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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 09 Aug 2012

Stella takes CentOS (which takes Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and adds many (many!!) of the desktop packages you're missing; along with RPMForge/RepoForgethe EPEL repository, you're pretty much all the way there

It's nice to say that the very-very-very-long-term-support releases in the Linux world that won't cost you arms and legs -- the RHEL-source-fed CentOS and Scientific Linux -- are there if you want to run the same distribution for years and years.

But that's only true if you can stick with the relatively anemic selection of desktop packages available in the CentOS, Scientific Linux and, by extension, Red Hat repositories.

You soon hit a wall. Applications you use every day in Debian, Ubuntu and even Fedora are just not there.

For me those include the Audacity and Ardour audio editors and the OpenShot video editor (or ANY video editor, for that matter). For others -- and maybe for you -- it could mean Skype (if that's your thing, and it very well might be) or the VLC media player.

And then there's a buttload of codecs and other various (and) naughty multimedia bits that are available but often hard to find.

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Install the MATE desktop environment in Debian

Hate GNOME 3 or just love GNOME 2 and wish the goodness would continue on and on? Well, that's happening. It's called MATE, and this fork of GNOME 2 is under active development.

So you want to run MATE in Debian Wheezy or Sid (or Linux Mint Debian Edition or Linux Mint Lisa or Ubuntu Oneric)? The Debian/Ubuntu MATE Repository is here for you. And here are the installation instructions.

That page also offers links to the MATE Homepage, MATE Wiki, MATE Forum and MATE/debian blog, the latter of which points to the Ubuntu Precise Pangolin MATE repository.

As I've written in my last half-dozen or so entries, even though the GNOME community is in a state of heavy questioning about it's present and future, I'm still evaluating GNOME 3/Shell. And while I was a GNOME 2 user, my love of GNOME was and is more about Nautilus, Gedit, GNOME Terminal, Rhythmbox, NetworkManager, GDM, etc. than the window manager portion of the overall desktop environment and application mix.

Just as GNOME 3 deserves a full evaluation, so does MATE -- especially if development continues and picks up steam going forward.

Wed, 01 Aug 2012

I'm trying Fotoxx as a Linux image editor

Since the GIMP edits JPEG images superbly but obliterates their IPTC metadata captions, and gThumb, my main image editor of the past three years, outputs horrible resized images in version 3.0.1 in Debian Wheezy, I need a new image editing application.

And did I say that I need it now?

I go through many dozen images a day. Shrinking. Cropping. Recaptioning.

The software needs to work.

Yesterday I set up Wine the non-emulator, whatever-it-is Windows-compatible environment in Linux that enabled me to install and run the IrfanView image editor/viewer.

Not that other choices don't exist. There is the KDE app DigiKam.

And a little searching brought me to an app I always meant to try: Fotoxx.

It's in Debian, so I installed it. After a lengthy indexing of my appointed directories, I dug in and started working on photos.

Quality of resized images is great. It will be even better when I tweak the sharpen settings just right.

I can edit IPTC caption data, and though it's a bit awkward, also the byline field.

I wouldn't call it a speedy app, but so far it is getting the job done. With a little practice, I just might have a new photo-editing app.

Don't let anyone tell you differently -- Windows still sucks

I'm here trying to get work done, and the Windows XP box I barely used today is totally locked up. The disk light isn't on at all, but nothing is moving on the desktop.

I'm rebooting, but I'd rather just do some f&^%ing work.