First Impressions of Google Earth for Linux

Review: The new Google Earth for Linux is both a great tool and a great toy, and it runs well on two of the most popular Linux distributions: OpenSUSE and Ubuntu.

Only a few weeks after releasing its first Linux application—the photo editing program Picasa—Google has released its second application for Linux: Google Earth for Linux 4.

Unlike Picasa, however, which runs with its own bundled copy of WINE, an open-source implementation of the Windows API (application programming interface), Google Earth is a native Linux application.

It may not appear that way to some users, since many of the files look like theyre connected with Windows. But, a closer look shows them to be Qt application libraries.

The result is an application that enables users to tour about the globe. Much of North America, Australia and Europe can now be seen with up to 1-meter-per-pixel resolution.

How good is that? When I zoomed in on my house, I could make out the two DirecTV dish antennas on my roof.

The free-for-personal-use Google Earth is more than just an incredibly neat toy, though. With a variety of data layers available, the displays and maps can be remarkably useful for everything from literally looking over a new route to grandmas house to determining the best place for a microwave tower.

That said, its also a really great toy.

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