The Daily Walk with Love
— I love to experiment with computers
and operating systems, and over the last three years
I must have installed various “distributions” or “distros”
of Linux (operating systems) perhaps 25 times
(honest). Well I also have done a LOT of experimentation with
various Linux apps, multimedia, office, graphics, chat,
everything, really, and here are my ideas on those for you.
What’s best about Linux is that it’s all absolutely
high quality and FREE, as are almost all Linux apps!
Updated February 27, 2018
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Cool Linux Apps to Make Your Linux Great
Here are the Coolest Linux Apps
You’ll be Sure to Want!
“Open Source” leads the way!
The Daily Walk with Love, February 27, 2018, by Paul Evans — email me at email@example.com. Video is Top Five Reasons to Use Debian 9 Stretch, “Switched to Linux” on YouTube – 11:01. Featured “Debian girl” photograph courtesy of un bruto con Debian. If you like my effort here, please share this article!
The Best Kinds of Linux
Debian Linux is now my favorite Linux and has been for some time, has the latest components and software available (not just the new stuff, but what techies call “bleeding edge” components and software), and has several options during installation including XFCE, Cinnamon, MATE, and KDE versions. Manjaro Linux and Linux Mint have these variants as well, (although Mint will soon be discontinuing its effort with KDE). Currently I have been using Linux Mint, to which I admit there is a minor “learning curve.” The main thing is, all Linux just works. Believe me, I’ve tried everything, and insofar as I can see, Debian Linux and Linux Mint (choose the Cinnamon desktop if you have an older machine) or Manjaro Linux are the fastest and best versions of Linux I know of, plus, the GUI (graphic user interface, how it looks and feels) is good, too. And they are totally free and so are the vast portion of all possible programs for them. You can even get an app (or a couple of apps called Wine, which allow you to run (use) .EXE files on Linux. I honestly believe that all three of these operating systems (Debian, Manjaro or Linux Mint) are fully the equal of Windows 10, but they don’t spy on you like Windows does (you are free of Illuminati control), and also they mostly lack the built in artificial intelligence the Windows has (which is mostly a very good thing, though as I show below, “deep learning” capabilities for Linux can be added in at will). “Open source’ personal voice assistants for Linux are in development and some are available right now, though they are hard to install.
Advice for Microsoft
Linux is free and is designed as purely “open source” (absolutely free of charge) operating systems and programs, of by and for computer users, out of knowledge of the need for Linux, and out of the goodness of the techs involved’s hearts. Unless Microsoft 1.) makes Windows 10 available as an inexpensive subscription service (by which you would actually make MORE money of the long haul), 2.) ceases making their apps essentially adware and 3.) stops being so greedy about the cost of their computers and tech support. I feel that unless Microsoft makes some moves in this direction, they are becoming a “dinosaur in the Late Cretaceous.” Microsoft, a word to the wise should be sufficient.
Did you know that 3.6 percent of all computers now run Linux? Did you realize that Linux powers ALL of the world’s 500 largest supercomputers? FOR FUN: Take the survey — What is your favorite desktop Linux distribution?, Annual survey at OpenSource.com, 2018 poll.
See What to do First with Your New Linux Mint (Updated), (which is fairly where the idea for this article comes from), with most of the same apps suggested, and Linux, Windows 10 & Artificial Intelligence (AI) — Updated, all recently on The Daily Walk with Love.
Suggested: See ♫ Information Society – Land Of The Blind ♫, published recently on The Daily Walk with Love, in which I worry about several threats to the common man, including one I call “soft depopulation,” which involves the “Matrix of TV” and the “New Matrix” of the internet. If you want to understand what’s going on and how serious a threat it is, you need to read this article, as well as the (also new) article below on the technological Singularity.
Suggested: See The (technological) Singularity: What Is It and Should You Be Afraid?, recently on The Daily Walk with Love, by Paul Evans.
See No More Ubuntu! Debian is the New Choice For Google’s In-house Linux Distribution, It’s F.O.S.S., January 19, 2018, by Abhishek Prakash: “Brief: For years Google used Goobuntu, an in-house, Ubuntu-based operating system. Goobuntu is now being replaced by gLinux, which is based on Debian Testing.”
Visit Debian.org and see what’s available, all for free! The Cinnamon or MATE varieties of Debian (which you choose during the installation process) should make you very happy with your new OS. If you have an older machine, I would probably go for the Cinnamon desktop, which is less resource hungry.
The Best Linux Apps
and how to get them
But Let’s get to the Linux apps (programs to us old-timers), today’s subject. The apps I am suggesting for you can be usually gotten via a Linux system’s individual method for adding programs (at least most of them), or through something called the “Synaptic Package Manager.” I prefer the latter, because I know that way I am getting the very latest versions, and I have faith (from a LOT of experience) that the Synaptic Package Manager almost ALWAYS handles these apps just right, in terms of compatibility with the version of Linux you are using, it’s dependencies, and whether you can add the app. The ones I am suggesting and covering in a general way pretty much work with any version of Linux, which I know from personal experience. After you first install your Linux distro (operating system), open Synaptic Package Manager and be sure to click “Mark All Upgrades.” This will update everything on your system (after you click “Apply), probably including the “kernel” and even the “Linux image.” These are the core of the operating system, but everything else that needs it gets updated too.
One of the biggest challenges for a new convert to Linux from Windows is the Linux “terminal,” which you would call the “command line” in Windows. And for some reason most versions of Linux leave out one essential for the terminal called “git,” so obtain that right away, although I remember I got along without using the terminal almost totally for the first two years I used Linux, so don’t worry too much. When you are adding apps, always be on the lookout for those plugins and added features you can get at the same time. Don’t worry about the timing of execution, the “Synaptic Package Manager” handles everything and you don’t have to worry about what you get first there. Get everything related to a given app in one fell swoop, right along with the app.
Some Essential Linux Apps
The absolute essentials: I actually never worry about it, or what version of Linux I am using, I have a list of apps I always use, it’s fairly comprehensive, and just get these apps and then basically never worry about it again. The first time most distros of Linux do an update, (using the standard “Update” app in most Linux), always select “always update everything.” You might conceivably “get burned” by that choice, but it’s never happened to me. When you choose that setting, you are telling your Linux to update your apps, too!! Ubuntu doesn’t have the Synaptic Package Manager, while some distributions have both that and a more conventional “Update” app. Debian relies just on Synaptic; I think if you use Debian you are “supposed to know what you’re doing,” lol. I learned by trial and error.
“The Big Four” — First, you need a general office type set of apps, right? While some people use OpenOffice, most kinds of Linux come with “LibreOffice,” which I feel is your best bet anyway, and which has just come out with a new and improved version which is fully your total document solution. It will open any Windows document and gives the user the option to save his or her work in Windows format, too. The very best, so far as I am concerned, is “LibreOffice Fresh.” Secondly, almost every Linux I know of comes with a variety of Firefox for web browsing. I often succumb to temptation and generally use Google’s Chrome on Windows, but (actually) there is a simple and totally open source Linux equivalent called “Chromium” web browser, which you must be sure and get! (I tend to get the web driver and language packs for it, too, but that’s a matter of choice — as is all of this of course, I meant those are less essential.) Although the favorite media player for computer geeks was, is, and probably always will be VLC, for audio I personally prefer “Clementine.” It’s one of the first things I put on Linux. Rhythmbox is also excellent, and has many more plugins, while Clementine’s features are leaner but built in to begin with. Then, many of you do love your eBooks, and even in Windows — as in Linux — the best you can do is called “Calibre.” This is another surprisingly large and effective program which serves as both a library and a reader.
Be sure to get the related plugins with all these apps, good people, but USE YOUR HEAD. KDE is kind of separate from the rest of the desktop types of Linux, and you probably shouldn’t mix the two: by which I mean, don’t add KDE apps and plugins to ANY of Cinnamon, MATE, Gnome or XFCE desktop versions. You might sometimes get away with it, but sometimes you will get burned and end up reinstalling your Linux. Generally the rest of them are pretty compatible with each other in terms of apps and plugins. Nobody taught me this, I learned the hard way.
Graphics – Photo Apps for Linux
Photographs/Graphics: I’m sure there are various photo editors, and various photo-editing capabilities within various photo viewers, but nothing beats good old “Gimp” for general photo editing. Be sure to add lots of plugins! While it may be a bit more difficult to use than is Adobe’s Photoshop, really it’s just about as good, especially if you add the right (free) plugins. For viewers, you have a wide selection in Linux, and most of them will work in any desktop variety. It’s hard to beat “Eye of MATE” or “Eye of Gnome,” although I would recommend installing them only on their respective desktop configurations of whatever Linux. Also great (as a library, too) is Shotwell, which, so far as I know, runs on anything Linux. I also like “Viewnoir,” which is not well known, and “Phototonic.” I’m sure there are more, probably including something that comes packaged along with your distro of Linux. But those are good ones.
Chat and IM Apps
For Chat and IM: I like Empathy, have used something called “telepathy” on my Linux, though not much yet, and absolutely rely on “HexChat.” Hexchat is encrypted, internet relay chat, with hundreds of chat rooms, or you can set up your own. Not only that, it even runs on Windows (just do a Google search for it, but on Linux, you generally don’t download programs off the internet, at least I don’t, though it can be done. I always use the Package Managers, usually Synaptic, which draws upon the gigantic “Arch User Repository,” or AUR, where everything is free. I personally think some AUR content was put there by the aliens, lol, there are even many programming languages I’ve never heard of, and I had FORTRAN in 1978.). Getting back to chatting, mainly, I have to admit, I personally use Google’s hangouts which are part of Chromium for that. (By the way, girls, I’m single and looking at firstname.lastname@example.org, he said hopefully.) Also, Chrome apps generally work with Chromium, so that’s definitely a plus! Right at this very moment as I write this, I am using Manjaro Linux MATE, and this is kind of a “purist’s Linux,” with almost no commercial content. Again, I feel that you won’t go wrong with Debian, Manjaro, OR Linux Mint as your operating system.
Other stuff you’ll want to know: If some of these apps come WITH your version of Linux, it’s still very worthwhile to do a search for it in Synaptic Package Manager because of the great plugins you can add to the app, with great new features. So, other apps… what else is left? Why, your CELL PHONE, of course. This is one area where Windows 10 has a BIG lead, but the little Linux app “Wammu” is still helpful. You’ll want to probably get “Transmission” for torrent downloads, and also, doing a search in “Synaptic” for “FM radio” yields a few good results. And you can get Pandora radio via an app called “Pithos.” Some people like “Banshee” for audio, others have still other favorites I’m sure, but I swear by VLC, Clementine and Rhythmbox. VLC plus whatever video app comes with the particular distro of Linux does it for me for video. Finally, you’ll want to get “Cheese” for webcam photos, photo bursts and even video (and there are some plugins for that too). Some “kinds” of Linux come with some (but not all) of the above apps, but it’s always worthwhile to search the Synaptic Package Manager for all of these, to add the plugins for the app in question.
Caffe and your CPU
One main thing I did was to add everything with the word “Caffe” into my OS, which gives your CPU “deep learning” capabilities and makes it smarter both at once and over time. There are several versions of Caffe available, and some will install on your PC and some won’t. Generally if you try to install a version of Caffe and it doesn’t install, you’ve done no harm to your operating system, so there’s no harm in experimenting here by trying to install, for example, the newer “Caffe2.” The Synaptic Package Manager takes care of everything. I am really pretty sure that all of the apps I have described above are just about compatible with any version of Linux. I could probably go on….. but I really hope the above will be helpful to many new Linux enthusiasts. Thanks for wading through my recommendations. Comments are open below if you have anything to add.
Getting Debian Linux
(Links & Resources)
I have tried several (really a lot) of different “distros” of Linux. Some people swear by Ubuntu or Linux Mint, but I like Debian best followed by Manjaro, in terms of an overall user experience. I used to prefer Manjaro because I have special needs for privacy and Manjaro has almost no commercial content or AI built into it. Linux Mint probably is the disto that looks best, and I like that a lot, too. Linux Mint has more commercial content and — I believe — is more susceptible to attacks against it. So I prefer Debian these days. There’s big news as of January 18th: The City of Barcelona has switched to Debian Linux, and so has Google. That’s big news indeed! Visit Debian.org and see what’s available, all for free! The “testing” version of Debian, Debian 10 alpha 2 “Buster” works fine on my old Dell Inspiron. The Cinnamon or MATE varieties of Debian (which you choose during the installation process) should make you very happy with your new OS. You should probably go with Cinnamon if you have an older PC.
It may also be helpful to watch 22 Must Have Linux Applications in 2017, from the It’s F.O.S.S. Linux blog on YouTube — 5:18. This guy usually really knows what he’s talking about, though I still like my own selection above as a set of very useful Linux apps which will run on about any version of Linux.
You may also want to watch Introduction to Linux and Basic Linux Commands for Beginners (18:46) and/or top 10 Free Online Courses Websites in 2018 – Free online courses with certificates (9:48).
Top Five Reasons
to Use Debian 9 Stretch
Proverbs 13:7 – There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing:
there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
(King James version)
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