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Weekend Project: Use Rapid Photo Downloader for Photo Management

Often the most impressive thing about the open source community is getting to watch someone step up to work on a task that's far from fun or glamorous in the traditional sense. A good example of that phenomenon is Damon Lynch's Rapid Photo Downloader (RPD), a utility that takes the pain out of what many projects overlook: getting your newly shot material off of the camera's memory card and into your computer. Despite the name, RPD handles both photos and video, and although its speed is impressive, how it really makes your life easier is by keeping you and your storage organized.

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Things You Can't Do With a GUI: Finding Stuff on Linux

What's better, a graphical interface or the Linux command line? Both of them. They blend seamlessly on Linux so you don't have to choose. A good graphical user interface (GUI) has a logical, orderly flow, helps guide you to making the right command choices, and is reasonably fast and efficient. Since this describes a minority of all GUIs, I still live on the command line a lot. The CLI has three advantages: it's faster for many operations, it's scriptable, and it is many times more flexible. Linux's Unix heritage means you can string together commands in endless ways so they do exactly what you want.

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An Early Expedition with Media Explorer on Linux

"Media center" applications come and go on Linux, but as connected TVs become a high-profile platform, we are seeing more and more projects designed to give you a ten-foot audio and video experience from the comfort of your sofa. One of the newest players in this space is called Media Explorer: a slick, easy-to-use interface for video, music, and photo content on your machine or local network. It's not media nirvana, but I think it is on the right track.

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Install and Configure OpenVPN Server on Linux

The VPN is very often critical to working within a company. With working from home being such a popular draw to many industries, it is still necessary to be able to access company folders and hardware that exists within the LAN. When outside of that LAN, one of the best ways to gain that access is with the help of a VPN. Many VPN solutions are costly, and/or challenging to set up and manage. Fortunately, for the open source/Linux community, there is a solution that is actually quite simple to set up, configure, and manage. OpenVPN is that solution and here you will learn how to set up the server end of that system.

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Weekend Project: Find Hidden Treasures in XFCE 4.8

Xfce 4.8 is a major upgrade to the popular lightweight desktop environment. 4.8 was released in January 2011, replacing 4.6. Xfce 4.8 is available in Debian Testing, Ubuntu Natty Narwhal, Fedora 15, and probably other Linux distributions. There is more to Xfce than meets the eye; let's dig under the hood and uncover some of its hidden goodies.

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