Linux on the Desktop

Russell Pavlicek of InfoWorld writes that “features such as virtual desktops and solid e-mail clients help to make Linux desktops viable for business.”

I normally work with six virtual desktops enabled (KDE allows you to configure as many as 16, and last I checked, Gnome allows 100). I populate each one with applications relating to a different task. One has a Web browser; another has the applications I use while writing; another has multimedia apps so I can listen to music while I work. If I’m doing extensive word processing, as I did when I was writing my book, I’ll leave my office application up in another desktop. And another desktop will have e-mail.

For a more complex e-mail client with support for calendaring, task lists, and contact lists, there is Ximian’s Evolution. The application even features a customizable summary page which can show you local weather reports and news headlines from various sources. People accustomed to Outlook will probably find Evolution comfortable to use. Evolution sports some notable goodies, including virtual folders. Database people might understand this as “views for e-mail.” Instead of using the old paradigm of placing a physical piece of paper (the e-mail) in a physical folder, virtual folders are more like database queries that select messages based on specified values.

With this feature, you can group messages according to content rather than just placing a message in a single folder. So when you need to find an old e-mail from your boss about the policy change affecting a new project, you no longer need to remember whether you filed it under Boss Memos, Policies, or New Project. With virtual folders, the same message can be located under all three categories. And that can save precious time.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.