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
Download Debian ISO net install
Work-Needing and Prospective Packages
To request some OSS to be added to Debian you must first be sure no one
else has - if they have add to the bug report. This is by doing a
reportbug for wnpp. RTP Request to package, ITP Intent to package, RFH
Request For Help, O Orphaned,
Bug data base
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$windows to reboot? Let's see, three times for install and then another
6 times counting installing a bit of software and all the updates that
they don't see fit to sending out as a new disk.)
Debian install support is available, from your local Linux users
group. It takes just as long to install Debian as Windows, but when you
are finished you have also installed 95% of the software you will likely
use (Ok, I usually install 150% of the software I will ever use - but
some day I really will try that math package out)
The task bar supports applets that run on it - like the ones on the far right side of a windows task bar - sort of. My favorite is
It goes out and gets the local weather from a nearby airport and
displays the temperature and a little sun that sometimes has a bit of
cloud over it. If you click on it you can read the latest detailed
weather report. There are others that are just for fun, and a
sticky-yellow-notes-simulator and of course a clock - well actually you
have lots of choices when it comes to clocks. I lost track how many
there are -but I like the stock one that has the just the date and time.
KDE / GNOME Desktops
KDE has the better file browser for the time being. You can run Gnome
apps from KDE - Gnome is working hard to get better. Competition is a
great stimulus, the lack of which has caused the stagnation of the
download site - you can snag topographical maps of anywhere in the USA - plus much more - Really hope WW2D becomes part of Debian.
Bi Lingual computer setups
(then supported fork of openoffice) also will edit text, and open
M$word documents, Excell documents, has an HTML editor, paint database
capabilities and glue functions. It has one more feature that is a
killer; it will run on both windows and Linux - thus libreOffice is the
perfect migration office suite for those who want out of the Redmond
kate is a great text editor and includes kwrite and faster word processor.
abiword is smaller lighter - but sadly tends to always have bugs
- For Desktop publishing look at
This page lists several accounting packages and our notes about them. A
continuing search for a GPL software package to replace QB(QuickBooks).
Nevernote or Onenote Replacement
Sadly, this was written in Java - that non-securable language ( it
doesn't wipe memory if you remove an object ) with a culture of binary
blobs without source, so there is a problem packaging it.
- BlueGriffon Nothing else comes close at this time. Has in-line spell check for every day page creation!
- Quanta - not WYSIWYG but has a lot of nice features - between nvu and quanta you have what you need.
- Openoffice - creates extreme bloat code that isn't human friendly - as bad as frontpage. Don't use it for html!
CSS Cascaded Style Sheets
gnumeric - excellent - so good there is no reason to even talk about anything else.
Simple text editing
Kate works for me
diakonos simple terminal editor if you don't like emacs or vim complexity
gimp somewhat like photoshop
Photo indexer, tagger for adding, editing and searching of IPTC/IIM,
EXIF data and JPEG comments. Meta data editor - picture tagger - can put
tags, title, caption within image-fil and much more
- Great package to make web galleries of pictures -
gwenview Photo viewer and re-namer
hugin Panoramic stitcher
luminance HDR workflow
kipi-plugins Image plugins for KIPI aware programs
stopmotion program for creating stop motion animations
inkscape a vector graphics program
ksnapshot - very nice screenshot program
ufraw Raw conversion - converts Adobe DNG (Digital Negative Specification (Adobe's raw camera file)) to other popular image formats.
Plotting - Graphing
gnuplot Plotting system - change data into nice graphs.
Graphics command line packages
imagemagick (Abbreviated IM )Supper set of conversion and modification commands - also see
Fred's Scripts] which further extend IM.
autotrace - convert bitmap to vector
exiftran - jpg manipulation - lossless jpg rotations via exifautotran *
libimage-exiftool-perl for editing exif data
exiv2 for editing exif data
Photo tagging exif IPTC XMP
- Photo compacting/optimizing software
Optipng Lossless optimizing of PNGs
jpegoptim Lossless and quality optimizing of jpegs jpgs
PDF Viewers and Editors
okular probably the best viewer
gscan2pdf convert scans to PDF and more
pdfedit Yes, it is possible (not easy ) to edit pdf files.
calibre convert PDF to ebook formats
PDF command Line Tools
pdftk PDF tool kit - you can split pdf's delete pages - reorder pages and more. Command line tool.
- This is the tool to unpack PDF packages (PDF packages are
another attempt to make a proprietary standard locking - malware IMO )
xpdf-tools is really good too
ksig is my choice after trying several - most are overly complex - unspported 2012 needs a fix..
Webcast radio tunner
Mplayer will need an entry in /etc/apt/sources.list :
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org etch main
transcode - remove shakes from video and convert from most anything to most anything
Electronics EE Electrical Engineering
kicad is an excellent schematic capture to printer circuit board CAD system - should get a best of Linux EE software award.
eeschema kicad's schematic editor
cvpcb - the component to module (AKA foot-print) editor
gerbview Gerber file viewer - and production notes
Bitmap2Component Converts bitmap images to filled polygons
wings3d - 3d view - good way to waste a lot of time..
Odds and ends
jpilot palm desktop for Linux!
File compare and meld
- If you have customized code and need to update, there isn't anything
better I've yet seen. You can look at two files side by side - clearly
see the differences and copy parts by clicking the arrow.
- There is also kompare, tkdiff
Multi-file find and replace
Powerful regular expression GUI tool that lets you change strings in
multiple files all at once! Similar to multiedit multi-edit.
M$ Access Replacement
If you have a couple of windows only programs you need to use, you may well be able to run them on linux
wine - kindle, some versions of quickbooks.. etc..
Telephony VoIP- Video chat
Most people use too many fonts - you really mostly need :
- Mono spaced - normal and narrow - for printing code etc.
- A Sans font and a narrow Sans font
- There is a package called fontmatrix to preview and activate different fonts.
Most people will want to install the following packages
- cupsys - the main print server.
- cups-client - user interface to cupsys
- cups-bsd - provides the BSD commands for interacting with
CUPS. It is provided separately to allow CUPS to coexist with other
printing systems (to a small degree).
- foomatic-db-engine -makes it easier to set up common printers
- system-config-printer-kde for configuring your printer
Postscript printers are still probably the best choice for
Linux/Debian. Unfortunately, the default PPD files lack paper sizes
such as IndexCards.. BUT you can modify these files as outlined on the
Edit PPD Files.
Some of these as well depending on the printer and software to support
- cups-driver-gutenprint - for printing from gimp
- foo2zjs - support for ZjStream-based printers. Minolta
magicolor 2200/2300/2430 DL, Minolta Color PageWorks/Pro L and HP
LaserJet 1000/1005/1018/1020/1022. These printers are often erroneously
referred to as "winprinters" or "GDI printers".
- hp-ppd - Provides HP Postscript Printer Definition (PPD) files
(Install if you have a postscript HP printer) This PPD lacks several
- hpijs - contains an IJS printer driver for Ghostscript, which
adds support for most inkjet printers and some LaserJet printers
manufactured by HP. It is also required for HPLIP fax support.
- cjet - Software PCL emulation for Canon CaPSL laser printers
- splix - Samsung's SPL2 (bw) and SPLc (color) laser printers
Support for printing to SPL2- and SPLc-based printers. These are most
of the cheaper Samsung laser printers which do not understand standard
languages like PostScript or PCL. Both monochrome (ML-15xx, ML-16xx,
ML-17xx, ML-2xxx) and color (CLP-5xx, CLP-6xx) models are supported.
Also some rebranded Samsungs like the Xerox Phaser 6100 work with this
- c2050 - Lexmark 2050 Color Jetprinter Linux Driver
- HP pnm2ppa -Deskjet 7XX Series, HP Deskjet 820 Series and HP Deskjet 1000 Series support
Sound, MIDI and Sheet-music generating packages
Debian Sound How to get sound working on Debian
phonon KDE sound daemon
jackd Inter plugging sound daemon
rosegarden Rosegarden lets you import/export MIDI, you can even play a keyboard to input music - advanced features - impressive.
musescore Music score editing system
noteedit Lets you edit scores and imports/exports MIDI files as well as common sheet-music formats such as
lilypond to produce printed content.
hydrogen - drum machine Simple drum machine/step sequencer
Scanning and OCR
Sys Admin Tasks sysadmin
Bi Lingual computer setups
- Identify keyboard size
- pc101 means a 'standard pc' keyboard with 101 keys. Such a keyboard has no less/greater key (and no MS Window keys too).
- pc102 ('base' keyboard with '<>' key)
- pc105 (the same but with LeftWin/RightWin/Menu keys).
Caps Lock button
I never use the Caps Lock button. Never. The only time I "use" it is
when I accidentally press it and start typing things in UPPERCASE. To
disable it in Linux all you have to do is enter this on the command
$ xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"
To set this permanently, just stick the above line in your ~/.bashrc
file (or /etc/bash.bashrc if you're root) so that it looks something
if [ "$PS1" ]; then
# Disables the bloody CapsLock button
xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"
Install and learn the following commands:
Hardware to avoid
- Olympus audio recorders ( proprietary audio files format )
- Sonly audio recorders
Command line cheats
Ok, You know your have been there. you go to back up your stuff and
find out it is 16G too big. So how do you find the big file that you
meant to delete?
gmap is a gui program that makes finding large clinkers easy.
- KDE has
- For working from the shell try
- Disk full, directory size
- $ df -h ;shows mount free and size
- $ du ; shows use of current directory
This is something not found in windows - Think of it as an
application store - but everything is free. If you need some software
you just launch this application and it finds it, installs it (free of
course) with just a click or two.
- For the Desktop use
Synaptic - great for searching through the 28,000 packages available.
gjig is better.
- Command line you want to use
apt-spy find best mirror server
- To restore a missing or modified conf file - install using dpkg -i --force-confask pkgname
crontab cheat sheet
Sometimes you will get an error about a key
APT key magic
gpg --recv-key --keyserver pgp.mit.edu <key number>
gpg --export A70DAF536070D3A1 | apt-key add -
- nfs - reread exports file:
- $ exportfs -r
- Encryption Key Certificate Manager and Unified Crypto GUI
- Hot swap incantation to rescan scsi bus
echo "- - -" > /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/scan
- Run GUI admin programs - all work - First is simple
Install Debian on androids
- module-assistant for source packages not on select list :
# m-a a-i package-source
Server Damons and system programs
IMAP - Internet Message Access Protocol
logcheck look for funny business in your logs automatically and have them emailed to you.
shorewall firewall config
Raid How to get move to a RAID system working with Debian
Mysql on Debian - How to edit MySQL tables as a spread sheet and other notes.
bind DNS server
nut UPS monitoring software - server-client
For VERY simple systems that only send mail via your local server - use nullmailer or ssmtp .
nullmailer (has que) or
ssmtp (queless - you can lose messages - also no upstream support anymore)
Other wise use the standard exim
Exim Tidbits for supporting Exim the best choice for an MTA (replaces sendmail)
When rkhunter tells you that there are hidden processes, try to cd to
the /proc/<pid> directory for the process (where <pid> is
one of the process ID numbers output by rkhunter). If you can't cd into
the directory, then the process isn't really hidden, it was just in the
middle of exiting when the rkhunter check ran and rkhunter was confused
and you probably have nothing to worry about.
If you do manage to cd into the /proc/<pid> directory, then it's likely you have a problem.
Interesting things to do once you're in the /proc/<pid> directory include:
- cat cmdline should give you the name the process is running under
- cat environ | perl -pe 's/\000/\n/g' gets you the environment variable settings for the process
- sudo ls -l fd shows you what files the process currently has open
- sudo ls -l cwd shows you the current working directory of the
process (which could be interesting if the process was started by the
attacker from their rootkit installation directory)
There's plenty of other cool stuff you can do with the various bits
of information under /proc, but the above should be enough to help you
figure out what the process(es) are doing and how much trouble you're
- lshw - extracts the information from different /proc files
- hwinfo a bit more than lshw can report
- lsscsi (obsolete - or what package provides? )
- inxi (provided by the inxi package)
- lsblk - List block devices
- df - disk space of file systems
- mount - list mounts
- free - list free RAM
- dmidecode - different get info from SMBOIS data structures (DMI tables).
- lsof - lists openfiles - you probably want to grep this output
- lots more in proc - example use $cat /proc/mdstat to see state of your raids
System test and Burn-in tools
You will want
PXE boot working
- boot any image on a thumb drive
- Hammer your system before deploying
Boot - MBR vs UEFI
Building custom packages
wajig source foo
cd foo-1.0 patch -p0 < ...
debchange -i or debchante oldversion -v newversion
fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -b -uc -us
Putting Debian on ...
The so-called Ubuntu phone is not really opensource like Debian -
boots a android kernel with nasty closed source binary blobs - your
device/data belongs to others.
new stuff not yet sorted
Add your about favorite Linux program I missed or email me at
email@example.com - be sure to tell me WHY you like it better than the others.
OSS not part of Debian