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First Impressions of Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop Edition : Page 6

A veteran Linux Desktop user breaks down his first experience with Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop Edition, exploring its new features, and explains why he came away impressed.

Installing Swiftfox Browser as a .deb File
A really good example of an Ubuntu-ready .deb file is a web browser called Swiftfox. Swiftfox is a lightweight, processor-optimized derivative of the Firefox browser. As the speed gains of Swiftfox are partially processor-specific, you have to know which chip your computer uses. Thanks to a piece of software called gdebi-gtk, installation of .deb files (for example, swiftfox_2.0.0.9-1_processor.deb) is a two-step graphical process:
  1. Download Swiftfox for your processor.
  2. Double click the downloaded file.

Not sure which processor you're running? You can find out graphically on the Main Menu under System -> Administration -> System Monitor. Read the line under Hardware/Processor and choose your Swiftfox download accordingly.

Associate Firefox/Swiftfox Audio Files with Internet Audio Files
Unfortunately, at this time XMMS does not automatically associate itself with Internet audio files. However, you can easily remedy this in one shot. Go to Swiftfox Edit -> Preferences -> Content, and then under File Types go to Configure how Firefox handles certain types of files -> Manage.

Click to enlarge
Figure 6. Streaming Free Internet Radio into XMMS:
XMMS does not automatically associate itself with Internet audio files.

Associate M3U mp3 audio, OGG, and .wav files with XMMS. Click on each file extension independently, select Change Action -> Open them with this application -> Browse, navigate to /usr/bin/xmms, and then surf to ShoutCast and stream some free Internet radio into XMMS (see Figure 6).

To install restricted formats, enter the following in a terminal:

terminal@yourmachine:~$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
terminal@yourmachine:~$ sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

A Worthwhile Upgrade
Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop Edition is one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions this user has experienced. Though you need to do some tweaking to achieve higher levels of desktop user satisfaction, the default install creates a general-application desktop with Internet access, which is suitable for many users. Ubuntu 7.10 is a coherent desktop experience facilitating Internet surfing, email, chat, multimedia playback, and other standard office functionality. All in all, if you are looking for an easily expandable and easy-to-configure Linux Desktop, the Ubuntu community has provided an ambitious point of departure.

Desktop systems designed to please everyone historically tend to end up equally uncomfortable for all. However, Linux is extremely configurable—which admittedly is a double-edged sword. Every Linux install is based on the traditional *nix philosophy of providing the user with the tools to create innovative solutions to his or her individual problems. This quickly leads to computing experiences that are tailored to the unique needs of every user.

Gregory L. Magnusson is the founder of Cyborg Spiders Web Development. Since experiencing X-Windows with FreeBSD in 1999, he hasn't looked back. In the current horse race of developing Web technologies, Greg is putting his money on PHP.
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