My Preferred Applications & Installation Tips

The table below lists my preferred applications. These have not been lightly selected, but are the outcome of years of use and after trying many softwares, first with Windows and then with Linux (primarily Debian based). Politics has been left out of my choice criteria, which are in order of importance:

Knoppix offers a special 4 GB distribution which includes an LXDE desktop and just about every useful Linux application that exists. They also include a tool that can install the complete operating system to a thumb drive from which it works as well as a hard drive install; as a matter of fact, they recommend that you use it this way. One of the merits of such an install is as a tool to investigate an application without being required to actually install the application on your working system. This eliminates the install-dislike-remove procedure necessary otherwise. Another merit is that you can carry a complete working computer software package in your pocket.

Good Linux text editors are leafpad [733], geany [2688], medit [5939], juffed [1367+], gedit [2643+] and most others. Leafpad is very simple, light and reliable with no special features; the other 4 color code text and have a variety of additional features; juffed is designed for the Qt 4 platform and will be around 7,000 kb to install in a non-Qt4; gedit requires a gnome platform and may be as high as 40,000 kb to install on a different platform and probably not worth it. Use geany -i to launch geany in a new window each time. To make word wrap the default in leafpad, be sure word wrap is checked in the options category in the leafpad tab and edit, if necessary, the number just below monospace 12 to be 1 in ~/.config/leafpad/leafpadrc. You can create a root-text-editor for any of these editors by creating a .desktop file with, for example, exec=gksu juffed or exec=gksudo leafpad. An interesting java based text editor is Jedit (see Section 7 for link). Although Jedit takes a second or two longer to launch, it has a lot of extra features, including a built-in notepad, and is an excellent text editor for a Linux operating system.

Mirage [560] has become my favorite image viewer because it is light, has thumbnails and a resizing tool. Gpicview [819] has no resizing or thumbs; gthumb [3627] has no resizing tool; and Geeqie [4900] is heavy and a bit clumsy to use.

A good alternative to xarchiver is squeeze (with exo-utils [1202]). For extra light version, do sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends squeeze. File-roller [6106] is heavy.

Grub-Customizer is useful if you have multiple boot options, or want to easily see how many kernel versions are installed.

Installing lightdm without the fancy backgrounds available for the few seconds logging-in saves 13,962 kg: sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends lightdm. Another good display manager is slim [1384]. Gdm] and Mdm [16,000+] are too heavy. You can find the name of your current default display manager by looking at /etc/X11/default-display-manager.

My favorite Bittorrent is Tixati, which can be downloaded from Tixati as a Debian file. It has many control features as can be seen from the accompanying image, a very colorful interface and is very fast. A bit heavier and clumsier but equally useful bittorrent is Vuze, which is java based and comes with a nice search tool. It can be also downloaded with its own media play. Download the latest appropriate version for linux from Vuse, and extract it to the directory in which you want the exec. The extracted folder will include two apparently identical shell scripts named Vuze and azureus. Make these executable, after which Vuze can be launched by clicking either one.

GParted, which can be installed via synaptics, can be used among many things to change the name of drives. It requires the drive to be first unmounted, which usually can be accomplish using GParted. However, I had one drive, formatted ntfs, that resisted being unmounted by GParted, or any of the other means that I knew. I finally got it unmounted by using another tool, NTFS Configuration Tool, installed via Synaptics.

When unplugging a USB connected external storage with the computer running, it should always be first unmounted. This can be most quickly accomplished by right clicking the drive's name in the Pcmanfm's mounted storage list in the left column, and clicking unmount.

To do a simple install of an alien Linux application without a PPA, first find and download the application. Your success after that will depend upon the type of package. To install a package.deb, where package is the name of the application, first try right clicking it and selecting GDebi. If that doesn't work, put it in your home directory and enter the following command into the terminal:

   sudo dpkg -i package.deb

which should work provided dpkg installer, is installed. To install a package.rpm, use:

   sudo alien -i package.rpm

which should work provided alien is installed. Also, you can use

   sudo alien -d package.rpm

which changes the .rpm package (works as well for .tgz, .txz, .tlz and .tbz packages) to a .deb package, which can be then possibly installed with GDebi or dpkg. If a package is not compatible with your system, don't worry, because it will not install.

There are many private repositories in existence. Sometimes they have a PPA that allows them to be added in general to your synaptic group, or sometimes you can just get the desired package. For example, the nice, little inxi app can be downloaded as a .deb by running the following command in the terminal:

   sudo wget*.deb.

You will probably find it in your home folder, from which you can use gdebi to install it. Run inxi -F in terminal to get a list of your important computer components.

To install a compressed linux file (tarball), first right click it and choose the "extract" option if offered. If it isn't offered and the compression is done using gzip (tar.gz) or bzip2 (tar.bz2), which is usually the case, then you can extract the contents to the directory you are in by opening the terminal in that directory and running:

    tar xvzf file.tar.gz        [to uncompress a gzip tar file (.tgz or .tar.gz)]
    tar xvjf file.tar.bz2      [to uncompress a bzip2 tar file (.tbz or .tar.bz2)]
    tar xvf file.tar               [to uncompressed tar file (.tar)] .

Of course, repace the word "file" with the actual name of the file. The files will be extracted to an ordinary file with the same name, "file", as the tarball, but without a tar-extension. To open a tar.xz file seems to require stipulating the extract directory:

   tar xvf /path/to/file.tar.xz -C /path/to/extract/directory.

Generally the application can be installed by opening a terminal in the extracted file directory and running:

   sudo make install ,

or running in a root terminal the combined command:

    ./configure && make && make install .

Sometimes these commands are not installed in your operating system but are in the applications folder, and sometimes alternate commands like cmake instead of make are used. Usually the app's author includes a text file giving special directions for the installation. Look for a file named something like readme.tex, install.tex or directions.tex. Open it and try to discern the exact installation instructions from it.

To stop a service, like, for example, bluetooth, from runing on your computer, enter the following into the terminal:

   sudo update-rc.d bluetooth remove .

Just substitute the service name for bluetooth in the command. To restart, forexample, bluetooth,

   sudo update-rc.d bluetooth defaults.

To get the exact names of the processes on your computer, install the little tool rcconf, and run sudo rcconf in the terminal.

Audio ControlPavucontrol Pulseaudio
Audio EditorAudacity
Audio RecorderSox
Audio RipperSound Juicer, Asunder
Audio-Video Stream RecorderStreamRipper
Audio-Video PlayerVLC Player
Bit TorrentTransmission, Tixati, Vuze (Java)
Burn DiskXfburn
Calculator ScientificSpeed Crunch Portable(wine)
Calculator SimpleJscicalc (java)
Character MapRJ Ascii(wine)
Clipboard ManagerParcellite
Color ToolsX-picard, grabc
Computer InformationBoxinfo, Inxi, Wavemon (internet)
Dictionary SpellingIspell
Dictionary SynomonsAiksaurusGTK
DistributionBunsenlabs, Sparky Linux Openbox
E-book ReaderFBReader
File BrowserPcmanfm
FTP TransportFileZilla
Html EditorArachnapholia (java)
Icon ThemeBlack-Diamond
Kill ToolXkill (x11-utils)
Menu Editor (LXDE)Lxmed (java)
Monitor ToolsArandr/Lxrandr
Network ToolConnman, Wicd
NotesCloudStickyNotes (java)
Office SuiteLibre Office
Office LightweightAbiword/Gnumeric
PanelFbpanel, Lxpanel
PDF EditorXournal, Poppler-utils
PDF Viewer-copierPDF-Xchange (wine)
Photo EditorImage Magick, PhotoFiltre (wine)
Photo GraphicsLatexdraw (java)
Photo PrinterPhotoprint
Photo ToolsScrot, Faststone (wine), Pixelitor (java)
Photo ViewerMirage
Radio Stream PlayerPMRP-VLC
Scan ToolSimple Scan
ScreenshooterScrot, Xwd
Search Tool GuiCatfish
Search Tool IndexerColout
Software ManagerSynaptic (with apt-xapian-index)
Task ManagerLxtask
Telephony InternetSkype
TerminalSakura, Lxterminal
Text EditorGeany
Text Editor ExtraJedit (java)
Text Editor LightweightMedit
Video EditorFfmpeg, Sox, Avidemux
Video RipperHandbrake
Wallpaper ToolNitrogen
Web BrowserFirefox, Iron, Maxthon
Windows ManagerOpenbox
Windows TilerWinfuncs