A good utility is worth it's weight in ... well, whatever you use to weigh something valuable. And while you might not use certain utilities often, when you do I can bet that you're happy those applications are installed on your computer.
Let's take a quick look at three utilities for the Linux desktop that I find quite useful. Who knows, you might find them useful too.
Ah, the mouse ... It made computing so much easier for so many people. Why memorize a bunch of arcane commands when you can point and click?
There are times, though, when a mouse just gets in your way.
Some people, believe it or not, work better with just their keyboards. Using combinations of keystrokes and navigation keys makes them more efficient and more productive, even in a graphical environment.
One task that lends itself quite well to being keyboard driven is note taking. Let's take a quick look at two note taking applications for the Linux desktop that work better with just a keyboard.
Ever have a moment in which an idea or thought or quote or whatever suddenly popped into your head. A moment when you needed to get that idea or quote or whatever down before you forgot? Yeah, me too.
Once upon a time, people did that with pen and paper using something called a scratchpad. Actually, they still do. Using a paper scratchpad works, but why scramble for analog tools when you can go digital? And why use something complex when you can use plain text?
Why a Scratchpad?
You could, as I just mentioned, have a thought or idea. Something that you need to do or someone whom you want to contact. A scratchpad can be an extension of your short-term memory. Use one to put down whatever’s popped into your head before it fades away.
One perception that Linux can't seem to shake off is that you can't do anything without using the command line. A number of people in my circle have been using Linux effectively for years, and they've yet to crack open a terminal window.
Having said that, working at the command line can make certain tasks faster and more efficient. If you’re using older hardware, command line tools are an excellent alternative to graphical applications since they don't use too many resources.
One of those tasks playing music. You can do that in a terminal. How? Here’s a look at three command line music players.
For the most part, I like my software simple and focused. Software that does one thing, does it well, and with the minimum of frills.
That goes for the music player that I use on the Linux desktop. I only need something that plays music. I don't need equalizers, harmonizers, transmogrifiers, or anything that makes the hearts of so-called audiophiles flutter.
While idly leafing through the elementary OS AppCenter recently, I came across Byte. It's a music player that (gasp!) plays music. It can do one or two other things, too, but at its core Byte is a music player and nothing else.
Something that that Linux desktop isn't lacking is tools for working with plain text. That's especially true for text editors. I should know — I've tried more than a few in my time.
A while back, I was having a spot of bother with an editor called Gedit. That bother had to do with the editor's search function — I don't recall the details, to be honest. To get around that problem, I turned to another editor called FeatherPad.
I found FeatherPad to be a more-than-adequate editor, one with several useful functions. Even though I looked at it briefly in another post, I've been meaning to take a closer look at FeatherPad. So why don't we do that now?
If you've been around the web for a while, you might recall the First Browser War. It was a digital arms race between Netscape and Microsoft to cram as many features into their web browsers as they could. And they did. The result of that war was buggy, bloated, ungainly software. I don't miss those days ...
Things aren't quite that bad in the web browser world today. But as this article points out, modern browsers still try to do too much. They try to be too much. Even though I use Firefox, I'm always on the lookout for a good minimal, open source web browser. And like the writer of that article, I've used, written about, and liked one called Min. But I also try to keep my options open.
Recently, I was reacquainted with Web, the browser that comes with the GNOME desktop. I remember Web when it was called Epiphany. Back then, it was a lightweight browser with more than a little promise. In those days, it wasn't quite where I thought it should be, though. Several years on, I decided to take another look at Web. Here's what I found.