How do I find out about Linux software?
Posing this question is the most common event when people get together to discuss Linux, and its family of open source software. This presentation is not to answer any questions, but rather to point to places on the Internet where you can find your own answers.
For the most part, I have tried to keep URL's simple. The first part is to answer questions about Linux programs you may wish to run. The second part is how to get information about Linux the operating system. If you are generally curious, try Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux
When you install Linux, a great many options are offered, and the default install often sees a great many program names flash by. What are these programs? Are there others I should install? We'll look at a couple of approaches (aside from spending money on a book, which might not be a bad idea).
If you are lazy, writers do often suggest what you can use. For example in the January 2007 issue of Monitor, Paul Godin had the following list:
Linux: Ubuntu or Kubuntu
A couple of items not in this list:
File sharing: Samba
There is a site that attempts to map from Windows programs to Linux programs, the Linux equivalency project, http://www.linuxeq.com.
Issues do arise with Linux, and I will mention four:
IBM has a Windows to Linux roadmap at: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-roadmap.html
Which distribution of Linux should you use? I prefer using a major distribution. The current most popular one may be Ubuntu, http://www.ubuntu.com. Others are Suse, http://en.opensuse.org or Red Hat Fedora http://fedora.redhat.com. The major distros generally are integrated with all sorts of useful programs, rather than you having to manually download them. If my list is not big enough, try looking at http://distrowatch.com.
Next, a note on windowing. Early versions of Linux were command line only; then installing a GUI became an option. Now the default is windowed. Note that the GUI environments of Microsoft and Apple are different based on different design philosophies. Linux has two major options for its GUI, Gnome and KDE. Again, Wikipedia has some comments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_environment. Linus Torvalds prefers KDE but the choice is almost a religious issue.
Finally, don't forget our local Linux group, the Ottawa Canada Linux Users Group, OCLUG, http://www.oclug.on.ca