There’s no shortage of Linux websites hyping the trendiest distributions (distros) and dishing on the latest developer drama. To help you cut through the noise, we’ve curated a few sites worth your time that offer relevant news, useful information, or both.
If you ever enjoy playing games, GamingOnLinux is a great resource of news on all things related to gaming 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 occasionally appear on their feed as well.
If you’re a stats fanatic, GamingOnLinux also has a few pages crunching the numbers on Linux adoption among gamers and the devices they use. The Statistics page uses data provided by registered website members to judge the popularity of particular Linux distributions, desktop environments, hardware, and drivers (among the GamingOnLinux community). The Steam Tracker page highlights the market share of Linux on the Steam platform, another item GamingOnLinux reports on regularly.
Want to save some 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, meaning you can shun closed-source software. Be free!
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AppDB (and ProtonDB)
The eternal question for Linux users: “Can I run my favorite Windows program on Linux?” If there’s no Linux-native version of a particular Windows app, Wine is probably your solution, and AppDB is your resource for estimating how well Wine will work for you. This is where users go to report their experiences running Windows software through Wine, and from those experiences, each app receives an overall rating.
Let’s say you want to run beloved photo editing software Photoshop on your new Linux desktop. You can download and install Wine, and while you wait, look up Photoshop on AppDB. Find the version of Photoshop you want to run, and you see an overall rating in addition to specific notes from test results, specific distros used, user comments (these often contain helpful hints), 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 Windows-only Steam games on Linux (and it in fact 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 a cutting-edge GPU. Surprise! You can’t run Linux on it because support for your hardware hasn’t been added to the kernel. You’re going to 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 arrives, you could lurk in the kernel development email chains, or you could just watch the Phoronix feed.
Phoronix reports on many Linux and open-source software topics, but the site’s breakdown of progress on the kernel can be of particular help. While some of the technical jargon may challenge people who aren’t developers, it isn’t difficult to find what you need to know if you have the name of your hardware.
If you’re shopping for hardware, Phoronix also regularly posts performance benchmark results and reviews 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.
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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 along, with updates on every Linux (and BSD) release. You’ll also find distro reviews (both external and on-site) 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, then you can check out their Page Hit Ranking page. Linux’s penchant for privacy means judging the popularity of distros isn’t a simple task, but the ranking page at least shows you what DistroWatch patrons like to click on. You can also get ahead of the trends by checking out their Waiting List, where you’ll find distros that are so fresh they’ve not yet been added to the DistroWatch canon (and, we must add, may not be safe).
In addition to all that, you’ll find in DistroWatch’s sundry sidebars links to Linux podcasts, newsletters, and guides. Can all the information be overwhelming? Yes. If you want to just see how the most popular distros differ, we have our own guide for that.
Not everyone uses Arch, so why should every Linux user bookmark the ArchWiki? Because it might be the most extensive database of instructions and information on using Linux on the web. If you’re trying to troubleshoot an app or make a system modification, you’re likely to find help on ArchWiki. Many of the utilities and concepts discussed in the wiki, like PulseAudio and systemd, exist in other distros, and those distros themselves may even direct you to ArchWiki for information.
Now, making use of this powerful resource takes some dedication. The instructions are intentionally laconic; you won’t find any fluff or flavor text. Most pages will assume you’re familiar with the basics of Linux system management, and they won’t explain anything that isn’t explained on another page. The wiki’s Help page for reading, however, can prime you to interpret directions and follow procedures effectively.
And 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 want to see a wiki closer to your non-Arch distro, you may also find help at Ubuntu Wiki. It’s not as comprehensive, but some instructions might be easier to follow.
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