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Krister's Blog
krister at hallergard dot com

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Last Updated:
2015-09-07
Prev. version
Linux - RECAP

Linux is now a real alternative to Microsoft Windows. A major advantage is that it is "open source" and thus free. Also I have yet to hear about serious virus or malware attacks on Linux systems. Next time I buy a PC (in 2017?), I had decided that I will no longer be prepared to pay for a Windows operating system. But Microsoft has just allowed me a free upgrade (from my Windows 7) to Windows 10, so in any case I will evaluate Win 10 before making a final decision.

View Video 6 min

With Firefox (or Chrome) & Thunderbird and LibreOffice the internet, email and office applications are as good as on Windows with Internet Explorer, Windows Live Mail and MS Office. Exchange of documents between the two office programs is not a problem. There are many good free third party application programs available for Linux.

At a professional level Windows has more choice of really excellent and expensive programs, such as for video editing - though a lot can be accomplished with the Avidemux video editor and Audacity audio editor.

I find that I tend to use Windows when I have to do a lot of file management, though the Linux file managers have caught up, Konqueror being a very good file manager.

There are several good video players: VLC, Kaffeine and SMPlayer. VLC (Video Lan) can do everything and is my main video client for Linux, Windows as well as Android. Kaffeine has a very good DVB (digital television) client.

The remote control can be programed using LIRC for all the video players and for Mozilla Firefox, which handles my video menus.

As a complement to the remote control I also use a smartphone touchpad app: InstantRemote on my tablet for quick navigation and text input.

Links to some desktop screenshots and bootmenus


Often used programs (updated Sept 2017)
For screen recording I use SimpleScreenRecorder: View Video 2 min.
And for backup I use Partimage: View Video 5 min.

There are two main alternatives for the graphical interface with Linux: KDE and Gnome, the latter spawned off two forks - Unity and Cinnamon - a couple of years ago. Without going into the pros and cons, I have tried them since 2005, and concluded that I do prefer KDE (though their release of Plasma5 has been a big disappointment - hopefully it will soon be sorted out). Many distros offer both, so that you can log out of one and into the other.

There are many distros, slightly different flavours of Linux. These I have been using lately:
NameGraphic InterfaceArchive TypeOrigin
SuSEKDE and GnomeRpmGerman/American, now owned by UK company
FedoraKDE and GnomeRpmAmerican, owned by RedHat
UbuntuUnityDebianEnglish
Kubuntu; flavour of UbuntuKDEDebianEnglish
Mint; fork of UbuntuCinnamon, fork of GnomeDebianIrish

The first distro I tried back in 2005 was Mandriva, but unfortunately it declined. So in 2012 I decided to stop using Mandriva (and Mageia).

If I today were to choose one, I would pick openSuSE as being most reliable or Kubuntu for being most fun. As a learning experience it has been useful to try several distros and eventually understanding their differences. If I have a problem I check how this has been solved with a previous version or with the other distros.