back to article Ten Linux apps you must install

Unless you are operating in the enterprise class, most Linux software is free, which is both a blessing and a hindrance. Sure, there are some truly fantastic apps out there, but all to often you have to wade through a mess of buggy unfinished projects with dependencies on other defunct code to get to what you want. To help with …

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  1. jake Silver badge

    I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

    I don't use any of the above, nor do I see a need for any of them.

    But then I grok what the command-line is for ... Glitter is an anathema to computing.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

      Same here (never used MS-Windows) and I still use DOS for many things. In fact DOS is great for doing web pages. BUT, when you have a long page with nested divs you might want to look at Kate. When you see the syntax highlighting you will be glad for the time saver. It's all very fine for us to brag about our command-line prowess, but there are uses for GUI tools too. By the way, what do you do when someone sends you a .doc or even a .docx file?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

        I grok Kate ... but I prefer vim. I mostly use my GUI of choice to run multiple xterms :-)

        Re: Doc/Docx, I ignore them. Hasn't upset my business any.

        1. Ole Juul Silver badge

          Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

          I grok Kate ... but I prefer vim. I mostly use my GUI of choice to run multiple xterms :-)

          Re: Doc/Docx, I ignore them. Hasn't upset my business any.

          Well it does sound line we're basically on the same page. I always run a stack of xterms as well. However I find it impossible to ignore the doc/docx docs. I absolutely have to receive documents from people and there is no way I'm going to get them to understand what a text file is - I've given up on that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

          "Re: Doc/Docx, I ignore them. Hasn't upset my business any."

          I very much doubt you'd admit it if you had made a decision which affected you badly. Even to yourself.

      2. Manolo
        Linux

        Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

        "By the way, what do you do when someone sends you a .doc or even a .docx file?"

        manolo@quokka:~$ strings foo.doc

        1. Gerhard Mack

          Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

          >"By the way, what do you do when someone sends you a .doc or even a .docx file?"

          >manolo@quokka:~$ strings foo.doc

          Use "catdoc" instead. The output tends to be much more readable.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      However...

      If you're a fan of the command-line, then you should heartily approve of anything that fits the proper Unix computing model and interfaces with a command-line tool rather than reinventing the wheel -- hence ClamTk, GParted, LuckyBackup and SMPlayer. This sort of tool prevents coders from migrating away from command-line apps by keeping them relevant and accessible to all users.

      And in fact this is our best weapon in the war against bloat: low coupling, high encapsulation, high reusability.

    3. Symon Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

      @ Jake.

      As you are using the word 'anathema' as a predicate nominative, you should leave out the indefinite article. HTH :-)

      http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/grammarlogs4/grammarlogs530.htm

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Symon: (was: Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

        Re-read the link you provided. I was properly using the word as a regular noun.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

      And people wonder why a career in computing is still seen as an unfriendly nerd haven.....I hold you up as a shining example.

      1. Chemist

        Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

        At least Jake lives as he wants to ( as maybe we all should )

        I suspect he's a lot happier than most of the people that criticize him.

        1. foo_bar_baz
          Happy

          @Chemist

          He has provoked people to respond to his original off topic post, just as he intended. Also known as a successful troll.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @foo_bar_baz (was:Re: @Chemist)

            My post was off topic? How do you figure?

            And no, I wasn't trolling. I was voicing (typing) an honest opinion.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @foo_bar_baz (was:@Chemist)

              The article was about Linux apps to install

              You turned it [1] in to a GUI vs Command Line argument

              [1]in post one of the associated forum

              1. jake Silver badge

                @AC 09:48 (was: Re: @foo_bar_baz (was:@Chemist))

                "The article was about Linux apps to install"

                No, it was about "apps you must install" ... FOSS isn't about "must", FOSS is about "can".

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @AC 09:48 (was: @foo_bar_baz (was:@Chemist))

                  " No, it was about "apps you must install" ... FOSS isn't about "must", FOSS is about "can". "

                  Yeah, yeah, you're a FOSS hero. It's an expression - deal with it in the context of everyday usage instead of trying to twist the intent of the article in a weak defence. You can't really maintain a focussed argument, can you?

      2. boltar Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

        "And people wonder why a career in computing is still seen as an unfriendly nerd haven.....I hold you up as a shining example."

        If you're not a nerd , or at least a competant techie , then you should not be working in IT. Its not for fluffy idiots who need pretty icons and multicoloured menus with cutsie animated puppy dog reminders to be able to function. Well, unless they're Windows admins of course.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          . @boltar

          And yet another example why women are so scarce in the IT environment and Linux not as popular as it really should be - why would they have to put up with people with an attitude like yours?

          1. boltar Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: . @boltar

            "And yet another example why women are so scarce in the IT environment and Linux not as popular as it really should be - why would they have to put up with people with an attitude like yours?"

            The 1980s called, they want their right-on rhetoric back.

            The reason there are so few women in IT is that they don't find computers very interesting in the same way most men don't find childminding or handbags very interesting. Sorry if that doesn't gel with your poltically correct view of the world where both sexes are identical in every way but its just the way it is. Deal with it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @boltar

              Clearly spoken by a man who has never spoken to a woman without parting with cash first

              1. boltar Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: @boltar

                "Clearly spoken by a man who has never spoken to a woman without parting with cash first"

                Actually its only sad loners who've never spoken to any women other than their mothers who have this quaint idea that most women find computers intrinsically interesting in themselves and if only it wasn't for the nasty sexist nerds there would be women flocking into the industry. Newflash - they don't.

                As for paying cash - I'll have to ask my wife if buying her presents counts.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @boltar

                  newsflash - most men aren't either

                  1. boltar Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: @boltar

                    "newsflash - most men aren't either"

                    No, but a greater percentage of men are interested than percentage of women are. Really , this isn't comlicated. When you've actually spent time with some women and have had kids perhaps you'll understand that the differences between boys and girls arn't just down to nurture. Boys really are naturally more interested in technical and mechanical things than women. So get back to me when you've had some life experience.

                2. Marshalltown
                  Pint

                  Re: @boltar

                  "As for paying cash - I'll have to ask my wife if buying her presents counts."

                  Heinlein would say it did. In fact he did say that, different book though.

    5. Richard 81

      Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

      "grok"?

      Once was a typo. Twice suggests intent.

      I realise I don't know the dictionary cover to cover, but is this some sort of Linux term used by weird command-line people?

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Richard 81 (was: Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

        Are you serious? You don't grok "grok"?

        This may not be the forum for you ...

        1. Richard 81

          Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

          I've been reading the register for about 6 years and this is the first time I've encountered the word. I suppose I could have passed it off as a typo before.

          1. Richard 81

            Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

            "Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience."

            With a piece of software? That sounds uncomfortable.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

              "Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience."

              Realistically, it's a word Unix fans make to make other Unix fans think they're wise old greybeards rather than insular, blinkered saddos who've just discovered Usenet ...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Grok

                I always find the following mnemonic helpful:

                Using the word "grok"

                Makes you sound like a cock

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Grok [2]

                Mind you. It's not half as irritating as using foo and fucking bar as placeholder names in code!

                1. A J Stiles

                  Re: Grok [2]

                  Agree. I use "wibble" and "blah", and usually a big hash-of-hashes called %stuff.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

              Sigh. It's from Robert A. Heinlein's excellent novel Stranger in a Strange land (well worth the read story about alienation, belonging, and understanding across cultural divides, set against a science fiction context) and often used in tech circles to suggest an intimate and intuitive level of understanding with a concept or technology, so much so that it feels totally natural and automatic. I'm sure you could probably have searched for this on Google in about three seconds, so I'll just assume your obtuseness is intentional and you're just trolling.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).) @AC09:16

                "I'm sure you could probably have searched for this on Google in about three seconds, so I'll just assume your obtuseness is intentional and you're just trolling."

                Yup, done so ages ago. What I said is perfectly true about the people who tend to use it. Much the same intellectual posing as those who read only the sci-fi that snobbish dogma calls "real sci-fi".

                "... suggest an intimate and intuitive level of understanding with a concept or technology, so much so that it feels totally natural and automatic."

                -> "Look at me! I'm a GURU!"

                Disagreeing with someone doesn't mean they're a troll - that's just unimaginative. I guess you also call anyone who likes anything MS a shill. Interesting given the material you're trying to imply you read.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

                Not to be confused with "Drokk!", a stress releasing exclamation when you find you've got to dig out an old DOS manual to get an ancient computer to run.

              3. Oninoshiko

                Re: Stranger in a Strange land

                While I would agree it is an excellent read, I would say it's more about challenging mores then anything else. If it where JUST about alienation, belonging, and understanding across cultural divides, it wouldn't have been required to create a such a stark contrast to the social norms of 1961 (it's worth noting, this was published 6 years before the now infamous "summer of love"), as there are many existing cultures which clash with even modern western culture (in fact some are represented in the novel).

                If you do seek this out, do your self a favor, get the 1992 "uncut edition." It is the originally intended manuscript, as Putnam required the 220,000 word volume to be cut down for both space and content.

              4. Grego
                Holmes

                Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

                No need for google, just a command prompt:

                $ dict grok

                3 definitions found

                From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

                grok

                v 1: get the meaning of something; "Do you comprehend the

                meaning of this letter?" [syn: {grok}, {get the picture},

                {comprehend}, {savvy}, {dig}, {grasp}, {compass},

                {apprehend}]

                From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) [jargon]:

                grok

                /grok/, /grohk/, vt.

                [common; from the novel Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein,

                where it is a Martian word meaning literally ?to drink? and metaphorically

                ?to be one with?] The emphatic form is grok in fullness.

                1. To understand. Connotes intimate and exhaustive knowledge. When you

                claim to ?grok? some knowledge or technique, you are asserting that you

                have not merely learned it in a detached instrumental way but that it has

                become part of you, part of your identity. For example, to say that you

                ?know? {LISP} is simply to assert that you can code in it if necessary ?

                but to say you ?grok? LISP is to claim that you have deeply entered the

                world-view and spirit of the language, with the implication that it has

                transformed your view of programming. Contrast {zen}, which is similar

                supernal understanding experienced as a single brief flash. See also

                {glark}.

                2. Used of programs, may connote merely sufficient understanding. ?Almost

                all C compilers grok the void type these days.?

                From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (26 July 2010) [foldoc]:

                grok

                /grok/, /grohk/ (From the novel "Stranger in a Strange Land",

                by Robert A. Heinlein, where it is a Martian word meaning

                literally "to drink" and metaphorically "to be one with")

                1. To understand, usually in a global sense. Connotes

                intimate and exhaustive knowledge.

                Contrast {zen}, which is similar supernal understanding

                experienced as a single brief flash. See also {glark}.

                2. Used of programs, may connote merely sufficient

                understanding. "Almost all C compilers grok the "void" type

                these days."

                [{Jargon File}]

                (1995-01-31)

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Gawd/ess, what a palaver ...

                  A couple things:

                  1) From email: No, I'm not the "Anonymous Coward" in this thread. Nice trolling dude/tte :-)

                  2) My daughter is the Senior Member of the Technical Staff for a Fortune 50. Girls can do anything that boys can in the working world, and vice versa. Trying to separate them stifles both.

                  3) "grok" is part of working English vernacular. Deal with it.

                  4) I use a GUI where appropriate. But I, me, personally, find the command line far faster & more functional than the "tools" listed in the original article. If you think that my finding the command line to be faster, easier method than said listed tools somehow makes me feel "elite" ... well, all I can think is that you are misinformed and/or ignorant of the reality of the situation, or you have a severe inferiority complex.

                  5) It's not "special lingo", it's English that is evolving as Humanity invents new shit. Or would you rather we stagnate? Because that's where you sound like you are coming from, "Anonymous Coward". (And before you say it, I wrote a new bit of code to do a new (command line/scripted) operation in my brewery this morning. Onwards & upwards, but no "aps" required. Or wanted.)

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Gawd/ess, what a palaver ...

                    That's five things not "a couple"

                    Lots of words are in the English language, just that some are less bodacious than others and will tell other people what sort of person you are if you're willing to use that word on a regular basis

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      @AC: 20:30 (was: Re: Gawd/ess, what a palaver ...)

                      So you are just trolling.

            3. Grass Mud Horse
              Paris Hilton

              Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

              Read Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land". Then you'd grok "grok".

              Paris: Heinlein would agree...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Richard 81 (was: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).)

          You're on the right forum.

          It's only jake who uses that word on here

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            And you sass that hoopy Linux Torvalds,

            There is a frood who -really- knows where his towel is.

            1. Chika

              Re: And you sass that hoopy Linux Torvalds,

              Belgium, man. Belgium.

            2. Chemist

              Re: And you sass that hoopy Linux Torvalds,

              Excellent HHGG ref.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          you grok skull and bones?

          Quit acting like some idiotic secret society members..

          Go ahead, by all means, do things the way you like.

          But developing a big ego about command lines and getting all pedantic about your special lingo will seriously impede your ability to get laid.

          Some people get 40 years old and still sound like they're compensating for high school pimples.

      2. dajames Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Grok

        A term meaning "understand intuitively" or "be in sympathy with" coined by the late science fiction writer Robert Heinlein. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/grok

        It's in the OED, so should be accessible to us command-line geeks and real people alike.

        Mine's the one with that copy of Stranger in a Strange Land that I still haven't read in the pocket ....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Grok

          "Mine's the one with that copy of Stranger in a Strange Land that I still haven't read in the pocket ..."

          I wouldn't bother, it was a bit suspect back in the hippy days when all that free love was going to save the world. And it's worse now in our new "Savile isn't a hero after all" truth.

          Anonymous, because I don't really want to argue with misguided Heinlein fans...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Grok

            I wouldn't bother, it was a bit suspect back in the hippy days when all that free love was going to save the world. And it's worse now

            The only reason it's worse now is that everyone immediately sees the whole Christian angle as being incredibly trite. Just like we wouldn't read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe without seeing the same pattern.It doesn't mean they're bad stories in themselves, though.

            Another thing that commenters seem to have missed is that 'grok' is really a multi-purpose word, similar to "smurf", and, eh, "fuck".

            Don't know exactly where I was going with this, except to say that I'm glad I didn't see Smurfahontas in 3d.

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