I was reading the Road to KDE 4 series on http://dot.kde.org/ this week and it got me thinking about porting native Linux apps to other operating systems like Windows and OS X, and whether or not it's a good thing. The answer depends on who you are and what your objective is, but overall I think it's a positive. Here's why.
Adobe has finally taken Flash Player for Linux out of beta with today's release of version 9.0.31. You can download it from here. It is available in both tar.gz and rpm formats. Each is about 2.5 MB. If you use a Debian based distro keep an eye on your repositories. I expect we'll start to see deb files becoming available soon.
I started using BasKet version 0.5 a while back with the intention of reviewing it. I found it useful, but didn't really get excited about it. That all changed once I installed version 0.6. The entire interface has been reworked, making it more useable while adding valuable features. If you're not familiar with it, BasKet is multi-purpose note-taking software with a flexible interface and great organization.
In December I posted a poll asking visitors to vote based on their desktop environment and graphical toolkit preferences. While there were many votes in each category, the most noteworthy is that nearly 60% of respondents care if either Gtk or Qt is being used. The data is interesting because it highlights some of the progress that still needs to be made so all Linux software can work equally well no matter what desktop environment is being used.
I'm a digiKam user and overall I've been happy with it, but I've always wanted tagging to be applied to the picture itself and not just the digiKam database. So when I saw that digiKam 0.9 was recently released I hurried over to check out the new features. Happily, the feature I had been craving is now supported and I can rest easy that the time I spend tagging pictures won't just be useful to me, but will also help my family as well.
Does it matter to you if an app is created using Gtk, Qt, or another graphical tool kit? I just published a poll asking what desktop environment you use and to answer that question. I frequently see posters on various forums declining to use a program because it uses a different tool kit than their desktop. How widespread is this behavior and why the preference?
It seems to me that limiting ourselves in this way only lengthens how far applications need to come in order to meet every user's needs. KDE, GNOME, and other environments have been working to ensure interoperability between them, but if our (the users) biases defeat it, then there is still more work to be done.
Until recently I had been a Gmail holdout. My wife uses it all the time, but since I have multiple accounts to monitor I stuck to more traditional email clients. But because I switch between computers frequently, I finally decided to give it a try. One of the first problems I had is that I didn't want to stay logged in all the time through my browser. Fortunately I had run across KCheckGmail before. After a little trouble getting configured, I finally got everything running and KCheckGmail gave me everything I was looking for.
With the Christmas holiday season coming up, I decided to do a little computer decorating and went looking for the right software. What I found is a program called Xsnow. Xsnow is a simple app that turns your desktop into a snowy landscape with Santa flying across the screen on his sleigh.
You would think that finding a good video encoding app would be easy. Solid command line tools like transcode, FFmpeg, and MEncoder do exist, but readily available graphical apps are hard to come by. Frustrated with the dedicated alternatives, I turned to Avidemux. It's known best as an easy to use video editor, but the controls also make it very easy to just transcode video.