Sunday, September 16, 2007

Guide to Best Linux [Ubuntu (GNOME)] Applications - Latest Sep 17, 2007

Guide to Best Linux [Ubuntu (GNOME)] Applications - Latest Sep 17, 2007

Hello There

I always keep looking for best application available on Linux for my tasks. A simple Google search does give some good links but most are older, or don't provide a comprehensive comparison, and arguments as if why is any particular app better than others. Also most miss is, the certain features which the better app in question lacks or is inferior at.

So i decided to write up an article myself so that others may get help from it.

Though not complete by all means, i will be writing as better as possible. Some categories don't have comparison in cases i don't have used them much or they don't need one. I am writing this from my experiences accumulated with time. I will try to be as concise as possible.

This will also give you a list of popular apps.

User reviews, additions, comments & criticism are welcome and appreciated.

I. Multimedia

Well, multimedia is the most used domain on computers. So better start with this.

(1). Video Codecs

Xine vs. Gstreamer - Xine Wins.

+ Points:

1. single plugin or file namely libxine-extracodec gives all most frequently used codecs, namely, divx, mpeg, mov , dat, vob, etc., unlike gstreamer which installs multiple files for different codecs.

2. Totem which is the default video player has ability to use xine as backend, so you don't need to install any video player in addition.

3. Better video quality. (at least i feel so)

4. Same xine works even in Kaffeine if you like to use Kubuntu later on.

5. Keyboard shortcuts are easier to use.

- Points:

1. doesn't play .flv smoothly (you tube downloads) while gstreamer does.

(2). Music Player

Listen vs. Rhythmbox vs Banshee vs Exaile vs AMAROK : Listen Wins.

+ Points:

1. Has almost all features you desire (remember amarok), like

  • lyrics auto fetching (& which actually works unlike amarok)
  • wikipedia artist, album or even song info (even amarok gives only artist info)
  • suggestions (present in almost all)
  • cover manager auto download (which again is better than even amarok)
  • single click access to genre, artist, & album & songs like Rhythmbox.(i hate right clicking in amarok artist column to get album, & then songs).

I feel this is the best & most easy & fast way to navigate & play your music library.

This is really horrible in Amarok & Exaile.

  • Has podcast & webradio.
  • now playing list always visible.
  • watches your library for changed music or you can just configure to check on startup.
  • has OSD & notification feature.
  • Use gtk libs so you don't have to use KDE libs when using Amarok in GNOME.
  • You can configure 'Double Click' as play that artist or album or song OR enqueue as default action.

- Points:

  • No Plugin to show 'Now Playing' in Gaim like exaile or amarok. (but in kde you actually use kopete plugin to show 'Now Playing')
  • Poor 'Dynamic Song Suggestion' algorithm
  • Favorite & Most Played Music Tracking not well working.
  • Has no Script Framework like Amarok (but in Amarok, half of the available scripts don't work due to dependencies or other problems)

But the good thing is that Listen developers are actively developing it and adding new features though their release cycle is slow. I feel that it should be the default music player in Ubuntu.

(3). Video Player Other Than Totem

VLC vs Mplayer : Mplayer Wins

VLC player has always given me pathetic sound playback like sound distortion on max level. & Mplayer has worked most of time. I like Mplayer Keyboard shortcuts( best on any video player you will use), but mplayer sometime doesn't play sound in certain files, like flv or vob.

And the fact that i haven't used vlc much, renders me unable to comment much. I request users to comment.

II. Office Apps.

1. Writer

OpenOffice vs Abiword: Abiword wins.

Abiword is really fast to open up, takes up less of ram, is a gtk app( so no extra KDE libs), has lotta useful plugins, like wikipedia search, google search etc.

2. Presentation


I have used this only, so don't know any alternative. Are really any alternative out there ?

3. Database

OpenOffice vs. Gnumeric

I haven't used Gnumeric so can't comment upon, but lotta people say its faster than OO just like abiword is faster than OO writer.

4. Mail Client

Evolution vs Thunderbird

I don't use offline mail client, so no comments. People please write.

III. Graphics

(1). Photo Library Manager

Fspot vs Picasa: Both are good.

Just that picasa looks like using windows, so i use it rarely.

(2). Image Editor

Gimp: Already the best.

(3). 3-d Desktop.

Beryl vs Compiz Fusion: Currently Beryl Wins

When i say currently, its because of the reason that right now CF has no support for Ubuntu Feisty (Though some people have posted tutorials to install CF on ubuntu feisty, but that really

doesn't work or doesn't work well right now). And beryl right now, works perfect on Ubuntu Feisty.

But definitely Compiz Fusion will be the winner as Beryl & Compiz have been merged in CF. & the previews from Ubuntu Gutsy beta CF are really exciting. Even Ubuntu has decided to ship CF in Gutsy, enabled by default. So lets wait for the magic to unfold.

For the mean time, Beryl Works, & Works well !!!

(4). Themes


This is a project on source-forge that has all things you need to make your Ubuntu look like Mac OS X. Its still in development, but is a really good resource for people wishing to make their desktop look like Mac

(I feel Ubuntu Default Human Theme is as good as Mac's. But i wrote this because lotta people are there always looking for thing to make their desktop look like Mac.)

IV. Internet

(1). Web Browser


No need to say, Firefox Rules !!!

(2). Torrent client

Ktorrent vs Deluge: Deluge wins

Deluge has emerged the best torrent client on GNOME. There was a void on GNOME desktop manager for torrent client which has been filled by Deluge.

+ Points:

  • Lightweight, less RAM consumption.
  • Automatically configures your upload connection settings based on the upload speed value you enter in the First Run Configuration Wizard. This is an excellent feature, introduced in the latest version.
  • good download speed. (unlike Ktorrent which i could never configure for good speed. Ktorrent was always fluctuating speed so that average speed was always half of the max. available on my connection.)
  • very fast development going on. new features keep coming on.
  • encryption algorithms are superb. So excellent for people whose ISP are throttling or shaping torrent traffic.
  • uses gtk, so you don't have to install & use KDE libs.

I see Deluge developing as something comparable or even better than even utorrent on windows. Deluge is filling the long time empty space of a torrent client on Linux. I would like to see Deluge as the default torrent client in Ubuntu Gutsy.

(3). Messenger

Gaim(or Pidgin) vs. Kopete: Kopete wins

Kopete has definitely better feature like notification, plugins, smileys etc.

I am unable to compare them in points as i have become a big time GNOME lover due to its beauty & simplicity( though have used KDE big time in past), & i don't have Kopete installed right now. But no doubt i have used it in past, so i know its really better than Gaim (or Pidgin, I could never understand what new feature these guys introduced in Gaim, that they changed the name altogether to pidgin).

But having said that Gaim also does a good job.

(4) Download Manager

Gwget vs. Aria vs Downloader for X(D4X) : NONE WINS

I recently had to download some heavy files, so i started looking for Download Managers/Accelerators for Linux.( because DownThemAll in firefox was somehow restarting downloads in between). I found above listed app on google.I installed each one by one, but i was disappointed big time.

1. First of all none of them accelerated download.

2. Gwget didn't start downloading directly using flashgot in firefox.

3. Aria dint has text labels for the buttons on user interface.

4. Downloader for X downloaded the files, but i don' why they got corrupted somehow, most probably due to some problem i D4X itself.

Then I had to boot into Windows ( The most frustrating part of all), use Flashget to download the things.

Why can't Flashget people port this excellent open source app to Linux ?

[Originally Posted At ]

I request people to add comments & things i might have missed. Or other great apps you know of (but please just don't list the names, please take some time to write a bit about as if why that app is better than others).

I hope this article will help you. Please digg it if you liked the article.

1 comment:

Anirudh said...

Hey thanks for featuring my Mac4Lin project in the list :)