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10 Great Linux Apps You Might Not Have Discovered Yet - page 2

KompoZer, WINE, andLinux, CheckGmail, Conduit

  • March 15, 2010
  • By Eric Geier

MythTV is a free DVR option

If you've added DVR (Digital Video Recording) to your TV cable services, you'll probably find it hard to live without. You get to watch all your favorite shows and movies, on your schedule, even with youngsters in the home. However, we all need to cut back expenses these days. One way might be to run your own DVR system, using a Linux app such as MythTV. It also runs on BSD, Mac OS X, and Windows.

MythTV includes the DVD functions you'd except plus more. You can watch and record analog and/or digital TV, including HDTV. Of course, you can also pause, skip, and rewind live TV. It even has automatic commercial detection and skipping!

You'll also find parental controls, DVD playing and archiving, and support for playing your music collection. Unlike most cable provided services, you can schedule and administer many functions remotely via the web browser, like TiVo.

Cinelerra, an advanced video editor

If you're looking for a serious video editor and compositor for Linux, Cinelerra is it. It's a nonlinear (a modern video editing technique) video-editing system, comparable to Adobe's Premiere Pro, Apple's iMovie, or Microsoft's Movie Maker. Its compositing engine also makes it comparable to Adobe After Effects or Shake. It features 6-channel sound, compositing operations such as keying and mattes, support for HDTV, various audio and video effects, a built-in videoscope, and much more.

Banshee is a media player and iTunes alternative

If you're a music-lover, you might miss Microsoft's Windows Media Player or Apple's iTunes after moving to Linux. If a simple audio or music player won't cut it, you ought to look into a full-featured media player and synchronization application like Banshee. You can play music and videos, search for Podcasts, rip music from CDs, create a queue, check out album art, and discover recommended artists. Best of all, you can sync your music and videos to your Android, iPod, or other device, or import to your computer.

If you must have the official iTunes (for example if you have a 3.0 iPhone or iPod Touch) look into using Wine, or run Windows inside Linux via Virtualbox or VMware.

timekpr helps control computer usage

One area where the the Linux and open source community is lacking is parental controls. Microsoft has added a great set of computer and Internet controls to Windows Vista and 7. However, Linux may still serve as your child's OS, so he or she can experiment with all the great free software.

One of the main parental control features is the ability control when your children can use the computer. The timekpr application makes this possible in Linux. You can specify exactly when they can use the computer, configurable with time periods per day and usage duration. That way they can't log on when they're supposed to be doing something else, like getting ready for school or bed, or doing homework.

For Internet filtering, you should consider a service like OpenDNS. You might also want to look into new projects like GChildCare (Parental Control GUI) & Gnome Nanny.

SynCE is for syncing Windows Mobile devices

If you have a Windows Mobile PDA or SmartPhone you can still sync it outside of Microsoft's world. One Linux-alternative to the Windows-based ActiveSync application is SyncCE. It supports the old legacy devices (Windows Mobile 2003 or earlier) and the new platforms: Windows Mobile 5, 6, and 6.1.

SynCE supports USB and Bluetooth. Once you're connected you can browse the device's files and install applications and synchronize the contacts, calendar, tasks, and files.

Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer. He's authored many networking and computing books for brands like For Dummies and Cisco Press. He is also the Founder and CEO of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi network.
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