Filling the gaps

What's going on?

After you've selected all your options and clicked OK, Automatix springs into action and you'll be able to watch everything it does in the terminal window it opened. First, Automatix makes your system aware of a few additional package repositories - the online locations for downloadable Ubuntu-specific software. Then Automatix downloads, installs and configures all the software you've selected. Go grab lunch if you're not interested in watching the magic happen.

You can run Automatix as many times as you like to install additional features, but be aware that on subsequent uses you won't find check-boxes next to any options you've installed previously. Automatix doesn't keep track of what it has done in the past; its listing is simply a menu of actions you can take any time you run it.

The package repositories that Automatix adds to your system configuration contain thousands of programs. You can browse them all with Synaptic, Ubuntu's package management tool. Select System-Administration-Synaptic Package Manager. I'd suggest selecting Muine and F-Spot (see Figure 3) for installation; the former is a music player, the latter a photo management app. Both are fantastic. I am also partial to Galeon, an elegant Gnome-ish Web browser that uses the Firefox rendering engine. And if you'd like a couple of simple yet addictive puzzle games in the vein of Tetris, check out Frozen-Bubble and Pathological.

Automatix works wonders for the Breezy Badger version of Ubuntu Linux, and I hope that its authors update it for the next release, the Dapper Drake, when it arrives this spring. Pre-release versions are already available for download; the "Flight 3" release can be thought of as "version 6.04 beta 3" and is coming along nicely.

If you install Flight 3, the Update Manager applet will inform you as updates become available and will download and install them for you. Keep up with the frequent updates, which become ever more frequent as the final release draws near. When the Dapper Drake is complete, your system will update all its packages to final versions and you'll be sitting pretty. This is probably only for geeks who really love being on the cutting edge, though. For now, an Automatixed Breezy Badger is such a delightful way to compute, I'm willing to wait and experience the next Ubuntu version when it's fully baked.

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Matthew Newton

PC World
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