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Welcome to the LinuxFocus March/April 2002 issue

[netscape62] When will Linux become the leading desktop system? Many people (including your editor) are already using Linux on the desktop for many years and don't even have a second operating system installed. Why is Linux then taking off so slowly on the desktop? There are certainly enough applications: Word processors like Ted, KWord, Abiword, Openoffice, Applix ..., [openoffice] web browsers like Opera, Netscape, Mozilla, konqueror.... but what is wrong with these applications? Building a functional, well structured and very stable desktop application is a long and difficult task. Netscape and Mozilla have finally managed to have a fast, customizable (different components, settings and Themes, looks really cool!) browser but it is really lacking stability. You can use it to visit well designed sites but many commercial sites just crash the browser. Staroffice was known as the desktop on top of the desktop. Many people did not like it at all. Openoffice is now what you would expect from an office application. It can even use (and print!) all your fonts including truetype fonts but it dies when you click on frames or prints grabage when you use different fonts on one page. I guess you understand what I mean.
We are still in the middle of the development and the few applications that are rock solid, like Ted and Opera 5, do lack functionality. The result is that you need to use several applications in parallel to work around the problems. You find yourself visiting web sites A, B and C with Opera while other sites are better viewed with Netscape.

What shall we do? Linux is one of the leading server operating systems, it is a good operating system for embedded systems and it is very good for software development. This is certainly just the start of Linux on the desktop. I am very sure that the situation will change in the near future.
Until then we need to work together to support the development projects with bug reports, code patches and get perhaps even involved in the design. I am convinced that we will as well be strong on the desktop. It will just take a little bit more time.

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The LinuxFocus Tip

[ediff] The Unix command diff is very good to compare 2 text files line by line and you can easily see which lines are different. Often it is however difficult to see which characters within a line are changed. Here comes the emacs diff mode. Ediff marks all the changes in color and makes it easy to spot even the differences within a line . To start ediff open emacs and type:
M-x ediff-files
In the following dialog you just enter the 2 files you want to diff. Put the cursor on the small popup that will appear and you can jump from diff to diff with the n and p keys.

[linuxprinting.org] www.linuxprinting.org is a very good source for printer drivers. For black and white Laser printers and most color printers you will probably find very good information about printer drivers. For recent color jet printers you should also take a look at www.turboprint.de. Turboprint offers commercial drivers for Linux but under fair conditions and you can test the software before you buy. Your editor found that the turboprint driver for his hp970c produces actually better results than the original Linux driver from HP.

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