Originally Published: Wednesday, 10 May 2000 Author: Tori Wildstar
Published to: learn_articles_firststep/General Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux Applications

For years, it was practically impossible to purchase a computer with Linux pre-installed. Now, many vendors provide systems with Linux installed and more people than ever have a chance to try this operating system on their desktops.

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For years, it was practically impossible to purchase a computer with Linux pre-installed. Now, many vendors provide systems with Linux installed and more people than ever have a chance to try this operating system on their desktops.
One of the primary reasons people think twice about ordering a Linux system is because it doesn't often come with the familiar applications that either come with or are extremely accessible with a PC running Windows or a Mac. It's true; Software vendor support for Linux isn't as common as support for Windows PCs and Macs but there are a lot of great applications available out there. It just takes a little patience and a bit of searching. For an ideal Linux desktop with reliable applications and plugins, it's worth it.
You may have heard of Freshmeat.Net, LinuxApps.Com and LinuxLinks.Com. Those are three popular sites for finding and downloading software for Linux. However, you may not know where to start...or what to search for. There's more to a computer than the web and email, right?
Some of the common tasks PC users do on a regular basis include chatting (via IRC, ICQ or some form of an instant messenger), listening to music and tinkering with graphics. Some people think that those tasks are not possible with a Linux system. In fact, all of those tasks can be done on a Linux desktop.
Chat If you are looking for IRC software, check your own system first. Many systems come with software like ircII, BitchX and XChat. IrcII is a text-based client that some people find too simplistic -- while others prefer its simplicity. It's reliable and fast but it's not exactly "pretty". BitchX is similar to ircII. It actually began as a script for the ircII client. Today, it is a client in itself. It has more "bells and whistles" than ircII, but it remains a text-based client. XChat has the most graphical interface of the clients mentioned here. If you've never used IRC or you like mIRC or pIRCh, you might want to start with this particular piece of software.
Unfortunately, ICQ, Inc. does not distribute a Linux ICQ client, but you don't need to give it up just because you bought a Linux system. There are many different ICQ applications available. The most common clients include kicq (for KDE), GtkICQ (based on GTK), and Licq.
If you prefer instant messaging, you can do that on a Linux desktop. You can download the Java version of AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger or try one of the other clients available for Linux users to find one that meets your needs.
Music Linux systems typically come with some software for playing different music file formats. The software may include XPlayCD (for audio CDs), KMidi (for midi files) and Kmp3 (for mp3s). These are all great applications but, if you've used Nullsoft Winamp, you'll probably love xmms. Xmms (X MultiMedia System) has streaming/Shoutcast(1.0/1.1)/Icecast support and full 2.0 skin support. With xmms, you can play mpegs, wavs and many many more file formats.
If you are a fan of RealPlayer, Real Networks, you can download RealPlayer 7 beta for Linux. This will enable you to play streaming audio and video over the Internet and to see Real Audio/Video presentations on the web with a browser plugin.
Graphics Many Linux systems come with some graphics programs pre-installed. These might include ElectricEyes, XPaint, KPaint and XV. These are image viewers that will allow you to do simple image manipulation.
If you've used Adobe Photoshop, you'll probably want to check out Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program). "GIMP is extremely expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plugins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted." (http://www.gimp.org).
Not all chat, music and graphics software available for Linux have been mentioned here, but the afformentioned examples should get any new Linux user started. New applications are being developed all the time, so you may want to keep an eye on Linux software sites for new programs. Experiment with Linux software; Odds are you won't be disappointed.




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