Monday, October 4, 2010

Article: Capabilities of Linux

The word "Linux" names a useroriented Linux distribution.
I also like to add, that ths article is based on my personal experience and impressions, it may not represent your opinion.
Like I told you, this will be my next big article, covering what Linux can and can't do. For those who want a short version of it: Linux can be used for your everyday computing, but you'll have to get used to it!
Second of all, don't look for the games section. There is none, because it is way to much to talk about. Therefore, I want to put this in a new article.
And now let's get started.

Okay, first things first, your webbrowser is also available on Linux. There are only two wiedly known browsers that aren't supported on Linux, namely Internet Explorer and Safari. Additionally, Flash is also supported on this platform, so we already have the biggest part of your everyday computer work covered.
But to name a few other things you can do in the internet:
• Instant messaging: AIM, ICQ, MSN and such are supported by many clients, e.g. Kopete, Pidgin, Empathy, ...
Also, I include skype in this section. They actually have a native client, but you can also include this in one of the IM Clients.
• P2P: Now, this is Linuxs homerun: Torrents are supported natively in nearby all distributions. As for Gnutella (Limewire) and eDonkey2000 (Emule, Edonkey), they are also available on Linux, but I've no experience with them whatsoever.
• Movie streaming: As I said before, Flash is supported. Also, you can install Gecko-mediaplayer and VLC-plugin, so you can stream movies in your webbrowser as Divxplayer does.

For me, office functionality is achieved with two applications suites, OpenOffice and a pim suite like Kontact or Evolution. I think I don't have to cover the first one. The last two are compareable to Outlook, which means they are a suite e-mail, calendar, to-do lists, contacts, notes and other stuff. Sadly, the only usable syncronisation can only be done with Google (including Android), if you have a mobile phone running Symbian, Windows Mobile or any other OS, you will most likely be unable to keep your data in sync.

Okay, there is no Photoshop. Many people say you can use the Gimp, but feedback is always very unconstructive. So if you cannot stop using Photoshop, or Gimp does not feel right, Linux isn't really for you.
But if you are willing to compromise, you can still get tons of stuff. There is Inkscape, tons of picture viewers and managers, e.g digikam and of course a paint alternative.

Again, don't worry. Since I've been using Linux, I never had a video or audio file that wasn't supported. If you already use VLC, you can stick with it. But from my personal view, you don't need it anymore. There are tons of other multimedia players that will give you the same codec availibity.
But it doesn't come without a hook: nearby all mainstream codecs are patented. This means, you'll we have to pay a fee to the patent owner, but most of the software you'll use is open source, there is no fee to pay. This is why most distributions don't install these codecs by default. This way, you have to install the codecs on your own, but this not difficult at all. Also, this is most likely not legal, although nobody has been sued for this.

Now, we finished with the first and probably most important batch fo all the stuff you can do with Linux. Here is a list of things you can't do:

• CAD Software: Yeah, this may be an example for many fields of professionell software, that is not available on Linux. Now, there is one CAD application on Linux, but from what I heard it is not worth mentioning.
• Incompatible to software you use at work: The thing with software that is not open source is the fact that you cannot see how it works. And that is the reason why Linux cannot use the files the software produces. Only if you pay a fee to the developer of the application, you can get the docments you need to support this software.
This means, if you use any kind of Windows only software at work, you can't work at home or work with your notebook.
• No mainstream software: I think there is no surprise here. Whatever is hip and cool won't run on Linux, unless it is a flash application.
• Convert videos: Now this is something that bugs me the most. It is possible, no doubt, but hard to do.The problem is simple: there is no software that is dedicated to do this. Instead, you will have to use either scripts or VLC. The latter one sometimes works, but most tries will fail.
• Studio Audio/Video Software: Actually, this should be counted into the mainstream software section. But since there is no definitive software standard, you may also use the software that is available on Linux. But, while this works for all private users for sure, in big business this is a no-go.


  1. Some good stuff here.
    Learning alot about Linux here.

  2. thanks for the info, think I might try linux on my old laptop.

  3. Great post!

    looking forward to reading the next one

  4. Linux is the shit! I mostly use xUbuntu :P

  5. Since I no longer hack satellite or cable internet, maybe it's time I dabbled in Linux.

  6. linux is the only operating system i will ever use.

  7. I attempted to use it once, but I've been windozed... :/

  8. Linux is decent, just cant be bothered with all the hassle =(