Desktop

Google Drive for Linux?

For some reason, Google seems to dislike Google Drive users who prefer Linux. I find this particularly strange, since Google's Chrome OS is based on Linux. Thankfully, the folks over at Insync not only provide Linux support for Google Drive syncing, they do it with style.

Window Maker, the Unity for Old Guys?

As I was diving back into Window Maker for this article, it occurred to me that the desktop manager I used for years with Debian is disturbingly similar to the Unity Desktop. It's been clear since its inception that I am not a fan of Ubuntu's new Unity interface, yet it's odd that for years I loved Window Maker, which seems fairly similar, at least visually.

Songbird Becomes...Nightingale!

Several years back, Songbird was going to be the newest, coolest, most-awesome music player ever to grace the Linux desktop. Then things happened, as they often do, and Linux support for Songbird was discontinued.

Non-Linux FOSS: Classic Shell

Even those of us on the Linux side of the fence have been watching Microsoft's Windows 8 roll-out—albeit for us, it has been with morbid fascination. Granted, we're not without our drastic changes (ahem, Unity), but the new interface Microsoft has chosen for version 8 is seemingly unusable for most people. The iconic Start menu has been taken away without a clear replacement.

Wunderlist

I'm often compared to the Absent-Minded Professor. I take it as a great compliment, because in the movie, he's brilliant. Unfortunately, when people refer to me as him, it's the "absent-minded" part they're stressing—not the "professor" part.

Space Is Big-See It All!

I have a huge collection of NASA photos taken from the Astronomy Pic of the Day Web site (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html) stored in a folder in my Dropbox. No matter what computer system I'm using, I rotate those images on my background, getting a virtual tour of the universe on every screen.

Feynman Figures for Fun

In quantum physics, one of the calculations you might want to do is figure out how two or more particles may interact. This can become rather complicated and confusing once you get to more than two particles interacting, however. Also, depending on the interaction, there may be the creation and annihilation of virtual particles as part of the interaction.

Linux-Native Task Management? Check.

Task management programs are commonplace in our busy lives, but it seems that every system lacks something. Google Tasks is nice, but it lacks the features of a more robust task management system. Remember the Milk is nice, but it charges for some of its features. Many standalone task management programs are great, but they don't sync between devices.

Making Lists in Scribus

You might as well know from the start: Making bulleted or numbered lists in Scribus isn't as easy as in the average word processor. In fact, compared to LibreOffice, Scribus as installed is downright primitive in the way it handles lists. You can pull a script off the Internet to automate to an extent, but chances are you'll have to tweak it before it does exactly what you want.

That's a Beautiful $DOCUMENT_TYPE You've Got There

One of the biggest frustrations most new LibreOffice (or OpenOffice.org) users have is the lack of templates and clip art. We've addressed this problem before, but with the recent surge of LibreOffice, it's important to know how to improve your powerful office suite!

SlickEdit

For the minimalist programmer, there's vim. For everybody else, there's SlickEdit.

KeePassX: Keeping Your Passwords Safe

For a long time, my password tracking system was quite simplistic: hope I remembered the right passwords for each site or record them in an ordinary word-processor document. Such methods obviously have great flaws. I might have a hard time remembering a password for an infrequently used site, and a word-processor document isn't the most secure place to store passwords.

Spice Up Your Desktop with Cinnamon!

If you are disgruntled by the new interfaces provided by recent distribution releases, namely GNOME 3 and Unity, you might want to take a look at Cinnamon. With its traditional feel and extreme theme-ability, Cinnamon is a desktop interface bound to spice up anyone's computer.

Astronomy on the Desktop

Many people's initial exposure to science is through astronomy, and they are inspired by that first look through a telescope or their first glimpse of a Hubble image. Several software packages are available for the Linux desktop that allow users to enjoy their love of the stars. I look at several packages in this article that should be available for most distributions.

Basic Chemistry on the GNOME Desktop

I've realized I've missed out on a huge area of computational science—chemistry. Many packages exist for doing chemistry on your desktop. This article looks at a general tool called avogadro. It can do computations of energy and gradient values. Additionally, it can do analysis of molecular systems, interface to GAMESS and import and export from and to several file formats.

ZevenOS - Does it recapture the flavor of BeOS?

BeOS was a much loved and highly advanced desktop operating system that ceased active development in 2001. ZevenOS is a Ubuntu 11.10 based system (with a bit of help from Xubuntu) that attempts to recapture some of the BeOS look and feel.

Linux Mint 12 Offers a Traditional Gnome Feel

The recently released Linux Mint 12 offers a two pronged approach to supporting those who prefer the traditional Gnome desktop. Firstly, the Mint Gnome Shell Extensions (MGSE) transform Gnome 3 into something resembling Gnome 2. Secondly it ships with Mate, the Gnome 2.0 fork project.

Goodbye GNOME 2, Hello GNOME 2?

Many Linux users who have been GNOME fans for years find themselves in a sudden quandary. GNOME 3.0 has completely abandoned the desktop experience we've come to love during the years. That's not to say change is bad, it's just that many folks (even Linus Torvalds) don't really want to change.

Linus Ditches KDE and Gnome (so what?)

Having made an earlier defection from KDE to Gnome, Linus Torvalds has now rejected both in favor of Xfce. It’s only natural that the actions of the creator of the Linux kernel would attract extra scrutiny, and I think that his decision is reflective of a wider disenchantment amongst long-term Linux users.