More useful Linux software

Obviously one thing you need with an operating system platform is software that will run on it. Every platform has stuff that is produced cross-platform and stuff that is only for its platform, and we constantly have the issue that something we want to run is not available on the platform we use most of the time. It’s for this reason many of us using a less well supported platform like Linux desktop or macOS need to keep a computer or at the least a virtualisation software platform running Windows to be able to use some of the software for that platform that we haven’t found or can’t get an equivalent replacement for. After one year of using Linux I am still using Windows for the automated download of photos from my cameras, scanning and printing software for those two hardware devices, IrfanView for photo editing, MS Office for some functions I haven’t got around to seeing if it is possible in OpenOffice, because the Linux equivalent Pinta is much less stable, and a few other less used capabilities like DVD ripping, iTunes, syncing another Google drive for personal files (rather than the maps on MainPC), etc. I am sure with a lot of hard work I could eliminate the need for any Windows computer for all these things but it only cost about $300 to build that new computer from scratch although I will have to buy a Win10 license for it someday. A VM would have trouble running some of those HW dependent software apps. This computer only needs one screen and can be used if I need a third screen for some other function I am doing on mainPC to which it is networked.
As the comment about reveals sometimes what looks like and should be a direct replacement is not of good quality. Unfortunately there is a lot of software on Linux that doesn’t live up to its promise, whether because development has been abandoned or inadequately resourced. I don’t want to knock a lot of software or say it is the open source model that causes this because that would be patently untrue, however it remains an issue that lack of widespread adoption of Linux desktop means we are really grandparenting off the massive adoption of Linux server or using software that has a Linux port from some other platform or is natively developed for Linux desktop and then ported to other platforms. Qgis is an example of some very good software that starts on Linux and has been ported to Unix, Windows and macOS and I started using it on Windows and then switched to using it on Linux. I’m happy to say the experience on Linux was at least as good as Windows, only the issue that the packages install folder can’t easily be configured (maybe there is a way around this I don’t know about yet) precluding multiple installations has been a concern, this is the price you pay for being able to upgrade to a new edition painlessly and automatically by just typing a command into a terminal window. The build from source option I have employed to have two versions running on my Debian desktop hasn’t been too difficult. Qgis has the great benefit of being well supported and stable despite the at times appearance of slow evolution and resolution of issues. Much of the graphics and video editing software I have tested on Linux tends to be unstable and more often than not this is a consequence of poor design in that the programmers have not anticipated and coded for possible error situations in a way that allows the software to recover, so it just crashes instead.
The aim of this post today is to write about some more software tools for the Linux platform that I have adopted recently. As a result of becoming a webmaster recently for I had to find software that would allow me to edit and maintain my site. With no custom site builder integrated at it’s back to using a desktop graphical editor or a specialised text editor GUI and separate FTP software to sync updates to the web server. I spent a lot of time looking for and trying several GUI editors before finding Seamonkey for Windows, which for some reason is not available as .deb packages for Linux and is hard to install for that platform, examining and rejecting it due to its apparent lack of CSS support and a few other issues like clunky design. Because these days due to the rise of free web host sites like Google Sites and many others which have sitebuilders integrated into them there is not much call for basic GUI web editors these days and not many people writing them. I came to the conclusion it was far easier to use a specialised text editor with HTML / CSS templates built into it, of which there are a great many more produced due to the fact they can work with a whole lot of different coding languages and environments. Editing HTML in a text editor is not very hard and it’s something I have plenty of experience with. So Bluefish is the editor of choice, very stable and useful. The FTP software for now is FileZilla, something I remember from Windows, and quite suitable for a small site, you have to manually browse to each directory and select the files to upload, though it does have a capability to highlight which directories or files have been updated. 
Another type of software I am experimenting with is seeing if there is a better email client than Thunderbird. Really the only realistic alternative out there that is not tied to some other package like (for example) the Seamonkey browser is Evolution, which is interesting as it is rare for non-MS software platforms to support Exchange (there is only a proprietary Exchange plugin available for Thunderbird). I have installed Evolution on MainPC and set it up to access a few lower priority or soon-to-close email accounts for now. As it has been noted in the past that Outlook has issues with Imap support it will be interesting to see if Evolution is significantly better in this regard and also how it handles Google calendars etc. Evolution used to be cross-platform but is now Linux-only. It was started by Ximian/Novell and is now commercially developed by RedHat and is obviously beneficial to their wider interest of commercial deployment of Linux for corporate environments, but still has an open source free variant that can be downloaded and installed automatically by apt.
As long as there is a lot of software for Linux, which I have no reason to doubt, it will continue to be a very useful desktop platform, but I can’t see that Windows desktop disappearing any time soon. Although some Windows software has been ported to Linux using the mono adaption of .NET, I have generally felt that it is not as good as native software, although this could just be a perception. I have found both Pinta and FlickrDownloadr which are built on Mono, to be not very stable or well developed pieces of software, but this could be just a perception rather than a limitation of the platform.