Most GNU/Linux users get the bulk of their applications from their distribution's repositories. However, those who want the cutting edge take to the Web to find it, often to GNOMEfiles if they use the GNOME desktop, or to KDE-apps.org if they use KDE.
Each site includes lists of applications by popularity and user ratings, which raises the question: Are there differences between what the users of the two most common GNU/Linux desktops look for when they look outside their distributions?
Looking at the differences in the most popular and highest rated applications on both sites suggests that differences between both the desktops and their users do exist -- and not just Linus Torvalds' famous complaint that GNOME is designed as if "users are idiots," although there are some indications that others may feel the same way.
GNOMEfiles' lists are dominated by administrative utilities. Its monitoring applications include the Computer Temperature Monitor and GNOME Sensor Applet, both of which offer users readings that are unavailable from a standard GNOME install, and gnoMint, which manages certification authorities.
All these apps clearly give functionality that default GNOME installations lack. The monitoring applications, perhaps, reflect the fact that dual-core machines are becoming the norm, causing a concern with overheating.
Another strong trend in the GNOMEfiles lists are multimedia tools, such as Mplayer, gnormalize, and Realplayer. Part of the reason for Mplayer's appearance on the most popular list may be that the application is approaching its 1.0 release, but the others suggest that multimedia players may have become the most common desktop tools, especially since they are also well-represented in KDE downloads.
Curiously, NeroLinux, the CD/DVD burner, is included among the multimedia tools. In fact, it tops the Most Popular list. Yet NeroLinux is a trial offer, not shareware. Perhaps recent refugees from Windows help to boost NeroLinux's popularity, since Nero is widely used there -- never mind that the GNU/Linux version lacks much of the functionality of its Windows counterpart.
The presence of NeroLinux might also reflect the fact that many distributions do not include GNOMEBaker, one of GNOME's main burners, which leaves users either installing KDE so that they can use K3B or searching download sites for alternatives. But for whatever reason, NeroLinux has over twice the downloads of Mplayer, in second place.
Of the other applications on the GNOMEfiles lists, some seem replacements for weak points in the GNOME desktop. WiFIRadar, for example, is in many ways an easy way to manage wireless connections than GNOME's nm applet, and, perhaps, less easy to overlook. In the same way, the versatile Catfish, which topped the Best Rated lists as I wrote, collects all the disk-searching tools, desktop and command line alike, in GNOME into a single application.
One of the most unusual listings is GNOME PPP, which, despite having not been updated for several, ranks tenth on the Most Popular list. Although many distributions now omit it in the default installation, enough users still have a dialup connection that the need for it apparently remains.
But it is when you focus in on the Best Rated list that GNOMEfiles gives the most interesting data. For one thing, the inclusion of applications such as Catfish, Cream for Vim suggest that those who frequent GNOMEfiles still want command line applications, and the control that comes with them. Even though they might not want to use the command line directly, they still show an appreciation for tools that bring command line power to the desktop, such as GAdmin-ProFTPD.
By themselves, the presence of the Thunar applications might point to dissatisfaction with Nautilus, GNOME's default and somewhat limited file manager. But the addition of Xfce, Thunar's native desktop, to say nothing of Squeeze, an Xfce compression program, suggests that it is not just Nautilus, but GNOME itself that people are reacting to.
Although what Xfce and its programs are doing on GNOMEfiles is not clear, dis-satisfied GNOME users apparently find Xfce a highly acceptable alternative. Unfortunately, the list does not indicate why they rate Xfce so highly, but probably, like most users they appreciate its speed and small footprint compared to GNOME.
Like the GNOMEfiles lists, those at KDE.apps.org show a strong interest in multimedia among downloaders. If anything, the tendency is even stronger, with KPlayer, Amarok and FLVUGet on the Most Downloaded list, and Subtitle Composer, SMPlayer, and Digikam on the Highest Rated list.
One of the ways around the issues of security and control that make some businesses wary of cloud computing is to build a private cloud -- one that remains within the corporate firewall and is wholly controlled internally. Private clouds also increase the agility of IT an organization's IT infrastructure and make it easier to roll out new technology projects. Download this eBook to get the facts behind the private cloud and learn how your organization can get started.