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Old 01-29-2002, 07:48 AM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2002
Distribution: SuSE
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"Simplify! Simplify!"

Okay, I didn't expect to find many Thoreau fans on a techie board, but at least the quote above got your attention...

I just installed SuSE Personal 7.3, and I'd like to simplify the user experience of all the non-root users to the point where it's as simple and easy as Lycoris (Redmond) or ELX (Everyone's Linux). I think that the exercise of setting up the system like that would be a useful learning experience.

First, I'd like to pick the "best of breed" for each type of application, and keep only that. So, if you have any best-of-breed favorites for:

-multimedia players (ala Windows Media Player),
-CD-R/RW burning (ala Adaptec),
-Backing up (like the Iomega quicksync for Zip drives),

or any other favorites, I'm glad to hear your votes.

Second, I'd like to uninstall most of the programs that got installed with SuSE. However, when I look at the names of the programs in the start menu, and then look at the names of the programs in the install/uninstall section of Yast2, most of them simply don't jive. It's as if the program names in Yast2 have nothing to do with the applications that I find on my machine. This is certainly more difficult in that respect than the Windows Add/Remove Programs utility. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Third, when I log in I select the KDE desktop. Looking at the number of applications there and the number of applications that appear to be installed already, it seems that many apps are not accessible from KDE. Where do start exploring my machine to find these mysterious apps?

Fourth (and last, for now!), I'd like to simplify the directories which a non-root user sees to only the c: (windows) partition, the shared directory where multiple users can share their documents, the user's own document directoy, zip, CD, and floppy drives. I'd like to hide all other directories from the user's view. I know that Linux enables me to set those kinds of permissions. What tool should I use to make that happen, and, are there any negative implications to limiting the user's access to only these directories? Will this cause some programs to not run correctly?

I know that's quite a list of questions, and I appreciate everyone's help. Thanks in advance all!

Bill Rice
Old 01-29-2002, 09:05 AM   #2
Registered: Jul 2001
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
Distribution: Suse 7.2
Posts: 184

Rep: Reputation: 30
OK, I'll start answering some of the stuff. Hopefully others will complete the task

Best Multimedia Player:

Definitely MPlayer. Get the source at It does need to be compiled, which is pretty straightforward doing

./config --enable-gui && make && make install

as root. Do read the Docs on how to set up support for win32-dll (DivX; ) and opendivx. You probably also want to check for the dvd support chapters.

CD - Burning

I use KOnCD, that ships with KDE and feel pretty comfortable. The only flaw ist, that it just supports burning speeds up to 20x.

sorry, I don't backup

As for all the programs, you see in the start-menue of KDE, you'll find those in the KDE-Sections of yast2 installation. Most of the other stuff are console applications and server programs (samba, ftp, ssh, telnet, pop3, ...) to name some of the best known. If you really want to delete most of the applications you don't need, I'd say go through the list of installed programs, read the description of the package and then decide. Can't think of another way.

To find these other applications have a look at the /bin /sbin /usr/bin /usr/sbin directories. Most of them should reside in there. you can start them by typing their name at the command line.

to change permission and ownership of directories, you use chmod and chown respectively. Have a look at the manpages on how to use them. Not having access to a directory doesn't hide it though.
The best idea is probably to put symbolic links to the desired areas into a user's home-directory. This way, he can navigate to all the important areas without having to navigate through the whole directory structure.

HTH, Steave.
Old 02-01-2002, 09:24 AM   #3
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Most User-friendly Apps for the Former Windows User

Thanks, Steve, for the reply. I'm going to try to stir things up a bit in this thread by offering my list of best-of-breed applications for a former Windows user migrating to Linux, who just wants a streamlined and easy-to-use collection of WYSIWYG apps. This is how I plan to setup my Linux distro, and then put a few friends and family in front of it to see if Linux really can be as easy to use as Windows:

Star Office
pixieplus plug-in for Konqueror
Evolution for Email and PIM and Palm synching
xmms for playing mp3 and wav
aktion for playing movies
kscd for playing cds
X-CD-Roast for burning cds
kover for making cd covers
kbiff for email notification
and liquid for a desktop style

Anyone have any suggestions for equivalent apps that are even friendlier than these here?

Now I just need to figure out how to hide all but the user's directory and shared documents directory in Konqueror, so that other directories don't even show up when they're browsing the file system...
Old 02-01-2002, 09:31 AM   #4
Registered: Jul 2001
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
Distribution: Suse 7.2
Posts: 184

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One thing to say:

As a Browser, do have a look at mozilla!! It's pretty fast and stable, and I found out, it will be supported better by some websites (e.g. my mail-provider)

ahh, if you want to use Evolution, I assume you're using GNOME! You will then have to look for Galeon. The way I understand it, its a pretty straightforward mozilla-based browser. -> Is there Konqueror for GNOME??

Also a comment on StarOffice: Do get Openoffice. I am using Staroffice 6.0b which was the starting point for open office, and I like it very much. They finally got away from that integrated desktop, which makes it look more like the MS products...

Old 02-01-2002, 01:49 PM   #5
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Evolution working under KDE desktop?


Thanks for the Mozilla recommendation. I'll definitely take a look at it. Would be nice if I could make the whole system true open source.

I looked at Open Office vs. Star Office and like the way Open has unbundled the components. I think that's much friendlier for a newbie. If a newbie launches word processing, they should see just the word processor, and not a second desktop with a lot of other applications on it.

I actually have the KDE desktop, because that was SuSE's default and there seems to be more software that seamlessly integrates with that desktop. SuSE installs the Gnome libraries, however. Will that enable me to launch Evolution for the KDE desktop? I don't want the user to need to switch desktops just to use email and PIM.

Thanks for all your good input.

Old 02-01-2002, 02:01 PM   #6
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Location: South Alabama
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Well I don't know about anyone else but I don't like having only one choice.

Some things are just better at certain things than others. But you still need the others for other stuff.

Even window managers.

I switch things around quite a bit
Old 03-15-2002, 01:35 AM   #7
Bill Krauss
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best cd burner

Arson seems to offer the best combination of power and ease of use. I've tried 'em all i think.



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