Blogging Challenge: Blog About What You Know


So the first of the [[http://lorelle.wordpress.com/tag/blog-challenge/|blog challenges]] is to [[http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/06/29/blogging-challenge-blog-about-what-you-know/|write about what you know]]. This is a hard question for two reasons. First of all, you //yourself// have to figure out and realize what your expertise is. And second, how comfortable you are to admitting that fact in public. If you claim you know something but you don’t really, you’ll end up making a fool of yourself. If you //do// know a lot about a lot of things, you might be perceived as obnoxious by others if they think you’re trying to be a smart-ass.

Anyways, so coming back to the point. I don’t want to talk about something related to my research because I’m //supposed// to know that stuff anyways :-) But if you know me or have been around my website, you would probably also know that I’m a big fan of open source software. So in this post I’ll just mention some of the software I use for day to day tasks on the desktop. Lorelle says:

> Think about all that you know and choose the one thing you would arrogantly assume you were the master of. Then write about it.

And so it shall be. People generally come to me looking for tips on how to get things done on Linux. What are the best tools for doing task X and so on. So if you read this post and if there’s something you’ve been wanting to do on Linux but didn’t know how, feel free to post a comment and I’ll respond as best as I can. So here we go:

* **Editing**: This one is easy. I use [[http://www.vim.org|Vim]]. ‘nuf said.
* **Audio player/manager**: I use [[http://amarok.kde.org/|Amarok]]. Amarok is fast, full featured (podcast support, iPod integration, Wikipedia, Lyrics, themes, plugins), and tightly integrated with KDE. If you’re a GNOME person, I would suggest looking at [[http://banshee-project.org/Main_Page|Banshee]], [[http://listengnome.free.fr/|Listen]] or [[http://www.sacredchao.net/quodlibet|Quod Libet]].
* **Image management**: I use [[http://www.digikam.org]]. [[http://f-spot.org/Main_Page|F-Spot]] is also pretty good.
* **Instant Messaging**: [[http://kopete.kde.org|Kopete]]. Its not perfect, but it works well enough for me. They have voice support for Google Talk. I can view others’ Yahoo webcam but I’ve never tried sending webcam images over Linux. File transfer is flaky. But it integrates very nicely with Amarok and KAddressbook, and I haven’t found it any worse than [[http://gaim.sf.net|Gaim]].
* **Browser**: [[http://getfirefox.com|Firefox]] or [[http://flock.com|Flock]]. For non-HTTP tasks, [[http://konqueror.kde.org|Konqueror]] is **great**. A “browser” for “non-web” tasks you ask? Well, Konqueror is a browser for all sorts of things: your file system, your email server (both POP/IMAP), your FTP server, your SSH account, your man pages, your info pages, your camera, your audio CD, any other external media devices you might have, your SAMBA shares, your compressed files, your settings — you get the picture (here is a [[http://osdir.com/Article2159.phtml|related article]], and [[http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8900|another one]]).
* **Email**: [[http://kmail.kde.org|KMail]]. GNOME folks might try [[http://www.gnome.org/projects/evolution/|Evolution]]. For an outlook-like replacement, check out [[http://kontact.kde.org|Kontact]].
* **System monitoring**: [[http://members.dslextreme.com/users/billw/gkrellm/gkrellm.html|gkrellm]] and [[http://munin.projects.linpro.no/|munin]].
* **Graphics**: [[http://www.inkscape.org/|Inkscape]]. [[http://www.gimp.org/|GIMP]] is good, but I don’t like it that much.
* **CD/DVD burning**: [[http://www.k3b.org/|K3B]]. Integrates very nicely with Amarok and Konqueror.
* **Presentations**: LaTeX [[http://latex-beamer.sf.net|Beamer]].
* **Video playback**: [[http://kaffeine.sf.net|Kaffeine]]
* **Video editing**: I haven’t had to do a whole lot of this, so I’m not really well versed with this area. But video editing support in Linux is clearly very very primitive compared to the commercial alternatives. I’ve heard some good things about [[http://avidemux.sourceforge.net/|Avidemux]] and [[http://www.kinodv.org/|Kino DV]].
* **Educational (science related)**: [[http://edu.kde.org/kalzium/index.php|Kalzium]] and [[http://edu.kde.org/kstars/index.php|KStars]].
* **Finance**: [[http://kmymoney2.sourceforge.net/index-home.html|KMyMoney]]

Thats all I can think of right now. If you know of any other interesting/cool applications, drop me a note. And do let me know if you found any information here useful.

**Updates**:
* **Local search**: [[http://beagle-project.org/Main_Page|Beagle]] with [[http://en.opensuse.org/Kerry|Kerry]].
* **Application launchers**: [[http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=33985|Katapult]] and [[http://yakuake.uv.ro/|Yakuake]] (yakuake is actually a full fledged [[http://konsole.kde.org/|Konsole]] replacement.
* **Network setup**: [[http://www.gnome.org/projects/NetworkManager/|Network Manager]].
* **BitTorrent**: [[http://ktorrent.org/|KTorrent]]. Almost like Azureus, but much less resource hungry.
* **LaTeX editing**: If you do a lot of LaTeX and Vim with Latex Suite doesn’t cut it for you, you might want to check out [[http://kile.sourceforge.net/index.php|Kile]].
* **Calculator**: [[http://qalculate.sourceforge.net/|Qalculate]]. I’ve [[http://floatingsun.net/blog/2006/06/24/671/|written about it before]].

2 comments

  1. Lorelle

    Excellent. It’s not an easy thing to do, to reach down to your mental toes and pull yourself out into the public, exposing what it is you truly know, not just what you “do” or “most people think” about you.

    Great job! Thank you.

    Good luck on the rest of the challenges! A lot of people have been working them and discovering a lot about themselves, but a lot more about how they blog, why they blog, and how to blog better. It’s been really fun and we have a lot more blogging challenges coming your way! WEEE!

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