There was an error in this gadget


Friday, February 29, 2008

Cool Desktop Linux Applications(Part 1) : Internet and networking applications

Desktop Linux has seen tremendous growth over the past few years and with this there has also been tremendous growth in number of applications relevant for desktop use available . Now most of the Linux distributions because of either space constraint or well because of licensing issue do not include many really cool applications .

Now through these series of articles i try to help you install some really cool applications on your desktop Linux installation . Now since Ubuntu is one of the most widely used and user friendly desktop Linux distribution , i have included instructions here on how to install applications on your Ubuntu 7.10 Gusty gibbon installation (though all the applications should work flawlessly in other distribution too with little modification to installation instruction ) .

In this first part of the series we look at some really neat applications that could help you improve your internet browsing experience and your networking experience .

Step 1 : - Enabling Additional Repositories

Now many applications need additional repositories to be installed or some to be enabled in Synaptic package manager so before trying out steps given below ensure that repositories in order.

Launch Synaptic Package Manager (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager ) , then in Synaptic package manager go to (Settings -> Repositories ) you will find window like this . Ensure that all the check boxes are marked leaving source code(if you want to you can enable this also but you are not going to need this unless you are software developer) the dialog box should look like this .
Dialog Box showing the repositories that should be enabled

After completing above step you will find a dialog box like this

Besides these you may also like to add medibuntu repositories if you want to install applications like ------- , to add mediubuntu repositories follow the following steps

echo "deb gutsy free non-free" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list


wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update

Getting your hands dirty :-) , actual installation instructions


aMule is alternative to popular eMule program on windows platform , amule supports/works with eDonkey2000 Network or Kadnetwork and allows P2P sharing of files . aMule is available on number of platforms , Current supported systems include Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows and Solaris.

To install aMule type the following command in the terminal window : -

sudo aptitude install amule
After completing above step launch aMule from (Application -> Internet -> aMule )

2. Nvu/Kompozer
Nvu is one of the most popular
WYSIWYG HTML editor available on Windows and Linux and is open source and free . Nvu is based on Composer component of Mozilla Application Suite . Nvu allows novice or beginners who have little or no knowledge of CSS/HTML to create attractive web pages .Nvu was started by Linspire . As of now Nvu development has ceased and there is a project called Kompozer which if fork of Nvu and is unoffical bug-fix release of Nvu .

To install Kompozer type the following command in the terminal window : -

wget -c


tar -xvzf kompozer-077-i686.tgz
sudo mv kompozer /opt/
sudo ln -s /opt/kompozer/kompozer /usr/bin/kompozer
After completing above steps type : -

In the terminal window to launch Kompozer .

Kompozer in Action

3. aMSN

aMSN is a MSN Messenger clone for Linux operating system , it tries to emulate look and feel of MSN messenger as close as possible allowing linux newbies to use aMSN easily .

aMSN has features not present in MSN Messenger. Users can set alarms, are able to see others who have removed them from their contact list, and are able to open many profiles at once. It is also very customizable, with extensions and themes available at the main site.

To install aMSN type the following command in the terminal window : -

sudo apt-get install amsn
and after completing installation launch aMSN from (Applications -> Internet -> aMSN )


Azureus is one of the more popular bittorrent client available on both Windows and Linux , based on java it is one of the most powerful bittorrent client.

To install azureus type the following command in the terminal window : -

¨sudo aptitude install azureus ¨

This is how azureus looks

Installing Linux DC++ Client

DC++ is a popuar tool used for p2p file sharing and is especially popular in college campuses , to install dc++ for linux follow the following instructions .

Type the following command in the terminal window: -

sudo apt-get install linuxdcpp
And after completing above step launch dcpp from (Applications -> Internet -> DC++)
Linux Client of popular DC++ Application

7.Sylpheed - A Fast Email and News Client

Sylpheed is a Email and News client created using GTK libraries , Sylpheed is a simple, lightweight but featureful, and easy-to-use e-mail client.

Now personally i havent been able to to try Sylpheed since i dont use POP accounts anyways to install it type the following command .

sudo apt-get install sylpheed
After completing above step to launch sylpheed type in "sylpheed" in the terminal window .

Default Window of Sylpheed

For more information visit Sylpheed Website : -

8. Liferea Feed Reader

Everyone would today agree that feeds is one of the best way to remain connected with your favorite website and know about any new changes , news etc . Now there are a number of good feed readers available on Linux the one that stands out is Liferea feed reader , it has an extremely clean and simple user interface and is quite easy to work with too . Liferea supports the major feed formats including RSS/RDF and Atom and can import and export subscription lists in OPML format.

TO install liferea feed reader type in the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install liferea

and after completing installation launch the feed reader from (Applications -> Internet -> Liferea Feed Reader )

Liferea feed Reader in action

9. CheckGmail

CheckGmail is a nifty little gadget/widget that sits in your taskbar and once configured automatically informs you whenever you receive new email in your GMail Inbox .

To install CheckGmail type in the following command :

sudo apt-get install checkgmail

and after installation is over you can launch it from (Applications -> Internet -> CheckGmail )

10.Opera Web Browser

Opera is a excellent web browser available on a number of different platforms including Windows,Linux and Mac OS X . Now opera has a number of really good features it includes a download manager , bit torrent client has a excellent rendering engine and a number of other really good features .

To install opera type the following command in the terminal (Application -> Accessories -> Terminal ) window : -



sudo dpkg -i opera_9.26-20080218.6-shared-qt_en_i386.deb

Opera Web browser in Action

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
(C) 2008 , For Linux On Desktop Blog (

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Viewing CHM files in Linux (With installation instructions for Ubuntu )

CHM or Microsoft compiled HTML Help is a format developed by Microsoft for online help . Most of the documentation in Windows platform is in chm file format , also these days most of the ebooks available on the internet are either available in the chm file format or pdf file format .

Now most of the distributions do not ship tools and libraries for viewing chm files by default since it is a proprietary format used by Microsoft Products , So if you want to read a ebooks which are in chm file format you have to install third party tools and libraries . In this short tutorial i try to describe how to install some of the tools for viewing CHM files on your Ubuntu desktop :

1. Gnochm

Gnochm is a gnome based chm viewer that has the following features : -

* Support for external ms-its links
* Full text search support
* Bookmarks
* Configurable support for HTTP links
* Integrated with GNOME2
* Support for multiple languages
* Support to open multiple files at once

To install gnochm issue the following command in the terminal window (assuming you have your repositories in order , if not read this article and set your repositories right )

sudo apt-get install gnochm

After installation gnochm should be installed properly , which you can even launch by typing in "gnochm" in the terminal window .


2. kchmviewer
If you are one of those who likes using KDE desktop environment you might like using a tool that uses KDE library instead of gnome one , and integrates better with KDE desktop .

A nice chm viewer for KDE desktop is kchm viewer :

Here is a text about kchmviewer taken from it's package file :

KchmViewer is a chm (MS HTML help file format) viewer, written in C++.
Unlike most existing CHM viewers for Unix, it uses Trolltech Qt widget
library, and does not depend on KDE or Gnome. However, it may be compiled
with full KDE support, including KDE widgets and KIO/KHTML.

The main advantage of KchmViewer is non-English language support. Unlike
others, KchmViewer in most cases correctly detects help file encoding,
correctly shows tables of context of Russian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese
help files, and correctly searches in non-English help files (search for
MBCS languages - ja/ko/ch is still in progress).

Completely safe and harmless. Does not support JavaScript in any way,
optionally warns you before opening an external web page, or switching to
another help file. Shows an appropriate image for every TOC entry.

KchmViewer Has complete chm index support, including multiple index entries,
cross-links and parent/child entries in index as well as Persistent bookmarks
support. Correctly detects and shows encoding of any valid chm file.

to install kchmviewer type in the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install kchmviewer

and after above step is completed you can launch kchmviewer by typing in kchmviewer in the terminal window

kchmviewer displaying a chm file
3. xCHM

XCHM is a chm file viewer , that is not bound to any desktop environment and could be used even in window manager like fvwm or xfce .

Here is text taken about xCHM from it's package file :

"xCHM is a viewer for Compiled HTML Help (CHM) files. It, can show the contents
tree if one is available, print the current page and do the usual history
stunts. It allows you to change fonts and search for text in all the pages of
the file, or in the pages' titles."

xCHM does not support JavaScript in books."
to install xchm issue the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install xchm

and then you can launch xchm by typing in xchm in the terminal window .

xCHM in action

4. Mozilla Firefox add-on to display chm files

Mozilla Firefox is a powerful platform and it can be extended to do a number of cool things by installing different plug ins and one really useful addon is a CHM viewer .

To install CHM reader addon go to the following site and click on install button , procedure after that is quite self explanatory owing to extremely easy interface of Mozilla Firefox .

After clicking install button you will find a dialog box like this just click the "Install Now" button in this dialog box

After installing you can easily open chm files from Mozilla Firefox , In the File submenu you will find a option of opening chm files .
File Menu in Firefox showing new option to open CHM file

Firefox rendering a CHM file

5. Okular

if you happen to install kde4 on your desktop , Okular is the new addition to the KDE desktop environment . Okular besides having ability to render pdf , djvu files can also display chm files flawlessly . Besides being based on solid KDE 4 libraries Okular allows one to add notes , highlight text etc . It is one of the most advanced document reader available on linux . To install KDE 4 with Okular read this article about how to install KDE 4 on Ubuntu i had written few weeks back .

Okular in Action :)

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
(C) 2008 , For Linux On Desktop Blog (