Filling the gaps

Here are the highlights:

  • Multimedia Codecs: Installs sup­-port for MP3s and several other audio and video formats.
  • AUD-DVD Codecs: Installs the libdvdcss2 library (enabling DVD playback) as well as the w32codecs package, which will make QuickTime, Windows Media and many other video formats playable. Be aware, however, that Automatix has not licensed this technology, and using it may put you in murky water legally.
  • Firefox Plugins: Installs several plug-ins for Mozilla Firefox.
  • MS TTF Fonts: Installs the Web-friendly font set that Microsoft once made freely available online, which includes the well-known Verdana font. Many Web sites specify these fonts for their display, so you'll get better results if you have these fonts on hand.
  • Gnomebaker: Sets up a fantastic CD and DVD burning application.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Del: Remaps this key­stroke to call up the Gnome System Monitor. Longtime Windows users who are used to seeing the Task Manager when they hit <Ctrl>-<Alt>-<Del> tend to like this one.
  • Ripper and Tuner: Installs StreamTuner, a fantastic Internet radio tuner I've crowed about, as well as a means for recording any stream you listen to.
  • DVD Ripper: I imagine I don't have to spell this one out.
  • Mplayer with plugin: This option is a Holy Grail of sorts: if you've selected the AUD-DVD Codecs option listed above, pretty much any video you encounter on the Web will play in Firefox - including Apple's movie trailers and the newscasts at CNN's site. Be sure to close and restart Firefox if you leave it open while Automatix does its work.
  • Open Office: Upgrades from the pre-release version of OpenOffice.org 2.0 that shipped with the current Breezy Badger release of Ubuntu to the final version; also installs some clip art.
  • Sun Java 1.5 JRE: Select this to enable Java support in your browser or anywhere else you might need it.
  • Firestarter: Don't have a firewall? Here's one that's effective and friendly.
  • nVidia Cards: Installs the proprietary drivers that enable 3-D graphics for your nVidia board. If you select this option, you will see an informational dialogue box that provides a magic command-line incantation to use if the 3-D driver fails. Be sure to write that command down somewhere handy. On your next reboot, if the X Window System (Linux's GUI layer that sits underneath Gnome or KDE) fails to load, you'll be presented with a text-only log-in prompt. After logging in, issue the command you wrote down, and then press <Ctrl>-<Alt>-<Del> to reboot. You won't have 3-D support, but you'll have your display back.
  • Firefox 1.5: Upgrades to Firefox 1.5. This option also pops up an info dialogue if you select it, letting you know that your bookmarks will not be inherited by the new version of Firefox unless you manually copy them over. You can do this from the command line or by using the Nautilus file manager. If you choose the latter, you'll need the View-Show Hidden Files command to complete your task. (In Linux, like all Unix systems, files and folders whose names begin with a dot are hidden.)

    Also note that this option automatically installs the Adobe Acrobat Reader, a bloated little bugger that phones home to Adobe looking for updates and reporting goodness-knows-what. I prefer Gnome's built-in PDF and document viewer, Evince, which is installed by default on Breezy Badger machines. If you've upgraded to Firefox 1.5 and want to remove Acrobat Reader from your system, use Synaptic to remove the Acroread and Mozilla-Acroread packages.

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Matthew Newton

PC World
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