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Programs I run that are not open source

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May. 20th, 2008 | 10:11 pm

Though I strive to run my entire system on nothing but open source, every few months or so it seems that I have to use a bit of closed source proprietary stuff for one thing or another. So today, I thought I'd list which proprietary programs I use.

  • Flash
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Nvidia drivers
  • OneMachine's nxclient/nxserver
  • Picassa Linux
  • and on very rare occasions VMPlayer to run Windows

and let me give a few explanations why I used the above named programs
  • Flash: This one I see no way out of, at least not for now. I need a flash version that works so that I can play those videos that many people, including galephys  send to me for my continued enjoyment. Along with the occasional flash based game. Of course I, like many people out there, despise flash adds, and flash popping up in places I don't expect it to. So I use FlashBlock to make surfing the web a little more comfortable.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader: I seldom use this program, as I prefer to use the open source ones. Since Fedora comes with Gnome by default, I often used evince. But at some point it was too slow to render slides with graphics, like say, spectra. That I had to install Adobe to make any presentation. However, evince has come a long way in just a year and is now able to render my slides perfectly fine, and in a very timely and smooth manner. I seldom, if ever, see the "Loading" page. However, my new favourite is KDE4's Okular. It's ability to monitor a file and reload when changes are made is a huge plus when I'm compiling LaTeX text. So now I just leave Adobe Acrobat Reader around for the few times I need to fill in a PDF form. Basically, I'm too lazy to download it everytime I need it. If I don't run it, I see no harm for it to be there.
  • Skype: I was a huge fan and user of the OpenWengo program sponsored by wengo.com. But it seems that since wengo dropped it back in October, the nuisances that I used to tolerate while expecting a better version to come out were unbearable. For one, the fact that it would cut after 3 hours was annoying. The fact that it didn't work well with alsa was more than annoying. For these reasons I decided to give it up. Unfortunately, as it was already in use by many people, I went to try Skype 2.0 for Linux. It doesn't always seem to work well with my camera, and crashes on some occasions, right now, it's better than nothing. I haven't checked if ekiga fixed it's issue with pulseaudio, I might give that another try again. I'd just have to convince people to use it...which is not always easy.
  • Google Earth: I can't stop using it. Well, I did for now, because nvidia does not yet work on Fedora 9, but that might be a good thing, too addictive. And they have street view! Damn you Google! You owe me many hours.
  • Nvidia: Needed for the above, and also for Compiz Fusion! I mean, I have a good video card I've inherited, why not use it right? I can't just use it to render good looking fonts all the time.
  • OneMachine's nxclient: I used to use VNC a lot, but was frustrated by it's terrible behaviour. By the fact that I had to setup a vncserver at machines I had no root password to, only to loose it when they decided to reboot the machine. It was a bit annoying. But then I heard for FreeNX and...it didn't work. But then I heard of NXClient, and wow! Unless VNC or FreeNX work ( or at least I learn how to use it ;) ) I am not going back. I'm definitely sold on the idea.
  • PicassaLinux. While I don't like the way it handles images, I particularly like F-Spot (shouldn't it have been f-stop?? ), Picassa was just a little easier to upload to picassaweb, and so I installed it and use it for those times I want to share pictures. And I have plenty of pictures to share really.
  • VMPlayer, Windows: There are the rare occasions when I need to run some windows only program, that I definitely can't run under wine. So for those times I boot up that old windows virtual image run the damn program, do what I needed to do, and close it. My exposure to it is mainly the fault of my university, which at times makes me run programs only accessible through windows. It's very rare and seldom when I do. And I mostly don't speak about it. I feel so alien in that environment...so compressed. But, well, that's just a personal preference.
Ok, so that's about it. There is no more that I can think of.right about now. I doubt there are more.

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suume

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from: suume
date: May. 23rd, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
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Oh, that I wasn't aware of. Or at least it's not setup that way on my Fedora machines. I am able to reload the displayed PDF with Ctrl+R, but it just won't do it on it's own, without me touching it. Is there a special option you do to make this happen?

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suume

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from: suume
date: May. 26th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
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Hey, don't worry. Mistakes like that happen all the time, everyone does it. Thanks for looking into it though.

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from: slashdotaccount
date: May. 23rd, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
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VirtualBox replaces VMWare, so does qemu to a lesser extent.

swfdec is fairly good at flash these days.

Since you have nVidia hardware, perhaps you could help the nouveau project.

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