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Old 10-13-2003, 03:17 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2001
Location: Washington, DC
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application recommendations?

I'm not a newbie but I'm about to install linux onto a friend's computer. He's gotten sick of all his windows viruses and crashes and heard that linux was more stable. The installation shouldn't be a problem (I'm hoping to use Debian but may go back to Gentoo if installation is an issue). I'd like to make the experience as easy as possible for him so that

1) I don't have to be tech support every time he wants to play a DVD or Rip/Burn a CD
2) He doesn't complain how much slower linux is than windows

Can somebody give me some recommendations for applications (I haven't picked a desktop environment yet but I'm leaning towards Gnome...). Since he's not a power user, I don't need powerful apps with Corporate integration (like Evolution) but simple apps that 'just work' Things I need to cover are:

a) Email and Web Browsing (balsa or kmail, mozilla or konqueror)
b) Office applications (openoffice?)
c) Play DVD, MP3, CDs (different apps are ok)
d) Burn CDs

Also, further to #2 above, is there a way to pre-load some of these applications (particularly Openoffice and Mozilla) so that they launch faster?

I know it's a lot, but any help would be really appreciated!!!
Old 10-13-2003, 03:30 PM   #2
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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I've done the same thing for several friends and here's some best practices...
I've used Gnome in the past and shy away from KDE (bad past experiences but not of late)

I've found it often helps most to setup a list of buttons, usually on the left or right side of the screen that they can click on to access their applications. When I can I will usually use the MS icons as much as I can (as they might not readily associate a red dragon with their web browser).

The Gentoo buttons usually get pretty good responses for such an occasion.

Also remember to include buttons that will mount their drives for them (if not using supermount) and will shutdown their computer as well.

As for applications Mozilla works great and people usually end up loving it once they get wind of the tabs (and how to use them). Just remember to set them up with plenty of plugins (flash, java, mplayer-plugin for video).
As for mail I use Evolution, so I can't really help you there.
Office, open Office works great... again use the Gentoo Excel, Word, Powerpoint icons for the respective OpenOffice equivalents.
To play DVD's I'm a fan of Xine myself so that is what I install, MP3 = Xmms, I also show them how to use XMMS to play CDs as well. As for burning CDs I used to go with Grip and if you have GTK 1.x on the machine that's what I'd go with. But SoundJuicer is also a good app, but has lots of dependancies so get ready to install some libs.

Burning CDs, I like GnomeToaster myself. Also you'll probably want to install GAim for those chatters out there and maybe a few games just so they don't get bored.

hope that helps,
Old 10-13-2003, 03:34 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Italy
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a)for email and web - i think firebird&thunderbird are the best...
b)openoffice is cool, but i0d suggest you put it together with some other similar app (Koffice, but it's kde...)
c) there are loads of that software, so i haven't tried them, so i'll leave this one blank...(xmms is not bad...)
d) i think gnome toster inot a newbie app, but i've found K3b almost as easy as nero - so i'd go for that one...
open office is really slow (K is much faster), but mozilla firebird is loading like,...well, firebird
i'm on dual boot and my linux is flying!! win98se is stable and everything (and faster than other M$) but my mdk9.1 is MUCH faster
Old 10-14-2003, 10:10 AM   #4
Registered: Oct 2001
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thanks for the suggestions! Any idea how to make launches of mozilla/openoffice faster?
Old 10-14-2003, 10:24 AM   #5
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No idea... I understand that on a 400-600 MHz machine these can really take a while. About my only suggestion would be to have mozilla display its splash screen just so the user knows its opening up. Adding more memory might help? Mozilla isn't that slow though is it?
Old 10-14-2003, 10:39 AM   #6
Registered: Nov 2002
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Mozilla is quite quick all by itself (and has that lovely built in mail client which I personally use so can recommend).

As far as making OpenOffice start more quickly, there is a setting in the options for the length of time (Under, mine is set to 10 seconds, play around to see what the optimum is.

Definitely go with Mplayer for a/v, the program is awesome. As per jpbarto's recommendations, get hold of all plugins esp. the mplayer one.

Good idea and good luck!


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