My Favorite Linux Applications and Desktops: Page 2

Forget the headlines. It's the everyday Linux apps that make free and open source software something to celebrate.


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The default icon set also includes GIMP and LibreOffice. GIMP is there primarily for editing screen shots, and LibreOffice for formatting rather than writing. When I have time in the new year, Krita may replace GIMP, mainly so that I can give it the through testing I've been meaning to do.

Main is rounded off with Kontact, KDE's one-stop window for Kmail, address books, and calendars. I appreciate being able to switch between different types of personal information without switching windows, which is why I endure Kmail's occasional vagaries.

Also included on main are Firefox and Amarok, the music player that comes closer to the experience of a physical CD than anything else I've met. Main also includes a Trash widget at the bottom right, where long ago exposure to a Mac conditioned me to expect it.

The Shell Activity is for command line work. It contains icons for Konsole, KDE's versatile virtual terminal, and for GIMP for screen shots. I don't need more, so no other icons or widgets are necessary.

favorite Linux apps

These days, I avoid most games in order to get work done, so the Game Activity consists mostly of games that can be played in twenty minutes or less. GNU Backgammon gets regular play when I want to stop writing and think. So do Pysol, with its hundreds of solitaire variations; Tanglet, a Boggle clone, and gweled, a Bejeweled clone.

I sometimes start the day with a couple of games of Pioneers, which, like the Settlers of Catan that it imitates, is simple to learn, but always different. I tell myself that it helps to focus my mind, and at times I almost convince myself.

At the end of the day, I might play Palapeli, KDE's puzzle game which can work with any graphic, or Kahjongg, KDE's version of true Mahongg (by which I mean the gin rummy-like game, not the simple matching game that usually goes by that name).

When I have a little extra time, I may indulge in a Battle of Wesnoth campaign, which is typically divided into scenarios, each of which can be played in less than an hour. The trick, of course, is to stop at one scenario so I don't waste an entire afternoon or evening.

Showing appreciation

By Linux standards, I use a mundane set of tools. Probably, at least three-quarters of the ones I favor are used by anyone who runs KDE, while the other quarter is used by anyone who runs a Linux desktop. I might also run more widgets, but the truth is, I prefer a desktop that is no more cluttered than necessary for getting work done.

However, what strikes me when I list my preferred apps is their universal high quality. Not only does free software have enough alternatives that I can pick and choose what I need, but many of my work habits would be impossible outside of free software.

The headlines may get gloomy sometimes, the way they did in 2014, but the software remains something I can rely on.

Instead of dwelling on the gloomy year, I think I'll track down some of the projects on my desktops, and donate to them. And if you are as appreciative as I am, maybe you would consider doing the same?

Also see: Best Linux Desktop: Top 10 Candidates

The 9 Best Linux Distros

100 Open Source Replacements for Expensive Applications

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Tags: Linux, Linux desktop, KDE, Linux apps

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