Ubuntu Equivalent Programs


So you are considering making the jump to Ubuntu from another OS or perhaps you already have, but now you are wondering how to get 'stuff' done. This, then, is the course for you.


cprofitt is a Systems Administrator who works with Windows and OS X at this day job, but is a passionate advocate for FOSS and Ubuntu. He is an Ubuntu member, leader of the Linux User Group of Rochester, leader of the NY State Ubuntu LoCo, council member of the Ubuntu Beginners Team, council member of the Ubuntu Community Learning Project and leader of the Ubuntu Beginners Team Security Focus Group.

Course Outline

Session Logs

   1 === cjohnston changed the topic of #ubuntu-classroom to: Ubuntu Classroom || Ubuntu User Days | Current Session: Ubuntu Equivalent Programs ~~ Presented by cprofitt || Please ask questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat || Ubuntu User Days Survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WQWHJQY
   2 [21:00] <cjohnston> cprofitt is up next
   3 [21:01] <cjohnston> cprofitt is a Systems Administrator who works with Windows and OS X at this day job, but is a passionate advocate for FOSS and Ubuntu.
   4 [21:01] <cjohnston> He is an Ubuntu member, leader of the Linux User Group of Rochester, leader of the NY State Ubuntu LoCo, council member of the Ubuntu Beginners Team,
   5 [21:01] <cjohnston> council member of the Ubuntu Community Learning Project and leader of the Ubuntu Beginners Team Security Focus Group.
   6 [21:01] <cprofitt> Welcome everyone. I am here to discuss applications that can replace applications commonly used on OS X or Windows.
   7 [21:01] <cprofitt> The intended audience for this session is people who have recently switched to Ubuntu (and Linux) or those debating making the switch.
   8 [21:02] <cprofitt> The best part about many of the applications I am going to cover today is that they are cross-platform. By that, I mean that they can be run on Ubuntu, OS X or Windows. For those that are debating making the switch this will allow you to slowly make a transistion.
   9 [21:02] <cprofitt> how many of you here today have just made the switch to Ubuntu?
  10 [21:03] <cprofitt> How many ofyou are considering the switch... or still have Windows because you have some application you have not found an alternate for?
  11 [21:03] <cprofitt> So first I would want to cover what I consider the 'basic' productivity applications. I admit that these applications are my opinion.
  12 [21:03] <cprofitt> - Word Processor:  Typically Microsoft Office on both OS X and Windows though iWork is a productivity suite.
  13 [21:03] <cprofitt> - Image editor (bitmap): This is usually Photoshop or a derivitive, like Photoshop express. Corel Photopaint is an option as well.
  14 [21:04] <cprofitt> - Media Player: Quicktime Player or Media Player would be the two obvious choices, but you also have to factor in iTunes as a media organizer (it uses Quicktime to play media files).
  15 [21:04] <cprofitt> - Web Browser: The default for OS X is Safari and the default for Windows is Internet Explorer. Though in this space we have to acknowledge that Firefox is used on numerous machines of both OSes.
  16 [21:04] <cprofitt> - File Browser: Though both OS X and Windows have so entagled their file browsers that most people do not think of them as applications they are, indeed, applications. OS X uses Finder and Windows uses Windows Explorer.
  17 [21:04] <cprofitt> those are the 'core' applications to me
  18 [21:04] <cprofitt> I will go over some applications to replace those as well as some other applications.
  19 [21:04] <cprofitt> The first application I am going to cover is actually an application suite. OpenOffice contains Writer, Calc, Impress and Base. The applications are substitutes for Word, Excel, Power Point and Access. I will admit that the GUI (Graphic User Interface) is not as 'pretty' as Microsoft Office, but the functionality is there to meet the needs of most users. Open Office is able to open Office Documents so the transition can be a smooth one
  20 [21:05] <cprofitt> NATO with its 26 members (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the USA) uses ODF as a mandatory standard for all members.
  21 [21:05] <cprofitt> OpenDocument has been officially approved by national standards bodies of Brazil, Croatia, Ecuador, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa and Sweden.
  22 [21:05] <cprofitt> That is 35 countries that have approved the ODF standard.
  23 [21:05] <cprofitt> While you may not think that is a great many...
  24 [21:05] <cprofitt> Only ten countries have approved their Office Open XML standard.
  25 [21:06] <cprofitt> Using OpenOffice is actually a much better choice if you are concerned about standards
  26 [21:06] <cprofitt> OpenOffice is cross-platform
  27 [21:06] <cprofitt> OpenOffice is cross-platform
  28 [21:06] <cprofitt> what do I mean by 'cross-platform'
  29 [21:07] <cprofitt> I mean that you can use these applications on OS X and Windows
  30 [21:07] <cprofitt> cross-platform applications are good for several reasons
  31 [21:07] <cprofitt> but I find that they assist most with making the transition and being able to work with others after the transition
  32 [21:08] <cprofitt> the fact that your OS X or Windows using friends can use these applications and exchange documents with you is important
  33 [21:08] <cprofitt> the fact that you can use these applications and become comfortable with them prior to switching is also a key to being comfortable
  34 [21:08] <cprofitt> do we have any questions about Open Office?
  35 [21:09] <cprofitt> I want to take this time to also let you know that you can ask questions on this topic after the live session in the Ubuntu Forums
  36 [21:09] <cprofitt> http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
  37 [21:10] <cprofitt> Question: Can open office accept all of the changes in a  Word(tm) document?
  38 [21:10] <cprofitt> Yes, you can make changes to a MS Word document and either save it as in OpenDocument format or back to the original file
  39 [21:11] <cprofitt> Question: Does the word processor have the ability to "track"  changes to the document?
  40 [21:11] <cprofitt> I am not sure if it can track changes or not. If you post that question to the forum thread I will get an answer for you.
  41 [21:12] <Pendulum> < tcpip4000> Question:  how versioning works in OOO?
  42 [21:12] <cprofitt> To be honest I do not do that at all with my documents
  43 [21:12] <cprofitt> tcpip4000: I am not sure on the versioning either. If you can post that question to the forum thread I can look that information up and get an answer for you as well.
  44 [21:12] <cprofitt> http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
  45 [21:13] <Pendulum> < dm-madmod> QUESTION: Can OpenOffice Base use a mySQL database?
  46 [21:14] <cprofitt> Pendulum: I have not tried that. but my understanding is yes
  47 [21:14] <cprofitt> http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Connect_MySQL_and_Base
  48 [21:14] <cprofitt> That is the wiki article I read on the subject
  49 [21:14] <cprofitt> but I have not thrown up a MySQL DB yet to test it.
  50 [21:14] <Pendulum> < userdays6_> Is printing envelopes and mail merge feature supported in OOO?
  51 [21:15] <cprofitt> It is. I have a wiki link but it is to OO 2
  52 [21:15] <cprofitt> http://openoffice.blogs.com/openoffice/2006/07/mail_merge_labe.html
  53 [21:16] <cprofitt> here is another - http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation/How_Tos/Creating_Mail_Merge_Documents_From_Text/CSV_or_Spreadsheets
  54 [21:16] <cprofitt> any more questions on OO?
  55 [21:17] <cprofitt> ok... next item
  56 [21:17] <cprofitt> Many of us use our computers to store, catalog and modify our photographic memories. For managing photos we have F-Spot (which is a play on the phrase f-stop that is used in photography). F-Spot will import and catalog your images for you. I have not, as of yet, use F-Spot because I like to catalog my images by using my file system. For editing bitmap images (and creating them) you can use the GIMP. The GIMP is not a clone of Photoshop
  57 [21:17] <cprofitt> For some sample work done in GIMP - http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
  58 [21:18] <cprofitt> There I have included a Blue Planet -- made from scratch (dunno why I enjoy making those, but I do). There are also two .xcf files that were potential logos that I created for my local lug. If you have questions on those specific images please ask them in the forum thread. There is also a .png of the final logo, which was changed due to the layout of the web page for Lugor.
  59 [21:18] <cprofitt> The GIMP is cross-platform
  60 [21:18] <cprofitt> Do we have any questions about The GIMP?
  61 [21:18] <Pendulum> You're good to go on :)
  62 [21:19] <cprofitt> k
  63 [21:19] <cprofitt> Many people need to design images that 'scale' with the need for different sizes. The best type of images for this are 'vector' images. In the Windows and OS X world that would usually require an investment of several hundred dollars for Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. To accomplish this type of image editing one can use Inkscape in Ubuntu. Inkscape is a powerful editor, but due to my needs focusing on bitmap images I do not have exam
  64 [21:19] <cprofitt> One place to look at some amazing samples of vector images, as well as creative commons work for you to use, is Open Clipart Library - http://openclipart.org/
  65 [21:19] <cprofitt> Inkscape is cross-platform
  66 [21:19] <cprofitt> so those two applications take care of most of our image editing needs -- bitmap and vector
  67 [21:20] <cprofitt> any questions on Inkscape?
  68 [21:20] <Pendulum> < userdays6_> yes, i tried editing like in Ms paint, but some basic funtions were not there. Is it a substitute of Ms paint?
  69 [21:20] <cprofitt> userdays6_: No, GIMP is more ppwerful than MS Paint
  70 [21:20] <cprofitt> it is closer to Photoshop or Corel PhotoPaint
  71 [21:20] <Pendulum> < bullgard> QUESTION What do you mean by "cross-platform" precisely?
  72 [21:20] <cprofitt> the ability to add-on brushes and scripts make it much more powerful
  73 [21:21] <cprofitt> cross-platform means it can run on OS X and Windows
  74 [21:21] <cprofitt> in sames cases even other OSes like OS/2
  75 [21:21] <Pendulum> < Pernig> QUESTION there was a package called gimpshop which made GIMP mimmick functionality of photoshop but it doesn't seem to work with the latest version. Is there anything similar out there?
  76 [21:21] <cprofitt> I find that important when switchign because you can slowly make the transition and your peers can use the applications as well -- even if they do not transition to Linux
  77 [21:22] <cprofitt> Pernig: I have not heard of a similar package to Gimpshop
  78 [21:22] <cprofitt> You may want to file a bug or ask that question on the forum thread
  79 [21:22] <cprofitt> http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
  80 [21:22] <Pendulum> < RPG_Master_> Question - When is GIMP going to get 16 bit support?
  81 [21:22] <cprofitt> perhaps we can get a work around or alternative for you from the community
  82 [21:23] <cprofitt> I was unaware they do not support 16bit, and do not know when they might add it... that would be a question for one of the developers
  83 [21:23] <cprofitt> http://www.gimp.org/
  84 [21:23] <Pendulum> < bullgard> QUESTION Iconsider Inkscape great. Where is it inferior to competing Ubuntu programs?
  85 [21:24] <cprofitt> I am not following that question bullgard -- do you mean other programs in Ubuntu or programs like Illustrator?
  86 [21:25] <cprofitt> Ok... in Ubuntu...
  87 [21:26] <cprofitt> I am not aware of any other programs that can compete with Inkscape... for me it is the best of breed on Ubuntu
  88 [21:26] <cprofitt> I am going to move on to the next program
  89 [21:26] <Pendulum> < Pernig> QUESTION is therer cmyk colour support in GIMP?
  90 [21:26] <cprofitt> Pernig: only with a plugin -- but I have heard they may be working on that
  91 [21:27] <cprofitt> CMYK will only be important if you plan on printing your work though
  92 [21:27] <cprofitt> please remember that if I do not get to your questions you can ask them on the forums
  93 [21:27] <cprofitt> http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
  94 [21:27] <cprofitt> Another common program used by a typical computer user is Publisher. Publisher is mainly used to make cards, newsletters and other 'publication' type documents. In Ubuntu the program that fills this need is Scribus. http://www.scribus.net/
  95 [21:27] <cprofitt> I have not had a need to use this software as I do not make these types of documents, but this is an excellent program for LoCo teams that need to make adevertising material for their groups. You can find excellent example of this type of work on http://spreadubuntu.neomenlo.org/ (Spread Ubuntu).
  96 [21:28] <cprofitt> Scribus is cross-platform (even for OS/2)
  97 [21:28] <cprofitt> Any questions on Scribus should be directed to the forums
  98 [21:28] <cprofitt> I do not use the program, but I am sure the community will be glad to answer questions about it
  99 [21:28] <cprofitt> Many of us like to watch movies or listen to music. Even more have portable music players and like to manage their players music with a program on their computer. The programs used outside of Ubuntu are Windows Media Player, Quicktime and iTunes. In Ubuntu we have Movie Player (Totem) and Rhythmbox.
 100 [21:28] <cprofitt> I personally use Rhythmbox to manage my Sansa Fuze in MTP mode.
 101 [21:29] <cprofitt> Do we have any questions about Rhythmbox or Totem?
 102 [21:30] <cprofitt> I did not mention VLC player because it is not included in the base load of Ubuntu and there are applications that Ubuntu does include that cover that 'area'
 103 [21:30] <cprofitt> VLC is an excellent program and is cross-platform
 104 [21:30] <cprofitt> I used it while I was still using Windows
 105 [21:31] <cprofitt> < patchwork_> Question- When I launch Rythymbox, it immediately docks in
 106 [21:31] <cprofitt>                     my indicator applet without opening the window.  I then
 107 [21:31] <cprofitt>                     have to click the indicator to open the window.  Is there
 108 [21:31] <cprofitt>                     an easy way to make this one operation?
 109 [21:31] <cprofitt> From my experience it opens in the last state I had it in
 110 [21:31] <cprofitt> so if I exited directly from it being open it will open again.
 111 [21:31] <cprofitt> the default for you 'clicking the close' x in the upper right is to minimize though
 112 [21:32] <cprofitt> I am not aware of being able to change that behavior
 113 [21:33] <cprofitt> I am going to move on to another area...
 114 [21:33] <cprofitt> one that most people do not bother to think about... but that has a huge impact
 115 [21:33] <cprofitt> One of the most basic programs included with an operating system is the file manager (or browser). In OS X that is the finder. In Windows that is Windows Explorer. In Ubuntu the default file manager is Nautilus. In KDE the default file manager is Dolphin. One of the great things about Linux is that you can change your file manager. For this session we will focus on Nautilus.
 116 [21:33] <cprofitt> One of the things that Nautilus does very easily that the other OS file managers do not do is toggling hidden files. In nautilus all you have to do is hit cntl+h and it will toggle showing/not showing hidden files.
 117 [21:33] <cprofitt> I can not tell you how upset I get each time I use OS X and can not see the hidden files by default
 118 [21:34] <cprofitt> I usually just launch a terminal out of frustration
 119 [21:34] <cprofitt> for those that do not know how to hide a file in a *nix variant
 120 [21:34] <cprofitt> In *nix based OSes a hidden file (or folder) is hidden by placing a '.' in front of it. So to make test.txt hidden you would rename it to .test.txt
 121 [21:34] <cprofitt> Questions on Nautilus?
 122 [21:35] <cprofitt> Question: why doesn't rhythmbox come with dlna/upnp enable as default?
 123 [21:35] <cprofitt> I am not sure... that would be another question for the developers
 124 [21:35] <cprofitt> no questions on Nautilus?
 125 [21:36] <Pendulum> < Jedemco> Question: Isn't Nautilus called "places" in Ubuntu?
 126 [21:36] <cprofitt> < Jedemco> Question: Isn't Nautilus called "places" in Ubuntu?
 127 [21:36] <cprofitt> No... places is a 'location' more than the program used to display it
 128 [21:36] <cprofitt> Nautilus does open when you click one of the options under places
 129 [21:36] <cprofitt> just like in Windows when you click on my computer it is actually windows explorer that opens
 130 [21:37] <cprofitt> in OS X when you click on my hard drive it is finder that actually is the program
 131 [21:37] <cprofitt> any other Q's on Nautilus?
 132 [21:38] <Pendulum> < dm-madmod> QUESTION: When copying and pasting, the pasting sometimes doesn't work in Nautilus as there's no right-mouse paste option.  Icons works, List doesn't.
 133 [21:38] <cprofitt> I am not sure on that dm-madmod I get a paste option with the version of Nautilus that I use...
 134 [21:38] <cprofitt> if, however, you are trying to copy something that you do not have rights to that may cause the option to be greyed out
 135 [21:39] <Pendulum> QUESTION: what has gone wrong that i have to load all of my applets (nm-applet for example), i can't mount my windows partition without sudo, etc
 136 [21:39] <cprofitt> but I have not tried that.
 137 [21:39] <cprofitt> I am not sure when your applets have to be reloaded...
 138 [21:40] <cprofitt> and to my knoweldge you only have to use sudo when you mount a hard disk with NTFS
 139 [21:40] <cprofitt> if you have a memory stick (usb removable media) with NTFS formatting you will not be prompted
 140 [21:40] <cprofitt> If you use alt+f2 and type in gksu nautilus you can launch nautilus in 'sudo' mode
 141 [21:41] <cprofitt> this may help with some of the issues people have with copying files
 142 [21:41] <cprofitt> any more Q's on nautilus
 143 [21:41] <cprofitt> this is really an important area when making the migration to Linux
 144 [21:41] <cprofitt> One of the other important areas is next
 145 [21:42] <cprofitt> An application that most Windows and OS X users ignore is the basic text editor. For this reason the basic text editors in Windows and OS X tend to be a bit on the weak side. On Windows one would use notepad and on OS X it is just called 'text editor'. On Ubuntu you have the built-in gedit which is a powerful text editor.
 146 [21:42] <cprofitt> gedit can use its high-light mode to change what kind of file is being viewed and present a color coded view of the text making it easier to read.
 147 [21:42] <cprofitt> If you are going to be programming there is another graphical text editor that can be used in Ubuntu called SciTE. SciTE does a bit more than gedit in that is will auto-indent per the language specifications.
 148 [21:42] <cprofitt> Two other options in Linux are non-graphical. For basic text editing one can use nano and for programming one can use vi(m). There is another option for programming, but it is more like an OS unto itself than a simple editor. It is called emacs.
 149 [21:42] <cprofitt> SciTE is cross-platform
 150 [21:42] <cprofitt> I will not go in to the greatness that is sed or awk in this session, but those looking to manipulate text should look at those as well
 151 [21:43] <cprofitt> Any questions of basic text editors?
 152 [21:44] <cprofitt> OK... as we do not apear to have any more questions on text editors I will move on
 153 [21:44] <cprofitt> Some more exoteric applications that are used in the world of Windows and OS X are applications like Inspiration and Quick Books / Microsoft Money.
 154 [21:44] <cprofitt> In Ubuntu you can use Freemind for mind mapping software. You can use GnuCash for managing your business. I do not have experience with either of these applications and if you want more information please check out the wiki entry for this session: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UserDays/01232010/UbuntuEquivalentPrograms and feel free to ask questions on the forum thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
 155 [21:45] <cprofitt> This was meant to be a simple overview of some of the basic applications in Ubuntu.
 156 [21:45] <cprofitt> There are cetainly many applications that I may have not covered. For those you can check out two sites to find recommendations.
 157 [21:45] <cprofitt> Linux App Finder - http://linuxappfinder.com/
 158 [21:45] <cprofitt> OS Alt - http://www.osalt.com/
 159 [21:45] <cprofitt> < scunizi> There is also Vym for mindmapping
 160 [21:45] <cprofitt> I would like to thank scunizi for mentioning this
 161 [21:46] <cprofitt> I just read about the program today and it does look solid
 162 [21:46] <cprofitt> thanks scunizi
 163 [21:46] <cprofitt> Again, feel free to discuss other applications in the forum thread as well. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
 164 [21:46] <cprofitt> I thank you all for coming. Are there any other questions before we end?
 165 [21:46] <cprofitt> we can opne questions to any of the applications covered
 166 [21:47] <cprofitt> and remember that the forum thread is open to all the apps covered and those that were not covered
 167 [21:47] <Pendulum> < Pernig> Question Not come acrosds mind mapping software before, could you briefly explain?
 168 [21:48] <cprofitt> Mind mapping software is kind of a flow of thoughts...
 169 [21:48] <cprofitt> you link them in the order that you thought of them...
 170 [21:49] <cprofitt> it is used in education a great deal
 171 [21:49] <Pendulum> < userdays6_> yes, I wanted a substitute for dreamweaver, but I got compozer and it is not much helpful. Can you suggest a better alternative?
 172 [21:49] <cprofitt> yes, I wanted a substitute for dreamweaver, but  I got compozer and it is not much helpful. Can you suggest  a better alternative?
 173 [21:49] <cprofitt> http://linuxappfinder.com/alternatives?search_text=Dreamweaver
 174 [21:50] <cprofitt> personally the one I have heard the best about is Bluefish
 175 [21:50] <cprofitt> http://linuxappfinder.com/package/bluefish
 176 [21:50] <cprofitt> Question: How come Daap plug-in in rhythmbox works with Itunes?
 177 [21:51] <cprofitt> To be honest I am not sure why it works with iTunes. I stay as far aware from iTunes as possible. That is why I got my Sansa Fuze -- it supports .ogg and .flac files and works out of the box with Ubuntu
 178 [21:52] <cprofitt> any other questions?
 179 [21:53] <cprofitt> What are the issues with editing music files?
 180 [21:53] <cprofitt> I have been able to edit the genre, title, etc...
 181 [21:54] <cprofitt> for editing the music I go in to Rhythmbox and right click ont he song -- then hit properties
 182 [21:54] <cprofitt> I can edit the details on that dialog box
 183 [21:55] <Pendulum> < Pernig> QUESTION are there any alternatives to empathy and pidgin with similar or better features?
 184 [21:56] <cprofitt> I do not use those two apps Pernig, but I would ask that in the forum thread
 185 [21:56] <cprofitt> Again, feel free to discuss other applications in the forum thread as well. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8712145
 186 [21:57] <cprofitt> Question: if i wan to program in C# or vb.net can linux alternative
 187 [21:57] <cprofitt> you can kind of do C# with mono
 188 [21:57] <cprofitt> but I am not aware of an implenetation that allows vb.net
 189 [21:57] <cprofitt> personally, I moved away from .Net and am now learning Python
 190 [21:58] <cprofitt> Eclipse is in the repos and does have a mono plugin I believe
 191 [21:58] <cprofitt> a great area to ask about programming is the forums area dedicated to it
 192 [21:58] <cprofitt> http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=39
 193 [21:58] <cprofitt> we have two minutes left before our next session...
 194 [21:59] <cprofitt> with the illustrious Mr. Castro helping us all to get Involved in the Ubuntu Community
 195 [22:00] <cprofitt> Thank you to this event for helping me be involved in the Ubuntu Community
 196 [22:00] <Pendulum> Thank you cprofitt :)
 197 [22:00] <cprofitt> I hope that many of you here today will continue to become more comfortable
 198 [22:00] <cprofitt> with Ubuntu
 199 [22:00] <cprofitt> and perhaps present next time
 200 [22:00] <cprofitt> Thanks to everyone... as a group we all make the Ubuntu community what it is
 201 [22:00]  * cprofitt waves

UserDays/01232010/UbuntuEquivalentPrograms (last edited 2010-01-24 00:29:46 by alderaan)