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Best Linux software for new users

For new users, I recommend the openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e(Linux for Education) Live DVD. You can get it at http://en.opensuse.org/Education/Live#Download. There are some screen shots here.

This is a Live DVD - you simply place the DVD in the computer's DVD drive and reboot the machine from it. When the machine comes up, you will be running Linux. Normally, the software won't write to your computer's hard drive unless you specifically ask it to. So
  • You'll want to plug in a USB disk drive / memory stick for documents you want to save or share with other users or machines.
  • When you shut the computer down and remove the DVD, it will come back up just as it was before.
What's on the DVD:
  • Dozens of educational, scientific and mathematical software packages ranging from pre-school to graduate school. A partial list is here.
  • The Sugar desktop from the One Laptop Per Child project.
  • Graphics and desktop publishing. A partial list is here.
  • The OpenOffice.org productivity suite, the Gobby collaborative editor, the Okular PDF viewer, PdfMod PDF editor and the Evolution e-mail / calendaring package.
  • The Ekiga Softphone voice over IP and video conferencing package.
  • The Firefox browser, XChat IRC client, Pidgin and Kopete Instant Messaging clients, Chokoq and Gwibber Twitter clients and many more Internet tools.
  • Both the Gnome and KDE desktops.
If you're a more advanced user, or work with a school system that's building an educational computer system, there are many more tools on this DVD, described here, here and here.

Now let's take a closer look at some of the packages. For photographers and graphic artists, there's the GNU Image Manipulation Program, known as The GIMP. Typically, you would use GIMP for retouching photos, editing images, making logos and other sophisticated image manipulation tasks. There's an excellent collection of tutorials here.

If you're interested in mind mapping, there's View Your Mind (vym). You can do 3D modeling and animation with Blender. For vector graphics drawing, there's Dia, Inkscape and Xara. Desktop publishing is easily done using Scribus. For musicians, there are a number of multimedia players, CD/DVD burning packages, the GNU Solfege ear training package, the Hydrogen advanced drum machine, and two score editors, Canorus and NoteEdit.. There's also the Gnome sound recorder.

Finally, for developers and other power users, there are four major integrated development environments (IDEs): Anjuta, Eclipse, Mono and NetBeans. There are two web page editors, Bluefish and KompoZer.

In short, just about everything you need to get started with Linux is on this DVD. I highly recommend downloading it and trying it out!

Tags: business, education, freesoftware, freeware, home, Linux, live cd, LiveCd, olpc, open source, OpenSource, opensuse, utilities

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