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Pinta -- Free Paint Program for Linux, MacOS, and Windows

Paint.net is a nice program. It is far more powerful than programs like Windows Paint, it is easy for the average person to use (unlike programs like Photoshop), and it is free. Unfortunately, it is a Windows only program. If you work on different computers with different operating systems, it can be a pain to learn different paint programs -- especially if you only use them once in a while to create an icon or retouch an important photograph.

Autokey - An Autohotkey Substitute for Linux

Autohotkey is one of the best "macro programs" for automating Windows. I first mentioned it on this site back in 2006: AutoHotKey. Unfortunately, there has never been anything quite like it for Linux. Now these is: Autokey. Autokey is not a Linux clone of Autohotkey, but it how most of the power of Autohotkey in a Linux friendly format. Like Autohotkey, Autokey lets you manage a collection of scripts and phrases, and assign abbreviations and hotkeys to these.

SMPlayer -- Freeware Video Player for Windows and Linux

VLC tends to get all the video player love on the Internet. I've never been that impressed with VLC. It's certainly a "good enough" freeware video player, but its outstanding feature seems to be that it is the best known freeware video player. SMPlayer is an alternative video player that runs on Windows XP or later and on most modern versions of Linux. Like VLC, it's freeware and plays just about any video file you can throw at it. However, it as one feature that makes it my favorite: it remembers the settings for every video file you play. Not just the current location in the video file so it can resume where you left off, but all the setting changes you may have made for that specific video -- for example, the volume, subtitle color, which audio track you are using, what filters you have on, etc. This is great if you have to interrupt watching a video and come back to it hours or days later, especially if you had to watch other videos that needed different settings during those hours or days.

Firefox EPUB Reader -- Read EPUB Books in Firefox

EPUB is a standard format for ebooks used by many programs and devices (like the Barnes & Noble NOOK). There are millions of books available in epub format -- many of them free from Google Books, Project Gutenburg, and many other locations. Until now you had to download them and read them in a special program. If you have an ebook reader, this probably is not an issue as you probably want to transfer the epub file to your ebook reader so you would have to download it. However if you are going to be reading the ebook on your computer, it would be nice to be able to read it in your browser like you can PDF files. If you use Firefox (version 3 or 4) and install the EPUBReader extension.

Abiword 2.8 Features New Collaboration Support

Abiword is a powerful free cross-platform word processor program with the features most people need with the bloat and complexity of all the features few people ever use. The focus of the latest 2.8x version of Abiword is on improved collaboration features.

Here are some of the new features:

Improved Collaboration support

I Return to Windows XP and Software Gadgets Returns to Life

I've been running Ubuntu as my primary operating system since the Fall of 2007. I ran Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) as my primary OS while running Windows XP SP2 in a VirtualBox virtual machine running in seamless mode to use the Windows program I just could not live without. (Seamless mode displays the Windows desktop and the Ubuntu Gnome desktop at the same time making it look like both Linux and Windows programs are running on the same machine -- no switching between the virtual desktop and the real desktop.)

Firefox CHM Reader for Linux and Windows

.CHM files are the "compiled HTML" files used for most Windows Help files. If you use Windows, they are easy to read. If you use Linux, it is not so easy. While there are several programs that will read and display CHM files, none of the work all that well for me. So I was very happy to discover CHM Reader for Firefox today.

TrueCrypt 6.0 -- Now With Hidden Operating Systems

I've posted about TrueCrypt before (here and here). Encryption software like TrueCrypt has become even more important with all the reports of stolen laptops full of private business data, not to mention new government powers to snoop into computers many governments around the world are giving themselves. Everyone needs a way to keep their (or their employer's) private data private.

Go-oo -- Open Office on Steroids

Go-oo is a fork of the free Open Office office suite with improved compatibility with Microsoft Office formats and a number of other improvements and tweaks, including speeding up the startup time. That along makes this branch worth looking at for anyone already using Open Office.

Snippits -- Automate Typing on Linux (Discovery)

AutoHotKey is one of the few windows programs I have really missed using Linux. While it had a lot of power, I used it mainly for its "hot string" abilities. I'd type =btw and AutoHotKey would replace "=btw" with "by the way." Linux didn't seem to have anything that could easily replace that feature of AutoHotKey. That was annoying, but I learned to live without it.

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by Dr. Radut