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The Year In Review: LinuxPlanet's Picks for the Best and Worst of 2001 - page 8

2001: The Year That Was

  • December 30, 2001
  • By Michael Hall
Aside from the high-profile desktop environments and popular apps, there are lots and lots of smaller projects that make using Linux more of a pleasure.

Favorite Project: mph

I have a couple.

The first I'll name is Sam Rowe's Deadman's Redirect which isn't a Linux project (it's based on PHP), but makes good use of open source tools. DMR is a sort of personal portal toolkit that allows for the creation of personalized homepages that include RDF feeds, mail notification, quick access to search engines in a manner reminiscent of Konqueror's location bar shortcuts, and some shell-like access to past commands. Sam provides a list of really nice 'views' (skins for DMR) that are very easily modified to suit about any need. DMR is great for anyone with personal space on a machine that provides access to PHP.

My other favorite project is one that LP columnist Dennis Powell unearthed: CheckInstall. CheckInstall's purpose in life is to take the step in a build process where you'd ordinarily 'make install' and replace it with a package builder that outputs either RPM's, .deb's, or .tgz's.

For people who like to tinker with lots of different software, it's a good way to keep things straight. For everyone else, it's an answer to the dreaded

make: *** No rule to make target `uninstall'.  Stop.
which can leave a large set of files scattered all over the place. Combined with 'alien,' CheckInstall leaves users with a decent toolkit to work around package availability, and an excellent way to build packages for a collection of similar systems for local distribution.

Favorite Project: bkp

This is an easy one for me. My favorite project has got to be SEUL/EDU. After all, any project that promotes lower-cost high-quality educational tools is got to be a winner.

Dedicated to figuring out the best ways educators can implement Linux in their schools and still maintain the toolsets they need, SEUL/EDU's mission is exactly the kind of thing Linux users should get behind.

Big news is coming from this group in 2002, too, so look for more from SEUL/EDU soon!

Favorite Project: dep

I have many of these. Much of what Shawn Gordon at theKompany.com is working on appeals to me. Yes, much of what he is doing is for money. But please consider: he has paid programmers, many of them, all around the world, to do what they love to do. In many cases, they are in places where programming would not provide enough for them to live. And while he'd be happy to receive an influx of cash, so far he's done it out of his own pocket. So shut up.

I Love CUPS, and I love even more gimp-print. These are things that don't make much noise, but do incredible things that make Linux mature. The Checkinstall script is the beginning of an idea that would bring together those who build from source and those who are slaves to package managers, but it needs to be embraced by distributions before it will achieve its potential.

If I had to pick one, though, it's the current -- meaning that your distribution doesn't have it -- Rosegarden. The history of this music creation program is long and complicated, but it's there now, and you should go see it. It might make a composer out of you. Guillaume Laurent, who I respect a great deal, has worked with others to make it a vibrant new application. It's tremendously promising.

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