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Programs for Penguins (12023-09-16)

brook > pcs > linux

12024 will be the year of the Linux desktop!

Unironically. For me, anyway. I've been sick of Microsoft's shit for the past decade, but my existing systems remained supported and usable until recently. At some point I realized that the majority of the programs on my PC, being open-source, have native Linux versions, so it'd be quite usable!

Choosing a Distro

But, if you're going to run Linux, you have to decide which Linux. While I had some prior experience running Debian and Ubuntu in VMs, that was before systemd was adopted, so I searched around to learn how things have evolved since then.

After hearing about how well-documented and supported Arch is, I first considered Manjaro with i3wm. That's more of a meme answer, though. More serious research (sitting around in Discord) led me to DistroChooser, which recommended Devuan, GentooYES I UNIRONICALLY GOT 'INSTALL GENTOO'D LMAO, and Void.

Void sounded interesting, and would have very low resource usage when combined with JWM. On the other hand, it being an independent branch not based on any more ubiquitous distro gave me pause, so I sat on it for a while.. Then Valve announced the Steam Deck! Aww yeah, shit's about to get exciting.

In the meantime, I had a couple of old work PCs that I intended to replace with a pair of less-old laptops. Mint is usually recommended as the beginner distro, so I grabbed the lightweight Xfce edition and threw it on some fresh SSDs. It works flawlessly with everything we use here, indicating to me that modern Windows can successfully be avoided.

For my personal system, I knew I wanted to go with something that comes with KDE Plasma, because it has some nicer customization options. Throwing HoloISO (SteamOS 3) onto an all-AMD system sounded appealing for a whle, then further research led me to Nobara - Fedora-based and gaming-optimized. Sounds like a winner to me.

Recommended Distros BEGINNERS: Mint Cinnamon (It Just Works) INTERMEDIATE: Nobara KDE (Gaming/creation powerhouse) ADVANCED: Artix dinit (Make it just right)
antiX for old PCs (≤2GB RAM) Tiny Core for older PCs (≤256MB)
Chimera - Instant Steam Box MX - Most popular since 2019
Run them all from one USB with Ventoy!

My Journey
Distros HoppedDE/WMs UsedAchievements
Debian 9 (12018-01)
Mint 21 (12023-03)
Nobara 38 (12023-09)
Xfce 4.16
Cinnamon 5.8
KDE Plasma 5.26
i3 4.22
Unknown Command 'dpkg'Installs failed in interesting ways due to faulty RAM!
Even Solider StateFirst time using an NVMe storage drive!
GUI Logins Are BloatReplaced SDDM with Ly and had zero issues!
Droppin' BarsSet up i3wm with xfce-panel because I can!


If you're also looking to dip your toes into FLOSSier shores, here's some of the app recommendations I've been gathering to check out in your local package manager.

A few useful things for the terminal:


Some functional replacements for the Windows-only apps listed on Essential EXEs, according to sites like AlternativeTo.

GTK: xzgv
Qt: qview
GTK: gThumb
Qt: ShowFoto
Java: Pixelitor
Snipping Tool
GTK: gnome-screenshot
Qt: ksnip
Electron: EXIFcleaner
Qt: Trimage
MS Paint
GTK: mtPaint
Qt: KolourPaint
GTK: fSearch
Qt: Recoll
GTK: Celluloid
Qt: Haruna
TTY: cmus
Qt: Audacious
GTK: Bluefish
Qt: Kate
GTK: Evince
Qt: Mcomix3
GTK: hardinfo
smartmontools / nvme-cli
nvtop / radeontop
Task Manager
TTY: btop++
GTK: Mission Center
GTK: Gpick

Linux - The choice of a GNU generation.


Fire the Managers

Further Reading Become a Compression SorcerorNeonaut's guide to image optimization programs. How to live entirely in the terminalRecommended set of TUI programs for computering when you're tired of X11's shit. Owl's Roost: Operating SystemsOther OSes you can use and why you should. Top 51 Linux Window ManagersPros and cons of the most popular desktops. Windows/macOS/Linux privacy compared What telemetry is collected by default in the major OSes. Zero-Bullshit Web Browsing My guide on how to internet in the age of hypermonetization.

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