My Favorite Linux Software

by Walt Stoneburner
"Linux, it's not just for geeks anymore."


My favorite Linux distribution of all time has been Slackware, although that may change with the introduction of Gentoo.

Every so often, I'd find myself installing the latest and greatest distribution on a fresh machine, only to discover that all of the important utilities I used never made it over from the backups.

This list represents my primary list of gotta-have software to install after a fresh distribution.

Update the compilers.

Get binutils and then install the GNU Compiler Collection GCC, according to these instructions. Don't forget to snag Perl, Python, Ruby, Rebol, and Mono, if you are into all kinds of development.

Update the kernel.

Build the latest Linux Kernel according to these instructions. Good change you'll also need the Module Utilities called module-init-tools.


Make sure you get Berkeley DB, MySQL, and Postgres.

Set up mail.

Rather than using Sendmail, I recommend Postfix. You'll want to configure it with Pop-Before-SMTP to handle authenticated forwarding. And don't forget to grab ProcMail and FetchMail.

Stomp out spam.

Use Razor, SpamProbe, and SpamBouncer to put spammers in their place.

Nice utilities.

For calendar reminders, use Remind. For string replacement, get rpl. Digital camera owners will want to grab ExifTags to peek at meta information, WWWis to generate image tags in HTML, and PhotoWeb to build web pages from directories of pictures.

Domain Name Services.

DNS services are normally provided by Bind, however another alternative is djbDNS (and you'll need instructions on djbDNS).


You'll need both SSL and SSH, although the commercial version of ssh has a happier history of less vunerabilities. For cryptographic exchanges, there's the classic PGP, although GPG does the same thing.

Web Server.

Installing Apache or Apache-SSL is trivial with the Apache Toolbox. Be sure to build it with PHP.

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