Saturday, August 30, 2008

Linux Illumination

The first thing that dawned on me was the reason folks make so many Linux distributions, besides saying wouldn't it be nice if. After trying out a few different distros I always wish certain features from one distro were present in this other one. Of course there is the language or culture centric thing. It's like climbing a mountain and putting your flag on it. Hey, who's the guy who climbs Mt. Everest and removes all those flags so that other climbers can have a so called "I'm first" experience? You will notice that you use the same applications over and over again. A distro with those apps means you don't have to install them yourself. If you find your favorite apps are wrapped in your favorite desktop GUI, you almost have a winner. Almost?!? Yeah, the packaging system is not .rpm or .deb or whatever. So, while you are throwing together stuff you appreciate, you might throw in some snazzy artwork, useful utilities and a digital flag to rename your mountain (GNU-buntu?!).

I am partial to this also having missed Xubuntu I went and installed Xfce desktop on my Ubuntu. ooh.....Life is very sweet indeed............
That's Xfce sporting a pen drawing I scanned in using the Xsane plugin in GIMP, then imported into Inkscape. Don't let the spare look of Xfce fool you, a right mouse click on the desktop and I've got menus galore. So, Gnome has some things I like and Xfce has things also. The two are compatible so I am able to blend some functions. I just like uncluttered looks and feels.

If you are into focused distros some are more multimedia oriented. Dyne:bolic is my dual-boot partner, I really didn't need to install it as the live-CD is quite handy. Grafpup of the Puppy Linux lineage is worth a look and I like Wolvix also.

And if you are especially into doing art, using Linux and opensource software to do it, check out It is a newer site, not over run with old pros. If you are beginning to explore your digital art potential, this is a good starting place. There is a forum and tutorials and great encouraging attitudes and people petting penguins.

What's new? I got this new job and part of the training involves learning various CAD software. I am into Unigraphics NX4 right now. It's a pro 3D modelling application with off the chart functions, but learning to think in 3D will help me figure out K-3D on my Ubuntu box. K-3D has a simpler user interface than Blender 3D, so I hope to do something with it, someday.

There is so much Linux out there, but it's the applications that make it useful. You will use the same apps no matter which Linux you choose. That should make choosing a little easier, right?

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