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ReginaFortis 07-04-2008 02:36 AM

Confessions of a Guilty Pirate Wench
Hi, all!

I'm a girl. I'm a smarty-pants kind of girl, but still, a girl--so you people scare me a bit. I rock Windows as a sysadmin and software manager, but I HATED it. Also, I kept finding myself pirating stuff for the heck of it, or because it was cool. I kept WANTING to change, but not having any idea how to, or what programs could be used to substitute for my carefully-honed torrent-loving GUI. So, I'm going to post up what could best be described as a blog of my experiences shifting from pirate ware and MS Windows XP Pro over to Fedora/WINE and OSS software, as I've never seen anyone do so in even a REMOTELY user (chick) friendly way. My Light Side points will multiply, and I will become a Jedi Master over the next few weeks. So, here goes this padawan's first day canning all my crapware on my soon to be disabled and cannibalized Dell box, and trying out all the stuff I'm going to put on my monster nifty (Core 2 Quad, 4 GB RAM, dual 1TB SATAS, and a 512 Nvidia) system that's showing up next week. Please, feel free to drool. Also, to offer helpful advice.


The switchover from WinXP and pirated software to Linux and OSS

I'm making me an honest woman. It's just too easy to pirate on an XP machine, and I categorically refuse to switch to Vista. Also, I don't want to get sued one day. So, I'm going to switch entirely over from pirated components to OSS or ware that I've actually
purchased (gasp!)


(1) Getting rid of pirated Adobe CSS; switching to CutePDF.
Possibly this means I need to DL Acrobat Reader. All I ever
use Acrobat for is printing PDFs anyway. It'll probably make
for a leaner cleaner box. Stupid Adobe site for making me
run scripts from their page. I went to Demonoid to DL Adobe
Reader instead of having to put up with the crap on their
home page.

(2) Finding an OSS alternative to Nero. Found one. Going
with InfraRecorder.

(3) Deep breath: switching from MS Office 2007 to OpenOffice.
That's the real kicker, ain't it? This is the biggie. The
monster. Must take yoga breaths and really think about what
I need. I don't need MS Office to think. I write longhand
when composing stuff or writing papers anyway. I don't really
need anything but a way to type up papers with footnotes and
errata, print them, mail them, PDF them, and have them be
compatible with MS. I should donate to OpenOffice.

(4) Switching from Outlook to Thunderbird. I need to send and
receive emails, and sync tasks and calendar items to my PocketPC.
I'd like to keep my PhatNotes, but it occurs to me that it might
be pirated too. I'd rather make a clean sweep of it.

(5) Find a way to sync. I'm thinking BirdieSync or something.

(6) Switching from Dreamweaver over to a free HTML editor (here's
where that guilt was kicking in--I shouldn't be using an expensive
product like Dreamweaver w/out paying for it, much less making
money off of it. Switching to NVU, an OSS alternative that's
cross-platform. I'm trying to go with cross-platform alternatives
whenever possible so it's an easy shift over to Fedora next week.

(7) Just got rid of DietPower 4.0. It was only depressing me to
have it around anyway.

(8) Just canned EndNote, Finale, Daemon Tools (won't need it if
not mounting disks anymore), Nero 7, PG Music, Maple 10.0,
Teach Me Piano Deluxe, eMule (thank god I won't need that anymore),
OMG--I can finally trash Windows Desktop Search!! Wahoo! I
won't need it for Outlook anymore! Got rid of Advanced Business
Card Maker 3, (most of this crap I never installed anyway,
just collected it like a magpie.), RealizeVoice, SoThink,
SigmaPlot 9.0, (I can do all these stats and stuff in Java anyway),
Swift 3D

(9) Things I need to buy because I can't live without them:
a. Aquarius Alarm Clock
b. Possibly Personal Brain. I love it SOOO much.

(10) Switching from Easy CD/DA Encoder to Multifrontend.

(11) Switching from Tag & Rename to massid3lib.

(12) Removed Mathematica 6. I used to have the license for it
but not anymore. Besides, if I can't do it in Java, I probably
don't understand the math well enough to be using it anyway.

(13) I guess I'll get rid of Rosetta Stone too. I don't use it
enough anyway, and if I want to learn a language, I'll pay for it
or get an academic license.

(14) Yeah, I'm getting rid of Dragon Naturally Speaking, too. It's
like going through your closet and getting rid of any shoes or
sweaters you haven't worn in over a year. It's painful, but also

(15) Ok, it looks like Thunderbird isn't the right app for me. It
seems to be a substitute for Outlook Express, not for Outlook. It
looks like what I actually want is Kontact, and I won't get that
until I start up with Linux. Fortunately, it seems that others
aren't having too many problems syncing their WM devices on
that platform. I'll trash Thunderbird and just wait until I
get my new monster box and put Linux on it next week to get rid
of Outlook completely.

(16) Some concerns: I hear that iTunes works fine on Fedora, which
is good. I can't live without my iPod. Nobody's cracked an iPhone
for Linux yet, or so Google tells me; I'll just stick with my trusty
WM 5.0 device for now and upgrade when it finally breaks or I throw
it through a wall. I would TOTALLY love to get an iPhone though.

(17) Damn. I REALLY like PhatNotes, but it doesn't look like there's
any support for it on a Linux platform. PhatNotes, Aquarius Alarm
Clock, and TimeLeft are the only three programs I'd actually PAY for,
they're so good, but I don't think I can get PhatNotes to run on
Fedora, even with WINE. I checked their AppDB, and there's no
entry. The real concern isn't that it won't work in a Linux
environment, but that it won't sync with Kontact. For now, I'll
port my notes over to Outlook and Xfer the whole mess from Outlook
over to Kontact. If PhatNotes works with Fedora, fine, I'll buy it,
but not unless. Same for Aquarius. I actually own TimeLeft,
so I'll give that a shot too.

(18) AWESOME! I can finally get rid of QuickTime! Stupid parallel
installation with iTunes. I hate that thing; it's always trying to
get back in the running executables every time iTunes updates. I
only ever use VLC Media Player anyway; it works perfectly respectably
and doesn't lock my box up.

(19) My favorite nifty tool so far is ODF Converter-Integrator. It's
an executable that, once installed, jumps right in each time I double-
click an Office XML file, like buggerBillGates.docx. It pops it
right open in OpenOffice Writer. That's the handiest damn thing EVAH.

H_TeXMeX_H 07-04-2008 04:38 AM

Welcome, and it's good to see that you've seen the light. Indeed, in a way Window$ encourages piracy, because everything costs so damn much and does so damn little. I think a default Window$ install is absolutely useless, I mean nothing works out of the box, dunno about Vi$ta, I never installed it.

As for the programs you listed, I haven't heard of most of them and don't really know what they're supposed to do. Here are some programs that I like:

- xpdf for pdfs, maybe kpdf if you want it to copy and paste text more easily.
- k3b works well as a replacement for Nero (there is a Nero for Linux too), but I usually use the command line tools 'growisofs' and 'cdrecord'
- openoffice kinds sucks (bloated, slow, buggy in most cases), IMO, but as there are few alternatives. For sure I'd recommend gnumeric as a replacement for excel, it's much better and more accurate.
- have you tried 'rsync' for syncing ?
- nvu is indeed a good web authoring program
- for a media player, I recommend mplayer, but also use xine for streams

Other than that I don't know what might be what you're looking for. But, I can say that some of the most powerful apps you will find for Linux will be command line tools. You can do a lot more with the command line versions of programs than with the GUI, because it's usually impossible to make a GUI to include all possible options for a program. Most of the time GUIs are just frontends for command line utilities such as k3b is. k3b doesn't do much itself it uses 'growisofs', 'cdrecord' and other command line tools to get things done. And of course, not all command line options are available in the gui. It's probably too advanced and scary for most newcomers, but eventually you should try to learn it if you lack power. There are many tutorials on the net, you can also look at the links in my sig.

Since you mentioned you have a powerful rig, here's mine:

Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9300 @ 2.50GHz (this is one of the new 45nm processors, but it only has 6 MB of L2 cache)
1333 MHz FSB
2 GB dual channel DDR2 Corsair 800 MHz RAM at CL4 (but currently running at CL5 for stability reasons)
GeForce 8800 GTS 512 MB DDR3
160 GB Seagate SATA II (I don't need any more than this, in fact it's too big) (and I was thinking of getting 2 x 80 GB ones and making a RAID 0, but after much reading and thinking, it's just not worth it, my data is more valuable than is worth the performance)

It's not the best of the best, but the best of the best costs too much for me :)

ErV 07-04-2008 05:06 AM


Originally Posted by ReginaFortis (Post 3203603)
(8) Just canned ..., Finale

You don't need to get rid of Finale, since it should work on Linux using Wine (it worked last year when I was still using it. It worked but was a bit slower). If you are interested in music typesetting software alternatives, there are lilypond, rosegarden, noteedit, and other. Lilypond is good, but require too much typing (even for me, although I've managed to do 3 orchestral scores using lilypond).


Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 3203699)
- for a media player, I recommend mplayer, but also use xine for streams

I think that using amarok for music, mplayer for video, xine for streams and Kaffeine for dvd-autoplay will be better.

H_TeXMeX_H 07-04-2008 07:11 AM

Oh, and as you probably should already know many Window$ programs will work through wine, even many games do and quite well too. Still, I would recommend using native linux programs over running things through wine, but if you really need a program, try using wine.

David the H. 07-04-2008 07:36 AM

Creating pdf files is a breeze; you don't need cutePDF or anything. Just about every distro already comes with a "print to pdf" virtual printer set up for you. So just create the document in openoffice or whatever and print it straight to a file. And as mentioned above, you can use kpdf, xpdf or others for viewing. About the only thing Linux lacks in this area are good applications for advanced pdf editing, but you can run Acrobat under wine or CrossWeavers office.

Instead of multifrontend, go with grip or kaudiocreator (depending on whether you go with a gnome or kde desktop). They're native Linux frontends for multiple audio encoders. I personally use kaudiocreator because it has the most flexibility in editing the metadata (id3) tags before encoding, but you can also use easytag, audiotagtools, or several others to edit them afterwards. For unusual audio formats or for batch-encoding, it's very easy to use commandline multimedia programs like mencoder or ffmpeg to convert formats. They're really easy to use and very powerful once you know the command syntax. Finally, most cd burning programs can easily create disk images instead of burning to a physical disk.

There are several "alarm clock" options available too. I have used kalarm a few times, and with a little scripting work it's probably capable of doing anything Aquarius alarm clock can. In any case, it wouldn't be difficult to manually set up a cron-type command that would function the same way.

There are a lot of other options out there for substituting Windows functions. But you often have to look around a bit, and things might not be as "user friendly" as on Windows. Here's one pretty good list of equivalents. More generally, I've found that it's often difficult to stay with one tool only, because they often have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, I usually use xine for video playback, but some formats don't play well (or at all) in it, and I have to switch to mplayer or vlc. I also use the mplayer plugin for online media.

Take your time to learn what's available, but if I can give some general advice, try to stop thinking in "Windows" mode. If you go into Linux thinking of it as nothing but a substitute for Windows, you're bound to be frustrated. Instead, understand that it's a powerful, but quite different, OS, with it's own strengths and weaknesses. Start learning to understand the "Linux" way of doing things.

I've personally found that it sometimes (well, often ;)) takes more work, research, and trial and error, to do what I want in Linux, but in the end I can usually achieve my goals. And in doing so I often find it's more satisfying in the end precisely because I had to actually learn the inner workings of what I was doing, instead of just playing around with somebody else's automated tools.

crashmeister 07-04-2008 08:04 AM


Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 3203699)
Since you mentioned you have a powerful rig, here's mine:

I'd show off my rig,too but I am married :D

allend 07-04-2008 10:46 AM

For statistics and graphing, have a look at R.
For paper writing and references, have a look at Lyx and Bibliotex.

alphecca 07-04-2008 10:56 AM

How did you get DietPower 4.0?

H_TeXMeX_H 07-04-2008 01:03 PM


Originally Posted by crashmeister (Post 3203880)
I'd show off my rig,too but I am married :D

LOL, that's a good one :D

tredegar 07-04-2008 01:28 PM


... I'm a smarty-pants kind of girl ...
Smart enough to throw your first post *splat* into the correct forum for it :)
You made me laugh too.
Welcome to LQ!

Nobody's cracked an iPhone for Linux yet
You are mistaken. Please see here:

I found iTunes to be very annoying (but, in fairness, I used it only once). Amarok, well, rocks. And before you ask, no, it is my music, legally purchased with real money that was was mine after I was paid for a real job and had paid real taxes.

Takla 07-04-2008 01:46 PM


Originally Posted by ReginaFortis (Post 3203603)
Hi, all!

I'm a girl. I'm a smarty-pants kind of girl, but still, a girl--so you people scare me a bit.

This seems to be the 21st century version of "please be gentle with me". It's reassuring to know that hundreds of years of reason, activism and legislation haven't unduly affected the human psyche. Thank you.

XavierP 07-04-2008 04:30 PM

Firstly, there are no women on the internet - FACT! And secondly, a switch over looks like a success story to me, so away this goes to the Success Story forum.

XavierP 07-04-2008 04:31 PM

Oh, and another thing, I keep reading the title as "Confessions of a Guilty Pirate Wrench" and become confused.

ReginaFortis 07-04-2008 06:04 PM


(1) I can finally get rid of stupid Windows Media Player. I only play
stuff in VLC Media Player, iTunes, or yPlay anyway. OMFG do they ever
make it hard to uninstall WMP. I had version 11 on my box, and they're
all "Are you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY sure you want to do this?" And I'm
thinking, "the more you ask me, the more I want to sponsor an XP-install
CD-burning a la Berlin circa 1938 in an Indiana Jones movie.

(2) There's something else here too: I can apparently now trash the WMP
Runtime, which is nice. Less crap. Always good.

(3) Huh. YPops appears to be a handy dandy tool to use to forward my
Yahoo mail to Outlook 2007. I hope it works in Fedora, too.

(4) I love WebShots desktop rotating wallpaper. I hope it works in
Fedora. I saw that in the AppDB for WINE that some people had gotten
it working. I can't live without my running slide show of Boromir and
Prince Caspian.

(5) EEEEEVil. You actually CAN'T uninstall Windows Media Player 10.
I can't wait to have a nice clean new machine.

(6) So I torrented the LiveDisk of Fedora 9. I'm checking out the
KDesktop version first, because I want to use Kontact, which is
apparently the Outlook of Linux, and comes in the KDE package (which
I don't understand what that means, but I'm assuming I'll get the
idea). I know I can use a live disk to boot from to get the feel
of what's going on in my nifty new choice of OS. I'm using it on
my current machine b/c I can thrash this one now with no real worries.
I'll never have to rebuild Windows again!! Nor me nor none of my

(7) Ok, that was a bust. The disk booted, but it just sat there and
said "ready". No GUI came up. WTF? There's no readme with the
LiveDisk either. Back to Google. What the devil is the El Torito
specification? Ok, the Fedora site has a howto for live cds, but
there's nothing there but total gibberish about the command line.
Where's a simple FAQ for what might go wrong when trying to use the
live cd? Ah. Under the readme. Well, they COULD make it easier to
find. Apparently, it takes a long time to boot from the CD. I'll
just retry the boot disk, and let it sit for a few minutes.

(8) Dang. Neither the KDE or the Fedora Desktop live cds will boot.
I don't know why. I'd really like to try Fedora out before I go
and install it as my chosen OS.

ReginaFortis 07-04-2008 06:08 PM

Also--sorry for those who are viewing this; someone seems to have moved my thread to the wrong forum category. This ain't no success story yet.

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