End users

End users

Creating a book template with Writer

While Writer allows you to create an advanced book template that consists of a master document and a number of subdocuments, there are situations where using a simpler, one-file template makes more sense. The main advantage of a one-file book template is that it helps you to work around two major problems in Writer.

Gnome panel mania

If you’re a GNOME user I expect you’re more than familiar with the panels that come as standard with your desktop; if you use openSUSE you’re probably also familiar with the slab menu that Novell have developed. There are, however, several other applications out there that can extend and beautify your Gnome panels.


Gimmie is a unique desktop organizer for Linux. It’s designed to allow easy interaction with all the applications, contacts, documents and other things you use every day.”

How to close down GNU/Linux safely after a system freeze with the SysRq key

Despite jeering at Windows for the infamous system freezes and blue screens of death, there are and will be times when your computer just locks up: the cursor is frozen and even invoking a console by Ctrl + Alt + [F2, F3, ...] to close down the X windows session running on F7 is non-functional.

Introduction to Firestarter

Most modern GNU/Linux distributions are secure with their default minimal installs, whether desktop or server, while some distributions are designed specifically with security in mind. However, any GNU/Linux distribution that needs services available to other users or systems will need either enhanced or configurable security. There are other situations in which added security is beneficial; for example, a large environment, while secure to the outside world, would be enhanced with additional security measures in place.

Network design

Desktop search tools for GNU/Linux: the competition hots up - Tracker, Recoll Strigi and Deskbar

In Part One and Part Two of this blog, I looked at Beagle and its alternative interfaces (Peagle, Yabi and Peagle). In this last part, I want to take a look at three other search engines as viable replacements for Beagle: Tracker, Recoll, Strigi, and Deskbar, an applet written in Python, which has some very handy scripts written for it and, which can extend its functionality well beyond the immediate desktop itself.

Run any GNU/Linux app on Windows without any virtualization

SSH tools, long used by UNIX gurus to perform complicated administrative tasks over the internet on machines miles away, are a very simple and user-friendly solution for more conventional purposes. Ubuntu users, read on to learn how to use SSH to run your favorite GNU/Linux software on Microsoft Windows—without installing any software on the Windows box.

How to kill processes with GUIs

One of the things I hate about Windows is that there is no good way to kill frozen processes. Theoretically, you type Ctrl-Alt-Delete, wait for Task Manager to pop up, and kill the process. But in reality, the process doesn't always die immediately (it usually takes multiple tries and a very long time). GNU/Linux users don't have this problem. Here's how to end processes using the terminal, a few GUIs, and even a first person shooter.

Free software media players

Last year, while running Ubuntu, I decided I wanted to watch a video, so I opened it up in the built-in Totem player. What happened next took me back to the dark era of codecs and computing. The XviD video I was watching became pixelated, the video became out of sync; within a few minutes it was unwatchable. I dual booted back into Windows XP, opened up by trusty MPUI and watched the video with the free software XviD codecs without any issues. The experience had left a bad taste in my mouth.

Stretching your instant messaging wings with Pidgin

Today, everyone uses a different instant messenger. Your boss may use Lotus Sametime, your colleague AIM, your friend Google Talk, and your kid Yahoo! Messenger. However, these all take up hard drive space, RAM, and CPU usage. In addition, many of these are proprietary and Windows-only (two big minuses for GNU/Linux users). Luckily, the free software world has an alternative that enables users to chat with users of all of these programs (and many more). It is called Pidgin.

Creating a free CD or DVD database and labels in OpenOffice.org Base

If you’re serious about music or DVDs, at some point you cross the threshold of having more than you can keep track of easily. The box full of index cards has served its purpose; it’s time to move on to storing information about your CDs and DVDs in a database.

Integrating Firefox and Thunderbird into KDE

Ever since I first fired up KDE on openSuSE, I’ve been in love. The KDE interface just swept me off my feet. But there’s always been one nagging thing. Firefox and Thunderbird stick out like two sore thumbs. They don’t look like KDE apps (see figure 1 and figure 4), they don’t work with KDE programs (like KPrinter), and they just don’t feel like they belong in KDE. Luckily, since both of these apps have support for add-ons, it is easy to remedy this.

Pick your own OOo, there must be one for you!

OpenOffice.org is probably the biggest free software project in existence today. It certainly is the biggest single piece of software one can download and compile in one go, with the core package hitting over the 100MB mark (while bzip’d) and the total sources going over 200MB.

It directly competes with Microsoft Office, is a bit more easy to install than KOffice, and is very complete.

But what will you get?

Launch your programs faster with Katapult

One of the biggest navigational issues with any operating system is using program menus. Windows users have to open the Start Menu, scan for the program, realize that the program is probably in the subfolder under the programmer’s name, scan the appropriate subfolder, and then click on the program’s icon. Macintosh users must open Finder, find and click on the Applications folder, and then search for the program’s name. GNOME and KDE users have an advantage: they have categories in their respective Applications and K menus.


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