The Daily Walk with Love
— I love to experiment with computers
and operating systems, and over the last three or four
years I must have installed various “distributions”
or “distros” of Linux (operating systems) perhaps 45 times
(honest). I tried all the real popular Linux OS,
and lately I have been using some of the lesser known
distros (such as, for example, PCLinuxOC and Endless OS, Peppermint Linux, SparkyLinux, Manjaro (which I am using now, one of seven or eight Linux OS Manjaro offers, free),
and Zorin 15.2 Ultimate, which costs $39 (the rest
of these are free). I was often pleasantly surprised,
some of these are really good, and have fewer bugs
than Windows 10! I also have done a LOT of experimentation
with various Linux apps, multimedia, office, graphics,
chat, everything really, and mainly this article is about
the best apps you can get which are readily available
and work with almost any Linux OS. These are available from
within your OS, no need to download from the internet.
What’s best about Linux is that it’s all absolutely high quality and mostly all FREE, crafted by many knowledgeable
programmers as a labor of love for everyone. Hey, Ubuntu 20.04 is here, and
is a lot different and better than the old Ubuntu which
was many of our first introduction to Linux.
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Cool Linux Apps to
Make Your System Great (Updated)
Here are the Coolest Linux Apps
You’ll be Sure to Want to try out!
“Open Source” leads the way!
The Daily Walk with Love, April 26, 2020, by Paul Evans — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for friends or if you have a question. Which Linux you should use (and there are a few hundred you can choose from), is strongly suggested by how you use your computer, and that’s what today’s video is about, in language and with a voice we can all understand, “Best Linux Distros | Choosing The Right Linux Version For You“, courtesy of YouTube and “FREE your mind.” This is a video from mid-2017, a little old, but we chose it because of the emphasis made towards the principles to use in choosing the right distro for you, not just what is “hot” at the moment or is most up to date. If you like the facts, truths and ideas here, please share this article with your friends.
I discuss my own favorite (free) Linux apps, tried and true, for the general Linux user, for the budding “developers” of software and for the average PC user out there, and even for you gamers. These work with almost any Linux you might install (the real limitation on gaming is in your computer’s graphics card and RAM). If you can find it via the “Synaptic Package Manager,” but you feel it should be there as a result to install, make use of the Arch User Repository, or AUR, which offers 600,000 free apps and scripts, something that Microsoft and Apple will never, ever, be able to compete with. It gets harder and harder to find and integrate the AUR into the search results of your Synaptic, and this is a disappointment. But you should look for it in the preferences of your OS regular updating program, not the Synaptic. The AUR and even the Synaptic Package Manager are not for beginners however. Not all apps work with every distribution of Linux (although most of them do, but using the wrong combination of packages from AUR can really mess up or even “break” your OS and then you would have to reinstall it and lose any changes you’ve made and all your files, unless they are backed up. All the apps I discuss here work with almost any PC and any Linux OS. There is stuff in the AUR I have this sneaking suspicion might actually have been put there by aliens, no kidding, whole new programming languages never so far not yet even explored. However the apps we suggest below work fine, as discussed, whether you get them as offered by your Linux distro or (often in a more complete and up to date version) from Synaptic and/or the AUR.
There are basically four or five main “desktops” used by almost any various distro’s you can get: XFCE (everything works and this is a good choice for an older PC); Cinnamon (which has the deserved reputation as possibly the best desktop you can find); MATE, my own favorite stand-by, which uses a well-crafted version of Gnome 2 for the desktop (Gnome is up to 3.36 now); KDE, mainly for use with a desktop called “Plasma,” (which I find to be a little buggy and should only be used on newer machines); and finally, a desktop pioneered by the Manjaro people, called “deepin,” which has found some use even in Communist China, and reminds one of what they may have seen a lot of Apple desktops look like (as also does Elementary OS), and is a fine choice. (Manjaro.org has several of those listed above, while Ubuntu uses the most up-to-date Gnome). There is a tendency, these days, for everyone to want to be even more visually appealing than Apple, but to have more functionality (and of course, it’s Linux, so it’s free!)
It is beyond the scope of this article to make many more suggestions about which OS to get, but I will offer some of my favorites over the last couple of years. You are probably going to want to experiment with at least a couple of these before you settle in with your own favorite distro of Linux. We are talking now not about what desktop a Linux OS uses, but about the actual Linux OS, itself. The old tried and true OS many techies started out with, historically, is Ubuntu, (even though its use is quite a change from Windows, it is intuitively fairly obvious). Linux Mint, or else Manjaro, either one with either the Gnome, Cinnamon or the MATE desktop, which are great choices because they are quite similar to Windows in appearance and use and get seamless updates fairly often. Basically for the same reasons I would also suggest Manjaro Linux especially for the budding rebels among you and/or you want “cutting edge” or sometimes “bleeding edge” software. (Just remember, “if you seek evil you will surely find it.”) Both are pretty secure, and offer timely updates which keep them safe and include cutting edge programming and updates. Linux Mint is a good choice for new Linux users since the experience is a lot like Windows. Solus and Peppermint Linux are two newer distros which are very good too, though not as well known. Debian Linux, which relies on Synaptic to get apps and is probably not for beginners, originated even before Ubuntu, and is great, I often test out new versions (it’s up to version 10.4 now), and Google has chosen Debian as its new OS, which says a lot of good things about it.
Did you know that ALL of the 500 largest supercomputers use some variety of Linux as their OS? 3.6 percent of all home users now use Linux on their PC. The business class hosting I use for my own website freemusic57.com is Linux, with GoDaddy hosting, too. (I still say Danica Patrick was the best GoDaddy girl ever, right guys?) Belatedly, Microsoft has realized that it has a “problem” and is moving into “open source” (free) computing on it’s own, which is a smart move. I have read that the next version of Windows Microsoft is in the planning stage of making is going to use what is basically a Linux kernel. I only hope that Linux will not be spoiled by an influx of money into many of the distributions, although I will admit that Microsoft has been making many of the right moves in the last year or so.
Well lookit me, you wanted to know which are the coolest apps to use with Linux, and I have just been rambling on with this and that all about Linux… OK, here goes: One of the main things Windows 10 and also Apple offer is their much balyhooed artificial intelligence. But if you really must, here’s how to get it for your Linux computers: It works with just about any distribution of Linux I have tried it on, and is totally open source (free). Just open the Synaptic Package Manager and search for the word “caffe.” If you see “Caffe (CPU)” and install it, with several other little apps that come with it, that is said to almost instantly increase your computer’s intelligence and also to give it deep learning capabilities. If you watch the “details” view of the code being installed, it has thousands of lines of code, but only six lines are recognizable as having a commercial source, and these are ID’d as from Google. Still, it is all offered as open source, yet I offer this as a warning: Do Not, when installing Caffe (CPU) and the associated (CPU) apps, EVER include any of the similar caffe (cuda) code, as that might very well “break” your machine (that is, cause you to have to reinstall everything and start over).
For open source office apps, I know there is Open Office, which everone knows is pretty good, as well as a couple of newcomers, but I have always used LibreOffice and never had a problem with it. It handles all the Windows format documents, too.
For media players, both music and video it is hardly possible to beat VLC, with it’s symbol of an orange and white traffic cone, lol. I also like Clementine, which organizes your library, handles most of the usual formats of audio files, and also offers several several free radio subscription services. Rhythmbox is very good, too, but (it seems to me), too often is easily hacked, something they need to work on. With evil geeks hacking their way into almost any computer, it is imperative that you have your music, videos and documents backed up somehow, at least to a few, good 32 or 64 GB flash drives (USB sticks), and probably somewhere in the cloud, too. I always had relied on Microsoft’s OneDrive, but mine got hacked and I lost 26.6 GB of music files, a life’s collection, and it really hurt… Now I assiduously keep a USB stick up to date with all my music, and also rely on a backup to Google Play Music. No hard feelings intended, Microsoft, but that was a lifetime’s collection of the music I love…. With Google Play Music you can upload up to 50,000 songs free, and I like to use an open source music player which steams that music from your desktop, “Google Play Music Desktop Player,” which is more and more popular, although you may have to search Google for it and download it from the web. gRadio, which is in many Linux OS available apps, lets you tune in to good radio from around the world, and also makes good sugesstions for stations to listen to.
For a :cleaner of your internet and temporary files, I found this great little program (from your Synaptic) called Sweeper that I rely on as it gets almost everything you need and doesn’t make mistakes in cleaning anything valuable. CCleaner is now also available in a Linux version. I also rely on a USB stick to burn ISO’s of Linux OSs on, by means of this great app called (Gnome) disks.Destops and utilities: You can usually find some great apps via searches in Synaptic for such search terms as “Berkeley,” “Unity9,” “Unity,” “Unity desktop” or whatever desktop you want. BE CAREFUL since most of these desktops are NOT compatible with the desktop you are currently using, although you Can install the full Gnome desktop onto the Ubuntu Gnome desktop with no problem. These are mostly for more advanced users. Sometimes in using Synaptic to install files and apps, mistakes are made. which cause “problems.” Simply click Edit at the top left, click “Unmark all” and then “Fix broken packages.” Remember that what you get in Synaptic and especially from the AUR come from all around the world, and that not everything works or is even safe. Get all the choices for a search for “Clam,” the only good anti-virus program you need for Linux. You also likely need a good “Virtual Private Network” (VPN)in order to stay mostly anonymous on the web. Here my choice is “ExpressVPN,” $12.95 a month, which is very effective and works seemlessly with any site where you are a member.
See What to do First with Your New Linux Mint (Updated), (which is an old article which I need to update, is where the idea for this article comes from), with most of the same apps suggested. See also Linux, Windows 10 & Artificial Intelligence (AI) — Updated, all on The Daily Walk with Love.