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Introduction by Dr. Raj Mehta
Linux FAQ
Installing Linux on Your Machine
Software For Linux
Configuring PPP connection for Linux for connect to Internet via dialup connection

Related Links

10 Questions About Linux -A Good Overview of Linux
Linux Site - The main Linux site Online
Linux Documentation - Complete Documentation
Linux Documentation - Alternative link for Linux Documentation
Linux Applications - Applications available for Linux
Linux Headquarters - A Popular Linux site
Alternatives to MS Windows Operating System
- A authoritative guide to other Operating Systems.
Unix vs. NT - Extremely detailed report!
Linux in News - Different IT industry learders are porting it on their machines.

Linux a Viable Alternative to Windows 95/98/NT: Switch over to Linux Now!

What 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:

  • Sunsite :http://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/LDP

  • Scientific Applications for Linux (SAL) : http://sal.kachinatech.com/

  • Linux Headquarters --WWW Resources : http://www.linuxhq.com/link-index.html

    However, let me put my own 2 paisa of stuff down here:

  • 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 good enough.

  • 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 Linux supports java (yes , that's there too), javascript and all 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.

This FAQ is written by Rajarshi Bandyopadhyay, 3rd Year Computer Science Student at IIT Bombay. For corrections/suggestions please send mail to bando@cse.iitb.ernet.in .

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.