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RULE package list

The following is a highly temporary list of the applications to be chosen for the RULE project. In its present form, is more of an aid for discussion than anything else. For every server or desktop task, one or more applications are listed. For each task we have to choose one, according to the Package selection criteria and add it to the installation list.

Of course, we can, and surely will, choose more than one, in many cases (if we make of this a VI or EMACS only project, it’s doomed from the start…). At least initially, however, we cannot go over two or three programs per task, to deliver before 2010 if not else. (Marco’s comment, added 20101026: please note how I wrote “before 2010″, to mean “in the very far future…”)

The list below refers primarily to the desktop use of the computer. I assumed that a sysadmin most of the time knows enough to do anything missing here by himself It goes without saying that it may contain much nonsense, and that it will have to be completed with other info (for example, RAM and disk space needs, including in this the otherwise excluded packages that you should include just to pass the dependency check). The idea is that we have to list everything a SOHO user might need to do, and find the particular program or system configuration which gives all the needed functionality with the lowest consumption of RAM, CPU cycles, and disk space.

“Everything a SOHO user might need to do” must be seen in the project context, of course. We feel the responsibility to help children and developing countries to study and make a decent living with whatever they are given. Playing games over the net while watching DVDs while chatting and so on is nothing bad, but not our problem, or at least our (or their) top priority. Suggestions and pointers are welcome: the current list is only mine (Marco) personal preference, in some cases coming by just reading reviews online. Please send any opinion on the list. I will add links to each application home page later, in the meantime please search them with google or freshmeat.

Change log

  • 20020320: Web surfing subsection created and extended.
  • 20020305: back after a pause. New subsystem section added, new material in several of them
  • 20020216: I have split the package list in subsystems.

SMTP: postfix or ssmtp

INTERNET CHAT: chat/shell scripts attached to root menu, instead of graphical tools.

Email download and filtering:

  • animail, popsneaker or popfilter. They are all small utilities which cancel unwanted messages on the POP3 server BEFORE fetchmail downloads them, saving time and money!
  • fetchmail
  • procmail


NEWS CLIENT/server: slrn?


Text processing: Why, VIM and GNU emacs, what else? Can anyone dare to impose one or the other :-) ? The only thing that we should try to do, at least with emacs, is investigate how we can reduce the disk space it occupies. I alsked some months ago on the emacs newsgroup if one could compile it in such a way to diminish a lot RAM usage, and the answer was “just no”…

Text publishing: With this (probably not correct) term I refer to the possibility to write a (multifile) document in plain ASCII, and still have the possibility to do:

  • Automatic paragraph numbering
  • Index generation
  • Automatic conversion to HTML with templates, links, toc, site map, inclusion of pictures, navigation bars….
  • Same as previous bullet for PostScript and pdf

In emacs, for example, the first three points are almost completely covered by Jari Aalto’s tinytf package (Marco’s note 20101026: today I’ve switched to txt2tags, even when I need to make PDF books from plain ASCII files!)

(NEW) Fax: We must provide scripts (useable from root menu window, probably using xask) that allow faxing files, scan and fax directly (even multiple pages), and of course receive faxes too, maybe mailing the user. Probably using efax.


  • TEXT: midnight commander
  • GRAPHIC (you need a graphic file manager to sort pictures….): ROX

Scanning: SANE


RULE = Run Up to Date Linux Everywhere
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