Linux "Secret" Hand Signal
When Linux users want to identify themselves, we use the "Linux user" (popularly known as "Luser") hand signal:
Linux provides a powerful alternative to Microsoft Windows. Some advantages of Linux are:
- it's free
- open source model - vast quantities of great software and community support
- uses open standards for file formats, but also compatible with other OS files
- more secure - minimal danger of viruses, trojans, spyware, etc
- faster and more efficient
- more customizable
- more powerful tools for advanced users - my productivity is much higher on a Linux machine
- more transparent - logical and non-obfuscated layout
- ubiquitous - linux powers web servers, smartphones, and many other devices. Even Apple OS is Unix based.
Links and Information
- There are many distributions of Linux.
These essentially package linux with other open source software for end users.
I have tried Gentoo and Debian, but I recommend Ubuntu,
which has a nice guide.
- A Linux user has full control over the desktop environment.
There are many window managers / desktops to choose from, such as GNOME, KDE, XFCE, and Fluxbox.
- You can usually find the answer to your Linux questions by searching the web and user groups.
- You can run software built for other operating systems by using an emulator,
such as wine, Virtual Box,
Qemu, dosbox, dosemu
- If you are forced to use Windows,
install Cygwin. This is a Linux
environment embedded into Windows. It makes most common Linux software available natively in Windows.
- You can dual-boot your computer with multiple operating sytems. For Linux, I recommend having a separate /home
partition. If need-be, you can resize the Windows NTFS partition using GParted.
Software for Linux is free. My
priorities for choosing software are: functionality, efficiency, and then aesthetics.
Currently, Ubuntu offers over 30,000 software packages. Here are some that I have used:
Frequently used Linux commands (use man to get documentation)
- Text editors: emacs | gedit | nano
- Office: openoffice | gnumeric
- Compilers: gcc (GNU Compiler Collection)
- Music: audacious | xmms | grip | streamripper | streamtuner | tunapie |
ogg | gtkpod | amarok
- Graphics: gimp | inkscape | sodipodi | xfig | feh | gnuplot
- Multimedia: blender | mplayer | vlc | xine | totem | googleearth | dvd::rip
- Mathematics: scilab |
octave (forge) | R
- Web: firefox |
curl (downloading tools) | rsync
- Server: ssh | apache | mysql | php |
- Development: make | blas | lapack | cephes | glpk |
GTK & wxWindows (GUI toolkits)
- Desktop: bash | rxvt | J |
- Publishing: dvips | dvipdf | gnuplot | gv | latex | TeXmacs |
evince | xdvi | xpdf | lyx | metafont | mftrace
- Archiving: brasero | k3b |
zip/unzip | tar | gzip/gunzip | rar | file-roller | gpg
- Tools: qtparted | mp3splt | mp3gain | pdfjoin | pdftk | catdoc | xls2csv | pstotext | pdftotext | spidermonkey | ffmpeg
Kenneth Massey, updated May 2011