5 Websites Every Linux User Should Bookmark


Larry Ewing and The GIMP

There is no shortage of Linux websites that hype the trendiest distributions (distros) and use the latest developer drama. To help you avoid the noise, we’ve put together a few sites worth your time that offer relevant news, helpful information, or both.

If you like to play games, GamingOnLinux is a great source of news on all things gaming on Linux and SteamOS. Subscribe to the website’s RSS feed and hear about new games coming to Linux, exciting updates to games with native Linux support, and the availability of non-Linux titles through Proton and Wine. Game reviews occasionally appear in their feed as well.

If you’re a fan of statistics, GamingOnLinux also has a few pages that run through the figures on Linux adoption among gamers and the devices they use. The Statistics page uses data from registered website members to assess the popularity of certain Linux distributions, desktop environments, hardware, and drivers (within the GamingOnLinux community). The Steam Tracker Page highlights Linux’s market share on the Steam platform, another item GamingOnLinux reports on regularly.

Want to save some money? In addition to following Linux game salesGamingOnLinux also maintains a database of free games available for Linux, and you can filter them by genre. Conscientious gamers can also filter games by license, meaning you can steer clear of closed-source software. Be free!

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The eternal question for Linux users: “Can I run my favorite Windows program on Linux?” If there is no Linux native version of a particular Windows app, Wine is probably your solution, and AppDB is your tool for estimating how well Wine will work for you. This is where users report their experiences using Windows software through Wine, and from those experiences each app gets an overall rating.

Let’s say you want to use the much-loved photo editing software Photoshop on your new Linux desktop. You can download and install Wine, and while you wait, locate Photoshop on AppDB. Find the version of Photoshop you want to use and you’ll see an overall rating along with specific comments from test results, specific distributions used, user comments (which often contain helpful hints), and known bugs.

Also important is ProtonDB, something like a sister site to AppDB. The Proton Compatibility Tool is Valve’s solution for running Windows-only Steam games on Linux (and it basically uses Wine under the hood). ProtonDB, like AppDB, provides a database of ratings and reviews for game performance under Proton.

Let’s say you just bought a new, brand new laptop, or you upgraded your PC with an advanced GPU. Surprise! You can’t run Linux on it because no support for your hardware has been added to the kernel. You will have to watch and wait for that support to arrive. But how do you know when that will happen? You could try every kernel patch that comes in, you could be lurking in the kernel development email chains, or you could just look at the Phoronix feed.

Phoronix reports on many Linux and open source software topics, but the kernel progress breakdown on the site can be of particular help. While some of the technical jargon may be challenging for non-developers, it’s not hard to find what you need to know once you have the name of your hardware.

If you’re looking for hardware, Phoronix also regularly posts performance benchmark results and ratings for processors, GPUs, peripherals, and more. Premium Phoronix subscribers can get a cleaner website experience and participate in the active community of Linux hardware enthusiasts.

RELATED: What Is Open Source Software, and Why Is It Important?

Are you non-committal about your current Linux distribution? It’s okay; there are resources for you. DistroWatch will let you know when a better distro comes out, with updates for every Linux (and BSD) release. You’ll also find distro reviews (both external and onsite) so you can get a more or less informed perspective on potential distro hopping targets.

If you want to know which distros are generating the most hype, you can check their Page Hit Rank page. Linux’s penchant for privacy means judging distro popularity isn’t an easy task, but at least the rankings show you what DistroWatch customers like to click on. You can also stay ahead of the trends by their Waiting listwhere you’ll find distros so fresh they haven’t been added to the DistroWatch canon (and, we should add, might not be safe).

Additionally, DistroWatch’s various sidebars provide links to Linux podcasts, newsletters, and tutorials. Can all the information be overwhelming? Yes. If you just want to see how the most popular distributions differ, we’ve got our own guide for that.

Not everyone uses Arch, so why should every Linux user bookmark the? ArchWiki? Because it is arguably the most comprehensive database of instructions and information about using Linux on the web. If you’re trying to troubleshoot an app or make a system tweak, you’ll likely find help on ArchWiki. Many of the tools and concepts discussed in the wiki, such as PulseAudio and systemd, exist in other distributions, and those distributions themselves may even direct you to ArchWiki for information.

Using this powerful resource requires some dedication. The instructions are intentionally laconic; you will not find fluff or taste text. Most pages assume you’re familiar with the basics of Linux system administration, and they won’t explain anything that isn’t explained on another page. The wikis Help page for readinghowever, can prepare you to interpret directions and follow procedures effectively.

Indeed, the wiki generally assumes you’re using Arch. So when following instructions it helps to be aware of: where Arch differs from your distro. If you’d like to see a wiki closer to your non-Arch distro, you can also find help at Ubuntu Wiki. It’s not that comprehensive, but some instructions may be easier to follow.

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