Automatix – A Review…Sort Of | ShiftBackspace

For those of you who use Ubuntu and have not heard of Automatix, stop reading and go get it! If you do not use Ubuntu, Automatix does support Debian Etch, Mepis, and Pioneer. Sorry, but other Linux distributions are out of luck, hopefully the team develops installers for other distros such as PCLinuxOS and Mandriva in the future. For those who use Windows or a Mac, well…continue reading to support Shift+Backspace!

Straight from their website, Automatix is:

“a graphical interface for automating the installation of the most commonly requested applications in Debian based Linux operating systems.”

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Automatix contains many dozens of applications that help make the initial Ubuntu set up so much easier. While it does not contain some of the applications I commonly use (ie. Nvu and Amarok), it does contain 24 applications that I do install immediately. The most useful of which are:

  • many multimedia codecs
  • Java JRE with Firefox plugin
  • Flash player for Firefox
  • Extra fonts

Of course I install many other items from Automatix, but these specific ones make the transition much easier. For the Ubuntu beginner, the Flash player and Java JRE are extremely necessary and particularly difficult to install without Automatix. I also believe that the extra fonts package is a fairly recent and very welcomed addition as installing fonts one-by-one was getting to be a little tedious. For those who want to see what the program looks like, here are two screenshots:

Automatix is the first application I install when setting up Ubuntu and if you use Ubuntu, it may very well be the first for you as well. Currently, Automatix also offers some commercial applications such as CrossOver Office and Data Architect; this list should continue to grow after this announcement on May 8th:

“Automatix is collaborating with Technalign Inc. to bring a lot of new and exciting commercial software to Automatix users. An updated list can be found here.“

I look forward to seeing further development on this project and hopefully we will all see some releases for other non-Debian-based distributions. Unfortunately, Automatix may get some competition when goes live. Once again, you can read more or get Automatix.