Friday, August 17, 2007

Digital Tools- Ubuntu for Noobs


This post still extends useful intel, but the new Ubuntu 10.4 is even more user-friendly than previous editions. I do hope to add more software links, but you can find alot by searching the add/remove programs, or in Ubuntu 10.4 'Ubuntu Software Center'. Set it to accept all sources and you'll find a plethora of options to download (remember Gimp doesn't automatically come in this edition, you'll have to download it).
If you have questions not answered here, I'm glad to assist when I'm online (a few times a week until the current writ is finished *-* Email: CandyAnomaly at or if you don't mind waiting a bit purplemag at (the mailbox is brimming...).

Though I am a pretty new noob, I've learned some things about Ubuntu that could be of use to other new users. It isn't really as intimidating as it seems, and is mostly a drag and drop kind of program, with the advantage of protecting pc's from viruses that Microsoft refuses to.
The difficulty only comes in when codecs are required to use non-Linux based software. This is because Linux, the non-greed dimension of software, would have to have licensing to include Windows software in its releases.
If I'm misinformed let me know...but I think I'm correct in my understanding.

As an Ubuntu OS noob you'll want the following software programs to make your Ubuntu experience as easeful as possible (it is a warm and fuzzy experience)

* Ubuntu releases new versions every 6 months. Installing updates regularly (daily/weekly) is risky and can contain coding errors that sometimes crash your system. Proceed with caution until this is perfected. You can upload backup files to sites like in case you have a problem and need to start from scratch. allows you to order free discs of its OS but you can also download from the site and burn the program (ISO image) to disc. You can thank the owner of Ubuntu for making it as graphically lovely and opensource feature abundant as it is. He's a millionaire (billionaire?) who has decided to donate alot of his money to world service. Bless his heart.

*You can dual-boot really easily and keep your Windows programs for now, if you only want to test the waters or are say... a professional graphic designer who needs to use adobe programs and doesn't want to use the Wine windows emulator.
This tutorial is by far the easiest to comprehend, out there:

* Wine can be installed for free to run Windows apps on Ubuntu, but Codeweavers offer a 60.00 version that is said to be a more developed version of its Wine predecessor. They also allow people to read their source (code)like Wine.

*Mplayer is the way to go to get multimedia playing. It is in your 'Add remove/programs' directory under 'Applications'.
Install both the desktop version and codec for your Firefox browser. It is a must for watching multimedia.

Below (in red) there are commands you can cut and paste (paste is located under the 'edit' menu) into terminal (in your applications/accessories menu) to ensure you have needed codecs. Check the laws in your area to be sure they're allowed.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-

The above works ridiculously well and easily. It installs java (which you will need) without the headache, along with other needed programs.

Gstreamer packages:

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.

*You can easily install Mplayer, Myplayer plug-in for Firefox, and all Gstreamer plugins to enable your Ubuntu to play videos on and offline (available in add/remove with Kaffeine, Mplayer, Totem and other programs for Audiovisuals). Be sure to set your Add/ Remove to search all available applications to acquire these programs. If you don't find them in your add/remove repository, you may need to download them from the internet and unpack them manually.

* If you must go into 'Terminal'(Applications menu- Accessories), you can cut and paste commands found in internet tutorials to prevent keying errors.

*There are Ubuntu video tutorials available 'pon the net that will come up in search.

*You can run Gimp (free Adobe Photoshop-like graphic manipulation program with vid tutorials on the net). You can also run Xnview, though installing Wine (mentioned here) and installing the Windows version of Xnview is advised for now. Xnview is an incredibly useful suite. I love Irfanview but Xnview has outdone them. Ultraviolet Underground must recommend both Gimp and Xnview, as Xnview makes changing Dpi much simpler than Gimp, and both can help balance the other's areas that could use an upgrade. Gimp rivals Photoshop with ease. Check for an online layers program like Gimp that you don't have to download.

*You can run Scribus for your Desktop Publishing needs. It is in your add/remove programs under the 'Applications' menu like Gimp and OpenOffice.

*Openoffice can be run and is usually loaded. It opens word programs and others as well as saves in those formats as well as in .pdf

*Soundconverter is found in add/remove programs and converts .ogg files to .MP3.
Find the .MP3 codec by running a search through the Soundconverter program.

*Learn how to run XP with Virtualbox software, see Edgyrootstudios on youtube (they also have wonderful Gimp tutorials). Virtualbox Tutorial

note: Most photoshop tutorials can essentially teach you Gimp, as they both work with layers and as long as the layer you want to work on is highlighted, you can use your selected tools and tool options (bottom window of Gimp), as in photoshop. Play with the tools to see what they do and also see or for help. You can easily create workable layers by cutting and pasting from 'new' or opened images, after you select them, cut and paste them into your chosen layers... You can also find many brushes for Gimp and easily add them in your File-preferences-folders-brushes window and search for a folder with unzipped brush selections as you can make as many folders as you like (same for patterns by entering the pattern folder instead of the brushes folder). You can make your own brushes with an image and scriptfu. Change scale and dpi in 'Scale Image'- change dpi under the x and y box. 300 dpi is good for print. 72 dpi is good for web.

An essential tutorial approaches...

*Ubuntu detects most peripherals but if not, you can add a printer by clicking on System, then Administration and from the Printer area you can auto detect your plugged in printer and make it a default. If you have a snazzy scanner this can also be utilized easily without an additional driver apparently, making it possible to use a scanner program that doesn't come with your scanner. I believe mine came with Xsane scanner, but you can always add/remove it if your Ubuntu version does not automatically have it.

*If you have a weird issue re-installing your Ubuntu software and typing /dev/zero doesn't delete old files to restore you harddrive for a fresh install, you can place a windows bootdisk or OS (most will work) into the drive and select format or delete, so the old partitions are deleted, then re-install Ubuntu without hassle.

*You find most programs in add/remove but be sure to have it set to 'all available applications'.
There is a DVD burner for data and also one for making dvd's fit 4.7 GB discs for archival.
You can also utilize Soundconverter and Serpentine CDburner for your musical needs. Honestly most Linux programs provide your needs for no cost with more ease of locating them than Windows.

*For Video editing try: Avidemux (Type the name in Add/remove or Synaptic, though Add/remove is easier the newer you are to the Linux lifestyle).

*For the ability to unzip .rar files you can enter this command line code into terminal:
# apt-get install unrar

sudo aptitude install unrar

More info here:

Basically, everything you need is available for free...
You've made the right choice.
I believe the rest of things in the world will follow suit.

You can have your cake and eat it too.

This blog post will be updated as I come across more information. Ubuntu is a joy ride. It boots up quickly and runs apps without errors. It doesn't have any virus issues. I feel like my privacy is assured.
Windows-maker Microsoft has proven they could care less about the consumer, leaving wide open gaps in their kernels for hacks to easily access that suddenly disappear when someone notices...suspect (see zdnet and search for the recent article)...

I'm a very happy girl and wish you the same happiness.




Anonymous said...

I have heard of Ubuntu but have not used it. Gimp was featured in the last Mac|Life magazine. I tried OpenOffice several months ago but I didn't like it. I now use NeoOffice. I mainlu do my work from a 17" MacBook Pro

Anonymous said...

I'm woefully ignorant of such but I am going to look into it.

PurpleZoe said...

Thanks for visiting ^_^


Gimp is fabulous.
I dig the filesaving flexibility of Openoffice. It's decent but has it's shortcomings I admit. I'll keep NeoOffice in mind.


You'll love it. Windows is so suspect nowadays. Zdnet posted an article recently about vulnerabilities in Vista that left pc's with Vista WIDE open. The vulnerability disappeared as soon as it was noticed by journalists...That's crazy. Who does WindowsVista want hacking into in the pc systems of the masses and why?

I've never been happier to be honest. Aside from 'some' shortcomings and licensing restrictions that require finding codecs for non- Linux programs, Ubuntu is the best OS I've ever used. Everything runs quickly and efficiently. You wouldn't have to reboot often or run virus shield daily with Ubuntu.