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Some great Linux Distros to start with:

  • Ubuntu Mate
  • Linux Mint
  • MX Linux
  • Manjaro XFCE
  • Elementary OS
  • Solus
  • Pop OS

Favorite Linux Software


  • Zim Wiki : My favorite writing program. Great for journals and notes, and it saves the whole structure in plain text files so you can access them directly if you like. In every Linux distro software center that I’ve checked.
  • Atom – a solid editor.
  • Builder – in the Ubuntu Software Center. Also I’ve met the guy who develops this, and he’s a nice dude, so I like using his software.
  • FocusWriter – in the Ubuntu Software Center
  • QOwnNotes – in the Ubuntu Software Center
  • PS Notes – a charming, minimal notes editor that works with plain text or markdown.

I have a special addiction to pretty Markdown editors. My favorite is the Mac only, closed-source Ulysses (sorry). So the quest continues for the optimum thing. But these are lovely, just not the full writing suite that Ulysses is.

I know there are other note taking systems out there, but I don’t like anything I can’t edit in a different program, so that means I only like .txt or .md files. There are lovely ones out there, but they don’t meet that requirement, so I don’t use them.

  • Abricotine
  • Ghostwriter
  • Typora – Sadly, not open source. But this one is nice because it has a file list on the side, and you can edit the theme CSS files, so I can write in my favorite mono font.

RSS Reader

  • QuiteRSS
  • Liferea – in the Ubuntu Software Center
  • Akgregator
  • Newsblur - an online RSS feed. I use it and it’s great.



  • RawTherapee – A nice photo editor for for detailed color and lighting adjustments. I like that I can save presets and apply them to each photo quickly when I’m touching up contrast and such on a bunch of photos. – In most software centers
  • Krita – Image editor.
  • GIMP – Image editor.


  • Pithos – A most excellent Pandora music player. You still have to go to the web site to do major station editing, but Pithos doesn’t play the ads (don’t tell anyone). – In the Ubuntu Software Center at least.


  • KMyMoney – A very nice, solid finance program. In the Ubuntu Software Center.


File Management

  • Syncthing – local file syncronization


  • ZuluCrypt - my current favorite, serves the same function as VeraCrypt.
  • VeraCrypt – Create an encrypted file bundle
  • KeePassX – Password manager

Internet Services

  • Posteo – Privacy-centric email service. Works great with Thunderbird or other email program.
  • Protonmail – Even more privacy-centric email service, webmail only at the moment.

Super Handy Utilities

  • GParted – Partition Management
  • Etcher – Making bootable USB drives for Linux installations and the like

Other Things

  • Open Source Astrology – if you like a little woo and want a Linux astrology program, this is great. It draws a nice chart, but leaves it up to you to know all the symbols. It’s possible this has been abandoned, but I’m leaving it up just in case.