April 9th, 2007

Feisty feature of the day #31 - Desktop search with Tracker

Desktop search is 'the next big thing', or so I'm told. If you want to find files fast, installing a desktop search application is the way to go. All of the other operating systems have a desktop search feature now; Mac OS X has Spotlight, Windows Vista has Instant Search and even Google have an offering.

What does Ubuntu have? Well, for starters, we have Beagle. Beagle has been around for a while now, and works pretty well. We've also, as of Feisty, got Tracker. Tracker aims to be fast and efficient, and also includes support for some fancy metadata storage features (if I remember correctly).

The Tracker Search Tool, which hasn't found much because I didn't give it time to index anything.

So which search tool should you choose, Tracker or Beagle? Well, Tracker seems to be faster and lighter on memory, but Beagle is a more mature project and is able to index more (such as emails, which Tracker doesn't yet have full support for). I'd personally choose Beagle at the moment, but Tracker looks promising and might well prove to be a superior alternative in the future.

Feisty feature of the day #32 - Missing the Start menu?

Many of the people who now use Ubuntu (and other Linux distributions) started out using Windows. I'm one of them.

When I first switched to using GNOME (I briefly used KDE in Xandros before I switched to Fedora), I didn't really like the separate Applications and System menus. Still, I liked the rest of GNOME so I persevered. Nowadays, no-one can take my Applications menu away from me!

Many people still prefer a Windows-like Start menu; there are even usability studies which come out in favour of Start-menu-like designs (according to Novell, anyway). So, it's only natural that someone implemented one:

The Main Menu, showing my most frequently-used applications

Install the gnome-main-menu package, right-click a panel, press Add to Panel... and drag the Main Menu item (the one with a computer icon) onto a panel to get a Start-menu-like-thing.