back to article Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

Much to the dismay of many a sysadmin, Linux is no longer purely the domain of Captain Command-Line and his trusty side-kick Admiral APT. For those looking to make the most of their new-fangled graphics-capable hardware, here’s a selection of freeware to start with, in our case as installed on Ubuntu 14.04: BleachBit RH …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

    At the moment I have to import half of KDE into Mint to get Kate up and running... looks like Geany has the same general philosophy.

    1. mdava

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      I am an (extraordinarily) amateur user, but Geany is great.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      Yep, someone experienced in both could comment on how well it stacks against Kate, which is also my day to day choice for general text editing chores.

      I'm using KDE as my DE, so I have already pulled that half and the other as well.

    3. Raumkraut

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      Kate and Geany are both good ATEs. I used Kate when KDE was in the 3.x days, then Geany in the time between KDE 4.x being adopted and it becoming stable enough, and now I'm back to Kate - though ever wavering.

      I use Kate day-to-day, but if asked for a recommendation I'd probably say Geany is the better of the two. Kate seems to have a lot more niggles and irritating bugs which I hit. I feel that Geany behaves more like what most people would expect (ctrl+tabbing between recent documents is only a recent addition to Kate!).

      Honestly, the only things keeping me with Kate at the moment are how the "Documents" side-pane works (Geany has functionality close, but not close enough), and the MiniMap/DocumentMap which can replace the scrollbar (one mailing list post I saw says it'd be "trivial" to implement in Geany, yet nobody has done it yet).

      One thing Geany does much better than Kate IME is indentation. I've had nothing but pain with how Kate handles indentation (particularly, its complete lack of automatic detection).

    4. Wilseus

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      FWIW I use Geany every day as my main editor at work. I haven't found a text editor I like better, with the possible exception of !Zap on RISC OS, but that's another story :)

      1. Chika

        Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

        I liked !Zap but I eventually moved to !StrongED for some reason. As I recall, much of my text editing was HTML and I preferred the way !StrongED worked though I eventually shifted to Quanta Plus on Linux, usually running on KDE3. For much of my ordinary text stuff, I use KWrite, though I do have Kate installed and have dabbled on occasion.

    5. i1ya
      Meh

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      You can also try "medit". It is well-made alternative of Kate/KWrite/Gedit (which is now GTK3), GTK2 based, has all Gedit features that Gedit but also, like Geany, is more developer-oriented.

      P.S. And if you like lightweight and fast editors, give "scite" a look. It is very very fast, can crunch large files (except when you have extremely long lines which can lead to slowness), has almost no dependencies, and also a cross-platform (works on Windows as fast as on Linux). It also includes some weird Lua-based inner platform but I never tried to script anything in it.

    6. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      Nearly as nice as Notepad++

      LibreOffice : Isn't already on everything?

      But the rest of the list? Really the best 8?

      1. i1ya

        Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

        Shutter is really the best tool for screenshots that I discovered. It allows to make a quick edits in screens, crop them, annotate and then upload into cloud. Also you can drag-and-drop your images directly to Thunderbird to attach them to messages (from my experience, usually drag-and-drop sort of sucks in Linux).

        As for other open source desktop-based software, you have to try a lots of junk before you will find real gems you can't live without.

    7. thames

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      I can definitely recommend Geany. I've used many editors over the years, and am very pleased with Geany and use it every day for editing C, Python, etc. It seems to fill the space between "simple editor" and "massive IDE" quite nicely. It's very configurable, so have a look in the preferences menu if there is something you don't like about the defaults. Chances are, there is an option to change it.

      I used to use Kate, but that was at least five years ago, so I can't compare the latest versions of both. However, if you like Kate then you will probably be more than happy with Geany. It's also definitely several steps up from GEdit (which I used prior to Geany).

      The biggest problem with comparing editors is that you get used to doing things a certain way, and any change, even for the better, can be hard to get used to. Geany has loads of editing features, and I only use a subset of them. If you take the time to explore while working on a project, then you will find many things which you can use to improve your work flow.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

        And the challenge is - can it cope with my indentation preferences?

        Braces on a new line at the same indentation as the control, but variables *always* start on the left margin - this seems to confuse everything else.

        Anyway, it's installed now, so time to play!

    8. Roo
      Windows

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      "At the moment I have to import half of KDE into Mint to get Kate up and running... looks like Geany has the same general philosophy."

      FWIW I found it to be very quick and easy to download & build Geany on Mint Debian Edition (MATE desktop already installed). Geany starts up instantly and it does just enough to help but not too much to be awkward. It's simplicity & speed remind me of the old Borland ASCII IDEs, while it brings modern 'features' like auto-completion (which isn't as clever as Eclipse or Visual Studio - but works very well for me).

      I think everyone should give it a go and if they don't like it they haven't wasted money or filled their hard drive with IDE or wasted 2 hours of their lives installing it. :)

  2. Michael Habel Silver badge

    1) Why did Mr. Dormon elect not to mention XBMC... (Ok then Kodi), then?

    2) Tomahawk really? >2014 and still not streaming your stuff from the Browser though GMusic?

    Besides I'd probably prefer Nightingale for that task. Though the HDD in my NAS just died, and the fact that I'm mostly on Windows7 at the moment. Kinda makes an informed opinion (from my side), a bit harder. Fortunately XBMC / Kodi, can also be used as an Audio Player too...

    So why would Mr. Dormon fail to mention such an important piece Software like XBMC for?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Because XBMC is perhaps a little over-the-top as a media player for a desktop or laptop and setting up an HTPC is still rather a bespoke process?

      1. phil dude

        xbmc/kodi

        over the top? Not at all. The point about it , is that it can be seen by many devices but also runs as an HTPC.

        My N9 has controls and can stream stuff.

        Just saying...

        P.

    2. Will Stephenson

      After an age of 'streaming my stuff from gmusic through my browser' you've prompted me to give Tomahawk another go. Turns out it can now play music from Google Play Music (and everywhere else), and most importantly, it has a global keyboard shortcut, so I don't have to focus a browser tab to pause the music

  3. Stuart 22

    GIMP

    That is all ...

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: GIMP

      It's hardly an everyday tool for the masses. You might as well clamour for Blender or Audacity to be in the list - all 3 are great but all are a bit niche.

      1. plrndl

        Re: GIMP

        In a world where everyone carries a camera phone, and "photoshop" has entered the dictionary, GIMP is hardly a niche app.

        1. Cipher
          Coat

          Re: GIMP

          Mind you, going forward Gimp will *require* systemd.

          1. pyite

            Re: GIMP

            That's fine as long as it doesn't require !#$^!#$ upstart.

          2. Chika

            Re: GIMP

            Sadly that can be said for a lot of stuff these days. You could even say that GIMP has been gimped. Why is it that developers don't have the balls to actually say how bad systemd actually is? Or is it that they have been sucked in by the hype? We need an LT rant here, STAT!!!

          3. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: GIMP

            >Mind you, going forward Gimp will *require* systemd.

            That's going to be awkward on my OSX install....

          4. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: GIMP

            Gimp 2.8+ sucks golf balls through garden hoses already, as they destroyed the Save dialog. I mean, causes serious waste of time for me ... I went back to 2.6, does the trick.

            I guess 3.0 will require systemd ... 3.1 will probably be the last gimp version, ever. I bet the devs will even ask: "Why did you leave ?"

            1. grantmasterflash

              Re: GIMP

              If a program sucks because you have to select a different menu to save I'd hate to see what your criteria is for a program being great. As far as systemd... gimp will use systemd because every system will have it which means the people using it won't even know systemd is involved so usage won't even budge.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: GIMP

                ...As far as systemd... gimp will use systemd because every system will have it ..

                I look forward to seeing this on the XP and Win7 boxes I use the gimp on daily..I seriously want to see systemd try out-Borg the Borg..should be fun.

                and yes Gimp 2.8 does suck..resources mainly (it isn't just the I'll-save-as-xcf-only irritation), it crashes a lot more than the 2.6 version running on the machines I normally use @work.

          5. grantmasterflash

            Re: GIMP

            Which going forward will be on just about every system.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: GIMP

          Speaking as someone who uses it, GIMP isn't particularly intuitive either. Took me quite a while to find out how to just get a window displaying the layer stack in the toolbox area set aside for it the first time I needed it.

        3. JDX Gold badge

          Re: GIMP

          >>In a world where everyone carries a camera phone, and "photoshop" has entered the dictionary, GIMP is hardly a niche app.

          Everyone (thinks they) know what "photoshop" means/does but being able to use the thing is still niche.

          The fact you seem to suggest Gimp/Photoshop are the right tools for the masses to use with their cameraphone photos only compounds the sense that either you don't know what you're talking about, or are an expert user totally out of touch with the majority of computer users.

          GIMP is a high end tool for people who are prepared to put effort in to learning how the darn thing works.

    2. SolidSquid

      Re: GIMP

      I'd say Pinta is probably a better option if someone is looking for a general usage image editor. Gimp is if you're doing some heavy duty stuff which requires layers or other advanced features

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: GIMP

        Except Pinta appears to require a ton of Mono libraries. No thanks.

    3. pyite

      Re: GIMP

      I bring out the GIMP regularly, it has sure come a long way since I first tried it (when Bill Clinton was in office)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know 10 is a small number, but

    A good roundup but there are so many others. I think Remmina (which provides *nix users with an Windows compatible RDP client) is really useful, myself.

    And so are Xfburn, and Unetbootin, and..... and... well .... do carry on.

    1. Wilseus

      Re: I know 10 is a small number, but

      Remmina is indeed useful, I use it myself, but it loses a star for being chock-full of bugs!

      1. Adam Inistrator

        Re: I know 10 is a small number, but

        +1 remmina ... all your rdp/ssh/scp connections in 1 and you learn where the bugs are and avoid them. on windows tunnelier is the same tool ... thankfully windows is in the past for me

  5. Chemist

    Darktable

    For RAW photo development

    Kdenlive for video

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Darktable

      Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Darktable

        "Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often."

        Interesting, I had lots of problems a few years ago but it's been rock solid on the 3 computers I use it on (i7 laptop 8GB, old AMD dual-core 2GB, Intel dual core 2GB) Certainly since I bought my current video camera early 2012 which is 1080p/50 so generates huge clips and rendered files. It took a few months for kdenlive to support 1080p/50. I'm using kdenlive 0.9.10 on OpenSUSE 13.1. What I did find was that all the necessary helper programs needed to be from the same repository

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often

          Strange, because I run also OpenSUSE 13.1 and my Kdenlive is definitely more crash prone than older versions. And is exactly the same version as yours, mine coming from packman as well as all the helper programs (I used packman not because I needed the higher Kdenlive version, but because I needed newer ffmpeg versions than the ones on the default repos for other parts of my media handling workflow) My Kdenlive is currently 0.9.10, with ffmpeg version 2.14 (reported but zypper says 2.3.3) and melt 0.9.2

          And I too use it mainly to edit footage from my 1080/25p camera. So it must be down to how we use the program. You're clearly kinder on Kdenlive than I am.

          Your answer however, triggered a few checks. The Kdenlive version in the default 13.2 repos is 0.9.8 (was 0.9.6 for 13.1), so still a couple of minor revisions away from what is on packman for 13.1. Packman does already have a repository for 13.2, and NVidia semi-official SUSE repository seems also to be available for 13.2.

          So perhaps it is "big upgrade" time now...

          1. Chemist

            Re: Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often

            The version I'm using reports 0.9.10, but Yast2 reports 0.9.10-16.2 64bit from Packman but I've been using older versions without any stability problems for years now - certainly before OpenSUSE 13.1. In the past there have been times when dragging a clip or rendering would crash so I took to saving ALL the time but not done that for years as I say.

            I also had a problem with the program reporting that the rendering had failed but in fact the output was fine. Mind get_iplayer does that for me at the moment too.

          2. Salts

            Re: Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often

            You could also give lightworks a try http://www.lwks.com it is not open source but has a free version, you have to relicense(free) every month but it is cross platform Windows/OSX/Linux which is what I like and am waiting for the ten cross platform freeware apps, not so much in the article but the gems from fellow commentards :-)

    2. fruitoftheloon
      Thumb Up

      Chemist Re: Darktable

      Chemist,

      yay for Darktable, I also like Entangle.

      Cheers,

      J.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Chemist Darktable

        "yay for Darktable, I also like Entangle."

        Yes, I use Entangle as well - really good. Darktable took a little getting use to but now I'd be reluctant to use anything else.

        Hugin I also like for panoramas.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Haven't we been here before

    And still none of the suggestions will run without me installing a load of un-necessary gui crap.

    1. fruitoftheloon

      @Chris W Re: Haven't we been here before

      Chris,

      un-necessary for what?

      J

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

        J, Un-necessary for stuff that linux is good at like running servers. If you want to use a gui to write a letter, watch a video or manage you media then get Windows and stop trying to pretend that linux is as good. It isn't, just admit it and get on with life.

        1. fruitoftheloon

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          Chris,

          I don't want to run windows on any of my [aged] boxes at home, hence why my personal preference is for Mint, personally I cannot justify buying newer kit so that I can run the latest versions of Windows.

          I find Mint much easier on the brain than Windows, for me it just 'gets out of the way more' than Windows, also for audio web dev and video editing I have a MacPro/FCP/Studio.

          I don't quite get your point about pretend[ing] linux is as good, if it meets a given users requirements then it is good enough.

          Cheers,

          J

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

            J, You're an exception. Fully agree, I always say whatever gets the job done. Most linux fanbois will insist that windows is the devil's work which you should never touch under any circumstances while linux was created by their saviour, you must use it and never say it is not as good as windows. They close their eyes to all the hoops they have to jump through to get things to work and convince themselves after 10 days that whatever it was worked out of the box so to speak.

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

              You'd reboot your system (or start a VM, make space for another box etc.) just to write a letter ?

              Hint : nobody writes letters much now.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

              Chris has a valid point. Most of the Linux/FOSS GUI apps, and the bloated bug-infested libraries they're built upon, are crappy knock-offs of commercial software from the Windows/Mac worlds.

              It's true, Windows is complete fucking garbage that costs too much except when it comes with a new machine, but often it's the best platform for running other crapware... especially trendy throwaway apps that'll be relegated to the dustbin in a few years. It's sad to see developers wasting their (unpaid) time on the futile imitation of commercial hypeware that doesn't fit the open-source / volunteer / DIY model. That's just my opinion, man. :)

              1. fruitoftheloon

                @tnoveli Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

                Er what??

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before @tnovelli

                Excellent point. If I want a motor bike I don't start with a Cervelo racing cycle, bolt on a load of home made parts, end up making 10 different versions of it then claim they're all an Harley Davidson.

                1. Roo
                  Windows

                  Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before @tnovelli

                  "Excellent point. If I want a motor bike I don't start with a Cervelo racing cycle, bolt on a load of home made parts, end up making 10 different versions of it then claim they're all an Harley Davidson."

                  No, instead you pay for Microsoft's hacked up pseudo-Harley that's constructed out of an unholy mixture of obsolete high mileage used parts dating back to the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, all lashed together with spit, bailer twine. The ECU is sealed inside a big wodge of epoxy resin - which is a bummer because it fails frequently, and can only be fixed by the single main dealer that is on the other side of the Earth.

                  The manufacturer doesn't do recalls, instead they break into your garage on a Tuesday to add some new bits. This is a mixed blessing because sometimes the pseudo-hog won't be in working condition afterwards - and it will still look, smell and sound like a scrapyard has crapped on your garage floor. Lots of people like these pseudo-Harleys, and some of them feel very superior bumbling along in the slow lane, but at the first sign of rain or a pothole they end up on the hard shoulder crying for assistance. :)

              3. JEDIDIAH
                Linux

                Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

                Some people have this strange fixation with Kings and Robber Barons and their products as if any of that success has any relevance for the common man beyond removing any sort of liberty. They just can't tolerate the idea that someone might deviate from the crowd and use something that suits them better.

            3. Fungus Bob Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

              "Most linux fanbois will insist that windows is the devil's work which you should never touch..."

              Yes, fanbois, those of us who are adult Linux users like Microsoft. It amuses and entertains us.

              1. JEDIDIAH
                Linux

                Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

                Windows continues to be a festering malware infested pile even today in 2014. Nothing really changes because Microsoft still has the same bad approach to engineering it's always had. You can't take the organization that gave us DOS and Win 3.1 and expect it to create something decent. The beast simply doesn't operate that way.

                At least Apple has some interest in making a product. It may not be the kind of product that some of us want but at least they give lip service to the idea of a good product rather than just being cheap Ponzi wannabes.

              2. Basil Fernie
                Coat

                Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

                I am an adult Linux user and I LOVE Windows. To be precise, I love to boot it up every six or nine months or however much longer it takes to remember I have it on my laptop, look at the recommended updates/bugfixes, ask myself "Shall I let it roll this time?" and answer smugly "No, I'm too busy being happily productive to sideline my system for who knows how many hours/days..."

                And then multiply that by the number of systems I administer for my family and friends. Sysadmin is not my calling.

            4. grantmasterflash

              Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

              It's been a really long time since I had to jump through any hoops to get anything to work. My GF has Windows 8 and we were doing that for her though. Seems Microsoft likes to drop support for things we have in the house but work just fine on Linux. Whenever someone says that Linux users have to jump through hoops it tells me that they tried Linux once a long time ago and haven't spent any time with it since.

        2. Chemist

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          "then get Windows and stop trying to pretend that linux is as good."

          So in your less-than-humble opinion I should take my 6 Linux computers, install six copies of Windows 8.1 (snigger) and then install all the equivalent programs and for what ? They do all I want now ! I don't recognise your later comment that "They close their eyes to all the hoops they have to jump through to get things to work " Like all software there may be little tricks/snags or bugs but trivial and certainly no worst that comments made here about WIndows programs.

          In any case why should you care, what does it matter to you ?

          1. I Am Spartacus
            Flame

            Please don't feed the troll.

            That is all.

            1. Chika

              Re: Please don't feed the troll.

              But the poor thing seems so hungry!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Facepalm

            Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

            >I don't recognise your later comment that...

            Exactly what I said you'd say.

            1. Adair

              Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

              Chris, don't worry yourself about what other folks are getting on just fine with (and at very small financial and time cost). You carry on using what suits you - it's that 'freedom' thing. No doubt you've heard of it.

        3. Jim 59

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          ...get on with life

          Lol. Excellent troll post from Chris W.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Jim 59

            Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

            Evidently some people thought I agreed with Chris W. Quite the opposite. My "excellent troll" comment is just a polite way of saying we note he is trolling, we are thankful for his time, but take no further interest in his remark, as it was carefully crafted bo***cks.

        4. Fibbles
          Trollface

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          If you want to use a gui to write a letter, watch a video or manage you media then get OSX and stop trying to pretend that Windows is as good. It isn't, just admit it and get on with life.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          Over-trolling a bit! Except when you are really aiming for "The Wooden Twig of Fail"...

        6. JEDIDIAH
          Mushroom

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          > If you want to use a gui to write a letter, watch a video or manage you media then get Windows

          None of that requires monopolyware. That's all pretty pedestrian stuff that you could do in just about any desktop OS and probably on all of the tablets too.

          If you are going to mindlessly push the monopoly, at least include some interesting requirements.

        7. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          If you want to use a gui to write a letter, watch a video or manage you media then get Windows and stop trying to pretend that linux is as good. It isn't, just admit it and get on with life.

          In my experience you're exactly right. Linux isn't as good as Windows.

          It is better.

          Been a user since 1996, I've seen where it has come from, where Windows was at the time. Who wants to be "as good as Windows" when Windows was bad before (cases in point: Windows 3.x, Windows ME, Windows Vista), becoming downright awful (Windows 8.x) and showing no signs of improving.

          If the future is going to be things like web apps or mobile apps (which talk to a back-end server), then it makes sense to use a platform which is similar to the production system to do development and testing on. Sure you can dual-boot, sure you can run VMs. Maybe some aspects of Linux are a little rudimentary, but I've had more luck bending a Linux box to my will than anything out of Redmond or Cupertino.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amarok as good iTunes replacement?

    Yes, I know, it's a KDE app, but nothing beats it for replacing iTunes under Windows. And yes, Amarok lost a lot of features during its transition from KDE3 to KDE4, but support for iDevices was not one of them.

    1. Chika

      Re: Amarok as good iTunes replacement?

      Just recently I have been using Clementine which seems to keep much of what was good from Amarok in the KDE3 days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amarok as good iTunes replacement?

        I've been a long-time Amarok user, but lately it's decided to stop indexing my music collection. I might give Clementine a try yet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Amarok as good iTunes replacement?

          Update: Just installed it (on a Gentoo host, so it took a little while). Works well, and I have it controlled using the cheapo Android phone using the remote control app which is available on the FDroid store.

          Thumbs up, and thank-you for suggesting it!

    2. Vic

      Re: Amarok as good iTunes replacement?

      And yes, Amarok lost a lot of features during its transition

      The last 1.x version of Amarok (1.44? I forget...) was utterly brilliant. It did exactly what I wanted.

      Then it went on to v2.0, with a newer, greyer UI. And a squillion bugs & crashes that its predeccessor didn't have.

      I've not used it since :-(

      Vic.

  8. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Meh

    I'm a big fan of WPS Office

    Libreoffice is just a bit bloated for an SSD install.

    1. Jim 59

      Re: I'm a big fan of WPS Office

      LibreOffice is not stable enough for business. Use OpenOffice instead.

      Any substitute for Visio ? Wanna sketch out my network.

      1. Salts

        Re: I'm a big fan of WPS Office

        Dia Diagram Editor, is it a substitute for Visio? no, but it does what I need and is available for Windows/OSX/Linux

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: I'm a big fan of WPS Office

          I wish to hell they'd named it something else though. Searching for Dia plugins and shape libraries is almost impossible because the name is so goddamned generic.

      2. Chika

        Re: I'm a big fan of WPS Office

        LibreOffice is not stable enough for business. Use OpenOffice instead.

        I'd say quite the opposite, really. OOo was good up until the big split but one of the biggest problems I get with it now is that what it produces doesn't sit well with MS Office users. LibreOffice doesn't seem to have that sort of trouble and has been rock solid on many of my systems, Linux and Windows alike.

        Any substitute for Visio ? Wanna sketch out my network.

        Not sure. There are libraries that can be used to parse Visio formats but I've not really looked into what can be used as a front end for them. The closest I ever got were with graphical front ends for nmap or the mapping tool in Nagios. Not really sketch tools though. You could always consider LibreOffice Draw if you don't mind doing all the template sketches yourself.

        1. Jim 59

          Re: I'm a big fan of WPS Office

          Just to enlarge on my LibreOffice isn't stable enough for business comment. About 8 months ago, LO trashed my entire Ltd company books through a bug which silently corrupted formulas when saving to .xls format. Eventually my accountants had to rebuild the books from scratch. The whole experience was so blood pressurey that I afterwards swapped to OO and haven't had a problem since. IMO, LibreOffice is unstable. Even the "stable release" branch changes too much, too often, and the devs prefer working on enhancements to fixing bugs. Not appropriate for a serious business application. Stability might be boring, but in business, it is beautiful.

          Reading about the bug over at the LO project I found it had been outstanding for some time, through several releases, and the maintainers' attitude was laid back, if not irresponsible. The main comment I remember was them saying "...well not all spreadsheets are critical... so corrupted data isn't really important". Well that's allright then. Only, I hope the next aeroplane you get on wasn't made with parts ordered with a LibreOffice spreadsheet. Hope I don't go to prison for not keeping proper books on my Ltd company. Hope my prison release date is not stored in LibreOffice, hope your pension is not calculated with LO, etc. etc. OK sorry about the rambling rant.

      3. Morten Bjoernsvik

        Libreoffice Draw is the culprit

        | LibreOffice is not stable enough for business. Use OpenOffice instead.

        | Any substitute for Visio ? Wanna sketch out my network.

        I can live with if fine except for the Draw package. Years ago I used to write lots of networks and cluster diagrams in Visio. With every new Libreoffice I try to open them in Draw and scale them. But somehow the scale changes differently within groups. The snap to grid becomes corrupted. But it used to be worse. Before libreoffice v4 they crashed. (I was on lots of visio compatibility bugs, and watched most of then progressing with anticipation, but it is not there yet).

        But it is free so we can't complain. I would love to support libreoffice to improve Draw on kickstarter.

        So I run an old visio 2003(?) under wine. It is the only MS program I need.

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: I'm a big fan of WPS Office

      > Libreoffice is just a bit bloated for an SSD install.

      It has no problems fitting on my jailbroken chromebox.

      Affordable SSDs aren't quite THAT small.

  9. bob3
    Paris Hilton

    freeware?

    Good list, but ...

    ... none of the apps seem to be "freeware".

    Even if the author doesn't like the philosophy of FSF[*] and the like, even if he were extremely hostile ... (assume he is not), nowadays, such ignorance is a bit hard to bear.

    [*] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Freeware

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: freeware?

      Just because a handful of people want to change the meaning of basic English words doesn't make them right.

      Hugs and kisses

      Vulture Central Language Soviet

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: freeware?

        Dear Vulture Central Language Soviet,

        What's the point of extolling the virtue of ClamTK to then say at the end of the write up " there’s no reason to have this on your system running in the background." ??

        Hugs and kisses

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: freeware?

          It's not "one or the other" no matter how GNU might want to paint it, it's a hierarchy.

          Inside "Software" is "Freeware". Inside that is closed-source freeware and open-source freeware. Using one term that encompasses more than you intend is fine, it would be the other way round that's dangerous (e.g. saying they were "open" tools but they were really just freeware).

          And the definition of freeware as such far predates anything GNU might have come up with. They just don't like the term "open source freeware" - which is EXACTLY what they make.

          It's an overlap in a Venn diagram between free/commercial and open/closed source. Demanding that people are ultra-specific about it is one way to really put people off. It's freeware. It just happens to be open-source too. There is plenty of open-source non-freeware and vice versa to distinguish.

          Nobody elected FSF/GNU the authority on what every category of software should be referred to as, and thank God for that...

          1. bob3

            Re: freeware?

            Probably the best reply in terms of explanation.

            But that's not my point (re-read my post), I'm not even explicitly supporting GNU's or anybody elses view.

            You may find many examples where you may or may not like how language is used, perhaps different from what is "correct". And yet in a certain context it's no longer correct: freeware just means something else, I would claim, something contrary even to OSS, FLOSS etc. (as supid as such acronyms may be), in ICT language, in this case it may tell you whether or not someone has some basic knowledge about common licences or not.

        2. g00se
          FAIL

          Re: freeware?

          What's the point of extolling the virtue of ClamTK to then say at the end of the write up " there’s no reason to have this on your system running in the background." ??

          Well the reason will be that it's a Freudian slip. ClamAV must qualify as one of the lamest AV apps. I've tried it many times since there's no doubt it's potentially convenient to able to boot a Windows box into Linux and use Clam on it. When i've tried it with known malware (consensus among heavy hitters on virustotal.com) i think it's almost always thrown up false negatives. Use it at your peril

      2. Terry Cloth
        Thumb Up

        Re: freeware?

        I consider ``Free Software'' or ``open source'' to be a requirement to distinguish black boxes of unknown (and too easily malevolent) content from transparent boxes within which I can have a fighting chance of getting a known quantity. This distinction is not a ``GNU/Linux'' thing, but a real, non-philosophical, distinction necessary to protect my system.

        It's not being ``ultra-specific'' to want to know whether you're being handed a box or dynamite or of nitroglycerine. One's a useful tool; the other's too likely to blow up in your face.

      3. jake Silver badge

        @ gazthejourno (was: Re: freeware?)

        The silly-ass thing is that there is no actual thing as "software". "Software" does absolutely nothing on it's own. So-called "software" is merely the instructions required to set up the state of the hardware for a given situation.

        Nobody (and I mean NOBODY!) owns all paths to a given hardware state.

        HTH.

        Sonoma Decentralized Language Institute.

    2. Stuart 22

      Re: freeware?

      ... none of the apps seem to be "freeware"

      That is an opinion/exortation of an organisation that doesn't accept the de-facto/shorthand meaning of Linux. Other opinions are available. Respect them unless you are genuinely confused about the meaning of the article.

      English is a free, evolving and ambiguous language created and manipulated by people, not dictionaries or even the FSF. It ain't like FORTRAN 77.

      1. Morten

        Re: freeware?

        The definition of freeware was always just "free as in beer".

        FSF is trying to make this "free as in speech", but that is their problem.

      2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: freeware?

        English is a free, evolving and ambiguous language created and manipulated by people, not dictionaries or even the FSF.

        My understanding is that the folks who compile (English) dictionaries these days tend to take a descriptive approach, simply documenting actual usage rather than offering rules of use, so not a deal there either.

    3. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: freeware?

      Every one of the listed software products is free as in beer AND free as in speech. Eight are in the main Debian repository for the upcoming release; Unity Tweak Tool is more or less specific to Ubuntu, but licensed under GPLv3; and Springseed is MIT licensed.

      That the FSF would like to purify the language for clarity is OK and occasional reminders may be beneficial, but that shouldn't get in the way of meaning.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: freeware?

      Even if the author doesn't like the philosophy of FSF[*] and the like, even if he were extremely hostile ... (assume he is not), nowadays, such ignorance is a bit hard to bear.

      What would you call it then? Libreware? Or are you going to sugar coat some mouthful of an acronym like FLOSS?

  10. Cipher
    Pint

    Nice article

    For notes I'll stick with cherrytree

    Quite amazing really...

    Will be checking out SMPlayer, VLC seems to want to keep a process running occasionally which can lead to problems...

    1. keithpeter
      Windows

      Springseed - Re: Nice article

      I rather like the UI of Springseed 2.0. Fits the 'pillar box' screens on laptops well.

      But can't find how it stores notes (not in ~/.config/Springseed any more)

      Contacting dev seems hard, issues on Git are ageing nicely...

      I'll stick with cherrytree as mentioned for now,

    2. Robert Halloran

      Re: smplayer

      FWIW, smplayer is also supported on Windows, which makes it a very useful replacement for WMP that doesn't need a shedload of "codec packs" to handle the various media types.

    3. Chika

      Re: Nice article

      I can thoroughly recommend SMPlayer. I have been using this on various openSUSE machines since oS 11.1 and it has developed out of all recognition. I just wish it was as stable on Windows boxes as I'd standardise on it like a shot (for now it's CCCP and/or VLC for Windows, no contest).

  11. petur

    LibreOffice

    Still waiting for it to open docx files without completely messing the layout...

    1. I Am Spartacus

      Re: LibreOffice

      Or save it's documents as docx files without screwing up the layout.

      1. nijam

        Re: LibreOffice

        > Still waiting for it to open docx files without completely messing the layout...

        I use LibreOffice a lot and it hasn't messed up any docx files. Can't say the same about MS Word, of course.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice

          I use LibreOffice a lot and it hasn't messed up any docx files

          I recently used LibreOffice to edit a .docx created in Word, and sent the result back to the originator, who couldn't open the file in Word because of malformed XML. Fortunately, saving it from LibreOffice as .rtf and .doc produced readable files.

          1. Chika

            Re: LibreOffice

            I normally find that the malformed XML comes from trying to open the ODF file itself rather than opening a docx file converted from an ODF, though YMMV. There is a plug in for Office that allows it to open ODFs directly which has been known to save my bacon occasionally.

        2. admiraljkb

          Re: LibreOffice

          >> Still waiting for it to open docx files without completely messing the layout...

          >I use LibreOffice a lot and it hasn't messed up any docx files. Can't say the same about MS Word, of course.

          The last part is something that's an open secret. Since Office 2007 came out, I've noticed I have to open some Word 2003 (and below) docs in LibreOffice and then re-save them for Microsoft Word to be able to read them. Libre can read them and apparently fix the formatting in a way that newer versions of Word to process.

          For long complex docs like product documentation, LibreOffice is my hands down go to tool and has been since the mid 2000's (when it was OpenOffice) after I had Word (usually when doing final revisions an hour before a release) screw my document formatting up one too many times.

          1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

            Re: LibreOffice

            Indeed. I used to find that Word couldn't even retain the formatting for a document it had just saved!

  12. Peter Simpson 1
    Linux

    Calibre, V41, HandBrake, VLC

    Calibre for converting eBook formats, works well, very useful

    V41 because I learned RPN and it never runs out of batteries

    HandBrake because it will convert any movie to play on my iPhone

    VLC because it will play any video, period.

    I love Linux. Currently using Mint 17 MATE

    1. Cipher

      Re: Calibre, V41, HandBrake, VLC

      Calibre is a decent ebook management program, it is less than wonderful for any conversions beyond mobi > epub. Converting PDF is problematic with all the converters I've tried, I just add bookmarks, paginate and clean 'em up. Sigil is very nice for fixing horribly formatted epubs, even the "retail" ones...

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Calibre, V41, HandBrake, VLC

        it is less than wonderful for any conversions beyond mobi > epub

        I dunno. It's never failed me for conversions. Then again, I use it mostly for managing my library since I get just about everything in epub to begin with.

        Sigil is very nice for fixing horribly formatted epubs, even the "retail" ones...

        Yes, yes it is.

        It's also quite useful, when used in conjunction with a website mirroring program, for turning non-downloadable online language references into nicely bookmarked epub files. Very convenient when your cubical doesn't have enough space to add a bookshelf for all the references you would like to have available.

  13. gizmo23

    Linux?

    Springseed looks interesting, I need a note taking application.

    Oh. Only available for Ubuntu, so the package is .deb format.

    Ubuntu != Linux

    Doesn't seem to work on my Fedora install.

    1. handle

      Re: Linux?

      .deb != Ubuntu

      1. Chika

        Re: Linux?

        .deb != Ubuntu

        I wondered how long it would be before that came up. Yet again it appears that an article written for El Reg has forgotten that Linux is not one source or distro but all of them hence, as was rightly suggested, Linux is NOT Ubuntu. Having said that, however, .deb, just like .rpm, is a packaging system. The code must be out there somewhere and if it is freeware or gnuware, a plain old tarball probably exists. Or...

        I just had a peek... http://github.com/byhestia/springseed. Don't know if it would work on my openSUSE boxes but it might be worth a try.

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Linux?

      Doesn't seem to work on my Fedora install.

      You should be able to convert the .deb to a .rpm. Look into alien.

      My problem with it is that I need a note taking app that will work on basically everything. I've got Mint Debian Edition on my home computer, my work computer is Win7, as is my wife's (she needs access to some of my notes) and I have several Android devices and the iPad issued to me at the office. I need my note app to work on all of them. Looks like I'm sticking with Evernote/Nixnote for a while. Too bad because I'd really like to give Springseed a try.

      1. Vic

        Re: Linux?

        You should be able to convert the .deb to a .rpm. Look into alien.

        Beware conversions with alien; it'll get you out of a hole, but it doesn't deal with dependencies properly[1], and that can come back to bite you later...

        Vic.

        [1] Given the difference in capabilities of the .deb and .rpm formats, it could be argued that it is impossible to do so. But alien doesn't even try, when it could do most packages without too much trouble.

  14. pyite

    Shutter vs. mate-screenshot or gnome-screenshot

    Are there any advantages over using the classic mate-screenshot tool? It lets you choose the whole screen, a window, or an area that you can select with the mouse. The results end up in the clipboard to paste into whatever image app you prefer.

    1. thames

      Re: Shutter vs. mate-screenshot or gnome-screenshot

      I haven't used it, but it looks like there are a lot more configuration options on what to do with the screen shot and how to automatically name it. I do some screen shots, but not huge numbers of them, so the standard "Screenshot" program that comes with Ubuntu is fine with me. You can launch it using the mouse as well as binding it to a key, specify delays, etc., so the author's bit about not having a "print screen" button doesn't really apply.

      I think Shutter only really has an advantage if you do a lot of screen shots and want specific options. Of course if you're an IT journo, then you probably do take a lot of screen shots and may want more configuration options.

  15. Esme

    Gimp? I might consider it again as and when it's gifted a user interface that mere mortals rather than the gods of image processing can understand, but until then it's banished to the outer darknesses along with all other programs that are either user-hostile or way more advanced than I actually need to use. Or that I'm just jot interested in.

    As for the Windows/Linux thing, I use Linux because it causes me way less grief than Windows, and personally I also find it easier to use (I have to use Windows at work, so I do have current exposure to both OS's). (shrugs) Your mileage may vary. Use whatever floats your boat. Having used both, though, I don't understand why anyone'd WANT to use Windows, but I'm not going to heckle someone for doing so.

    1. handle

      Gimp

      The single window mode makes it a lot more manageable.

      1. Daniel Voyce

        Re: Gimp

        Whatever happened to Gimpshop? All Photoshop keybindings for GIMP! It frustrates the hell out of me using it even though I know it is probably just as powerful as what I use Photoshop for, would love to have familiar keybindings for it!

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: Gimp

          As someone who worked on graphical systems and UI's for them some years ago, it always surprised me how difficult they are to use. Photoshop, GIMP, PaintShopPro etc. Never worked in the way I wanted them to work. Unfortunately the one I worked on (Satori) fell by the wayside, but at least it worked the way I wanted it to!

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Gimp? I might consider it again as and when it's gifted a user interface that mere mortals rather than the gods of image processing can understand

      Oddly until I took a class on Photoshop Gimp's interface made more sense to me than Photoshop's.

      Use whatever floats your boat. Having used both, though, I don't understand why anyone'd WANT to use Windows, but I'm not going to heckle someone for doing so.

      EXACTLY my feeling on the matter, except that I do understand why some people would rather run Windows. In fact I've told several people to stick with Windows when they asked me about Linux. The two main reasons I'd tell someone that are if they're currently in or planning to go to school (because many classes require certain software which may not run on Linux - I learned that one the hard way when I went back) and if they primarily use their computers for gaming (because of the number of major titles that never make it to Linux and don't run under Wine).

  16. Iain Elder
    Thumb Up

    Geany is the PowerShell IDE of Linux

    Geany is wonderful stuff. With libvte9 it becomes the PowerShell IDE of Linux.

    Seriously, I use Geany as my shell for anything more complex than a one-liner I can type from memory.

    Bind F8 to "send selection to terminal" to make it work like PowerShell IDE. It requires more key strokes than PSIDE, but it's close enough for productive script-writing.

  17. Iain Elder

    "Gone are the days of attempting to run Microsoft Office with WINE just to keep documents in a compatible format"

    Hey, that sounds like a good idea!

    Try using Libre Office to edit a dissertation-length .docx with change tracking, tables and footnotes and let me know how you get on...

    The experience nearly drove me to madness. I considered rewriting the peice in LaTeX.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Who in their right mind stores more than a page of text in a .docx file ?

      dissertation-length ?

      You can take the mickey all you want ... fingers crossed the dissertation will open in the next MS Office version, with formatting intact.

    2. Basil Fernie
      Headmaster

      Editing with this that and the other..

      Don't forget spellchecking, now.

  18. Tommy Pock

    ClamTK

    It’s also important to take pity on those who use more vulnerable systems

    No it isn't.

    Particularly if you share files with them on a regular basis, for the risk of inadvertently becoming a carrier is high.

    No it isn't.

    The risk of me or any other Linux user reading this inadvertently adding an .exe attachment to an outgoing email is nil.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: ClamTK

      Inadvertently adding an .exe to an email is not a concern. Inadvertently dropping an infected file onto a file server, however, is a concern. I've seen that one happen more than once. A Linux user gets an infected file from a Windows user and passes the infection on to another Windows user or even a group of them via a shared NAS, totally unaware that he's just helped a virus propagate. Plus there's the issue than systems running Wine can sometimes be infected with Windows malware. Admittedly such an infection would be laughably easy to cleanup, but still it happens.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    This article has me wanting to spec out a system for a proper Linux for the first time to use at home.

    I only have a couple of Pis and a BBB running that O/S flavor at the moment.

  20. sisk Silver badge

    Some good apps here

    Some of them I've not used, but of the ones I have (about 3/4 of the list) they're all top notch, with one glaring exception. I did not get along well with Tomahawk.

    It wasn't a flaw in the program or anything, it just didn't do things quite the way I wanted them to. It did come closer than any other media library manager I've tried unless you count Mixxx, which is not going to work well for most people but meets my needs perfectly. I blame the time I've spent DJing.

  21. MeRp

    No LyX.... what an oversight.

  22. CaptainBanjax

    Geany?

    Whats wrong with Atom or Sublime?

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Geany?

      Nothing really, but there's more to an IDE than a text editor with syntax highlighting. I strongly favor Sublime myself, but I understand the appeal of a full fledged IDE.

      Plus Sublime, not being free in either sense of the word (it's proprietary and the license is $70, or at least that was the price when I bought my license), wouldn't be in consideration for this list.

  23. Peter X

    Springseed

    Springseed looked interesting, but their website is lacking any information.

  24. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    firewall

    Also have a look at Arno's iptables firewall if you want something that's simple to configure. You do need to edit a config file but most of the common configurations are supported and each of the options is clearly explained within the config file. It looks to be even simpler than this gufw program since you don't even need to know anything about how iptables works to use it.

  25. Morten Bjoernsvik

    Netbeans8 deserves some merits

    After using Eclipse, Komodo Editor/IDE and IntelliJ IDEA, I find Netbeans8 being a very good overall IDE. It has a very flexible and easy understandable config and plugin support. Having both java and C/C++, You already have all You need to extend it to any other languages that uses either maven or buildtools. In one week I managed to set up perl highlighting, cpan module autodownload, debug, run and rpmbuild (a dirty tarball of entire perlbrew lib + app) for deployment. I used bash on centos7, so it is not transparent(No windows or mac). But I was impressed I could write the plugin in any language I preferred.

  26. Muskiier

    Nice article

    Nice job. Reminds me of the articles in Byte magazine in the olden days when trying out utilities and apps was fun. BTW, IMHO there is really no email client as good as Outlook or email server as good as Exchange.

    1. Criminny Rickets

      Re: Nice article

      I agree with the first half or your statement re: Byte Magazine. I disagree about your statement regarding Outlook. I always found it very hard to do any changes to it, as updated mail servers.

    2. Maventi

      Re: Nice article

      "BTW, IMHO there is really no email client as good as Outlook or email server as good as Exchange."

      I find Outlook a terrible email client, but as far as native groupware apps go nothing else can touch it these days.

    3. MarkTheMorose
      Happy

      Re: Nice article

      ...and it reminded me of the PD pages in Amiga Shopper.

      Happy days.

  27. Maventi

    Geany

    Nice to see Geany featured; it's probably the best all-round text editor cum basic IDE I've used to date.

  28. ChrisBedford

    Shutter website requires user name & password

    ...without which you are screwed. What gives?

  29. jherskowitz

    Tomahawk

    It appears from the screenshot that the reviewer is still using a really old version of Tomahawk. Version 0.8 is a major step forward. http://gettomahawk.com

  30. Christopher E. Stith

    Umm... "freeware"? That's a term with an accepted definition. That definition does not include the concepts of free software or open source. "Freeware" is closed-source software offered for gratis use.

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