Linux probably needs no introduction. The Linux kernel is at the heart of numerous Linux distributions that run on desktops, laptops, and servers. The Android operating system for mobile phones also uses the Linux kernel. In short, Linux is almost everywhere.
While the "year of the Linux desktop" is often regarded as a pipedream, many people happily use a Linux distribution as their desktop computer operating system of choice. Some of the articles published on Opensource.com in 2020 reflect that fact. Over the past year, many writers shared their Linux experience, and several of them focused on desktop Linux.
Below, I take a look at Opensource.com's top 10 Linux articles from 2020. From working with the terminal to switching from Mac to Linux and much more, these articles provide a wealth of information about Linux.
Why I switched from Mac to Linux
Lee Tusman shares the reasons why he switched from Mac to Linux. A Mac user for 25 years, Tusman made the switch after using Raspberry Pis, very old laptops rescued from the trash, and a work-issued Dell laptop that dual-boots Windows and Linux. Tusman shares his thoughts about the difference between macOS and Linux, explores specific Linux software packages, and concludes that a switch back to Mac is not in his future.
20 productivity tools for the Linux terminal
Alan Smithee covers 20 ways to improve your productivity in the Linux terminal. This is a compilation of articles from a series Kevin Sonney wrote about a variety of Linux utilities. This summary article breaks down the utilities Kevin wrote about into categories: file sync, email management, calendar and contacts, to-do lists, keep in touch, keep informed, and keep that terminal open. Each of Sonney's source articles is linked to provide more information.
5 ways to split your Linux terminal
Learn how to divide your Linux terminal in this article by Opensource.com editor Seth Kenlon. There are various ways to split a terminal into different subsections for working on various tasks, and this article compares how tmux, GNU Screen, KDE's Konsole, Emacs, and various window managers do it. Kenlon also provides definitions pointing out the distinction between shells, terminals, and consoles.
What's your favorite Linux distribution?
The 7th annual Opensource.com Linux distribution poll asked readers about their favorite Linux distribution. The poll options ranged from old favorites to some of the newest distributions, like System76's Pop!_OS. Like most Opensource.com polls, this one generated a healthy discussion in the comments, with many, many people sharing the reasons why they prefer their favorite distribution.
Give an old MacBook new life with Linux
Don Watkins teaches how to bring an old MacBook back to life with Linux. By installing Elementary OS Hera on his old MacBook Air, Watkins made a machine that was too old to run macOS Mojave into a perfectly usable system for his needs. The features of Elementary OS are explored throughout this article, as Watkins shares his thoughts about the distribution's various features. Watkins' tour of Elementary OS is very positive; he was clearly pleased with his experience.
4 Linux distributions for gaming
Gaming on Linux has made some incredible improvements in recent years, and Seth Kenlon's 4 Linux distributions for gaming outlines some of your options. The four distributions—SteamOS, Lakka, Pop!_OS, and Drauger OS—covered in this article have been part of those improvements. Kenlon provides overviews of each option as well as the benefits each distribution offers for gaming. He also provides a fifth option—the Linux of your choice—which really underlines just how far gaming on Linux has come. Gaming on very conservative distributions like CentOS and RHEL is possible thanks to a Flatpak installer for Steam.
Unboxing the latest Linux laptop from System76
Matthew Broberg shares his thoughts about his first moments with a new System76 Linux laptop. Making the transition from Mac user to Linux user after joining the Opensource.com team, Broberg purchased a Lemur Pro from System76. His unboxing tour covers everything from the box itself to the specifics of his new laptop. This is a solid overview of the thought and care System76 puts into its Linux laptops.
Bypass your Linux firewall with SSH over HTTP
Domarys shows how to use ShellHub to bypass your Linux firewall. ShellHub is "a cloud server that allows universal access to […] devices, from any external network." It allows the use of SSH over the HTTP protocol, which makes it easier to securely access remote devices in a time where remote work has become extremely common. Domarys demonstrates the steps required to set up ShellHub, add a device, and access a device.
5 productivity apps for Linux
Scott Nesbitt covers 5 productivity apps for Linux. They are Envelope, a simple utility for managing a budget; Notes-Up, a note-taking application; Yishu, a to-do list application; Reminduck, a utility to provide reminder notification; and Quilter, a Markdown editor. All five of these applications are available in Elementary OS's Elementary AppCenter. Three of them, Envelope, Notes-Up, and Quilter, are pay-what-you-want applications; if you want to support the developer, you can pay for the app right in AppCenter.
How to create a personal file server with SSH on Linux
Jim Hall explains the process for setting up a personal file server with SSH on Linux. He shows how to enable the SSH daemon on a Fedora Linux system and connect to the remote system to share files. Instructions are provided for using GNOME's file manager to connect to the remote system, but they are generic enough to be easily transferable to other file managers that support SSH connections.
What would you like to know about Linux in 2021? Share your ideas in the comments, or consider sharing your Linux expertise by writing an article for Opensource.com.