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Linux and 2003: Time to re-organize

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Edit: I have received many positive feedbacks on the article, thanks :D . Also there were many suggestions contributed by various fellow Linux users, and credits are given wherever their modifications are applied. Thanks again for the contribution, you guys rock! :)


2002 has been a very good year for open source and Linux: the maturity of the 2.4 kernel series; the 1.0 release of Mozilla.org web browser and OpenOffice.org office suite; also the proliferation and improvement among many other open source projects and technologies.


There are already many articles around the web discussing what Linux needed to improve to secure a stronghold on the desktop; which I will not be repeating here. What I am going to discuss in this thread, is (1) what resources we already have; (2) what interesting and great stuff will be released in 2003; and (3) finally the resource and discussion which can help you navigate your journey in starting and enjoying Linux..


I will be presuming you have already made it thru installing a Linux distribution on your own. If not, please refer to the discussions in the 'Installing Mandrake' forum. Also there's an online walkthru of the Mandrake 9 installation process over here.


(1) So, what resources do we have already?


Before you read on I will urge you to check out this great article from RatedPC.com: Linux On Desktop (Mirror page 21), if you have not already done so. It will inform you a LOT about what you can do with Linux as a desktop.


cannonfodder, our awesome Site Admin :) , also posted a very useful link on looking for software on Linux where their equivalents on Windows are listed side by side as comparison: http://linuxshop.ru/linuxbegin/win-lin-soft-en/


Since I use Mandrake 9 (mdk) exclusively as my desktop, the following resources and links are mostly applicable to mdk9, for other distributions you can search in rpmfind.net, freshrpms.net (for Red Hat) or if you are using debian or Gentoo, use apt or emerge. PCLinuxOnline.com also hosted links to various RPM packagers (see the left column of the site, under the title "RPM Outlet").


A note on rpms for Mandrake:


For those who use Mandrake distribution, you will find that there are many packaged rpms available. There are several sources:


1. Contribs: the source of other open source software compiled for mdk distributions that did not make it into the 3 CDs download edition.


ftp for Contribs: (there are others you can find somewhere)


site1 site2 site3


2. PLF: Penguin Liberation Front lair, also creates packages compiled for mdk, however for license and other legal reasons (such as xine DeCSS DVD player); these packages did not and probably will not make it into the Mandrake CD distributions. Note that while the Contribs rpms will come with the DVD/box version of Mandrake, most of the PLF rpms never will, unless the legal or license issue is somehow resolved.




http://ftp.club-internet.fr/pub/linux/plf (France mirror)


3. Texstar rpms


Texstar is the host of the Linux website PC Linux Online. He personally contributed many nice rpms for the Mandrake distribution.


Texstar RPM


4. Ranger rpms


Ranger has created many rpms fixing hardware and Samba support for Mandrake Linux.




5. Mandrake Club


These rpms are usually not available in public, they are the priviledge for Mandrake Club members. I believe many audio applications belong to this category. Or if you know your way you can always compile from the source.


Mandrake Club



For those who used Mandrake 9, this site provides several good tutorials on enhancing its desktop capability: >> trylinuxSD.com


Also here are some screenshots for the applications and enhancement I made use of:

>> Linux application screenshot page


Ok, here comes the resources to enhance you desktop:


Fonts & Themes:


<1> Corefonts package


- This is part of the Microsoft True Type Font set on Windows. Sometime in August 2002 MS removed it from their web site, but the EULA allowed it to be distributed in unaltered form. The corefonts project was created and the MS fonts were hosted in the sourceforge mirrors so that everyone can download those MS fonts and use it under Linux (notably the fonts in KDE/Gnome, mozilla.org and OpenOffice). You do NOT need to have a copy or license of Windows to use the corefonts package.


Corefonts: http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/

Similar project: http://sourceforge.net/projects/font-tool/

Mandrake src rpm bulid: http://ben.reser.org/corefonts/ (Thanks, breser!)


You can also import fonts from your Windows partition if you have a dual boot system. For mdk, drakfont will do the job.


<2> KDE/GTK/Gnome Theme Modification


- Well this is just to customize the look and feel of your KDE desktop. Keramik, Apple Aqua or even MS Windows XP themes are available. For more information, check out KDE-look.org.


MDK rpms available from: Texstar

(I don't link to them directly since with new versions they will have different filenames.)


Keramik Theme (keramik-3.0.3-3tex.i586.rpm)

Bluecurve Theme from RedHat (freecurve-artwork-0.47-1tex.i586.rpm)

Crystal Icon set (crystal-icons-0.8.0-2tex.i586.rpm)


Geramik Theme (mdk Contribs rpm: Geramik-*.*.i586.rpm)


Note: Both Keramik theme and Crystal icon set will become the default theme/icon for KDE 3.1.


Web Access & System


<3> Web Access


1. Downloader for X - d4x (mdk rpm)

&. ProZilla, ProZilla-GUI (mdk rpms: prozilla, prozgui) (Thanks, ramfree17!)


Basically, they serve as the FlashGet on Linux.


2. Adobe Acrobat Reader for Linux

(rpmfind.net: acroread-5.x.*.rpm)


3. gaim, SIM-ICQ, KMess, center-icq


These are instant messengers on Linux.

These two articles will provide more information for IMs on Linux:





4. HTTrack & khttrack (mdk rpm: httrack, libhttrack)


Ever used TelePort Pro on Windows? An offline browser. It can download a normal web site for offline browsing, the same goes for HTTrack, but it's open source.


5. Flash 6 plugin

For viewing Flash in browser or in standalone player.


6. JRE for Linux (Sun download page)

You need Java runtime to browse Java-enabled site.


A note on installing mozilla.org plugins


After installing Java runtime JRE 1.4.2, you need to create a symlink in the browser/plugins directory. It can be one of those:






To create a symlink, type in terminal



cd (any mozilla path of above)/plugins

ln -s /usr/java/j2re1.4.2_03/plugin/i386/ns610/libjavaplugin_oji.so .


update: For Mozilla version >=1.4, the last line should be changed like this:


ln -s /usr/java/j2re1.4.2_03/plugin/i386/ns610-gcc32/libjavaplugin_oji.so .




In UNIX/Linux, the configuration/setting located in your user/home directory will override the global setting. If you place the symlink in  ~/.mozilla/plugins, it will be used by any mozilla.org installed on the system.


Hence you can keep the default mozilla-1.1 installed by mdk9, while installing any build of mozilla (for instance 1.3 beta) in /usr/local/mozilla directory. Both of them can access the same plugins in your home directory at ~/.mozilla/plugins.


Moreover, you can simply place symlinks of all plugins over there, without worrying where you have installed the plugins and such. This is also a good way to disable a particular plugin (eg. for debugging) because it's easier to remove a symlink in your home directory.


<4> System & Archive


1. zip-2.3.9 (from mdk9 cd)

2. RAR Linux (RARLab official homepage)

3. LHA rpm (mdk rpms)


Want to extract the *.zip, *.rar or *.lzh format inherited from Windows/DOS archives on Linux? By installing these packages you can gain access to, or even create them on Linux. Ark (from Qt/KDE) will recognize and use them automatically after installation.


4. setcd (RH rpm)


For some very high speed cd-rom, this utility can slow down the reading speed to reduce noise (and probably reading error) in CD spinning.


5. Other CD-Writing app: K3b, Arson


I personally use GCombust , so I haven't tried neither of them; but I heard many good things about them. You can find the rpm packages at rpmfind.net.


6. AbiWord (mdk Contribs rpm: abiword-1.0.2-1mdk.i586.rpm)


I like using Abiword: it's a fast and elegant word processor. Strangely, it's not included in the mdk9 3-cd set, while RedHat has it installed by default.


Multimedia, Gaming and Development


<5> Video & Streaming


1. Real Player + mozilla plugins (Texstar rpm:

RealPlayer8-8.0.3-5tex.i586.rpm, mozilla-realplayer-1.x-1tex.i586.rpm)


Update: Codec upgrade to Real Player 9 (Mirror site)


2. Cinelerra (mdk PLF rpm: cinelerra-1.1.5-2plf.i586.rpm)

The excellent video editor on Linux (check out the screenshot page).


3. FilmGimp (mdk rpms)

As the brother of GIMP, Film Gimp is a motion picture editing tool primarily used for painting and retouching of movie images. More details are available from the site.


4. Xine & Mplayer Update



For more information on playing DVD on Linux, you can check out this article:



Note #1: The Xine version comes with mdk9 is 0.9.13, some of the rpms from PLF are for verion 1.0beta-*, make sure you install the xine plugins for the former version. Also there are Win32, DiVX, Xvid, DeCSS plugins+codecs available. The Win32 plugin+codec will allow you to access Windows movie formats! Now you can enjoy movie/game trailers on Xine as your buddies on Windows can. The same goes for Mplayer.


Note #2: MPlayer plugin support for Konqueror/Mozilla/Phoenix (New!)



<6> Audio enhancement


1. MIDI - For SB AWE/Live/Audigy User:


> awesfx & awesfx-devel package (from mdk9 cd)

> alsamixergui-0.9.0-0.5rc1_2mdk (from mdk9 cd)


You can perform MIDI playback as good as you did on Windows, with soundfont support! This article illustrates the steps to do so:



If you connect 4 speakers to your SB Live, you will need the alsamixergui package to enable surround sound with the two rear speaker output.


2. playmidi, playmidi-X11 (from mdk9 cd)


For non-SB Live users, playmidi can perform midi playback on your system, it supports SB16, GUS, AWE32/64 (so does the previous awesfx package), external MIDI. However, it's a commandline-only tool; another author and I are working on an XMMS-playmidi plugin (actually I only did some testing and reporting error :P), so stay tuned ;) .


3. Broadcast 2000 (from mdk9 cd, source)


Broadcast 2000 is actually a full-feature video-audio editor, released in 2000. At that time it was pretty advanced and even being used by some movie studio to do some serious work - but that's exactly what got it into trouble: from what I've heard, it seemed that someone who used it in big-budget production wanted the author to hold responsible for liabilities (remember all GNU/GPL software tools are come with no warranty), which the author would not or could not afford to do so, hence he removed it from his site. Now it is being replaced by Cinelerra (see above).


However, Broadcast 2000 still performs very good as an audio editor. As it comes with Mandrake, you might just want to play with it. :)


4. xmms-alsa, xmms-writer (from mdk9 cd)


Two xmms output plugins: xmms-alsa will use alsa (instead of OSS compatibility mode) as the output interface, while xmms-writer will write wav file to your harddrive instead of audio playback.


5. SoundTracker (mdk rpm)


SoundTracker is a GTK-based music tracking tool for Unix / X11 similar in design to the DOS program FastTracker and the Amiga legend ProTracker.


6. Rosegarden, Audacity, Noteedit, Ardour and many other excellent audio apps (see screenshot for Rosegarden)



7. Turnkey Linux Audio


Turn Key Linux Audio is a rich collection of audio packages for Mandrake Linux 9, for more detail please refer to this article:



<7> 2D & 3D Graphic


1. sodipodi (Sourceforge RH & mdk rpms download page)


Vector Illustrator on Linux using SVG Format. It works and looks very promising. Check out the screenshot page to have a look at it.


2. Blender 3D (mdk rpm)

3. Wings3D (mdk rpm, draft manual)

4. Moonlight3d


These are some of the open source 3d packages available on Linux. In particular, Blender3D became open source since October 2002. Even these packages are relatively small (compare to the big 3d commercial package), don't overlook their excellent features and speed. You might be surprised when looking at a screenshot of a scene rendered by them. There are other 3d packages and independent renderers out there; hang around certain 3d forum and you will find them.


5. Highend 3d packages: Downloadable learning editions on Linux.


Houdini Apprentice learning edition (download page)

Softimage EXP Linux version (download page) (New!)


Note: Softimage EXP Linux only runs on Red Hat 8 and some version of Debian Sid; Mandrake users are out of luck when it comes to Softimage EXP.


<8> Games


PSX Emulator: ePSXe and PCSX Linux (Check out NGEmu.com for more detail)

Zsnes (from mdk Contribs rpm: zsnes-1.36-2mdk.i586.rpm)

xMame, Visual Boy Advance (from mdk PLF Cooker)


Yet another nV Configurator: Modify the OpenGL 3D configuration and setting for nVidia display cards. (Thanks, blackstripe!)


Linux Game List (New!)

Linux Gamers' FAQ (New!)

Article: Gaming and Linux in 2003, by DOlson


FPS Game demos: Return to Wolfenstein, Quake III Arena, Unreal Tournament 2003

FPS Multiplayer Game Full Version: America's Army, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory


Free Car Racing: Racer, RARS, TORCS (Joystick required)

Free Games: Fallen Block Game, FooBillard, pyDDR, Star Control 2 (Thanks, Falcdragon!)


Neverwinter Nights Linux Client official site (Linux Installer)

NWN Linux Client support fan site


<9> Others


1. Wine (from mdk9 cd, or compile from source)

2. Wine Daily binary & src RPM build (Thanks, ramfree17!)

3. WineX from CVS


Wine and WineX will allow you to run *some* Windows applications and games on Linux.


4. Kylix 3 Open Edition

The Visual Development environment from Borland on Linux, supports both Delphi and C++.


<10> Internationalization (Thanks, blackstripe!)


For those who would like to input in, or switch the entire system GUI/message to another language under Mandrake Linux, here are the resource guide on how to do so:


> Foreign language support

> HOWTO: Japanese IME in Mandrake 8.1


Typing in Japanese and Chinese has been known to be successful under Mandrake Linux, provided you have installed the relevant locale language package(s), or you can perform a multiple-language install in the beginning.


With all these info and the new packages installed I hope you will have a smoother desktop experience with Linux. :D


In another post later I will discuss the second and third issues on the outlook of Linux in 2003 and the resources to guide your way online.


Feedback and suggestions are welcomed :) .

Edited by zero0w

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Guest anon

Thanks for the above zero0w, keep it coming.

Can't decide where your post should really be, Evrything Linux, or Tips and tricks, probably a bit of both. Though I favour Everthing Linux.

No !! you can't double post :lol:

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For games you might want to add this.


It's SC2 for Linux and Windows. The developers released the source code and a groups got to work updating and rewritting it to work on linux and win32. Still in Alpha status but it's playable and stable. @ 140MB and 20+ hours game time It's a very good game for linux!

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another goody thread!!!!


ok, let me add some things


- i think ranger has his own site for the packages that he made. i havent used any of them but it should be added as well as from what i am hearing its a nice source of packages. (ranger also uploads on the mdkclub site, isnt it right?)


- for downloader apps, there is prozilla which might be curses-based but has some advantages (and disadvantages) of its own.


- abiword was removed from the released distro because it was not playing ball with the other apps when it comes to fonts. or that was what i heard.



keep up the nice work. (maybe the thread could also get some cleanup when the changes have been incorporated to zero's posts).




[edit] daily rpm and src.rpm packages of wine can be found at wine.dataparty.no. im sorry for not mentioning this earlier. :oops:

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Thanks ump & ramfree17 :D .


I have updated the article using the feedback I've received so far. Thanks everyone.


I hope more articles like this one will show that Linux On the Desktop is ready in 2003 for daily use. Also Mandrake has really made it easy for us by providing many ready-to-install rpms: which are created by the staff from the company, the Club members, and other volunteers. I hope Mandrake will make it thru her financial trouble and live on so we can continue to enjoy using one of the best distributions out there. :o

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Guest Lin77

You mentioned what you want to try to add for part 2? You've definately done a good and thorough job of covering the basics. A majority of computer users only use things such as e-mail, web browsing and word processing. Maybe you could look into information regarding programs in those three categories and give information on them and comparisons?

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Thanks for the suggestion Lin!


As feedback to your suggestion, I think some of them are answered in the Linux On Desktop article - better than I can :P . Also I didn't cover those stuff that are already installed with Mandrake by default (such as KDevelop, XChat, gFTP, etc....). So yes, most Linux users and newcomers will still have a lot of room to experiment and play with besides those toolkit/software mentioned here in the article. I just covered those which are not installed/coming with Mandrake 9 CD as I knew of in an integrated piece altogether. As you might notice, I did not talk about any server side stuff, as I think there are better articles out there and also my interest for now is mostly on the Linux desktop.


Interesting Linux development is coming in 2003, and that will be the focus of the second part of the article (still coming :D ...), plus the Linux resource guide on the internet.

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damn you didn't even mention the two things that EVERY person who uses open source should learn to use to become more independent:












forums are great but even us vets get tired of the retitive nature of soem questions. one of the best quick solutions to many problems is to copy your error into a google search or into a search on this and many other forums (i suggest justlinux.com). once you learn how to use the tools available to you you become better equipped to help others and yourself.

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That was actually I prepared in a second part to the article, I am sort of busy to have it finished, and also I would like to wait for kernel 2.6 release to post more interesting features of upcoming Linux major changes. Your input is still appreciated :) .

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Nice article! One thing I don't like is the term 'Desktop', since the focus is on business desktops, to the exclusion of home usage.


I find Mandrake Linux perfectly fine for home usage. I don't use a computer anywhere else, as I am at home nearly all the time. By home usage, I don't mean WineX for those wondoze games. I will be building a win98se box for those that I have. I rarely play any games, so it is really no matter.

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