Adding Programs and Enhancements:
Wagonmaster and Chief Iceman: David "Pa" McClamrock
Adding Programs and Enhancements for Puppy Linux
Puppy comes with quite a few useful programs and other packages built in. Just a few of my favorites are:
Sylpheed e-mail manager
|Pfind/Pfilesearch file finder||Pmusic music player|
On the other hand, there are a lot more programs and things that Puppy doesn't come with. How do you get them if you want them?
In Puppy 5.0 or greater, you can install some programs with Quickpet (click the desktop icon if there is one, or use the Setup --> Setup Puppy --> Quickpet Install Popular Programs menu item). Just make sure you're connected to the Internet and click a button for a program you want; it will automatically be downloaded, and then you'll be asked to confirm the installation.
The first program you'll probably want to install is a Web browser (click the "Internet Pets" tab in Quickpet). I figure everyone knows what a Web browser looks like and doesn't need to see a picture of one, so I'll just tell you what the choices are (at least in Puppy 5.2): Firefox; Opera; Seamonkey; and Chromium (from Ubuntu, one of the most massive and most widely used Linux distributions). (Puppy 5.2 does come with the Dillo browser built in; it's pretty ugly, not very configurable, and doesn't always display the pages correctly, but it's really small and really fast.)
After you get the browser installed, it will be time to wonder what you just did. You installed a "Pet"--what's that? It's a software package made just for Puppy, with a ".pet" extension at the end of the package name--very similar to a generic Linux "tar.gz" package (if you know what that is), but with a few add-ons to make it fit into the Puppy package system and menu structure. The great majority of packages made for Puppy are Pets, and their contents are installed into your pupsave file if you have one.
What if you want some comparatively huge packages, like a full office suite that's bigger than your entire Puppy main file, but you don't want an ultra-gigantic pupsave file to put them in? Note the "Sfs Get" tab in Quickpet. This will enable you to install up to six big "SFS" packages in the form of "squashfiles" with .sfs extensions, the same file format as your Puppy main file and pupsave file. They'll be installed outside the pupsave file, but in the same place (e.g., the same hard-drive partition) as the pupsave file, so there needs to be room for them there. You have to reboot to get Puppy to recognize them after you install them. After that, they'll be automatically recognized and loaded along with the main file and the pupsave file, unless you deselect them with the System --> Boot Manager menu item. (Click the obvious "Choose which extra SFS files to load at bootup" button, and you'll see a selector like the one shown to the right.) Note that you can have any number of SFS files available to choose from, but only six will be loaded at any one boot-up.
What about packages you can't get with Quickpet? Try the Puppy Package Manager (PPM)--use the Install desktop icon or the Setup --> Setup Puppy --> Puppy Package Manager menu item. If you're connected to the Internet, just click the name of a package and, if you're connected to the Internet, you can follow some really simple prompts to download and install it. All the Puppy "Pet" packages you've installed will be in the "Installed packages" list at the bottom of the window; if you click one, you'll be asked if you want to uninstall it.
But even PPM doesn't show all the packages that are available. You can get a bigger selection by going directly to the official Puppy repository at ibiblio.org and opening one of the "pet_packages" directories, e.g., pet_packages-4 for Puppy 4.x packages (which will usually still work with Puppy 5.x). To install a package without saving it on your computer, left-click the package link and follow the simple prompts. To save it, right-click it and select the menu item for saving a file or "link target." Once you've saved it, you can install it just by clicking the package icon in ROX-Filer and following the prompts, or selecting it, clicking the "Petget" button in WISH File Rusher, and following the same prompts.
But even the official Puppy repository doesn't have all the available packages. There are many packages that have never been included in any official Puppy distribution, plus updated versions of packages that have. You can look for these at Dokupuppy, or in the Additional Software section of the Puppy Forum--or even in Puppy users' web pages, like my pages right here (see Pa Penguin's Packages: Programs and Pa Penguin's Packages: Themes, Schemes, & Fonts). When you've got a Pet package, just do as I said above: click the package icon in ROX-Filer, or select the package and click the "Petget" button in WISH File Rusher.
Still not satisfied? You can even use some programs that haven't been packaged for Puppy. See the section about Non-Puppy Packages for details.
|Launch||Backup||Play audio||Finance||FTP||Burn CD/DVD||Setup||Find|
What if you've installed a program, and you want a desktop icon to go with it? The procedure for putting an icon on the desktop and getting it to run a program is moderately simple, though slightly bizarre.
Step one is to identify the icon you want to use. If you want one of the icons shown above, just right-click it and select "Save image as" or the equivalent; then save it, preferably to a directory full of icons. A good bet is /usr/local/lib/X11/pixmaps, also known (by way of a symbolic link) as /root/puppy-reference/midi-icons.
Step two is to drag the icon from a ROX-Filer window to the desktop. Easy, right? Um . . . yes, if you know the name of the icon you want.
What's this weirdness? It's how "icons for icons" look in ROX-Filer: they all look the same, and all equally strange. Fortunately, that doesn't matter a lot, for two reasons. First, you can easily see what the real icon looks like by clicking the ugly fake one. Second--it doesn't matter which one you drag to the desktop!
Why doesn't it matter? Because you have to re-select the icon you want in any event; don't ask me why. That's step four. But first, step three:
Right-click the icon you dropped on the desktop, no matter what it looks like. From the pop-up menu that will open up, select "Edit item." This will give you a little box that looks like the one on the left.
Under "Clicking the icon opens," enter the complete directory path and name of the program you want to invoke. If you don't know it, you can (1) visually scan the contents of a directory where executable programs often go, like /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin; (2) if that doesn't work, look at /root/.packages to see the package file list for your program. (The /root/.packages directory is a "hidden" directory, with a dot in front of its name; check the "Show hidden files" box in WISH File Rusher, or the "eye" icon in ROX-Filer, to see it.) With any luck, the program's directory will have a "bin" (short for "binary") in the name; for example, in /root/.packages/supernotepad-2009.2.files, you'll see "/usr/local/bin/supernotepad." If you put that on the "Clicking the icon opens" line or run /usr/local/bin/supernotepad & from the command line, and you have WISH Supernotepad installed, you'll see that, sure enough, /usr/local/bin/supernotepad is the complete path and name of the executable (which will promptly open up).
"Arguments to pass (for executables)," to oversimplify a bit, is geek-speak for files or locations you want the program to open. For example, if you want your default browser to open the Puppy Linux Discussion Forum when you click an icon, you'll put usr/local/bin/defaultbrowser under "Clicking the icon opens," and http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/ under "Arguments to Pass." Finally, you'll probably want some text displayed under the icon, so enter it on the line for it.
Click OK, and you'll be ready for step four: getting the icon to look right. From the right-click pop-up menu, select File [text displayed] --> Set icon. Have your ROX-Filer window open to the directory with your icon in it. A little box will open up, with a message that tells you to drag an icon into it. Do that, and voilą: if all has gone well, you'll have a desktop icon that looks and acts just as you want it to.
In the immortal words of Linus Torvalds, "it's stupid to use inferior software for ideological reasons." Some free-software zealots don't approve of great software like SoftMaker Office (see TextMaker 2010 screenshot, right) or VueScan (below right), merely because you don't get to look at the source code, plus you may have to pay for them. Me, I like SoftMaker Office and VueScan so much that I'll even pay good money for them, unlike any other software for Linux. (Well, I won't pay any more money for VueScan, because I got the Professional Edition which gives you free upgrades forever, but I did pay some once upon a time. And, if you want to use SoftMaker Office without paying for it, you can now get SoftMaker Office 2008--the predecessor of SoftMaker Office 2010, which I use--for free, fully functional, permanently usable.)
But the companies that produce SoftMaker Office and VueScan, as well as the purveyors of many other good programs that will run on Linux, don't yet release them in Puppy packages. What to do? No problem, especially if you've got WISH File Rusher. Leaving aside details like paying, accepting agreements, entering serial numbers, and the like--which the providers of these programs will be more than happy to let you know about, if applicable--here's what to do.
1. Get the program in the form of a "tarball" (.tgz or tar.gz archive) that can be used on any Linux distribution. SoftMakerOffice, VueScan, and many other programs are available in this form. Make sure it's a binary tarball (as these are), in which any needed compiling has already been done. Don't get a "source tarball," containing uncompiled source code, unless (1) you've got an interpreter that will run the source code, or (2) you'd like a possibly painful introduction to the wonders and miseries of compiling programs from source code.
2. Move the tarball to an empty directory. It should be empty because, while some tarballs will neatly stuff their contents into a subdirectory of the one the tarball is in when you "untar" them, others will rudely strew the contents all over the same directory. That's not so bad if the tarball is the only other thing in the directory, but it can be really bad if the contents extracted from the tarball get mixed in with many other files in the same directory. (Does this sound like the voice of experience? Ugh. You're right, it is.)
3. Untar the tarball (i.e., extract the contents). With WISH File Rusher, just select it and click "Untar."
4. Move the directory with the contents in it to the location you choose. I use non-Puppy directories under /mnt on my comparatively mammoth Linux-formatted hard drive, but you can use a Puppy directory under /usr/local or some such thing if you've got enough room in your pupsave file.
5. Set up a convenient way to run the program. This can be a desktop icon (see above), a listing in WISH Command Center, or whatever else will work.
That's all there is to it--well, unless the program you install has "dependencies," other pieces of software it needs, that aren't installed on your computer. If it does, you may (or may not) be in for a rough ride. Let's just smile and not talk about that for now. If the time comes to frown and talk about it, you can bring it up on the Puppy Forum, where nobody will even see you frowning, much less hear you screaming.