There is no shortage of Linux websites that tout the hottest distros (distros) and feature the latest developer dramas. To help you avoid the noise, we’ve handpicked a few sites that are worth your time and offer relevant news, useful information, or both.
If you love to play games, GamingOnLinux is a great resource for all things gaming news on Linux and SteamOS. Subscribe to the website’s RSS feed and you’ll 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 also sometimes appear on their feed.
If you’re a stats fanatic, GamingOnLinux also has a few pages on Linux adoption by gamers and the devices they use. The Statistics page uses data provided by registered members of the website to judge the popularity of particular 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 that GamingOnLinux reports on regularly.
Want to save money? In addition to tracking Linux game sales, GamingOnLinux 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, which means you can avoid closed-source software. Be free!
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The perennial question from Linux users: “Can I run my favorite Windows program on Linux?” If there isn’t a native Linux version of a particular Windows application, Wine is probably your solution and AppDB is your resource for estimating how well Wine will work for you. This is where users will report their experiences of running Windows software through Wine, and based on those experiences, each application receives an overall rating.
Let’s say you want to run the beloved Photoshop photo editing software on your new Linux desktop. You can download and install Wine, and while you wait, search for Photoshop on AppDB. Find the version of Photoshop you want to run, and you’ll see an overall rating in addition to specific ratings of test results, specific distributions used, user reviews (these often contain helpful tips), and known bugs.
Also of note is ProtonDB, something like a sister site to AppDB. The Proton Compatibility Tool is Valve’s solution for running Steam Windows-only games on Linux (and it actually uses Wine under the hood). ProtonDB, like AppDB, provides a database of ratings and reviews of game performance under Proton.
Let’s say you just bought a brand new laptop or upgraded your PC to an advanced GPU. Surprise! You cannot run Linux on it because support for your hardware has not been added to the kernel. You’re going to have to watch and wait for this support to arrive. But how do you know when this will happen? You can try every kernel patch that comes along, you can hide in the kernel development email chains, or you can just watch the Phoronix feed.
Phoronix reports many topics regarding Linux and open source software, but the breakdown of the site’s progress on the kernel can be particularly helpful. While some of the technical jargon can challenge people who aren’t developers, it’s not hard to find what you need to know if you have the name of your hardware.
If you buy hardware, Phoronix also regularly publishes performance benchmarks and reviews for processors, GPUs, peripherals, etc. Phoronix Premium subscribers can enjoy a cleaner website experience and participate in the active community of Linux hardware enthusiasts.
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Are you evasive about your current Linux distro? Its good; there are resources for you. DistroWatch will notify you when a better distro arrives, with updates on every Linux (and BSD) release. You’ll also find distribution reviews (both external and onsite) so you can have a more or less informed perspective on potential distribution jump targets.
If you want to know which distros are generating the most hype, you can check out their page rankings page. Linux’s penchant for privacy means that judging the popularity of distros isn’t a straightforward task, but the rankings page at least shows you what DistroWatch customers like to click. You can also stay ahead of trends by checking out their waitlist, where you’ll find distributions so recent they haven’t been added to the DistroWatch canon yet (and, we have to add, may not be sure).
In addition to all this, you will find in the various sidebars of DistroWatch links to podcasts, newsletters and Linux guides. Can all information be overwhelming? Yes. If you just want to see how the most popular distros differ, we’ve got our own guide for that.
Not everyone uses Arch, so why should every Linux user bookmark ArchWiki? Because it is perhaps the most comprehensive database of Linux instruction and information on the web. If you are trying to troubleshoot an application or make a change to the system, you will likely find help on ArchWiki. Many utilities and concepts discussed in the wiki, like PulseAudio and systemd, exist in other distributions, and those distributions themselves can even direct you to ArchWiki for information.
Now, using this powerful resource takes some dedication. The instructions are intentionally laconic; you won’t find any fluff or flavor text. Most of the pages will assume that you know the basics of Linux systems management, and they will not explain anything that is not explained on another page. The wiki’s reading help page, however, can help you interpret the instructions and follow the procedures effectively.
And indeed, the wiki generally assumes that you are using Arch. So, when you follow the instructions, it helps to know how Arch is different from your distro. If you would like to see a wiki that is closer to your non-Arch distribution, you can also find help on Ubuntu Wiki. It’s not as comprehensive, but some instructions might be easier to follow.
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