The Linux Roadmap
for the little & big ones
Linux or GNU/Linux
What is Linux simply explained?
Linux is an operating system core that was originally created as a hobby project by Finnish student Linus Torvalds in 1991 and is based on a Unix-like operating system that can usually be downloaded completely free of charge. It is used on many servers, IoT devices, cars, supercomputers worldwide, and is also gaining more and more fans in the desktop market. And especially on older computers on which Windows or macOS no longer works properly, Linux can save these devices from the scrap heap!
– Licensing of the Linux kernel –
What license does Linux have?
Linux is open source and released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This means that any user can run, analyze, share and modify the software. The modified source code may even be redistributed and resold (but only under the same license). However, the trademark of the name “Linux” belongs to its creator Linus Torvalds.
At this point, it should be clear to every reader here that Linux differs significantly from conventional, proprietary operating systems such as macOS and Windows. And the source code in Linux, in contrast to these proprietary systems, is “free” to view and you can find and close any security gaps more quickly.
– Optimization & Reorganization –
What are the benefits of the Linux operating system?
Minimize electronic waste
With Linux you can reuse old or outdated computer systems as a game console, learning computer, router, backup server and much more.
Increase in productivity
Specially optimized Linux versions offer a minimalist user interface with many useful functions and improve the workflow.
Reduction of operating costs
You may pay lower fees for special licenses or additional services and can usually continue to use all functions.
How you customize your system, which applications you add or remove, how you want to design your desktop – it’s all up to you with Linux.
Unlike other operating systems, Linux runs on many different hardware platforms, such as B. on PowerPC, Intel, AMD and many others.
High security & stability
Linux systems crash less often and offer better protection against malware such as viruses, Trojans and other pests compared to other operating systems.
– Search for distributions on Distrowatch –
Which Linux distribution do you recommend?
Many Linux newcomers are often completely overwhelmed with the large number of different Linux distributions or make the big mistake of letting other people or members of a community or group talk them into a certain Linux distribution and then later wonder why that the selected Linux distribution is not properly designed for the intended area of application.
Because in the Linux world there are not only different Linux distributions, but also other desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE or XFCE, some of which not only differ from one another in terms of operation and basic optics, but they also work differently to the respective system resources such as the main memory.
And for this reason, you should definitely inquire beforehand which Linux distribution is best suited for your system with the respective desktop environment, so that your computer really works afterwards!
You can get a very nice overview of current Linux distributions on the website: DistroWatch.
– Set up the Linux system –
3 steps to the complete Linux system:
Before you start testing or installing your chosen Linux distribution, be sure to back up your data completely and move the backup to an external hard drive.
Next, you need an ISO file from the respective Linux distribution and then create a working USB stick if you want to install the Linux distribution directly on the computer.
Testing & Installing
If your Linux distribution offers an option where you can start a live session, then please use that variant first to see if everything is working properly before installing it on the system.
*Note: Improper implementation can have negative consequences such as data loss or system failures! Please test the respective Linux distribution first in a virtual machine and not directly on a productive system.
A small list
Popular applications on Linux?
As you may have noticed from various sources, there are some good alternatives on Linux that can also keep up well with the programs in the Windows and macOS world. However, there are also special applications on the market for which there is no really good Linux alternative!
But you don’t have to worry directly at this point, because there are nice software and hardware solutions under Linux to get these applications running under Linux as well. However, you should definitely bring some Linux knowledge with you, otherwise it can be very time-consuming and frustrating for you.
For this reason, I have put together a small list of applications that should be completely sufficient for most people, for example to be able to book future vacation trips under Linux.
Presentation of websites
Mozilla Firefox is a functional web browser which, for example, is available to the user after installation under Ubuntu and openSUSE Aeon and, unlike other browsers, has no financial interest in tracking your activities on the web.
Because the application is supported by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, whose goal is to preserve the Internet as a global, public resource accessible to all.
And the basic functions are also completely sufficient and can be expanded with this web browser by so-called extensions and themes, whereby Firefox can be adapted to your own needs and therefore my personal favorite if you choose the right browser.
E-Mail and Groupware program
It also offers outstanding e-mail functionality and combines speed, data protection and the latest technology.
And similar to Mozilla Firefox, you can use add-ons (extensions and themes) to change the number of functions and the appearance of Thunderbird on the fly.
Office suite for office activities
LibreOffice is an excellent open source office suite that offers a simple interface and smart tools that can improve your productivity.
The Office suite includes the following applications such as Writer (Word processing), Impress (Presentations), Calc (Spreadsheets), Draw (Flow charts and drawings), Math (Formula editor) and Base (Databases).
And it has a PDF editing option that works well in most scenarios and you can also save your documents in various formats like DOC, PPT, XSL, etc.
Password Manager with Browser Support
KeePassXC is a modern, secure and open-source password manager that allows you to locally store and manage sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, URLs, attachments and notes in an offline encrypted file.
But you also have the option of storing this file in a private or public cloud, thus reducing the likelihood of a total loss of your password database!
In addition, KeePassXC offers an integrated search function and a user-friendly password generator, with which you can easily create passwords with any combination of characters or easy-to-remember passphrases.
The Yubico Authenticator securely generates time-based and counter-based codes on a hardware-backed security key that is used to verify your identity online when you log into various services.
However, as already mentioned, you need a USB- or NFC-enabled YubiKey to reduce the likelihood of one of your accounts being taken over by third parties on the Internet.
Because especially recently there have been reports of successful cyber attacks on private individuals, companies and educational institutions that have not used 2-factor authentication to log in to certain services such as YouTube!
Editing of pictures
GIMP with the PhotoGimp extension
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is the most widely used open source image manipulation program that provides some functions for image manipulation and digital painting of raster graphics.
In addition, GIMP can now compete with very expensive commercial image editing programs such as Photoshop from Adobe, since it requires less RAM and hard disk space on your PC.
And you can extend the basic functions of GIMP at any time by installing additional plugins or you can take a look at the PhotoGIMP project. Because with PhotoGimp, the Photoshop user interface is added under GIMP and it brings with it more new fonts and the shortcuts known from Photoshop for easier operation.
Creation of vector graphics
Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics creation and editing application.
In addition to generating graphics using geometric tools, the software can also automatically vectorize bitmaps and is ideal for creating logos, vector art, technical diagrams, business cards, lettering and comics.
In addition, Inkscape comes with a very user-friendly interface that remains intuitive and clear for the user despite the many functions!
3D graphics suite for creatives
Blender is a free GPL-licensed 3D graphics suite that gives you access to the entire 3D pipeline – modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.
You can also use the Blender API to create Python scripts to customize specific applications and you can also write special tools yourself.
However, you should know that you need some time with this program until you can implement really complex projects with it, since Blender has a very steep learning curve!
Creation of 3D models
FreeCAD is an open-source 3D parametric modeler to design real-world objects of any size, and with parametric modeling you can even refactor your design in a very simple way, going back to the model history and manipulating its parameters.
It also houses many useful functions and tools such as modern finite element analysis (FEA) and also supports many open file formats such as STEP, IGES, STL, SVG, DXF, OBJ, IFC, DAE and much more.
This automatically makes FreeCAD the Swiss army knife for engineers and makers from a wide variety of fields, such as the automotive industry.
Creation of g-codes for the 3d printer
Furthermore, it is compatible with many modern printers such as the Original Prusa MINI+ or Creality Ender 5 and also works with Mach3, LinuxCNC and Machinekit controllers.
I myself like to use the PrusaSlicer in combination with the PrusaLink for my 3D printing projects, as these two software solutions are easy and intuitive to use.
Application for screen recording
OBS Studio is a free software with cross-platform support and is usually used by streamers to share the screen content of a PC with other people over the Internet or to create video recordings.
Also, this program is equipped with an extensive API that allows plugin developers to further customize the software and integrate their own functions.
This allows you to integrate additional functions into OBS Studio or you can build your own extensions on your own.
In any case, I use OBS Studio to create my live streams on YouTube and for my online meetings with Jitsi and Co., because I use the special Virtual Camera function to be able to use my green screen properly.
Video Editor with Multitrack Editing
Kdenlive is a free, open-source and powerful video editor that not only allows you to create professional-quality videos, but also supports all major video formats and has a wide range of features to use to create amazing projects.
Educational software for learning
GCompris is free educational software for kindergartens and elementary schools. The target group is children from 2 to 10 years old and is available in multiple languages and platforms.
It was released under the GNU GPLv3 license and originally developed for GNU/Linux.
And to give you a better idea of this fantastic application, here is a list of the activity-categories with some examples:
- Discovery of the computer: keyboard, mouse, touch screen…
- Reading: Letters, words, reading practice, typing…
- Arithmetic: Numbers, arithmetic, memory, enumerations, tables …
- Science: The lock, the water cycle, renewable energies …
- Geography: Countries, regions, culture…
- Games: Chess, memory, connect four, hangman, tic-tac-toe…
- Other: Colors, shapes, Braille, learning the time…
- … and much more!
Platform for computer games
Steam is a commercial distribution platform for computer games and is constantly being further developed by the company Valve Corporation and has also been available for Linux since February 14, 2013.
A growing number of AAA games are also becoming playable on Linux, as Valve allows such Windows applications to run using Proton, a special fork of Wine.
However, user access is required to be able to use Steam at all and this can be created via the website if you do not already have an account.
Windows-software under Linux
Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator)
Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) allows Windows applications to run on POSIX-compliant operating systems such as Linux, macOS, and BSD.
It translates the Windows API calls to corresponding POSIX calls in real time without simulating the internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or an emulator!
This has already saved me a lot of time and money in the past, since I no longer have to look after a second system in order to be able to continue using my special CAD applications such as Fusion 360 or SolidWorks. (See projects!)
– MY REVIEWS –
Feedback from previous clients.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) BuckiCompany
Amazing performance with Autodesk Fusion 360 on Linux, the pointer is absolutely accurate and it runs almost as well as on Windows! Good job and thank you very much.
IoT & Embedded Systems Nerd. Occasionally Arts.
Thank you, my CAD application has been the only reason I’ve had to get Windows up and running in a virtual environment so far. Now I can live Windows free!
BSc in Computer Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
I just managed to get Fusion 360 running again with your help on my old computer (4GB RAM and i5-3317U) as Linux is better at using the available resources!