The Linux software that users should know about


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rEFInd is a utility for computers with uefi to get OS booted. Simplist way to use it is to go to shimmy down to sub title (and link) usb flashdrive . When you have downloaded and unzipped file you will see a refind-flashdrive-0.12.0.img file

use dd command to burn that to a usb stick. Boot from that stick and it will give yo ua choice of OS's it can boot up

I used it to boot Windows and Slackware that was using elilo ; so quite a useful rescue tool to get an un-bootable os up and running


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VirtualBow is a bow designer program. It allows you to simulate "the draw curve, limb deformation, stresses, arrow velocity and degree of efficiency." (from the official website)


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Stellarium - astronomy/planetarium program. Available in many Linux repos, also as AppImage, also 32/64-bit Windows, also Mac OSX.

DOSBox - DOS emulator. Good for old DOS games and many other older applications. Available in many Linux repos, also Windows and Mac OSX.


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Here are some lesser known terminal-based goodies:

ag - aka the silver searcher. A multithreaded/parallel grep on steroids. Should be in the repos of all major distros.

dtrx- aka Do The Right Extract - a python script that allows you to decompress any archive in the terminal, without having to remember which switches to use. Requires you to have appropriate tools installed to deal with whatever file types you want to extract. But works with pretty much every archive format! Can be installed via your distros repos, or via pip/pip3.

cmus- lightweight, terminal-based music player with library management features, playlist management. Works with pretty much every audio format, including internet radio streams.
Available in the repos of most distros. Can also be built and installed from source.

I've been using cmus for donkeys years now. I even use it on Windows at work, running under cygwin. I've recently been thinking about collecting together and publishing all of the scripts and bash aliases and other shortcuts I use to control cmus on my laptop and on my work PC.

tuir - terminal based client for Reddit, written in ruby
Install using gem.

t - terminal based client for Twitter written in ruby
Install using gem.

sent - a simple tool from, for creating full-screen presentations in plain-text using the Takahashi presentation method. Think of it as a super-lightweight version of libreoffice-impress, or powerpoint.
It uses a simple text markup to create presentations, you can use images, or text. If your presentation is in UTF-8 format, you can use emoji's too.

Another good thing about sent is - if you run it without passing it a file - it will read input from stdin and you can manually enter some text to build some slides and when you press ctrl+d, sent will display your presentation.

In presentation mode - you can use the space-bar to move to the next slide. You can use the arrow keys, or vim style keybinds to move between slides. And pressing q ends the presentation.

Sent has come in handy a few times when I've unexpectedly been asked to present something at a meeting. I can quickly open a text editor (or just open sent) in the terminal and create a presentation in a few minutes.

Very simple and extremely effective, you can create a professional presentation without a need for fancy transitions, or wipes, or any other shiny nonsense!

Sent requires Farbfeld - suckless's lightweight, lossless image compression library.
Sent and Farbfeld should be available in the repos of all major distros. But if they aren't in your repos - being from suckless, they both have minimal build dependencies and are fairly easy to build and install from source.

Whilst I'm on the subject - I love suckless's software and their philosophy of less is more.
I love dwm - their tiling wm. And I virtually live in the terminal.

There are a few other really good bits of suckless software that I can also recommend:

st - Simple Terminal - I use this as my default terminal emulator in dwm.
Again, it's simple and lightweight. It works with any shell (bash, ash, dash, zsh, ksh, fish etc.).
One slight drawback with st is that it doesn't have any scroll-bars, or scroll-back features. So there's no way of scrolling back through previous screens of terminal output. But I usually use tmux in st and use tmux's scrollback mechanisms to achieve this instead..

tabbed is another handy tool. I use this to run st in tabs, so I can simultaneously run and connect to multiple tmux sessions, inside a single tabbed window. Tabbed can also be used to provide a tabbed interface for surf - suckless's lightweight browser.

Then there's dmenu - suckless's lightweight, text-based desktop menu/application launcher. If you use dwm, you need dmenu to be able to launch programs. Dmenu is also used as the main menu for several other tiling wm's (i3, xmonad etc.) and is even used as an alternative menu/launcher by some distros that use Openbox.

All of the suckless software I've mentioned should be available in the repos of most distros. But it's also worth noting again that ALL of suckless's software has minimal build dependencies - so if any of them are not available - they are pretty easy to build and install from source too!

Finally, on the GUI side of things:
DrumBurp - a QT/python based, cross-platform, drum-tab editor. I've been using this for years too. It is really easy to use. It supports using odd time signatures and odd-note-groupings.
It can export tabs as text-files, or as .pdf.

And if you have lilypond installed - you can export your Drumburp tabs to .pdf as proper sheet music. Which is much better looking than a text based tab. And much easier to read when it's sat on your music stand!

Drumburp is not pre-packaged for any distros, so check out their website. And lilypond is available in the repos of pretty much all distros.

I'm sure there are plenty more I can think of, but this is getting TLDR; !! Ha ha!
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