silverorange labs


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Geof Harries -

Just this week I moved to a dual-boot setup on my Powerbook at work - running OS X 10.4 (tiger) on 1 partition and Ubuntu PPC on the other. This is a great list to have - I'll surely follow some of your tips above to get the software I need.


Isaac Grant -

As one of the happy Mac users (a relatively recent switcher, and programmer to boot) - I have to give a big recommendation for the wonderful IM client that is Adium - open source, and by far the best IM app on the platform (where there are some strong closed source competitors too).

Geof Harries -

What are both Inkscape and Gimp like for opening/importing .AI and .PSD files respectively? Conversely, what about exporting to AI or PSD? Any compatibility problems? Our office is standardized, for now at least, on Adobe CS products.

I had no idea there was a good app that parsed the iTunes database. That has been something I've not used on my Linux setup yet. Any tips or insight?

And yes, two thumbs up on Adium. Running v0.81 and love it. Blows MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger right outta there :)


Lee -

Excellent post, and a very useful reference for anyone switching for the first time. It did however resurrect some thoughts about Linux that I've had for some time - I've posted more about that here. In summary - the problem with Linux as I see it is the lack of 'clarity' in the offering - the regular user doesn't know enough about whats on offer, or even where to get it. Mozilla did an excellent job in getting the word out, and I believe if someone could follow the Mozilla lead with a Linux offering, more regular users may feel more comfortable switching.

Geof Harries -

I concur, Lee.

Please nobody post about Linspire. From what I've seen, their interface and user experience is pretty horrible. They try to be everything to the beginner but it's visually overwhelming.

If the elegance of the Mozilla and Mac OS X experiences could find their way into a full o/s, Linux would be sitting much prettier - pun intended.


Steve Jobs -

The day you start classifying software as open vs. closed as against good vs. bad, you're in big trouble.

Geof Harries -

Who is classifying open/closed and good/bad here? I don't understand your post.

Well, for what it's worth, this weekend I took the plunge. Wiped OS X off my Power Mac and installed Ubuntu 5.0.4 at home, for full-time use by the family. So far, so good. Did some installs via the terminal, messed around with Evolution and have started downloading Inkscape. Thanks for the tips, Steve!


tim -

Man, I can't believe you timing. On a whim, I just downloaded a live CD of Ubuntu Linux and am now in the market for a laptop for it.

Quick question if you have a second. Generally what processor speed, RAM, etc. is sufficient to run you OS (Fedora Core) and the common apps you mention? Meaning, do I need a killer expensive laptop, or can I make it with a used (maybe 3 yr old) model?


Geof Harries -


As above, I am running Ubuntu on an older 2001-02 Power Mac: 733 mhz with 1 GB of RAM. Not the fastest computer for OS X but on Ubuntu it's quite snappy. I imagine you're probably on PC, but thought I'd at least chime in.


Steve Jobs -

geof...what a greenhorn...u spend a lot of money buying a Powermac and then run Ubuntu on it!

I sure feel sorry for the family. Imagine having to use Ubuntu instead of Mac OS X just because the guy who controls the PC got converted to a new religion!

Double Standards -

Say, why don't u release the SilverOrange Intranet 3.0 as free and open source? Since you believe so much in it?

tim -

Actually, I have a Power Mac, but I'm not willing to part with OS X. I'm looking for inexpensive hardware, and as much as I love my Mac, cheap hardware it aint! So I'll be trying to install Linux on maybe an old Dell or something like that. Just want to make sure I'm getting a machine with enough processing power and RAM since I'm cheap :)

Geof Harries -

"Steve Jobs",

I've been running OS X full-time since v10.0, so it's been a long road. Ubuntu is quite intuitive and I don't mind doing installs and updates via the terminal. The fam' is quite happy using it so far for email (Evolution) and web (Firefox) - I am enjoying the challenge of something completely different. Don't be so quick to judge...


Steve Jobs -

Life is not just about choosing between good and evil. It is also about choosing between good and "good enough".

Charles Waddell -

To respond to the laptop question. I would say that a IBM T20 would be a good choice. I know that a few people at Silverorange use the the T series of IBM laptops and after my sister managed to get one off Ebay I was also impressed. I have heard stories of people having a tough time getting Linux on the T20s but I am pretty sure that is old news and should no longer be a problem.

I use both Ubuntu 5.04 and Fedora Core 4 and enjoy both of them. Ubuntu is more light-weight, so it can fix on a single CD while Fedora Core has 4 CDs so go for Ubuntu if you want a smaller install. Ubuntu seems a little more user friendly to me and also that apt-get has a GUI is really nice. I am by no means a Linux expert but enjoy the challenge that if offers. I am sorry to disapoint Steve Jobs but I have never had the pleasure of using Mac OSX.

AB -

I can tell Linux is still for technical people, and not enough user-friendly and marketed to enter the average computer user world. Even more, IMHO, if you're a Mac user doing graphical work (with Photoshop, Fireworks, whatsoever), using only Linux is pure suicide.

Bryan Mitchell -

I am a little above average in computer knowlege but when I gave SuSe Linux a very good try (on 3 different versions) I found a number of plus points but 2 critical downpoints.
Plus points. Loads of free software. Open Office very good. The OS is very stable compared to Windows 98 and much cheaper to buy! Downpoints; no desktop database to compare with MS Access or Lotus Approach. Worst of all, connecting to the Internet is a nightmare. I only got on by asking a Unix programmer to help me. Until this is fixed, Linux will never replace Windows.

Kevin Gaglianella -

I am very nre to Ubuntu 5.04 and I find it very easy to use and useful in my work. But the real power of Ubuntu is the forums. Every technical question I had, (and I am not a "tekkie") was already answered there. The people that participate in that community are great, and exceptionally knowledgeable. Made the transition from XP painless.

Burhan -

For Bryan, who asked about desktop database software, Open Office 2 comes with an application called Base that is exactly what you are after. You can read more about it here

And you are correct, Linux has a long way to go before replacing Windows.

Matt O'Toole -

Tim and Charles,

I've been running Ubuntu on a T20 for the last year or so. Faster would be better, but it's definitely fast enough, and everything works.


Peter -

What do the people who swear at vim use for text editing?

Isaac -

I think all our linux users use vim actually (I'm one of the Mac users - and to turn stereotypes around a little, one of the programmers). That said, I swear at vim, and so when I need to edit a file on the command line, I use nano (to much teasing of the vim users).

But I can't speak for others.

MystaMax -

Very helpful shortlist. I'd be interested in seeing what applications you guys use for all your web development. As of late, I'm a very big fan of Dreamweaver 8 on Windows, and would be interested to see what you guys use on linux for web development. Eclipse seems like the right choice, but AFAIK its not as full-featured (just yet) for the complete switch. Thanks.

saltharry -

There is another good utility for wireless, the product is called wifi-radar and it is available at

James AkaXakA -

<i>that use Audacity. It is a surprisingly capable multi-track audio recording and editing package.</i>
It's also surprisingly ugly too however...

Shannon -

I use a Powermac G5 with OSX. For apps I use Dreamweaver CS3 (has Spry AJAX framework which is nice) and BBedit 8.5. Can't imagine moving to Linux yet, though for some reasons it is tempting.

Dianne -

Just a note - Ubuntu 7.04 is now out.

I am really disappointed in Adobe's new view of Dreamweaver CS3. Instead of focusing on creating a better web development product they are doing a "Microsoft" by embedding all their own applications, trying to enforce sales of their other applications. Also, many extensions which were a key feature of Dreamweaver, no longer work.

With Linux being the platform of choice on the web, I'm hoping that there are developers out there who are frustrated with this new direction, and are thinking of creating an open source web design/development tool. I'm actually amazed there isn't one already!

I'm a designer who dabbles in database driven applications, so if anyone knows of an open source GUI/WYSIWYG interface/development tool for medium level web applications, please let me know!!

peter mitchell -

can anyone help i'm looking any free software that will fix problems in my windows regs but all i can find is free downloads that charge you once they show you how many problems you have
if anybody know of any could you tell me where to find it

Mike Gauthier -


You're asking about free software in a different context of "free". This discussion is about Free/Libre Software, not free of charge software.

Brett Alton -

Just out of curiosity, are you guys still running Fedora or have you switched to Ubuntu or another distro? Maybe it's time for an update article! :)