chadm's blog

How Do You Find Apps?

I've been doing some thinking recently on how everyone searches for an app. So far I have identified the five primary methods that are listed below. Please drop by the forums and let everyone know how you do it. We'd love to hear from you and will use the comments to better tailor this site to meet your needs. Stories about what you have had a hard time finding on Linux App Finder would be great.

In the descriptions below I'll explain what I came up with and also state how Linux App Finder either supports it or some ways that are being considered.

My Search for a DVD Ripper

I'm currently in the process of writing a comparison of available DVD ripping programs for GNU/Linux. I picked the best contenders that I'm aware of and compared their features and ease of use. The goal was finding the best app for converting the main movie of a DVD to a single file playable on any computer and the winner is a surprising one (at least to me since I almost didn't include it). As a bonus I threw in a few apps targeted at creating DVD ISO's for burning back to a rewritable disk. Hopefully it will be ready to go within a week. Keep an eye on the News RSS feed for an announcement.

Comic Strip Aggregation

The theme of the day is comic strip aggregation. A few days ago I added a file cleanup utility called Kleansweep to the database and discovered another interesting program from the same author: QComicBook. This got me to wondering how many other comic book readers are available.

Quite a few as it turns out. As a result of these new additions I added a new Comics subcategory under Viewers. There are a mix of graphical (GUI), web, and command line (CLI) interfaces to choose from which I'll separate out below. You can also use the "Filter Options" link on each of the category pages to limit the apps that are displayed to only the types you are interested in.

The Da Vinci Code: Anagrams, Art and Religion

With the release of The Da Vinci Code to movie theaters last weekend and its use of anagrams as ciphers to hide directions to the location of the Holy Grail, I thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the anagram programs available for Linux. For many people anagrams are most commonly found in the board game Scrabble™, where a random selections of letters have to be assembled into a word that can connect with another on the board.

Accounting Software

I just finished adding a lot of personal finance and small business accounting software to the database and thought it would be a good time to do a brief post on the state of the available Linux options. Accounting software is one of those frequently quoted as being a limiter in switching from Windows to Linux. Intuit's Quicken and Microsoft's Money are clearly the leaders in personal finance and supported by most banks, while Intuit's QuickBooks program is often cited as the app for small businesses. Unfortunately, none of these have a Linux version. So where does that leave us Linux users?

Hard Drive Imaging

I've been a fan of drive imaging for a while now. I used Norton Ghost in my first job after college to clone drives for testing in the lab and a couple years later I bought Acronis True Image for backing up my home computer. Imaging an entire drive instead of just backing up documents, pictures, music, etc. not only conserves your irreplacable data, but it also provides an easy path to rebuilding your entire system.

As many of you will notice, Ghost and True Image are Windows programs, although Acronis does have a True Image Server product for Linux. There are some quality imaging apps for non-Windows environments as well. I say non-Windows because g4u (Ghost for Unix), doesn't run on Linux, but uses NetBSD instead. Despite this fact, I added it to the Linux App Finder database for the same reason I add web apps, g4u can be still be used if you run a GNU/Linux OS. This is possible because g4u is not just a simple program. It is released as a boot disk which makes it useable for any operating system with supported file systems.

The 3D Web

Welcome to the first entry in the Linux App Finder Blog. I'll be using this blog to talk mostly about interesting Linux apps and the first I'd like to mention is a development kit rather than an app, but it has the potential to produce some great end user content. I recently noticed it in an article on titled: Mapping a path for the 3D Web. The premise is a group of industry visionaries getting together to discuss a potential vision of the Metaverse (aka 3D Web), which for me conjures visions from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash or Tad Williams' Otherland series.

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