Fedora notes

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Towards A "Usable" Free Software System

Recently Singapore governement announced a new law for protecting intellectual right against piracy. Probably it even prompts the attentions of people to the linux? But why not use a totally free system without the risk of being accused if say you don't have enough money? Let me try to evaluate the current GNU licenced "free" software systems, so that we could have enough courage for the safe switching. In fact, from my personal experience, quite a few linux-based systems have been already qualified enough for replacing windows. In this post, I will only discuss one possible instance{Linux+Gnome+Firefox} that I am using, and sth that might be a little problematic for linux system to handle.

1. Web browsing:
1) Java support for some internet banking: firefox + java plugin
2) Standard coded streaming media playback: firefox + mplayerplug-in
3) ActiveX coded streaming media playback: firefox + mozilla activex plugin
4) ActiveX enabled pages or sites: {probably cannot at present}
5) Fast&reliable downloading: firefox/flashgot+download X
6) Gmail support: firefox

2. Messaging:
1) Email: evolution/OWA for exchange, hotwayd for pop3 gateway of httpmail(yahoo,hotmail), my simple perl script can handle pop3 mail retrieval and even forwarding via smtp. mutt is great for text-base email client.
2) Instant chat: gaim-msn/yahoo/qq/...

3. Basic Editing: vi

4. Office suite(optional): OpenOffice(compatible to ms office)

5. Latex system: tetex(latex, xdvi, dvipdf,...), vi, gpdf, ggv

6. Entertainment:
1) mp3 playback: xmms, rhythmbox, xmms-mp3, gstream-plugin
2) avi/divx & windows media playback: mplayer
3) dvd playback: xine player
4) cd playback: cdplay (gnome) 7. System update or upgrade: yum, apt-get, or simply reinstall your whole system;), which doesn't take too much time in fact.

Summary: good thing is that they are all free, bad thing is that setting them up requires experience or self-study, which takes time. so it's desirable that the free system community can build a frequently updated handbook for newbies to setup their usable system.

What else do you need?


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