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22 October 2007 @ 11:57 am
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.
I feel: curiouscurious
Araquan Skytracer: Unixaraquan on October 22nd, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
For video especially, and general media-playbackness, you might want to give VideoLan Client a go.
The Freudian Yard Sale: Mighty Ducks Tanyaxylen on October 22nd, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
I just recently switched my server to Xubuntu. It comes with Gaim for the IMs and a nice selection of other wares. Can't say I know what it uses for media since the server just runs mucks and such and I rarely use it for actual web access.
SilverClawbfdragon on October 22nd, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, VLC for a media player is pretty good.

Pidgin for IMs, I've been using this on windows now. More clients then trillien and less bloated.

I use trebucet for mucking.

If you want to mount FTP as a drive, just go to "places" then "connect to server" and it should be self explanatory there

If you still want to do SL, you'll probably want to try and get yourself a GForce graphics card.
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on October 22nd, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
I've got a GeForce. I've got TWO, actually -- the 5500 I'm currently running, and a 7600 that works fine until I install the Windows drivers for it, then shuts down completely.

Just for grins, once I install Ubuntu, I'm going to plug in the 7600 and see if it still blows up with the LINUX drivers.

If It does, I'm stuck with the 5500, since my mobo is AGP, and finding AGP cards is tough. If it DOESN'T, then I won't be able to dual-boot into Windoze anymore.
Tephratephralynn on October 22nd, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
For LJ posting, Drivel maybe? I found it by googling "semagic linux".
Kreggankreggan on October 22nd, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
For mounting ftp sites, (or filesystems via ssh!), you'll probably want to use the user-space filesystem: http://fuse.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/FileSystems

I'm not sure exactly how intuitive it is, however...

Here's a quick document about how to use it under ubuntu:
KehzaFox: pleasedkfops on October 22nd, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Don't have good answers for everything. I'm biased on MU* clients, but mine doesn't do what you need.

For instant messaging Pidgin (formerly known as GAIM) will probably do the trick.

The mp3 player that I use (and love) is Amarok. It's a bit of a heavy-weight, but if you have lots of tunes and are some-what obsessive about sorting them, this is the program for you. It may be KDE specific, but you can always install Kbuntu along with Ubuntu and get the KDE libraries required.

For LiveJournal posting I use DeepestSender. It's an extension for Firefox, and since your browser is probably running anyways it's right at your fingertips. It doesn't have the fancy features of some clients, but it tends to get the job done.

As far as Font management I haven't really explored the options.

The same with image viewers, though gThumb Image Viewer or the like may do it for you. I use Digikam, but that's more for sorting large collections of images and the like.

Hope this helps!
Your Obedient Serpent: YAYathelind on October 22nd, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
Don't have good answers for everything. I'm biased on MU* clients, but mine doesn't do what you need.

Then add it! YAY!
KehzaFox: pleasedkfops on October 23rd, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
Y'know, that thought crossed my mind as soon as you posted about it. I'd just never had a request for it before, and since I've never had my own zombie, I never thought about it at all!

Oh dude, I am so totally thinking outside the zone now!
Your Obedient Serpent: YAYathelind on October 23rd, 2007 07:05 am (UTC)
Wheeee! I helped!
Reveille D'Giovanetti: ICE CREAM!!!reveille_d on October 22nd, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Graphics - No idea. I haven't used anything graphical viewing-y in Linux since XView.

MUCKing - I still use TinyFugue in a terminal. It's simple (non-graphical) but powerful, if you've the patience to work with it, and set up everything you want (highlighting, triggers, etc). It logs, it has a seperate command buffer, and it has individual world text buffers (scrollable even). Highly functional, with a learning curve to match.

IMs - Pidgin (formerly GAIM). It's really your only choice.

Media - XMMS has always been a pretty good Linux alternative to Winamp. I can't speak to media ripping or conversion, however. And I'll add my vote to the VLC camp. On any OS, it's a must-have.

Seamless Transfer - You can try ftpfs (http://ftpfs.sourceforge.net/) but if it's anything like sshfs, it won't be easy to set up.

No idea about the last two.
JP Sugarbroadtaral on October 23rd, 2007 12:09 am (UTC)
+1 Pidgin. There is no other worth speaking of.
JP Sugarbroadtaral on October 23rd, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)
If you're using GNOME, they have significant integration of protocol-as-filesystem... you can take pretty much any GNOME open/save dialog and type an ftp URL into it and it works.
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on October 23rd, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
Wywy on October 23rd, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)

for a mud client.

Your 7600 should work with Ubuntu's latest nvidia drivers. Use the non-free ones

Your Obedient Serpentathelind on October 23rd, 2007 07:04 am (UTC)
Non-free? As in pay?
Wywy on October 23rd, 2007 12:30 pm (UTC)
As in closed source.
Your Obedient Serpent: barcodeathelind on October 23rd, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
Ah, gratis but not libre.

Of course, if we're talking "should", then the WINDOWS drivers from nVidia SHOULD work. They just DON'T. Only trial and error will tell!
Hafochafoc on October 23rd, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
Let me know how it goes, OK? As the screed in my journal today says, I've been thinking about Linux for years. The main things holding me back are that I buy cheap computers with odd hardware in them; I really really need M$ Word; and, since my main application is word processing, the fact that the operating system sucks up way too much power doesn't affect me that much. Don't need much power with word processing.

But I'm still always interested.
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on October 23rd, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
On the Word front, if nothing else:

When Quel got her Mac, she just installed the Mac version of OpenOffice instead of shelling out $300+ for MS-Office. OpenOffice is NIX-native, and exports to Word.
Hafochafoc on October 24th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
Re: Word.
OO is a good program. As I screeded in my own journal, I had some disasters with its ODF to DOC conversions, but that may have been cleaned up in the new version.

I have a feeling that since Europe is in full rebellion against the Evil Empire, the ODF may become the worldwide standard document format in the future. Right now, though, .doc is still what "everyone" seems to expect. Since I'm doing books, with some rather precise formatting involved, any conversion from one format to another must be absolutely exact. I'm willing to be convinced that OO can do it, but it's going to have to be a very thorough convincing. I've been burned before. Makes me nervous.