Posts Tagged ‘apps’

Favorite Linux Apps: Photo & Image


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Linux Gui Applications for Photos and Image-based tasks

If you like to store your digital photos in “album-style” format, then I recommend Digikam.  It’s a KDE-based app so I suggest installing it using Synaptic on Debian-based systems.  Let Synaptic fetch other files as needed.  This saves you the headaches of “dependency hell”, which happens when an app you wish to install needs additional files and you have no idea which ones, where to find them, or how to properly install them.

To manipulate photos and images (such as cropping, or layering text captions onto them) I suggest you install the GIMP if it’s not there by default.  To find out if you have it, you can check your Applications menu or issue the following command in a terminal

which gimp

If the shell returns something like “/usr/bin/gimp“, then its installed.  If it returns nothing, you’ll need to install it.  The GIMP also does scaling (resizing images while keeping the aspect ratio) and is the closest freeware knockoff of Adobe Photoshop to my knowledge.

When I say “closest” I implore you to decide for yourself if your tasks can be done with free software.  The GIMP has a lot of great features such as transparency, layers, gradients, and more; but IT IS NOT CAPABLE of replacing Photoshop if that’s what your work requires.

If you’re doing commercial graphical work, your software choice (and budget) should be “an investment” and not “an expense”.  For many personal uses, the GIMP may be able to give you professional-looking results.

Favorite Linux Apps: Text Editors


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Linux Gui Applications to write and edit text

For simple stuff I recommend Gedit that comes with GNOME-based Linux distros.  If you’re running a K-Desktop Environment (KDE) then Kate is really good.   Gedit works well for writing quick text snippets or copying text from websites to use later on.

For text writing in general, I like Pyroom which came pre-installed with Crunchbang Linux 9.04 and I happen to be writing this very blog post using Pyroom.  Pyroom reminds me of a typewriter interface—everything else on the screen (except for your text and a light border) is invisible.  Nothing to distract your eyes.  You only see the words that you type (non-formatted) on your (virtual) page.  Each time you hit “return”, your work just scrolls upward.  And it can “auto-save” your work at intervals that you set in preferences.

If you’re going to write scripts in various programming languages, then you’ll need a decent IDE-style code editor.  This comes in handy if you’re building a website, because you can create a “project” file that will group together the text-based files related to your website.

For this type of work, I use Geany, but have recently installed Aptana Studio to try it out.

The benefit of an IDE-style editor is that it can color the syntax so your commands don’t look like a big vat of text.  This makes reading, writing, documenting (or “in-code comments”) and troubleshooting your work much much easier.

Favorite Linux Apps: Burning disks


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Linux Gui Application to Burn CDs/DVDs

Depending on your Linux distribution, you already have an application capable of burning Data CDs for file/folder backups and Music CDs.  Most of them offer the ability to burn an .iso file.

I usually install K3B (KDE-based) for disk burning.  Install k3b with Synaptic package manager:  type “k3b” [no quotes] after clicking the “Search” button.  If you’re using a non-KDE System, let Synaptic install any extra items.

I prefer k3b because I find it more reliable than other burning software that may come bundled with a distro.  I won’t name applications, but for one reason or another they disappointed me, even though community opinion of them is high.

There are times when you just have to trust your instincts and experiences.

When something works for you, use it.  If it gives you headaches, then seek alternatives.

That’s the benefit of choice.

Upgrade Firefox: Ubuntu-style Linux


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Upgrade your Firefox web browser.

Found this great tutorial site for upgrading Firefox web browser in Ubuntu (and Ubuntu-style) Linux distributions.  I’ve linked to the category page, because (to date) the latest version mentioned is Firefox 3.5.5 and currently (as of 2nd February 2010) Mozilla has released version 3.6 for download.  Click the following link to Mozilla Firefox downloads page.

Why is “Ubuntu and Ubuntu-style” relevant here?  Because the tutorial that I found applies to the Linux distro that I’ve been using for a while.  It’s called “Crunchbang Linux” and it’s also known by it’s symbolic alias of #!more info on Crunchbang Linux at this link.  The tutorial was written with Ubuntu in mind but will also work on Ubuntu derivatives such as Linux Mint and others.

The tutorial has 3 easy steps—possibly even 2 steps—depending on whether or not you’ve already upgraded Firefox or not.  If you have upgraded, you’ll need to follow all 3 steps.  If not, then you’ll only need 2 steps.  Note, I do not count the step of moving the downloaded Firefox *.tar.bz2 file to your /home/userName directory as a step because it’s something you will have to do (or not do) depending on your Firefox download folder preferences.  Early versions of Firefox have a default setting of downloading all files to the /home/userName/Desktop folder, however, depending on the flavor of Linux you are running, it may choose the /home/userName/downloads folder.

Thanks again to Jaxov for the awesome tutorial.  Just follow this link (or the link at the top of this post) and then look for the highest Firefox version available.  You should also visit the Mozilla download link above to see if a later version is available.  The steps in the tutorial are similar (if not identical) for recent versions of Firefox, so even if you are downloading version 3.6 you can still follow the directions in the tutorial for 3.5.5 and it will work.

Useful Commands: introduction


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Learning useful shell commands help save time & effort.

Do you have to use the command line?  No, you don’t have to use it.  I didn’t use it much when I started using Linux.  But, in my opinion, learning useful shell commands helps you get the most out of Linux.

What are some benefits of using the Command Line?

  • When you need help from the Linux community, many helpful solutions are expressed as commands to be run in the terminal.  It’s done this way for simplicity, accuracy, and consistency.  Many graphical-based (GUI) programs are “front-ends” where a user triggers events (via menu choices & button clicks) that execute terminal-based commands in the background.
  • Many jobs in the IT and web development field require candidates to be comfortable on the command line.  This implies the ability to issue shell commands and use console-based text editors such as vi and emacs.  Some jobs will also require you to understand (and perhaps troubleshoot) pre-written shell scripts in many languages.
  • For repetitive tasks, using the command line is just plain faster.  Why wait for a GUI program to open, click on things, or browse for file(s) to manipulate one file at a time?  You could simply type one or more commands [and options] into a prompt to accomplish the same.  When you find yourself issuing the same commands a few times, it becomes apparent to save these command calls in a text-based file (a shell script) to make the process even faster.  More on this to come.

Your choice: part 1


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Linux offers a freedom of choice.  Part 1 of ??

  1. Choice to create an operating environment in countless variations. Of course other Operating Systems offer choice in customizing your work space.  Changing things like your desktop colors, fonts, and font sizes are possible in Mac and Windows, etc.   With Microsoft Windows, you’re stuck with “Explorer” as your file manager. In Mac it’s called the Finder.  In Linux there are many file managers to pick from.  Another example is the desktop environment.  Say you wanted a simplistic layout without all the “bloat”.  Linux offers several “minimalist” desktops where the fancy eye-candy is gone, leaving you with a clean interface that uses less system resources (such as RAM) allowing for much faster response times.
  2. Choice of how many virtual desktops (Mac OS-X has “Spaces” which does essentially the same thing).  What are “virtual desktops”?  They are workspaces.  In Windows, it’s easy to clutter your desktop when you have a lot of file folders and applications open.  It becomes tedious to remember which ones to use and which ones to minimize.  And even with the advent of “ALT+TAB” to cycle through your folders and apps, the more things you have open makes it take longer to get at what you need at that given moment.  Imagine grouping your web-based apps and folders in its own “area 1” and have your word processing and spreadsheet open in “area 2” and have some mp3 music files playing in “area 3”.  The ability to flip back and forth between these “areas” greatly reduces desktop clutter—allowing you to get things done more efficiently.