Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

Moving online journalism to Linux: Top 5 programs

Last year I installed Ubuntu on a partition of my hard drive. My intention at first was simply to learn my way around the operating system. After a few months, I stopped booting into Windows.

Then I started taking multimedia classes. I learned that the journalism industry uses Flash and Photoshop and so I needed to learn these programs. Back to Windows. ::sigh::

I dream of a day when newspapers switch to Linux distros and adapt to the free open source software that is available.

Video and Audio: There are a few different programs to choose from to edit video, but my favorite is Cinelerra. Cinelerra can capture and edit audio and video without the proprietary formats of commercial Windows software. Sure the interface is ugly and hard to navigate. So it’s missing some of your favorite iMovie features. It does the job, once you get all the dependent libraries installed and figure out how to use the formats.

Graphics: The Gimp. No, the interface isn’t as pretty as Photoshop’s, but the learning curve is probably the same. And it’s not as full featured, but that’s why its free. Gimp can handle the majority of projects, provided you don’t need to keep your files small, your pixels tight, and your colors Web-safe.

Flash: I actually sat here for 20 minutes searching for a Flash substitute for Linux. I know there is one, I even saw it in an article recently. Then I realized it doesn’t matter. Its free open source Flash-style animation for Linux. It’s gotta be good!

Web Development: Forget about Dreamweaver! Nvu is the ticket. You know that view design feature never works right anyway. Nvu can handle HTML, CSS, PHP, etc. Just because you don’t know how to pronounce it until you visit thew Web site doesn’t mean it’s not valid software.

Web Browser: Firefox. Linux won’t run Internet Explorer, so run with the fox. Who cares if you can’t test your work in IE? Those people should be using Firefox anyways.

The point is, as much as I rant and rave against proprietary software, there’s a reason to use it. If you’re dead set on using Linux, there are a couple of different ways to get Adobe products running on a Linux box. Over the summer, I’ll be trying to get WINE set up, but if any of you have tried this, let me know.

DISCLAIMERS: There are all valid solutions for multimedia needs, but they are also tricky to use. I do not have a Mac. This post was written for ProBlogger’s Top 5 Writing Project.