Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Communications Apps

Tom's Linux Series For Windows Power Users

Part 1: Installing Ubuntu Linux
Part 2: Internet Application Roundup
Part 3: Communications Application Roundup

In the previous segment of Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup, we looked into Internet Apps. These were defined as applications that rely on Internet access to connect the user to the Web at large.

In this segment, we will be focusing on communications applications. While these apps still rely on Internet access to function, their focus is to allow the user to communicate with other individuals using the Internet simply as a transit medium. We will go over Personal Information Managers (PIM), email clients, Instant Messengers (IM), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) clients. That means replacements for Outlook, Outlook Express, Trillian, and mIRC are to be found within. Many of these apps you may already be using in Windows. Mozilla Thunderbird, Skype, Pidgin IM, and others have native Linux installations available, too.

Semanticians may point out that most of these apps appear in the Internet category in the Ubuntu Applications menu. So why weren't they in the last installment of Internet Apps? Well, these apps started out in the Internet Apps section of this roundup, but the Linux software environment is a diverse one, and I quickly found that there were enough options out there to sub-divide further. So, I had to come up with some form of distinction other than what the GNOME menu gave me. It's also true that some of these apps, personal information managers in particular, may feel more at home in the Office section of the Applications menu. Truth be told, the upcoming Office Apps installment was actually written first and, like Internet Apps, that one is a real monster as well. Hence, some of the office software is making an appearance in this segment, too.

As with the previous installment of Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup, feel free to skip to the sections that interest you. Links to the appropriate installers are provided so that you can check out the apps for yourselves.

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  • Anonymous
    No video on skype? I've been doing video on skype since at least last Sept when I sent my girlfriend out on the campaign trail with my eepc. You might have issues with your web cam working, but skype video works fine.
  • Anonymous
    Unfortunately, Skype's Linux client does not yet support video.

    Ummm... What? Yes it does. I use it all the time. Actually, it's easier to set up your webcam than it is to get it to cooperate with Pulse Audio,
  • sandyscott
    "Kphone does not have an option to minimize or close to the system tray."

    Easy to fix - Use AllTray
  • nevertell
    Dudes, what you should do is make a review of wine. You should try running all your benchmark apps/games on linux with wine and see how easy/hard it is to make them run and what's the performance penalty. But if you do it, you must do it with two rigs, one with ati and one with radeon, because ati linux drivers suck, and it doesn't matter if they've made some of their drivers open, they still suck, especially in the 3d part.
  • nevertell
    Oh donkey nuts, I screwed up a bit. You have to have 1 nvidia rig and 1 ati rig. Not 1 ati and 1 radeon :D
  • mm0zct
    in my experience the ati proprietry linux drivers are fine, provide 3d acceleration and happily span my desktop across my 2 screens. Getting linux to cooperate when i have an ati card and an nvidia card in the same computer is a different matter.

    as for the article isn't irssi a worthy lightweight irc client? you can even run it in "screen" and leave it connected in the background. aMsn is anohter single prorocol IM client too, which stives for cross platform compatibility.
  • bobwya
    Though Yahoo mail is arguably the most popular address today, unfortunately, only the premium version is accessible through an email client without the use of extra plugins or hacks.

    Bzzzt - wrong!! I have used my standard (i.e. free) Yahoo email account through an email client for years now. It works fine - so I guess you are misinformed on this one...

  • army_ant7
    'Many of these apps you may already be using in Windows." Shouldn't it be "used" instead of "using"?
  • Anonymous