Linux software suggestions

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Sun Sep 20 20:50:02 EDT 2015

AndyP wrote:

> I'm about to turn a Dell 5150 which is sitting collecting dust into my very
> first Linux based machine!
> This will be an open source software only machine.
> I've always been Windows based so have decided to go for Mint with Cinnamon
> distro as it looks like it will be easier for me to transition too.
> Apart from LiveCode Community what others Open source software would those
> of you who are Linux based recommend?

I use Ubuntu, initially because it's what my customers were using when 
they were asking for a Linux version of one of my apps.  Over time I've 
come to appreciate that it's the most popular desktop distro, so as a 
developer I find that comforting.   But over time I've met many of the 
people who make it, so using it feels like something made by friends, 
like having a neighbor bring over a loaf of fresh-baked bread.

But that's the beauty of Linux:  it's all made my friends, people who 
are for the most part easily reachable, and by the nature of their work 
predisposed to sharing. And the work is done within project structures 
where you can lend a hand if you're so inclined, in just about any way 
that matches your skill set, not just code but also design, docs, and 
more - just as we're beginning to do in the LiveCode community.

Mint is also a great distro, and Cinnamon gets consistently good 
reviews.  Hard to go wrong there.  That's another great thing about 
Linux:  so many different flavors, with so many different options for 
setting it up, that everyone gets exactly what they want.

> E.g. best email client, office suite, ftp client, graphics prog, browser,
> etc..etc..

For email I switched to Thunderbird a decade ago, back when my work was 
done almost exclusively on Mac.  It's available for Windows and Linux 
too, and uses the same standards-based mbox format on all three 
platforms so you can move your email from OS to OS easily if you need to.

Office suite:  LibreOffics, hands down.  It's a fork of Open Office 
(after Ellison bought Sun and starting creeping people out with this 
FOSS management), and today has far more contributors than Open Office. 
  LibreOffice is a great package, pre-installed with Ubuntu and probably 
with Mint as well.  And you're in good company:  the most recent 
large-scale convert to LibreOffice is the Italian Ministry of Defense, 
who just moved 150,000 desktops from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice:

FTP: FileZilla.  Annoying UI in some respects, but also configurable to 
become much more useful and cleaner than its default layout.

Graphics:  GIMP is a truly great tool, more than capable of handling the 
needs of probably 90% of Photoshop users if only they'd earnestly give 
it a try.

A relative newcomer to Linux graphics is Krita - gorgeous UI, probably 
closer to Painter in its focus than to Photoshop, well worth exploring.

For vector graphics try Inkscape.  I've met the lead dev at the SoCal 
Linux Expo, a hard-working yet humble man who's put some wonderful 
capabilities into the package, with a strong following keeping it 
growing nicely.  Like GIMP it's also available for OS X and Windows, so 
you can use one format on all platforms.

Browsers: Only IE and Safari are platform-specific.  Chrome, Firefox, 
Opera, Dolphin and others are multi-platform.  Use whatever you enjoy. 
I split my time between Chrome and Firefox myself.

Text Editing:  Lately I've gone back to Geany, but my needs are modest 
enough that I'm considering pulling a half-baked text editor I started 
in LiveCode out of the archives to see if I can find time to flesh that 
out into a usable state as well (it'd be nice to have one editor for LC 
desktop, LC Server, JavaScript, HTML, bash, and more, all in one tidy 
simple package that works exactly as I want it to).  But there are many 
available, and no matter which GUI one you use there's good reason to 
explore at least Nano for editing files on remote servers, or learning 
vim or emacs if you have time.  But don't be ashamed of using the humble 
Nano, it's a decent command-line editor with a close-to-zero learning curve.

> Also how is LiveCode doing with 64bit Linux, any problems or parity issues?

Yes, 64-bit for all the reasons others have noted here.

Please keep us posted on how your Linux explorations go.  Part of the 
reason I got started with Linux was to shake the cobwebs out of my head 
after spending too many decades with just one OS, a chance to think 
really different.  I hope you find your Linux adventure as rewarding.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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