Your favorite Linux apps?

Today in Open Source: Share your favorite Linux apps. Plus: Switching from OS X to Linux, and switching from Windows 7 to Linux

Share your favorite Linux apps

There's a very interesting thread on Reddit about favorite Linux apps.

I just revived an old Dell 1520 laptop. I put Fedora 20 on it. I was looking for some software to install on it. I'm not talking about anti-virus and/or basic mail clients and what not. I'm asking for some software that isn't normally found on these top 50. What are your personally favorite apps to use? And what do they do?

Thanks :)

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I always enjoy threads like these because they help new Linux users discover applications that they might otherwise never know about. There are so many fantastic applications available for Linux that it can be overwhelming to new users. So an app discovery thread like this can help guide people to some of the best applications out there for Linux.

I was also happy to see that Abiword was mentioned in the thread. It's a lightweight word processor that works very well, but it never seems to get much attention these days.

VLC also got mentioned a number of times. It's a very prominent app for Linux, but I'm amazed at how many people coming to Linux from OS X or Windows aren't aware that it exists. It does so much in terms of media that I consider it a "must-have" for Linux.

What are your favorite Linux applications? Share them in the comments below. Thanks in advance for offering your thoughts.

Switching from OS X to Linux

Speaking of new Linux users, there's another thread on Reddit that explores how to switch from OS X to Linux.

I've been using a macbook/ibook in a variety of formats for (hand waving) some 8 years now and having finally had a fiddle with a modern distro on a desktop of some power, I'm pondering taking a step into the unknown and picking a linux based laptop as my next purchase (possibly an XPS, although I covet very much the Google Chromebook Pixel, but this all for later research).

Has anyone switched over wholesale recently? Any tips/tricks or big caveats worth noting?

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I have a couple of Macs at home, so I'm frequently switching back and forth between OS X and Linux. So to me it's rather old hat, but I can see Linux might feel a bit daunting to someone coming from OS X who hasn't used Linux before.

No worries though, these days there are so many great desktop distros that there's something for everybody, including OS X switchers. If you're considering switching to Linux from OS X, you might want to install VirtualBox on your Mac.

VirtualBox is free and open source, so it won't cost you anything to try it. VirtualBox will also let you begin installing Linux distros to see which ones you like best. This will let you get your feet wet with Linux before buying or building a Linux computer and doing the switch.

After you get VirtualBox installed, head over to DistroWatch to find distros that might work well for you as a replacement for OS X. Check the Page Hit Ranking box in the right sidebar to see popular Linux distributions. That will give you a good place to start finding the distro that suits you best.

Switching to Linux from Windows 7

Since I mentioned switching from OS X, there's another Reddit thread about switching to Linux from Windows 7.

Sorry if this is a repeating question on this subreddit but I am an exclusive Windows user over the last ten years or so, I have no programming knowledge but I have built my own PC a few times and can do basic problem solving to fix problems with my PC.

Is switching from Windows 7 to a Linux distro easy? What will I miss the most? My machine is mostly for browsing the web and gaming. I heard lots of games are not available on Linux? Which Distro is the best for me? Will it be a huge headache to start now?

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My advice to Windows 7 users is the same as it is for OS X users. Install VirtualBox, then check out some distros in it before doing an actual install to your hard disk to switch to Linux. Once you get some experience with Linux, you'll be much more confident about which distro to use and how to install and configure it.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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