How To Pick a Linux Distribution for Non-Techies

I have suffered from distrohopping. Now that I have settled for the last two years, here are some tips to save your time.

All distros run the same operating system at their core, Linux. They are more similar than different. Hence, the marginal cost (time) of looking for a better distro is much more than the marginal benefit of it.

Say no to distributions made for specific purposes like Kali, CentOS, and OpenSuse. OpenSuse is great, but it is made for enterprise use. An everyday user won’t ever need most of its features. To maintain it would be a waste of time. The same goes for the RedHat family.

Instead of trimming Suse, you better pick a distro made for everyday people, such as AntiX and SolusOS. Read their descriptions and target users on Distrowatch.

Avoid technical distributions like arch, its forks, and Gentoo. They are for the programmer types. If you are not one, you will likely break it. Updates tend to be massive and very frequent. And you can’t install a new package without updating first. You don’t want to deal with this. If you want it only for AUR, just learn to compile a little bit.

Say no to most desktop environments (DEs) besides LXDE and LXQT. Prefer window managers (WMs) for maximum performance. DEs can be buggy and cause distraction. They increase boot time and update size. It may be reasonable to rule out all distros that don’t come with a window manager so you don’t have to do the work post-installation. Know the rule; the less stuff you have, the fewer things you can break, the fewer problems you will face. Keep it minimal. Don’t allow the bling-bling to distract you.

Avoid forks because they simply are not different enough. In addition, they tend to carry their parent distro’s issues on top of their own issues. Developers can do only so much about it. Independent distributions can fix issues more quickly because they can. Prefer original and independent distros.

Don’t worry about software availability. Every distro hosts tools to help you install packages not present in their repos. Furthermore, package managers like Appimage and Flatpak allow you to install packages on all distros. Avoid snap. It slows down bootup and doesn’t allow you to control app updates. This may change in the future though.

Prefer rolling distros. Reinstallation is boring and it takes a long time to set everything as you want. The process of making a bootable drive has also damaged a couple of my USB drives, though I can’t prove the causality.

How Can You Install Google Chrome Browser on Debian?

Google Chrome is a widely used web browser in the world. Google Chrome is fast and secure as well. However, it is not an open-source web browser. Hence, Debian comes with a pre-loaded Chromium browser, and not a Chrome. Chromium is an open-source browser.

If you still want to install the Google Chrome browser on Linux, this article is for you. Installing Chrome on Linux has a little twist as it’s not an open-source browser. So let’s check out how you can easily install Chrome browser from a Linux terminal.

Google Chrome Privacy Concerns

The source code of Google Chrome is free software. But, the binaries which Chrome is distributed with come under a restrictive BSD license. In Linux, a Google Chrome web browser is included as a pre-compiled RPM or DEB package. You need the root access to install Google Chrome from a RPM or DEB package.

The Linux Package Signing Key within an apt key ring gives Google a path to install anything virtually into the user’s OS. This is done through the google-chrome-stable package because no additional involvement of the system administrator is required while updating this package in future. 

What You Need to Install Chrome

Login as sudo user.

Pre-installed wget package.

Installing Google Chrome Browser on Linux

Now I’ll guide you through the steps to install the Google Chrome browser on your Linux system.

Step 1: Download Google Chrome

First, open the Linux terminal using the terminal icon or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T. To download the latest updated version of Google Chrome, run the below-given wget command.


Side Note: Wget utility helps download files from the internet. Using Wget, HTTP, FTP, and HTTPS files can be downloaded. It uses the following syntax.

wget [options] [url]

Most of the Linux distros come with a pre-loaded wget utility. If not, please use the below command to get wget on your system.

sudo apt install wget

Step 2: Install Google Chrome

Once the browser is downloaded, install Chrome. To install, write:

sudo apt install ./google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

The above command is useful in installing the Chrome web browser. After completing the installation, you will be required to enter the user password.

Starting Google Chrome

Once you have installed Chrome on your Linux system, start it by typing “google-chrome” on the terminal. You can also open Google Chrome using the Google Chrome icon given within the Activities list.

Expanding Your Nextcloud Instance Using Linode’s NVMe-Backed Block Storage

Nextcloud is a very popular self-hosted alternative to Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud hosting providers. It’s not only the go-to choice for individuals, either. Nextcloud has a number of enterprise-level deployments.

Given the above, we decided to install Nextcloud on a Linode Dedicated CPU and see just what it would take to configure it to use Linode’s new NVMe-backed block storage. This article was the result.

See if Linode works for you with $100 in credit

Watch the video version of this article:

The first challenge is setting up an instance of Nextcloud. There are any number of ways to do this: One could install and configure a web server and a PHP environment by hand. This has the advantage of low overhead, but will mean that you’ll need to harden your Linode against common Nextcloud and PHP vulnerabilities. Plus, it will require you to apply any optimizations like Redis or other such memcaches yourself. 

Alternatively, you could pull down a premade Docker image from Nextcloud which should handle a lot of these things itself. But Docker can be a rather cumbersome tool and that still leaves a ton of configuration for you to do with reverse proxies.

There’s also the Nextcloud snap package, however I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.

Finally, after some waffling, I decided to go with Linode’s One Click installer. A pre-made image of Debian 10 that automatically provisions everything you’ll need to run a Nextcloud instance. Even going so far as to do some basic hardening, such as installing Fail2Ban to protect against bruteforce attacks.

The process couldn’t be simpler. Open up the Linode Cloud Manager and select Marketplace on the left hand side of the screen. Then select Nextcloud from the list of available applications. Fill in your information like the Nextcloud administrative username and password, then the database password. Choose a datacenter, then choose a password for your OS. Finally, click “Create” and wait for the Linode to provision and the Nextcloud install script to finish.