a bit). KDE recognizes the dual screens right away. www.ubuntu.com

In the process I also tried Enlightenment, the interface is clean, but getting around wasn't very easy (maybe it's way too clean), didn't really like it. It wasn't very fast either, so after 2 or 3 days I switched to KDE.

Eye Candy Window Manager: I'm using Beryl, It gives you a rotating cube with your desktops, a Mac like exposé feature where you see all your open Apps at once, transparency, "elastic" windows, transparency, zoom plus a lot of other stuff. It comes with a skin manager as well. http://www.beryl-project.org/
I'm also using gDesklets to create a Apps panel, works fine requires some configuration. I understand Beryl also has one, but haven't tried it yet. http://www.gdesklets.de/

Note: I haven't been able to get the XGL graphics acceleration (required by Beryl) working with the dualscreens, only with my laptop LCD. If you have done this please post a comment explaining how, or leave your email so I can contact you.

Office: OpenOffice is fully compatible with Microsoft Office, and is quite faster and lighter, and free... (there's a version for Windows as well, this is where I started my migration process). The only thing I haven't found is dynamic tables like those Excel has, I don't use them that much, but if you do and still want to run unix, you can do so with Crossover (described below). OpenOffice comes as a part of the Ubuntu release. http://www.openoffice.org/

Mail: I'm using Mozilla's Thunderbird, it's fast, the spam filter is 90% to 95% effective, and Thunderbird can import your mailbox files from Outlook. Kontact seems pretty good, but I'm using it only for calendar...

Browser: Mozilla FireFox mainly. Comes with Ubuntu. You can run MS Internet Explorer using Crossover.
A reader recommended SwiftFox a faster version of FireFox for Linux, it is quite faster. I recommend installing using the installer script (.sh) not the tar file.

Messaging: I use Gaim and connect with a single application with my friends using MSN, Yahoo messenger, Google Talk and AIM, it supports some others (ICQ among them). I also have installed Skype for voice communications.

Development: Well ... its linux, it's all there, C, C++, php, Perl, Python, and for database you have MySql... and your Apache web server... I even have installed the latest version of Squeak (Smalltalk) but haven't started using it yet.

Images: There are a bunch of tools, for photo album's I'm using F-spot and for editing The Gimp (sort a free alternative Photoshop), I do simple editing but the program seems quite fast and powerful. they are part of the Ubuntu release.
Update: The same reader recommended trying XaraXL, it's a pretty fast program for drawing (object based). A little bit hard to install yet, but worth it.

Music: XMMS is pretty good, identical to win-amp. You can run iTunes (not the last version yet) using Crossover. XMMS comes with Ubuntu.
Update: Rythmbox is as close to iTunes as we will get for a while. It's very good, the bad part is you have to compile it. They are not providing the precompiled packages yet.

Video: VLC Media Player, and Totem Movie Player are pretty good.
I haven't tried anything on Video Editing in Ubuntu yet. I'll post an update when I do. If you have done this already, please leave a comment.

  • Crossover... Crossover is a compatibility layer for Windows applications that enables them to run over linux (they also have a version for Mac OS X). It supports apps as diverse as Excel, Lotus Notes, iTunes and Quicktime. I use it to run MS Project mainly, but if you need to Run Internet Explorer or want to play some Windows games, this is the way. http://www.codeweavers.com/products/
  • Google Earth... just for fun, but since it's a cool app, I like that it is available in linux.
  • Update: If you like stargazing, Stellarium is an awesome program, it requires graphics acceleration.
  • GPSDrive to connect your GPS to the laptop, has moving map feature and navigation, it is not a good as OziExplorer but does the work and is very easy to setup the communication with the GPS.
As I said before, working in Ubuntu is reliable, doesn't crash, and it is fast, you will love your hardware again once you see it running with this agility. No more waiting for your apps to start, or your computer to shut down.


radblog said...

hay alguna forma de leer esto en castellano?

radblog said...

a proposito de traducir