Linux a Viable Alternative to Windows 95/98/NT:
Switch over to Linux Now!
kinds applications are available for Linux? How do I get them?
Linux has an enormous number of applications. You can
get software to do almost everything you can ever think of, and
software to do stuff you could never think of too. (Well, I think I
am getting a little carried away). And the best part is, most of all
that software is free! Like Linux itself. No shareware, no freeware,
just simple open-source free software. In order to elaborate, I need
to classify the available Linux software. However this is only a
small sample of all Linux software. Fantastically classified archives
are available at the following sites:
Scientific Applications for Linux (SAL) :
Linux Headquarters --WWW
Resources : http://www.linuxhq.com/link-index.html
However, let me put my own 2 paisa of stuff down
UNIX Tools : This comes FIRST.
Linux has all the standard UNIX tools. Good ol' bash, csh, ksh,grep
(several kinds), find, man and so on. No UNIX user will ever feel
out of place here.
Graphical User Interfaces ( GUI): X
Window system is the basic GUI. On top of that there are various
Window and desktop managers like KDE, GNOME , WindowMaker,
Enlightenment, AfterStep etc. Your Linux system can look not only
like a Windows or a Mac or a NextStep , but better than any of
those. There are cool themes for each of the Window managers above.
Note however that you do not necessarily need to have them for
graphics apps. These are just to change the look of your desktop. If
you are short of disk space, one of the older desktops ( fvwm ,twm
etc) will do fine. They may look a little clunky, but they do the
job pretty well and they are sure to be there on ANY linux
distribution. So get used to fvwm before anything else
Editors : Vi
and its newer avatar Vim (
http://www.vim.org ) are the
'standard' and most popular text editors on UNIX / Linux. Vim is
available ( free of course!) for Windows too at the above site. And
as they say, Vim does everything, including your dishes ( ever used
Vim detergent?). Another extremely popular software on UNIX is
emacs. Notice that I did not call emacs
a text editor, because emacs is an editor, web browser, mail/news
reader, IDE all in one. However none of these are WYSIWYG ( What you
see is what you get.). But Win junta might find these editors a
little quirky. Hence to start off, there are various 'EDIT' - like
editors like pico, joe, vile etc. For
those with a GUI fascination editors like xedit,
nedit, kedit serv e the purpose.
Document Preparation: On UNIX the
original documentation tools were troff, texinfo,eqn,tbl etc. These
are available on Linux. Traditional UNIX Gurus still rely on these
tools. For regular documents, the TEX
typesetting system, or its advanced form LATEX
is used. These are languages similar to HTML, which consists of
typing your text along with lots of tags and other instructions to
format your document. Though this may sound primitive , I frequently
find that this is much more efficient, as this saves a lot of time
trying to get a GUI typesetter to do exactly what you want. It gives
a lot of more power too. It certainly can do EVERYTHING your
pseud-looking Word Processor can do, and a lot more. Still for those
who are not convinced (sigh!) there are GUI interfaces like lyx
and klyx available.
Office Software: Until recently Linux suffered from a
paucity of Graphical office software. Not so anymore. This page has
been created using StarOffice 5.0, Free Personal Edition, a
completely MS-Office-97 compatible suite for Linux (downloadable,
66MB, from http://www.stardivision.com
). Other great office suites are Applixware, and Koffice (part of
KDE, still under development, but screenshots look very promising).
Recently Corel released a Free
downloadable Linux version of WordPerfect 8.0 and has promised to
port CorelDraw and other Corel products to Linux soon. Lotus
has shown great interest in porting SmartSuite to Linux. I think
1999 is going to be the year we are going to have some REAL
competition for the Linux desktop.
Databases: This is where Linux has drawn great press
publicity in 1998. Oracle
released the beta version of Oracle 8 for Linux and will release the
proper version in early 1999. Sybase
has released its database server FREE(beer) for Linux. IBM
is also porting its DB2 to Linux ( there are rumours that it is
going to be released Free too). Among free databases, there is
PostgreSQL, mySQL, miniSQl etc.
Image Viewers/processors: XV is the most popular image
viewer for X-Windows. It also is an image processor with lots of
special effects. ZGV allows you to view images without starting X
windows, directly on the Linux console. For creating images , the
biggest thing is the GIMP (GNU
Image ManiPulator). This is an Adobe Photoshop clone which looks and
feels completely like Photoshop. In fact it has several features
which were later added in Photoshop 5.0 ! It even supports Photoshop
Plugins. And like most things Linux, its free (speech and beer). For
creating simple images, software like xfig, tgif, xpaint, kpaint are
Web Browsers/Html Editors/Email etc : The most popular
Web Browser is obviously Netscape.
I personally think that the Linux version looks better. Netscape on
other lates web stuff. For Html editors , Netscape composer, Amaya
( the W3C browser-Editor) , emacs
are the most popular ones. For text-only browsing, the UNIX world
uses Lynx. For email , we have text-based email clients like pine,
mutt, elm. For those used to MS Outlook, Netscape Mail, Kmail will
do just fine.
Sound Software: Linux has lots of sound /midi/cd
players. Check out http://sound.condorow.net
for more details. For MIDI files, we have playmidi /xplaymidi.
Similarly , we can play cds with playcd/xplaycd. For MP3 files , we
hace x11amp ( a winamp clone ) , xaudio (a command-like player).
All the above software are available at the sites I mentioned at
the beginning of this page.
|Linux and its Applications on a CD - Only Outfit in India making this available.
FAQ is written by Rajarshi
Bandyopadhyay, 3rd Year Computer
Science Student at IIT
Bombay. For corrections/suggestions please send mail to