Review

Home automation in GNU/Linux - Or how to email your light switch with free software

Home Automation is anything that your home does for you automatically to make living there more enjoyable or productive. It covers many areas, including remote and timed control of lights and electrical home appliances, distributed media services, and communication. Over the last 10 years, many hardware manufacturers have presented their own proprietary solutions to these problems. Unbeknownst to them, a groundswell of developers from around the world has been providing similar solutions to the free and open source community.

6 Free Tools For Creating Top-Notch Documents

I use a ton of software applications, but a major portion of the time I spend using a computer goes to writing, and creating documents. There are many good open source tools for everything from word processing, to desktop publishing, to booklet creation, to weaving words and graphics together. In this post, I'll cover six free applications--five of them open source and one freeware app--that can help you create eye-catching documents.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Desktop Environment

I hadn’t expected such a response to my article about choosing the right desktop environment when I was writing it, but as most commenters noted, it was a really quick write-up, a kind of a brainstorming session about desktop environments where I indicated the pros and cons. Well this time, I tried improving it. More info, more research and more work are contained in this post. Enjoy, and favorite it if you like in the case you’re in a dilemma with you Linux install.

SMPlayer Review - One of the Most Powerful Video Players for Linux

SMPlayer is a complete video player built in Qt 4.4.0 and based on the powerful, open-source MPlayer.

The version I decided to test in this review is 0.6.1 from SVN. SMPlayer basically plays anything video or audio, including DVDs, VCDs or DVD ISO images, audio CDs, MPEG, AVI or ASF. You can also play mounted images of DVDs by pointing to the directory which contains the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS directories. It can also play videos from a given URL location.

9 Web browsers for Linux

Firefox is a great web browser, there is absolutely no argument about that. However those of us who are using linux long enough have went by quite well without it, and some still do. In the spirit of linux and open source (not so much for opera), it is only fair that we are aware of alternate options for linux browsers out there. Here is an attempt to list some of the linux browsers actively developed and updated.

First Look: Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex Alpha 1

The Hardy Heron has passed the torch to the Intrepid Ibex. The next iteration of the Ubuntu Linux distribution was made available Saturday. You can download the alpha release of Ubuntu version 8.10a from Ubuntu’s website.

11 Popular Video Players for Linux - Review

SMPlayer
SMPlayer is a fully featured video player built using the Qt 4 libraries. It basically plays anything, including DVDs and ISO images, but it skipped the menus when reading DVD ISOs. It's complete and it offers plenty configuration options, including for subtitles and the interface itself, allowing to choose the icon set and the style used. You can also configure the language SMPlayer uses for its interface, including English, Romanian, Polish, German and many other. I was impressed to see translations are pretty much complete.

Ten sticking points for new Ubuntu users

With Ubuntu, Canonical has had notable success in convincing people to switch from other platforms, but potential Ubuntu users are still running into trouble in several areas. Having spent some time on Canonical's forums, I've identified 10 points that seem to be common sticking points for new users -- that is, problems that have the potential to prevent a new user from adopting Ubuntu in the long term. These problems span the entire Ubuntu experience, but they all have two things in common: they are all serious enough to evoke the dreaded "I tried Linux but it didn't work" excuse, and they are all solvable.

Don't forget the text editor

Text editors are important for many tasks, from editing configuration files, nudging cron jobs, and manipulating XML files to quickly pushing out a README. Luckily, there are a number of interesting editors available. Here's a brief introduction to nine intriguing choices. While some may be better suited to certain tasks, it's no one tool is better than another for all tasks. Try them all and use the ones you like best.

10 IRC client for Linux

For many like me IRC is the main chat medium to share information about things we love. Be it linux, Ubuntu, games, whatever; there are always channels with many like minded people to talk to. There are a huge number of IRC clients out there, listing them all for me would be an impossible task. However, I could list 10 IRC clients I have used over the years, which are also quite popular among IRC/Linux community.

Gizmo5 - a more open VoIP solution

With Gizmo5, not only can you use your PC to make or get phone calls on Linux, Windows, and Macintosh PCs. But unlike similar programs, such as Skype, Gizmo5 uses open standards like Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Jabber, which makes it interoperable with a variety of clients.

Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04

Two months after Ubuntu 8.04 LTS was released and almost one month after Ubuntu Netbook Remix was first showcased, Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04 has been released. This is the newest Canonical product in the Ubuntu family and is designed for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). Ubuntu MID Edition is a cut-down version of Ubuntu 8.04 for the desktop but with many packages sliced away and with optimizations for Intel's Atom Processor and mobile software enhancements as a result of the Moblin project.

List of FTP Clients Available in Ubuntu Linux

FTP is a file transfer protocol for exchanging files over any TCP/IP based network to manipulate files on another computer on that network regardless of which operating systems are involved (if the computers permit FTP access). There are many existing FTP client and server programs. FTP servers can be set up anywhere between game servers, voice servers, internet hosts, and other physical servers.

DokuWiki: An elegant and lightweight wiki engine

Created as a simple solution for managing documentation, DokuWiki has evolved into a powerful and flexible wiki suitable for most tasks involving collaborative editing. DokuWiki doesn't use a database back end (all pages are stored as plain text files), which makes it easy to install and maintain.

A look at Ubuntu Netbook Remix

I can't help noticing the number of Asus EEE PCs around now, it is strange to think that twelve months ago these weren't really about and there was still discussion of when will be the "year of the Linux desktop". Of course, events took a different turn, and suddenly the desktop didn't seem so important anymore. The real prize was a computer that was small and convenient, inexpensive and easy to carry about.

The Linux GUI Editor Showdown Part Two: Geany

This is a series of posts that will cover several GUI text editors for Linux. The editors that have been covered so far are:

Streamlined Firefox 3 makes browsing safer, more productive

Desktop users, developers, and reviewers all had their download managers aimed at the Firefox Web site Monday to grab Firefox 3 as soon as it launched and also help Mozilla set a world record. World record or not, the latest Firefox release is a world-class Web browser. It looks impressive, renders text and images better than its predecessor, and helps you browse safely. But while it delivers pages faster by cutting down crucial milliseconds, its memory footprint (in unscientific tests) is still as big as a yeti.

Hands on: Flock 2 steps up the social browser game

Flock is an intriguing new "social web browser" that is designed not just as a portal to the web, but to your friends' lives and the online communities where we share many of today's experiences. Launched with a 1.0 version based on Mozilla's Firefox code base in 2005, Flock has unveiled its first 2.0 beta that inherits all the performance and security enhancements in Firefox 3. Ars Technica goes hands-on with the Flock 2 beta to see what all the fuss is about.

Browser bruiser: Opera 9.5 versus Firefox 3

Two of the four major browsers have undergone some big changes in the past two weeks. Firefox 3 is, of course, the big news of the week, pulling down eight million or so downloads in its first 24 hours in the wild. However, the Opera browser updated to its much-awaited version 9.5 last week. Since both of them have got game but for different reasons, let's take a look at how they match up.

Amarok 1.4.9.1 Review - Probably the Last 1.x Release

Since Amarok 2 is on its way with all the fuss around it and the currently stable 1.4.9.1 version will probably be the last in the 1.x series, I decided to make a review of the last stable Amarok. Debian Lenny will ship with this version (or any later version before Amarok 2), probably making it the most stable Amarok experience up to date.

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