Desktop apps

Greg Rundlett greg at
Wed Mar 3 21:39:44 EST 2004

Derek Martin wrote:
> We've been talking a lot about Linux on the desktop these days.  I'm
> curious about what applications people find to be lacking on Linux.

Derek Martin wrote:
 > We've been talking a lot about Linux on the desktop these days.  I'm
 > curious about what applications people find to be lacking on Linux.

A decent file comparison and merge tool.  The best I've found on Linux 
is Kompare.  I would love to see Kompare do what Araxis Merge can 
do....visual diffs down to the character with excellent accuracy.  In 
fact, I don't know why there aren't other Windows diff tools that can do 
this.  Araxis Merge seems to be the only one that can 'see between the 
lines' so to speak.  Kompare also gets flaky with large files (10,000 
lines) whereas I've never had a problem with Araxis.  Araxis can open 
multiple compares, each in its own 'tab' (a feature that many editors on 
linux can do, so why does Kompare open a whole new window for each 
comparison.  Araxis can do a three-way comparison.  Kompare (unlike most 
linux apps) tends to sigsev often.  The directory comparison is more 
like a playlist than a directory just queues a bunch of 
files to be compared one pair at a time.  Araxis lets you visually look 
at the difference between projectA and projectB because you can see the 
whole directory structure side-by-side color-coded to show the 
differences.  You "click-through" to see a detailed comparison, which 
opens in a diffent window so that you still have your directory 
comparison handy.  Araxis lets you edit directly in the comparison 
panes, in addition to applying changes from pane to pane, so that you 
can not only merge differences, but even edit code while you're at it. 
Araxis Merge costs around $200, and I've often been tempted to pay for 
it, but it would be isolated to my one Windows XP machine, whereas I use 
many Linux machines and Kompare is always available.

A good CD burner
So far, I've found XCDRoast to be the best.  I used XCDRoast today in 
fact, and it has powerful features, but the GUI leaves a lot to be 
desired.  And it wouldn't copy a music CD on the fly. (At least it 
allowed me to delete the music tracks easily when I was done, and it 
recognized the music tracks when it was time to burn them.)  Something 
that looked like Nero would be good.

If you want to copy some files off your hard-drive onto a CD, then you 
have to choose a button from the main menu which says 'Create a CD' 
(obvious enough), but then you get a screen where you should choose gray 
button #5 labeled 'Master Tracks' in order to choose what files you wish 
to burn.  Not very obvious.  From the technical point of view, AFTER 
you're familiar with the program, sure it makes sense, but from an 
ordinary user viewpoint?  I, myself, had to click around to figure it 
out.  [If you want to understand how a regular user might think, I had a 
conversation with someone today who said they 'understood computers 
enough to get around' but had no concept of where the Internet was, and 
why you couldn't just open Outlook Express on any computer and get your 
email--and I mean without entering any information about an account--as 
if it should be like turning on the TV to channel 2 and that's where PBS 

On the plus side, I'm happy to see the improvements being made all the 
time in terms of fonts, and GUIs, and rapid releases of new versions. 
Looking at the screenshots of the GIMP 2 beta, I'm very excited.


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