More on open source software
This week, I've been experimenting with gnome-do, the Gnome application launcher that also allows you to specify particular actions to take on whatever file or application you've found. Very much like Quicksilver on the Mac, for anyone who's familiar with that.
Once installed and started up, you can hit Windows-Space to summon the app launcher (this is configurable). Start typing, and gnome-do will start searching through various places for something that matches what's typed. You can scroll through match options with the arrow keys, or hit ESC to cancel.
To get most of the really useful parts of Gnome-Do, you'll need to install some plugins. Fire it up, and click on the arrow in the top right corner to get to the Plugins list. The Files and Folders plugin, for example, allows you to browse files and folders. You can click 'Configure' to set which folders it indexes and ignores. Other plugins are available to search Firefox bookmarks, to start SSH connections, to check the weather, to add items to Remember The Milk ... it's well worth having a hunt through the list to see what you might find useful.
To experiment with the actions available, locate a specific file, then hit Tab. This next window allows you to specify what you want to do with the file. 'Move' and 'Copy' are available. Hit Tab again to specify the new location. Only actions that make sense for the type of file you've found will be shown; so Run will show up for applications but not for a PDF. The default action (i.e., what happens if you hit Enter after finding the file) will also depend on the type of file.
This looks like a neat little program for those of us who are keyboard-centric and want a quick way of searching the system and acting on what's found.
Juliet Kemp has been messing around with Linux systems, for financial reward and otherwise, for about a decade. She is also the author of "Linux System Administration Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach" (Apress, 2009).