October 22nd, 2007

weird science, Eye: RCA Magic Eye, tech

Preparing for the Linux Switch

Okay. As you may recall, over the summer, I planned to switch over to Ubuntu Linux. I've procrastinated on that long enough for Ubuntu to release a new version -- so it's time to get my shit together and Do It.

Part of Getting My Shit Together is to make sure I can do all the little routine things I've gotten used to in Windows -- not Standard Windows Functions, which Ubuntu handles nicely, and not Full-Blown Applications like officeware, artware, and GISware: I've located Linux software for all of those.

I need recommendations for utilities -- those convenient bits of light, fast software that I wind up using more than either the OS-level tools or the Big Shiny Full-Featured Packages. Ideally, I'd like to find Linux apps with all the functionality of my current batch of Useful Things:

Top Priority:
  1. Graphics Viewer: Currently using IrfanView. I want something that will let me page through an entire directory of images just by pressing a key. Having to open up each file in a directory seperately is inconvenient; having to open up a full-fledged graphics program like Photoshop or The GIMP just to look at a picture is absurd.

    IrfanView can also handle useful functions like file conversion, cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, and so on. It can perform almost any image-related function except for actual image creation. Finding a Linux utility that flexible would be nice, but image browsing is the big thing.

  2. MUCKing: BeipMU is a nice, clean, fast MUCK client. One of its nicest features is the ability to open a seperate window for Puppets/Zombies, letting you run them without tripping over your main character. It also has excellent logging features, including the ability to automatically log those puppet windows seperately from the main account log.

    Like all my favorite Windows utilities (including IrfanView), BeipMU can run from a floppy or a thumb drive. I don't really need that flxibility for Linux software; I'll probably just keep my favorite WinApps around on a thumb, since any remote computer I'm likely to use will probably run Windows.

Convenient But Not Vital:

  1. Instant Messaging: Currently using AIM and ICQ. Since the passwords are long vanished, a new OS is going to require new accounts anyway, so I have no aversion to starting from scratch. Who's on what, what clients do you use, are there any good Linux clients out there, yada yada yada. Good file transfer is essential.

  2. Media! Currently using WinAMP for music playback, CDex for ripping, and r8brain for file conversion. Not using much of anything for video; it all sucks. I don't have any particular requirements for this -- in fact, I'd prefer something with as FEW features as possible. I find the apps that search your hard drive and try to make "music libraries" annoying; I'd rather use the computer's file system to organize my music.

    "Not Sucking" is the one real qualification.

  3. Seamless File Transfer: Novell NetDrive  lets me mount an FTP site as a drive, not only allowing me to browse it in Windows Explorer, but to save files directly to the site itself. This is insanely useful.

  4. Journal Posting: I prefer a good dedicated client to the online tools to post to LJ, and the Blogger interface demands so many hoops that it's the main reason my comics blog has gone unattended for so long. If there are any good equivalents to Semagic out there for Linux, I'll be very happy; if they post to other Blog sites as well, I'll be overjoyed.

  5. Font Management: I use both XFonter and the AMP Font Viewer to manage the thousands of fonts cluttering up my drive. How is Ubuntu's built-in font management? Are there any good Linux-based tools to improve it?

If I think of anything else, I'll put it in a new post.

This is not a request of recommendations for the OS itself; I'm going with Ubuntu.
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