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7 Excellent Linux Apps You May Not Know About - page 2

GLabels, Kile, recordMyDesktop, K3b

  • March 20, 2009
  • By Carla Schroder

Rosegarden, Music Composition and Editing

Rosegarden is an audio and MIDI sequencer, scorewriter, and musical composition and editing program. You can audio and MIDI playback and recording, and print and edit musical scores. If you want fancy, beautiful scores it even supports exporting to Lilypond format. Lilypond is a special application for making pretty scores.

Rosegarden integrates nicely with other Linux audio applications such as ALSA and Jack, it supports all the usual audio special-effects plugins, it can use software synthesizers such as Timidity, or your favorite hardware synthesizer.

KSnapshot, Screenshot Capture

Another KDE app that is one of my workhorses. With KSnapshot you can capture the whole screen, a single window, an arbitrary region, and even drop-down menus. You can save your screen capture to file, send it to the clipboard, or send it directly to a printer. It supports all the common graphical file formats: JPG, PNG, BMP, PCX, EPS, and several more.

Audacity, Sound Recorder and Editor

This is another one that is probably well-known, but there are torrents of misinformation surrounding it, so here is the straight scoop. It is always compared to Ardour, the excellent Linux digital audio workstation, and usually not favorably, with Ardour being presented as the serious professional tool and Audacity is the toy. While there is some overlap in their functionality, they're really for different purposes. Audacity is an all-purpose recording and editing application that runs on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The latest releases in the 1.3.x series support true discrete multi-channel surround and all of the important audio file formats. Audacity supports any recording interface-- PCI, USB, or Firewire-- up to 16 channels that is supported by your operating system. It supports a vast herd of special effects and fixits, and depending on how many channels you want to record at once, is lightweight enough to fix up a moderately-powered laptop as a portable recording studio.

The short story on Ardour is it only runs on Linux and it has a steeper learning curve. If you like doing a lot of studio wizardry such as heavy-duty multi-channel mixing and dubbing, or making video soundtracks that require precise synchronization, then Ardour is better for you than Audacity. You might even use both, such as making live recordings with Audacity, and then performing intense engineering magic with Ardour.

Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming "Building a Digital Sound Studio with Audacity" (No Starch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of LinuxPlanet and Linux Today.

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