Linux Applications I use

Finaly got round to installing OpenSUSE 11.0 on my desktop so I thought this would be a good opportunity to keep track of the software I actually use. I’ll edit and update this entry over time.

System

  • VirtualBox (virtual machine, cross platform)
  • Wine
  • TurboPrint (paid for printer driver)
    Makes having a Canon inkjet printer worth-while again! Rather expensive for what it does but it brings the features you would expect from a good, proprietary printer driver.
  • FireFox (web browser, cross platform)
    Add-ins:
  • Adblock Plus
  • CS Lite (adblock for cookies!)
  • Diigo (online bookmark and web notes site)
  • FlashBlock
  • RAMBack (Forces FF to give back some RAM)
  • Secure Login (auto populates login information – uses FF’s built in security database)
  • Session Manager (FF3 now recovers crashes but this saves arbitary sessions on request plus other goodies)
  • Tab Mix Plus (perhaps a bit heavyweight but makes working with tabs vastly better than FF3’s built in features) – you need the dev. build for FF3
    UPDATE 2008-07-18: The dev. build is no longer valid for FF 3.0.1. I hope this gets updated soon, it really makes a differents to usability when you have many tabs open.
    UPDATE2: It seems as though you need to reinstall the dev build after updating to FF 3.0.1
  • Google Gears (Run web apps offline)

Development Add-ins:

  • Firebug
  • YSlow

Sometimes used Add-ins:

  • All-In-One Sidebar (nice but not really needed)
  • CustomizeGoogle
  • FEBE (backup FF, had some problems with it recently so I’ve stopped using it)
  • LinkedIn Companion for Firefox
  • PasswordExporter (Handy for backup and migration)
  • iMacros (record, write and edit macros that control the browser)

Security

  • KeepassX (password store, cross platform)
  • TrueCrypt

Office

Graphics & Media

  • VLC
  • MPlayer
  • VueScan (paid for scanning software) This is an excellent if slightly expensive tool that does really high quality scanning from both flatbed and film scanners. It has its own drivers too. It can output multiple file types simultaneously including PDF and TIFF and can OCR as well. It also supports multi-pass scanning (primarily for film scanning).

Development

  • Open Komodo (editor, cross platform)
    Add-ins:

Games

Other

  • MemoryMap (mapping, Windows using Wine or a VM)
  • Google (Note that currently only Picassa and Desktop are in Google’s SUSE repository)
  • Earth
  • Sketchup (Not often used)

All of the above are available either in the main OpenSUSE repositories or via the build service unless I’ve provided a link (except for plugins of course).

Changing backspace to go back through history (FireFox for Linux)

Us old-time Windows bods get used to our keyboard shortcuts I’m afraid. One of the most useful is using the backspace key in the browser to go back through the browsers history.
Unfortunately, this is not the default under Linux (alt-left arrow is the default).
FireFox has an easy way to fix this. Put “about:config” in the address bar and “backspace” in the search entry. You should see the entry “browser.backspace_action”. Change this to 0.

Living with Firefox

I use Firefox all the time. Both with Windows and Linux but I don’t like the fact that it assumes that you are using Gnome under Linux and doesn’t really play nicely with KDE.

Thankfully there are a few things you can do.

To get printing to use KPrinter (the default KDE print dialog). Choose the printer called Postscript/default and then change the command that is run to kprinter --stdin. Now, whenever you print to that printer, you will get the KDE standard print dialog where you can choose the printer (most importantly, output to PDF) and change the settings.

What is happening is that you are setting a configuration item (see the special Firefox URL about:config) called print.printer_PostScript/default.print_command. If you are happy to always use this setting, you might also like to set print.always_print_silent to true in about:config (add it as a new string entry if it does not exist). Now you wont see the initial print dialog, you will get a progress box and then the KDE print dialog.

You might also want to get rid of the nasty looking Gnome open/save dialogs too. That’s easily done, again using about:config. This time set the option ui.allow_platform_file_picker to false.

Finally, you may well find that printing from Firefox takes an age. You can fix that by editing /etc/cups/mime.types (as sudo) and commenting out the two lines belonging to the mozilla-ps mime type. I am not sure though whether this has any impact on the quality of the output.

And people say that Linux is ready for the desktop? Hmm.