Best open source tutorials of 2014

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How did you learn how to use open source software? Chances are, you grabbed a Linux live CD or live USB. Maybe you got your hands on the installation package for an interesting piece of software. Then you experimented. You reveled in making mistakes, learned from them, and then repeated the cycle again.

That doesn’t work for everyone. And no matter who you are, a tutorial or how-to that walks you through a more challenging task is a boon. Let's take a look back at some of the best guides that appeared on in 2014.

Play with images and sounds

Photos are fine, but sometimes you want to add an extra bit of personality and panache to your snapshots. One way to do that is to create a vector graphic from that photo. Kimberley Keyes walks you through the process of doing that with Inkscape.

The next pick seems a bit biased, seeing as how I wrote it. Originally written in 2006, it's an article that has stood the test of time: Cleaning up your digital audio with Audacity. In it I explain how the functions and settings to use to remove noise from your recordings.

Manage files and passwords

Many of us use one online storage service or another. But getting those services to work with each other, and on your desktop, can be tricky. If not labour intensive. In this tutorial, Jiri Folta explains how to use an instance of ownCloud to integrate Dropbox or Google Drive with the GNOME desktop.

How many passwords do you have? More than you can remember, I bet. And there are any number of ways to manage those passwords. If you like having control of your information and don't mind working at the command line, then you'll want to give Pass a try.

Embrace your inner geek

One of the hottest technologies right now is OpenStack, a set of software tools for building and managing cloud computing platforms. OpenStack is very flexible, as's Jason Baker explains. In this tutorial, Baker takes you through getting WordPress 4.0 up and running on an instance of OpenStack.

A technology that's closely tied to OpenStack is Docker. Chances are you've heard more than a little about Docker. You might even be eager to get working with it. To ease yourself into it, you'll want to dive in with this tutorial on getting started with Docker by Vincent Batts. You'll not only learn the basic concepts behind Docker, but also get your hands dirty using it.

Speaking of Docker, Daniel J Walsh explains how to give users permission to use Docker in Fedora. Walsh clears up some confusion in the Fedora documentation, and explains each command that you need to run to do the job.

Go beyond technology

One of the keys to the success of open source is community. Building and maintaining a community can be tough, but you need to.'s Jason Hibbets shares 5 ways to keep open source communities engaged. It's great advice distilled from the experience of almost 30 community managers from Mozilla, Open Source Institute, Puppet Labs, Chef, and other organizations.

Finally, after a long day of coding or working with your favorite application, you might want to unwind with a refreshing beverage. Tarus Balog, CEO of OpenNMS, shared this recipe for a cocktail called Life is Beautiful. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite tutorial or how-to from the past year? Feel free to share it in the comments.

That idiot Scott Nesbitt ...
I'm a long-time user of free/open source software, and write various things for both fun and profit. I don't take myself all that seriously and I do all of my own stunts.

1 Comment

Some nice tutorials there! Thanks.

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