I've come to find that there's no excuses for sticking with Windows because it
supports applications that Linux doesn't(as such this page is as much for my
own reference as it is for anyone else's).

This used to be the case for me, but IMHO linux has effectively come of age
in application support terms, and now there's no reason for any would-be
linux user to put up with Windows on the desktop any more. Linux is
faster, more resilient, and less resource hungry.

All of the following are applications that my Linux (RedHat) desktop machine
has installed, or I have used at some point.

I never have to reboot my machine and change OS's to get various bits
of hardware to work, and I've not had to reboot my machine because of a crash
in well over six months which is why I use linux.

It is very important to bear in mind that some of this stuff relies on the
Linux kernel to work, and building an appropriate Linux kernel can be a long(ish)
and complicated process, which can be rendered unnecessary by the pre-packaged
versions supplied by RedHat, only be attempted manually by fairly experienced

Although it is important to note that for the following to work
you will almost certainly need a 2.4 series/version Linux kernel.

Please let me know if any of these links have become out of date, or if there is
an application area that you are interested in that is not covered.

Office Suites:

StarOffice(Sun Office Suite)
KOffice (KDE Office)
Xpdf (X Windows PDF Viewer)
Gnome Office

OpenOffice supports PowerPoint (.PPT), Microsoft Word (.DOC), Microsoft Excel
(.XLS), and numerous other major office file formats, and can be used as a more
or less complete replacement for the Microsoft office suites under Linux

Internet Chat:

X-Chat (X-Windows IRC client)
LICQ (Linux ICQ)
Gaim (Gnome 'Aol Instant Messenger')

Gaim can support ICQ/IRC/MSN/AIM via various plugins, all integrated into one
piece of software in one window, so you don't have to run five applications at
once to message people under each standard and will probably become the defacto standard Linux messenger system


Static Imaging

SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) / XSane (X-Windows Front End for SANE)
gOCR (Open-Source Character Recognition)
GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program)
gPhoto (Digital Camera Application)

Video Production / Streaming

Linux QuickCam VC drivers (now incorporated into the Kernel)

There a number of video cameras and input devices supported by the Linux kernel
at this time, perhaps the most noteworthy of which is any Hauppauge BT8*8 based
video card, this being most video capture cards.

Video Playing

MPlayer (Movie Player For Linux)
XMMS (X MultiMedia System)

It has seemed until recently that RealNetworks don't really have their hearts
in the opensource/non-windows movement until the recent release of their Helix
media streaming set of applications, but maybe this will change.

For the moment, Mplayer, and Xine with appropriate codecs (URL's to come) seem
to be the best applications for movie playing under Linux, and there's a plugin for it which works with Opera and Mozilla to allow embedded movie/sound/etc. playing at http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/mplayerplug-in/

MpegTV can play Video CD's under Linux.

For DVD's, however, Mplayer does not support proper DVD navigation menus (yet, this could be changed in version 1.0 final), although you can navigate DVD's through its own menus. However Ogle does include full support for DVD navigation menus.

CD Recording:

CDParanoia (TAO CD recorder)
CDRDAO (DAO CD recorder)
cdrecord (TAO/DAO CD recorder)
gtcd (Gnome CD Player)
XCDRoast Gnome Toaster

The latter two are frontends for various other CD-writing applications, but the
former in the list are back-end applications that can be driven by a text-only
interface. It would be recommended for the linux-newbie to install at least
one backend, and at least one (compatible) frontend.

Mobile Phone/PDA:


You can use gsmlib to communicte with your mobile phone (provided it is
supported, check the page for that) via IR or Serial, download the
contents of the address book(s), last calls made/received, to send
SMS's, and other more weird technical stuff.

The latter two utilities allow you to syncronise your Psion with (files on)
your PC, and convert them to useful file formats.


Lynx (Text-Only web browser)

Browser Plugins:

Plugger (Linux Plugin Manager)
Shockwave Flash

Plugger makes lots of things work properly under linux. It takes the form of a
single plugin that allows you to direct various MIME types and file extensions
to a given application on your machine(much more flexible than windows, no?),
via one relatively simple configuration file.

News Readers:


Netscape, Mozilla, Sylpheed, and a whole host of other multi-platform
applications contain news reader applications.


Sylpheed(V. Fast GTK Mail Reader)
(Also Mozilla, Netscape Communicator)

Sylpheed is as fast as a really fast thing. Netscape and Mozilla are I suppose
"standard" paced mail clients, and on that basis Evolution is a standard-to-slow
paced email client. That is, in terms of speed of operation and download of
emails etc. None of them are considerably less user-friendly than the others.

Hardware Support

Linux Network Drivers
Video 4 Linux
Linux Printing Home Page

The above are perhaps the best places to look for hardware support information
for their respective hardware groups under Linux.

If there's anything missing here, you could always try www.linux<hardware type>.org,
which is surprisingly likely to be successful...

Also, there are a surprisingly large number of very modern graphics and sound cards becoming supported under Linux, some vendors (eg. NVidia) are not quite getting into the swing of the Open Source ethos, but provide their own drivers none the less. SoundBlaster Live/Audigy, NVidia Riva, GeForce 4, and more, for example.


Linux Documentation Project
Linux Home Page

Music Software

Hitsquad Linux Music Software
gTick (Linux Metronome Application)

General Useful Links
Linux Software
Icewalkers (Linux Applications Database

Emulation of Other Platforms

WINE (MS Windows, most versions)
UAE (Ultimate Amiga Emulator, there is a Unix version)
XFellow (A Linux Port of the Fellow amiga emulator)
ArcEm (Acorn Archimedes)
BBCmicro (BBC Micro, oddly enough)
Basilisk II (68K Macintosh Emulator)
ALE C64 Emulator (Commodore C64)

Daphne (Multiple Arcade Laserdisc Emulator)
fMSX (MSX emulator)

If all else fails, you could use the WINE Windows emulator for Linux (or for
that matter any other platform, as above), and see if you can emulate Windows
sufficiently. Thus far I've found WINE to be shockingly effective. I've been
able to run countless silly .EXE files that have been emailed to me with WINE.
I have a sneaking suspicion that it doesn't like non-trivial realtime aplication
very much though, but this could turn out to be entirely unjustified.

Disaster Recovery

Should the unthinkable happen, it all gets rather complex, but recovery of some content is usually possible.

Here's a quick and dirty commandline recovery method, which can get you
out of trouble even if you do a quick reformat of the drive and lose all the
superblocks, and presumably on any linux filesystem type.

grep -iab <string> <filesystem dump>
Use a blocksize of one byte, so you can use the byte offset,
and a guess at the file size to get the file back.
dd if=<filesystem dump> skip=<grepped byte offset> bs=1 of=/home/foo count=8000
Better methods, if you've just deleted a few files (on an ext2 or ext3
filesystem) you want back can be found using Google
for any of the following: e2necromancy, e2recover, lde, e2undel, e2extract.

Last updated, 2004/05/04.

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