With the Steam Deck imminent, I need to get something off my chest; namely, linux is not a viable platform for the majority of people who play video games. I will try to explain why I think this but first a preface; this does not mean I think linux is terrible for gaming. A lot of people enjoy what linux has to offer and the gaming experience has improved a lot in the past decade; but it is still not where it needs to be in order to give Windows any meaningful competition in the PC gaming experience.
As the title states, I do not believe linux operating systems need user friendly installers and I shall endeavour to explain why. Anyone who has installed Windows knows that the installation process isn’t exactly a friendly one. You have to hunt down an ISO file, find a way to make a bootable USB, find the boot menu key to boot it, then you get a pretty unfriendly installer. This is the exact same as the process for installing a linux operating system.
I have been mulling this over and I have come to a conclusion, most of the linux operating system recommendations around the internet are awful. All too often I see operating systems being recommended that are just not ideal for a new user who is unfamiliar with linux. So what operating systems would I recommend should someone ask me about linux and what do I look for in recommending an operating system?
There are some quality (and not so high quality) applications that everyone knows about, and then there are some quality applications that fly very much under the radar. One application that I feel inexplicably falls into the latter category is Cozy. I would like to try and give it a little bit of the spotlight because it is a quality little application. Cozy is a GTK audiobook player for Linux. I know what you’re thinking, I can just play mp3 or FLAC formatted audiobook files in MPV or some other similar player, and that is very true; however, there are a few things that make these applications unsuitable for audiobooks.
VPN use is becoming extremely widely used, the number of companies offering VPN services at a premium has exploded in the past decade and every man and his dog keeps telling us we should be using one; but I don’t use one. I used to. I was the unthinking consumer who thought he needed a VPN to give security and privacy online, then I started thinking and reading about and ultimately I decided that I really don’t need one and that I actually don’t trust the VPN industry.
So, in recent weeks and months I have been mulling a few things over in the old brain box regarding technology and the choices I have made, as well as why I made them; and I just wanted to put down some thoughts on why I am not a 100% linux user as I do use Windows on occasion and now I have a MacBook, but first some history. I first started using linux back in 2009 and for a couple of years I dual booted with Windows before I decided to wipe Windows and just use linux; and I did for a few years.
With the disappointing news that the much needed visual refresh is on hold, I got to thinking about music players and which ones I tend to recommend. I have used a lot of music players on linux, some good and some not so good. Rhythmbox was the first, then I jumped to Banshee when Ubuntu made it the default application in 2011. I wasn’t nearly as upset at that as a lot of people were because Banshee was a great application.
Vivaldi browser. I like it, I like it a lot. So much so that I have made it my primary web browser and done “sudo apt purge firefox”. The only other web browser I have installed is Microsoft Edge and that is really just for it’s web app support, which in my opinion is the best of any other browser; but I digress. Why do I like Vivaldi so much? Well I shall endeavour to tell you.
Well, the year 2020 is done and everyone is relieved. I thought I would kick off the year by chronicling some things I would like to do in 2021. I won’t call them “resolutions” because those things never last long; let’s just call them goals or targets that I would like to achieve. Python In 2020, I began learning to programme in Python and found I enjoy it. In addition, I completed a course on data engineering through work that focused a lot on Python (Pandas specifically) and I would like to take what I learned to the next level.
Ah, Gnome. I like it by default but it is also extensible which makes it even better. So, what extensions do I like to use? Well, I shall tell you. Before I start I should mention that I use Ubuntu so I won’t list the extensions included by the distro out of the box. Drop Down Terminal X Everyone should have a drop down terminal, be it Guake, Tilda or Yakuake.
A thorny topic in some quarters of the linux community. Sadly we still see derogatory comments aimed at people who still use Windows in some fashion in their personal lives be it dual booting, a separate drive or a separate machine. Then we have the constant referal to Microsoft as “M$” or Microshaft", or refering to Windows as “Windblows”. We need to stop this, it is a very bad look for the community to people looking in thinking of using a linux based OS.
Web Browsers Vivaldi Vivaldi has been becoming my primary web browser for a while now due to how smooth the browsing experience is, how many configuration options it has (it is the KDE of browsers), and the features it has. A great browser that is often overlooked. Mozilla Firefox I maintain that one should always have two different browsers installed on their machine and that 2nd browser for me is trusty old Firefox.
So I just thought I would share the linux podcasts I like to listen to with a sentence or two on why I like them. Linux for Everyone Hosted by article writer, video maker and musician Jason Evangelho this is one of the best podcasts to come out in the past few years. A relative newcomer to linux, Jason brings to the table wonderful positivity and an infectious enthusiasm that one cannot help but get behind.
Ubuntu My first distro and one that will always have a special place. If it were not for Ubuntu in 2009, I daresay I would not have stayed with linux and would now still be on Windows. Very user friendly and if you stick to the LTS very stable. Pop!_OS Pop OS is a wonderful user friendly distro that would serve any new user well. It comes with extraordinary levels of polish and a great set of applications by default.
So I use Google Stadia in the Chromium web browser and I wanted to create a webapp of it, pin it to my desktop and set a WM_CLASS to keep it separate from other Chromium windows. It was a bit of a faff to get working but it was worth the faff. First of all what will you need to make it happen? Chromium web browser Menulibre
My favourite music client on my linux PC is Music Player Daemon (to be referred to as MPD from this point on) but I did have some trouble getting it working properly on Solus so this is just a quick guide to assist you. Note that this is not a guide in configuring MPD with a client, it is to show you how to get the service started on Solus (I cannot say if this will work in other distros as I have not tested it).
So I like to be able to pin my most used applications to my panel for quick access. This is not something I have ever been able to do until recently when I discovered how, so without further ado here is my short guide. First of all, what will you need to make it happen? A terminal emulator that supports changing of the WM_CLASS property. I use Kitty but I believe Urxvt also has the ability