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Most of the software I use comes on the distribution CD/DVD. Sometimes the software I like/need is in alternative repositories, sometimes I have to go to the source and sometimes I write my own (c2d, PPWeb and DWS). See also: Multimedia.

Google Voice and CallCentric Dialer

Google Voice Dialerclick2dial.pl (c2d) is a simple WWW and CLI dialer for Google Voice (free PSTN) and CallCentric (free SIP to SIP). It has the most features and is easiest to setup, configure and maintain when used on a web server. click to dial is written in Perl and should work on any *nix system.

   CGI (perl-cgi pkg)
   LWP::UserAgent (perl-libwww pkg)
   Crypt::SSLeay (perl-SSLeay pkg)

   Alphanumeric, 7/10/11 digit and SIP URI dialing are supported
   Google voicemail check and playback (mplayer required for CLI playback)
   When a (name /) number is dialed (web), it is stored and can be redialed with a click
   Stored numbers (web) can be dialed by name when using the CLI
   Provides for up to 6 callback numbers, 3 for GV and 3 for CC
   Has optional dialpad for touch screens (refresh after enabling)
   Stores cookies so no login is required to make a call (noticeably faster)
   Cookies are automatically reset when they expire
   Ability to send SMS messages from the web and CLI

...currently unavailable due to a server failure/change.
...Google calls no longer work and I haven't found a way to fix it.
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Newsgroup Software

Many years ago I used Agent for reading newsgroups and email. When I first started using Linux I used Pan for reading newsgroups. When I got hooked on downloading binaries I started using BNR2 and stuck with it for more than a few years. I have tried a few other readers. KLibido looked interesting but I couldn't set the download speed and I missed BNR2's speed/time to go tab. NZB's, files containing the information needed to download a collection of files, have made downloading an easy task. While BNR2 is perfectly adequate, there are newer programs that are designed around the use of NZB's. I landed on NZBGet and ended up writing PPWeb to go with it.
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Wine: Autosketch 9

I've used Drafix CAD for too many years. I have previously tried to get it running on Wine with no luck. AutoSketch is based on Drafix CAD and something I could learn to live with (minimal learning curve) if I could get it running on Linux... so far no go.

System: PCLinuxOS (Mandriva base) 2007?, KDE 3.5.8, Wine v?

I installed Wine and Wine-Doors. I ran Wine-Doors first which does install some Windows stuff and may affect the following.

In Konqueror I right-clicked on setup.exe (AutoSketch CD) an selected Open with Wine Windows Emulator. I accepted all defaults. The only thing I couldn't do was select a Country. There was also a 'Change preferred owner/organization in ~/.wine/system.reg' message in the Name/Organization fields which I overwrote as if they had been blank. Install seemed to go fine but starting AutoSketch failed (hourglass then nothing). The problem is that the shared .dll's aren't found. The Wine: Autosketch 9 page suggests

   cp ~/.wine/c/Prog*/Common*/Autodesk*/* ~/.wine/c/Prog*/Auto*/Auto*

which didn't work for me. I ended up using Ctrl+A > Ctrl+C on

   ~/.wine/dosdevices/c:/Program Files/Common Files/Autodesk Shared

and Ctrl+V on

   ~/.wine/dosdevices/c:/Program Files/Autodesk/AutoSketch9

There are some newer versions already in the AutoSketch9 directory and auto-skipping those is fine. After doing that starting AutoSketch gets to a registration screen dialog that doesn't work. Closing the window is the only way to get rid of it and you have to do it at every startup.

... I found a way to get rid of the registration window on startup but it caused wine to crash when shutting AutoSketch down. Since it could have been due to my messing about, I cannot say why I was having problems with AutoSketch locking up when I tried to save my drawing.

... So i tried uninstalling, cleaning up and starting over (just wine and autosketch). I still had file saving lockups on any file that wasn't new, i.e. editing and re-saving. It looked really promising, the functionality is there, but there's just too many file related issues.
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Many distributions, while having loads of software, are incomplete/crippled. For one reason or another they cannot/don't (e.g. licensing) include many useful programs. Repositories like the following fill the gap.

PLF for Mandriva (Easy Urpmi)
Packman for Suse
RPM Fusion for Fedora and RHEL (a merger of Dribble, Freshrpms and Livna)
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...news reader software specifically tailored for binary articles.

PAN is great for text but I prefer BNR for binaries... now NZBGet.

See also: KLibido - This looks promising but there's been nothing new since Mar '06 (not that BNR2 is in active development either). You cannot set a download speed limit and the program tab is static (BNR2 tab shows speed/time left). While my first impression is that I like it, I won't be using it because I cannot throttle the download speed. One handy aspect is that there is a KLibido package in PLF (Mandriva) and all directory locations are customizable (not for/in BNR2).
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Brother Drivers
Finally used the Brother CUPS drivers (lpr and then wrapper rpms) for an MFC-210c on Mandriva 2007. It works fine for printing, haven't explored scanning or faxing yet

...Before installing the scanner driver I tried using the Mandriva Control Center to install the scanner resulted in Sane and Kooka being installed. Manually selecting the MFC-210c didn't result in a working scanner. When I installed the Brother Scanner driver, the MFC was auto detected and I got a working scanner. Since Kooka was installed by Mandriva, I probably didn't need to install Xsane (done per Brother instructions).

...For PCLOS MiniMe (a HL-2140 this time) : installing the task-printing-server rpm, drivers from the brother site, and using the cups web interface (http://localhost:631/) for configuration may be all that's needed (hard to backtrack/test at this point).

openprinting.org recommends the hpijs-pcl5e driver. It may be something I don't have installed, but the default driver (ghostscript?) just feeds blank pages until all the paper is gone. The recommended pcl5e works fine.
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A Java-based [auction tracking/bidding] application ... known to work cleanly under Linux, Windows, Solaris, and MacOSX from the same binary.

I switched to JBidWatcher because Bidwatcher wasn't keeping current/functional (busted since '05). Initially it wasn't a good thing but JBidWatcher stays on top of eBay changes and has become a pretty nice and feature rich program.

I put the .jar in my home directory and create a 'link to application' with the command java -jar JBidWatcher-[version].jar

Apr '09: If you put the .jar someplace else (e.g. the /.jbidwatcher directory), you need to use the full path to the .jar (java -jar /path/to/JBidWatcher-[version].jar). The following was just an oddity on an old system and it distracted me from the basics.

May '07: It can be busted. I don't remember doing anything with Java but JBidWatcher wouldn't work and the fix was to install Sun's Java. In Mandriva, /usr/bin/java is a link to /etc/alternatives/java which in turn is a link to the actual java executable.

The Sun java was in a different part of the file tree than the Mandriva java. Once I found the new java I tried starting JBidWatcher with it (/usr/java/jre1.6.0_01/bin/java -jar JBidWatcher-1.0.1.jar).

I then renamed /etc/alternatives/java to /etc/alternatives/java.bak (in case the next step didn't work or I wanted to revert back) and created a new /etc/alternatives/java which linked to the new /usr/java/jre1.6.0_01/bin/java.

... Linking to /usr/java/latest/bin/java would probably be better. It links to jre1.6.0_01 and presumably is changed to link to newer (Sun) versions, i.e. you don't have to change the /etc link with future upgrades.
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"mvb is a shell script written for *BSD and Linux users, to "batch rename" files (change the name of many files at once) in the current working directory."

It was the first thing I found and it did what I needed it to do. I was looking for something that would preserve my existing alphanumeric name sort and it does that by default (can also be date based). I stuck the script in /usr/local/bin and simple usage is:

   [file_dir]$ mvb new_name

Numerical sequence will be added to new_name

Oct '07: Haven't used it but noticed a krename pkg for KDE
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