Friday, October 29, 2010

OpenSUSE 10.3 - Part 2

There is one last software that I need to use daily, an email client. I have been using Thunderbird for quite some time on Windows and I am very happy about its interface and performance.

Our school email server gets quite slow sometimes and I use Alpine text-based email client. This is the open source version of the popular Pine email client on UNIX and people ported it to various other platforms including Windows. It is lightweight and has a great performance.

So, which one to use on OpenSUSE? I am kinda lazy and copied over my .pinerc from Windows home directory to OpenSUSE home directory. The source code from Alpine website does not compile on my machine, complaining some strange problems and I directly downloaded a copy from here. It installed very nicely and with my existing .pinerc, all my settings from Windows are back into action.

However, I had a problem with “backspace” key. Instead of deleting the character before it, it deletes the character after it, which is the same behavior as delete key. This seems to be a known issue for Linux keyboard mapping and the correct “backspace” behavior is ctrl+H. I tried to set default editor to nano and avoid using pico, the default editor that comes with Alpine, but it did not work.

So, I had to choose another email client. Since Evolution is the default email client, I decided to give it a try. But very disappointedly, the performance really sucks and it took very long to render the interface as well as email content. Although it has nice features like notes, schedule, contacts, etc., I gave it up right away.

Finally, I installed and configured Thunderbird. World is in peace now. It runs smoothly and grabs content very fast. To emulate the Mac style, I also installed CrossOver X theme for Thunderbird. There are some other nice Mac-related themes such as CrossOver and Cutebird. Now, it feels that I am using a Mac now, haha!


Since I use English and Chinese at the same time, I need a Chinese input tool. On WindowsXP I use Google Pinyin and on Win2003 Server I use sogo.

SCIM is one of the language input platform available and it supports a wide variety of input languages. Someone ported FIT Chinese input tool onto linux and it is called Fitx. It has a sister WeFit, which is the most popular Chinese input software on iPhone.

To install Fitx with least hassle, go to openSUSE software search engine and search for fitx, then click “1-click install” button. When the installation is finished, log out and log in to see it in action. You can configure hot keys to activate and deactivate Fitx.

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