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  1. #1

    Question Best Software Per Category

    I will be learning and using Linux soon, and I'm trying to learn what the best apps are for daily productivity and entertainment tasks.

    I plan on using Slackware and trying Arch, and a few Slackware based distros such as Frugalware and others.

    I know that I want to try XFCE for my DE, Firefox as my browser, OpenOffice for my office software, and of course the GIMP, but I don't really have much other experience or knowledge of other software that runs on Linux.

    Can you please recommend the top picks by category, or point me to some sites that will help me learn of the best apps available? I understand that to some degree the term "best" is rather subjective, but just try and understand what I mean.

    I'm looking for everything from ripping and burning, to a PDF reader like Adobe Reader. I need a movie viewer that can view Windows Media, Quicktime, and whatever other standard formats, an iTunes/WinAmp type program (Amarok?) that can rip and play all of the standard audio file formats; MP3, WAV, and I'm very interested in FLAC. I also need a CD/DVD player/burner software that can create and burn ISO files. I don't want half baked, buggy, low featured, premature software, but the good and thoroughly usable ones only.

    I don't want anymore overlap in functionality than absolutely necessary. If there's a good app that can do more than one thing well; all the better, if there's an app that does only one thing, and does it better than any other app, that's great too. In one sense I'm a minimalist, but in another sense I like powerful, full featured software that can get the job done, and without needing "helper" programs or too much work on my part to get it done. I like synergy, and efficiency.

    What are your suggestions?

  2. #2
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Definitely go for Amarok for music, anything like Totem or Kaffeine for video (though maybe totem as you are using Xfce). Adobe Reader is available for Linux but there are better options like evince which are lighter and faster loading.

    K3b is one of the easiest and most straightforward burning applications I have used. It really is excellent. Plus unlike Nero or Roxio it doesn't come with hundreds of little applications for unrelated functionality.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the great information; very helpful, and much appreciated!

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Linux Engineer RobinVossen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    The Netherlands
    Use VLC for the Video+Sound for sure.
    And XFCE is a Great Choice
    New Users, please read this..
    Google first, then ask..

  6. #5
    OK, I'll look into that one too, thanks!

  7. #6
    Linux Engineer Thrillhouse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Arlington, VA, USA
    If you don't want the heavy KDE libraries needed for AmaroK, you can try Exaile. It's essentially a gtk version of Amarok written in python. I used to use AmaroK on Gnome but it never ran very well and since I've switched to Exaile I've been very happy.

    Unfortunately, I haven't come across a similar equivalent for k3b. It's still the best all-around burning app I've used. You can try graveman which is not tied in to a certain Desktop Environment. Apparently it burns ISO's very well. And I like vlc for video, it's very flexible.

    EDIT: Oh, and for pdf, there's xpdf or evince.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    If you should wind up using KDE, you can try Kpdf for your pdf viewer. It works pretty well.

    K3b is the king of cd burners, in my opinion. It likes KDE, too.

    For movies, I've had good luck with Mplayer and Xine.

  9. #8
    As a "pre" newbie, I didn't even know that certain apps were tied into certain DEs, this is a huge revelation to me, and shows me how little I know about Linux, which I appreciate you for helping me to understand.

    So if I want to use these types of programs, I'd be better off going with KDE instead of XFCE for my DE?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    You can use pretty much any app on any desktop environment if you have all the correct libraries installed, but certain apps are developed to work more specifically with certain desktop environments.

    K3b likes KDE
    Gedit likes Gnome
    Thunar likes Xfce

    ...but again, any of those apps will work with any desktop environment if all the necessary underlying files are in place. It can get messy!

  11. #10
    OK, I'd like to KISS as possible to start with, so maybe KDE would be best for me to start out with instead of Xfce. The less mess to begin with the better for this newbie!

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