Saturday, June 11, 2011

My List Of Must Have Applications

My list of must have linux applications.

The following list consists of applications that I must have on my linux computer. When I install a distro, I always grab these applications first. Some of these applications do have a windows counterpart, and by no means am I saying that these are linux-only applications.


Unison is a directory comparison tool. With this application you may compare various directories to check and be sure you have your files properly synchronized.

INSTALL: To install from command-line in Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install unison unison-gtk.


A great little program for converting audio files from one format to another. This is my preferred tool for audio conversion. An example from the PACPL man-pages is:


pacpl --to ogg -r -p /home/mp3s --outdir /home/oggs

in the example above, let's assume the directory structure was:


the output directory will now contain:


with all files in each sub-folder converted to ogg.

In the above example, this is what the options mean:

--to is the file format to go to
-r is a recursive scan
-p is to preserve


Meld is also a synchronization tool. I like Unison but I prefer Meld because Meld allows me to sync files or directories. I don't recall Unison being able to sync directories, but I could be wrong about that. 

Image courtesy of

INSTALL: To install from command-line in Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install meld


My new favorite music player is Clementine. I have tried them all folks. I have used Rhythmic for a long time, switched to Banshee for a spell, and flirted with Sonata, Listen, Exhaile, Aqualung and many others.
It has a lot of fun options. For example, it will create a playlist for you based on songs never played, or songs just added. These features aren't new to many audio applications, but the features plus the consistancy make this the audio player of choice.

INSTALL: Download package from: or
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:me-davidsansome/clementine
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install clementine

Shutter is one of those applications I just could never, ever live without. Shutter is a screenshot tool. It helped me make this blog article and has been useful numerous times. I especially love the ability to, at the click of a button, do some basic editing to my screenshots. 

                                                            Image From:

INSTALL: Synaptic or Sudo apt-get install shutter

More of my must-have programs will appear here soon...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I am loving the Green Monster

This is a quick post from the openSUSE live cd that I received with my recent issue of Linux Format Magazine. I am publishing because I am so impressed by what this distro has to offer, I am pondering chucking Ubuntu for this green monster.

I am most impressed with the Kinfocenter where running processes, real-time memory usage and much more information is displayed. I know, I know, Ubuntu has these tools, I simply like these tools better.

I am most impressed, however, with YaST Control Center (the administrator section). The folks at openSUSE have made it so easy to configure all types of network services I feel like a dummy for not having given this distro more of a chance in the past. I have tried openSUSE before, but I guess this time the good folks have their stuff together because this release (11.4) is top-bloody-notch! And, I normally hate KDE. Well, done, folks!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Offense or Defense?

My brain tends to generate a lot of questions all day long. This latest one has me thinking. Should Open-Source software go more on the offensive and point out any of the faults of proprietary software? Should a website be generated that continuously runs ads pointing out that proprietary software is less-customizable, less secure from virus threats,  and doesn't want to be shared? Another part of an ad compaign that would be essential is the fact that very little proprietary software programmers interact with the consumer.Too many folks spend a lot of money to purchase software, whether its a game or a piece of utility software only to discover bugs in it and not be able to do anything about it. Maybe those programmers are out there that like to get feedback and immediately help the consumer but I haven't witnessed any yet. On the flip side, I use finance software called wxBanker. This is a simple tool, but effective. It allows me to see where my money is going without too many buttons to push and so on. Point is, I had an issue that was at the time distinctive to my computer and my situation. I emailed the wxBanker programmer and he responded in due time and fixed my issue. Why would he be willing to help out some random soul when he won't gain from it? Could it be the humanity in him? Would proprietary software programmers respond if they had the chance to?

I'm not sure if going on the offense and pointing out the negatives is the answer or if playing defense and always being criticized is the most effective stance to take.

Source of negatives about proprietary software:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Best Buy?

This posting isn't exactly about linux, pro or con. It is more of a rant after a recent observation.

First, I admit that I do shop at Best Buy. Yes, this is actually where this posting gained fruition. I was shopping Best Buy for a certain product. Product aside, I am standing there waiting for service - which I could live with waiting for a few minutes - and I overhear a gentleman, who happens to be purchasing a new computer speaking to a salesperson.

This gentleman asks the salesperson if he would need any more parts to transfer his word document files from one hard drive to another. The salesperson cough-graciously-cough-not-really-cough explains that the tech-people they call a geek squad would do that for him for a measly little fee of 99 dollars.

The gentleman then asks if he would need the new Microsoft Office suite. All honesty in play, I did not hear part of the salesperson's answer. I did hear the tail end of the reply which was something like, and we can get that right over here.

OK, so at this point, I am getting mighty close to the two people to overhear their conversation and the sales person kindly acknowledged me and offers that I will be helped in a moment. That is fine. I didn't hear anymore of their conversation. All I saw was this poor elderly man checking out his new computer and MS Office suite.

After all that, I am just pissed off. Why do these ridiculous sales people take advantage of elderly folks or anyone who doesn't know anything about a specific topic?

Why can't the sales people at this store and any other like it suggest, maybe to only the elderly who aren't rich, that there are alternatives out there, such as LibreOffice?

Why can't people just do what is kind and courteous and offer nice suggestions and tips without having a profit at the end?

I know, I know, it is all for profit. If only I could figure out a way to spread the word to the masses that they have options, choices.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Welcome and Goodbye!

You know who you are. Yes, you, who said hello and turned around without ever giving me another consideration.

Too many times you freely grab my excited possibilities and open-considerations only to say, nope, not for me. Why? Oh, darn, you see something different than you are used to. Oh, my! So sorry to inconvenience you and your stubborn, stuck, dug-in, overpaid, under-produced, not-so-safe system. 

Dare I say that many tools, gadgets, and products have different functions that force users to dictate user input in a different manner. Why then, when you come and see me, and maybe you stumble upon a challenge, or maybe something is placed in a different spot than you are used to, do you push the hard-reset button, shutting me off, throwing me over board and never giving me another thought?

I find this whole scenario occurring so often and yet there really isn't much difference, except in the cost of hanging out with me. 

The other options you look at seem to say, hey, use me, I will take your money, I will make using me difficult, and I will oppress you Stalin-Style. Why don't you just go make your nightly death list as Stalin did? 

Give me a try. The input comes from the same spot, the output appears at the same spot and yet, I am free. Next time, you know, because I am free to try, and you know you may try me again, instead of welcoming me into your home with those open arms and making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside only for you to realize I am different, don't be like all the others, and say Goodbye! How about trying to learn all about me and my inner-workings, my inner-beauty. Please don't say Welcome and then turn around and quickly say Goodbye!