Debian Linux

Linux offers Many choices

A wonderful thing about Linux is that there are many competing software packages - the best features of each end up rolled into even better software in the end. Due to the nature of GPL/OSS and the large number of eyes that iron out any bugs in the code the quality just keeps getting better. The Linux desktop has passed M$'s Windows in quality i.e. auto-detecting printers, package management, multi-national support, better file browser functions, and of course cost and a much more stable underlying kernel and file system. The most important program in a operating system is the file browser - Linux has definitely left M$ in the dust with the dolphin file system browser. Installing debian takes less clicks and key strokes than just typing-in the windoze license key!


Linux comes packaged by many companies as distributions - that is combinations of versions of the GNU code with a little glue code and some install routines that form a complete operating system. We have tested several distributions and spent some time using Redhat - but now I can only recommend Debian. (There is no one system in the M$ world that comes close, as this verifies not only system files but applications as well.) The incredible power of the debian apt-get system is something you will want to learn about. Be aware that many Linux systems are intended to provide future lock-in - This is the biggest reason to stick with Debian.

Ubuntu is sort of a broken Debian with malware pre-installed. Install Debian stable before sending any questions this way. Again - I really would recommend avoiding Ubuntu - they are moving further away from Debian to their snappy package system. It appears to be good on the surface - no dependency problems - but dependency problems are exactly the thing that makes code improve. If you want that sort of operating system you should just install windoze

Debian Links

Desktop Packages

The first thing to know is that overall the installation process is easier than Windows! OK, it is different and you have to learn how. When you are finished you will have spent about the same amount of time required for a Windoze installation - but you will have also installed your applications! You only reboot once!!!!

(How many man-lives of time have been wasted waiting for M$windows to reboot? Let's see, three times for install and then another 6 times counting installing a bit of software and all the updates that they don't see fit to sending out as a new disk.)

Debian install support is available, from your local Linux users group. It takes just as long to install Debian as Windows, but when you are finished you have also installed 95% of the software you will likely use (Ok, I usually install 150% of the software I will ever use - but some day I really will try that math package out)

The task bar supports applets that run on it - like the ones on the far right side of a windows task bar - sort of. My favorite is kweather. It goes out and gets the local weather from a nearby airport and displays the temperature and a little sun that sometimes has a bit of cloud over it. If you click on it you can read the latest detailed weather report. There are others that are just for fun, and a sticky-yellow-notes-simulator and of course a clock - well actually you have lots of choices when it comes to clocks. I lost track how many there are -but I like the stock one that has the just the date and time.

KDE / GNOME Desktops

KDE has the better file browser for the time being. You can run Gnome apps from KDE - Gnome is working hard to get better. Competition is a great stimulus, the lack of which has caused the stagnation of the Windows world.


Google Earth

Email MUA


Word processing


Nevernote or Onenote Replacement

HTML editors


Simple text editing

Graphics programs

Plotting - Graphing

Graphics command line packages

  • Optipng Lossless optimizing of PNGs
  • jpegoptim Lossless and quality optimizing of jpegs jpgs


PDF Viewers and Editors