The 6 Best DIY Security Camera Apps and Software for Linux

The 6 Best DIY Security Camera Apps and Software for Linux

linux-security-camera

Security is a major concern in the tech world, but we’re not just talking about phishing attacks and malware. Old dangers, like break-ins and theft, threaten our homes and businesses, which is why there’s a market for top quality surveillance systems.

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Thankfully, you don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars for a surveillance system if you’ve got a spare PC running Linux and a few spare cameras. The DIY route will be cheaper and give you more control—as long as you pick the right software. Here are the best Linux security camera software options for you to try.

1. ZoneMinder

ZoneMinder Linux InterfaceZoneMinder is an awesome option for a do-it-yourself surveillance system. Professional features shape ZoneMinder into the perfect solution for household and commercial security alike. It comes with compatibility for both IP-enabled and standard PC cameras. If you’re on the go, Android and iOS apps let you monitor your cameras remotely.

You’ve got plenty of options for configuring ZoneMinder to your own requirements, with both live video and regular image stills supported. Email and SMS notifications help you to stay informed, even when you’re not monitoring directly. Additionally, ZoneMinder offers user access levels to let you limit who has access. It’s pretty flexible with options to zoom, tilt, and pan cameras.

Linux CCTV users benefit from installers for various distributions like Ubuntu and Debian, but you can also compile from source if you’d prefer. You can deploy ZoneMinder on low-powered devices like a Raspberry Pi, too.

2. Xeoma

Xeoma Chain Linux Interface

If you’re looking for easy-to-use Linux IP camera software, Xeoma is a good option—it markets itself as “childishly easy” video surveillance. It has a modular approach, letting you add in the components and features you need as you set your system up.

This Linux security camera software is feature rich. It’s compatible with everything from typical USB webcams to Wi-Fi CCTV cameras. You can connect up to 2,000 cameras to a single Xeoma installation, making it perfect for commercial use.

Screen captures from all monitors at once, remote access, and motion detection are all features that make Xeoma a good option for users. It also supports mobile access, with SMS and email alerts, as well as remote access to archives, cameras, and settings. You can also take advantage of different storage settings, delayed recordings, and even algorithms to avoid false positives. This latter feature is great for users with pets or small children.

While it’s available for purchase, Xeoma does offer a free edition with a few limitations (eight cameras, three modules per chain). Overall, Xeoma is a simple but comprehensive option for keeping an eye on your home or workplace.

3. Motion

Linux Motion Camera Software

You can probably guess from the name, but Motion monitors, well, motion. This free program detects if a major part of a picture from a video signal has changed. Written in C, Motion was created specifically for Linux distros with the video4linux interface.

While it saves video when movement is detected, Motion also includes time lapse settings for regular monitoring. You can also set Motion to save as either video or images. It runs headless and a GUI isn’t needed, giving it a lightweight footprint compared to other Linux surveillance software competitors.

That’s what makes Motion such a great choice if you’re looking to build a cheap DIY network video recorder (or NVR) to run on low-powered devices like the Raspberry Pi. It’ll record your surveillance images or video digitally, either locally (on an SD card) or over your internal network.

Motion might be lacking in features compared to other Linux NVR software, but it’s a good option if you’re looking for a basic motion-sensor camera system.

4. Bluecherry

If you want to exclusively run open source software, Bluecherry is the Linux NVR for you. It’s a cross-platform video surveillance system so you’re free to run it on other platforms if you’d prefer.

Installation is simple, with a one-line install script available for Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS. It supports over 2,600 IP cameras, with playback for recordings or live streaming available from your browser. Unfortunately, Bluecherry lacks its own mobile app for Android and iOS, but it does support integration with IP Cam Viewer.

While Bluecherry is free and open source, paid support packages are available for business users. With a rich feature set and paid support options, Bluecherry is a great option for both business and residential use.

5. Ivideon

If you’re designing a DIY surveillance system on a budget, you should consider Ivideon. The system requirements are among the lightest you’ll find for any DIY DVR—you can run Ivideon on an Atom-powered PC with 1GB RAM and just 500MB of storage. You’ll need at least 11GB available for daily video footage storage if you want to store locally, however.

Despite a low resource footprint, Ivideon is a service integrated with the cloud, with notifications and playback available over the internet. You can also store your recordings using Ivideon’s cloud storage.

Installation is pretty simple. You can either download and run an installation script or run the individual commands from a terminal window yourself. Like many other video surveillance systems, Ivideon offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. It officially supports the most recent Debian and Ubuntu releases, but it can be installed on other distros.

Home users have a range of plans to pick from, including the basic (but feature-heavy) online plan for free, although business users will have to stump up for the $ 5/month package.

6. Kerberos.io

Kerberos Linux

Kerberos.io is another free NVR software for Linux, compatible with almost all Linux-supported cameras. It’s cross-platform so you can run it on Windows and macOS as well as Linux. You can even download a docker container to set yourself up in minutes without any configuration.

With support for Raspbian, Kerberos.io is the best option for users looking to create a surveillance system with low-powered tech. Notably, Kerberos.io also has a clean, modern and easy-to-use web interface.

If you don’t want to spend a long time setting up, configuring or maintaining your system, then Kerberos.io is one of the best options for you on Linux. While it’s free, certain features (like viewing your cameras remotely) requires a cloud subscription, starting at under $ 2/month.

Stay Safe With Linux Security Camera Software

Building your own DIY Linux-based surveillance system can help protect your home and business from more traditional threats. They can also play a part in building a smart home with other DIY projects available to try.

If DIY-ing your own system sounds a little too complicated, then don’t worry. Pick up one of the best wireless home security cameras instead.

Read the full article: The 6 Best DIY Security Camera Apps and Software for Linux

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The 8 Best Linux Password Managers to Stay Secure

linux-password-managers

Concerns over privacy and security are one of the big reasons people use free and open source software. But today, safeguarding the data on your computer is only part of the challenge. How do we manage all the passwords for all the different accounts we create across the web?

Password managers are a great way to handle the issue. Here are the best Linux password managers you can trust to handle your passwords properly.

1. KeePass

KeePassXC password manager on Ubuntu Linux

KeePass stores all of your passwords in an encrypted database, which exists within a single file on your computer. You can access this database using a password, a key file, or both.

This database is portable, so you can access your passwords on any device that contains a copy. If you don’t create new accounts often, you can copy this file over manually. Or you can set up whichever Linux-friendly file syncing method works best for you.

KeePass began as a Windows app in 2003, and the interface hasn’t changed much since then. So while the functionality is there, the design can feel a bit long in the tooth. It’s not as intuitive as some of the newer web-based options around. But thanks to the app’s maturity and popularity, there are plenty of plugins that extend what KeePass can do.

There are many versions of KeePass available for Linux. KeePass is a port of the Windows app. KeePassX and KeePassXC are more Linux-friendly alternatives built using the Qt toolkit.

Download: KeePass (Free)

Download: KeePass X (Free)

Download: KeePass XC (Free)

2. GNOME Password Safe

GNOME Password Safe on Fedora Linux

I care a great deal about how well the apps I use integrate with the rest of the desktop environment. If you do too, and you use GNOME, then you know most options don’t fit in all that well. In that case, check out Password Safe.

Password Safe is about as simple as a desktop-based password manager can get. First, you create a safe that contains all of your passwords. Then you choose to protect this safe with a password, a key file, or both. Afterward, you enter your accounts and passwords. If this sounds familiar, that’s because Password Safe uses the same format as KeePass.

Password Safe removes most of the complexity of KeePass and most other options. This makes it a great first password manager for those of us who have never used such software before. On the other hand, you may find the app frustrating if it’s missing features you’ve grown accustomed to elsewhere.

As an added bonus, Password Safe’s interface scales down to fit mobile devices, namely the Purism Librem 5.

Download: GNOME Password Safe (Free)

3. Password Safe

Password Safe password manager on Ubuntu Linux

There is an unrelated open source Windows app that also goes by the name Password Safe. A beta version is available for Linux,

Password Safe uses a concept similar to KeePass. You can store passwords and usernames in one or more databases. The app makes sure to prevent sensitive data from swapping to disk, wipes temporary data in memory as quickly as possible, and doesn’t save your master passphrase directly. These are some of the methods password managers keep your passwords safe.

Password Safe is a more desktop agnostic app. It will look more at home on some non-GNOME desktops, such as Xfce and MATE.

Download: Password Safe (Free)

4. Password Gorilla

Password Gorilla password manager on Ubuntu Linux

If you like Password Safe but the beta isn’t working for you, there’s a compatible app that has already been around for years.

Password Gorilla is another cross-platform password manager that stores all of your accounts in one encrypted Password Safe database. Versions of Password Gorilla exist for Windows and macOS. Mobile versions don’t exist, but you can find compatible versions of Password Safe for Android and iOS.

Download: Password Gorilla (Free)

5. qMasterPassword

qMasterPassword on Fedora Linux

Don’t like the idea of a single file containing all of your passwords? qMasterPassword offers an alternative approach. This password manager asks you to create a single master password. Then it generates passwords for your accounts using the master password and the relevant website. Even if someone knows you use qMasterPassword, they can’t easily guess your login credentials without knowing the master password you used to generate them.

qMasterPassword is a Linux version of the Master Password algorithm. It is compatible with other implementations of that product, some of which are available for Android and iOS. As Qt-based software, qMasterPassword is a great app to use with KDE Plasma.

Download: qMasterPassword (Free)

6. QtPass

QtPass password manager on Ubuntu Linux

KeePass may be the most established option on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only tool that caters to the more technical among us. Pass is a command line tool that stores each password inside of a separate GPG encrypted file.

Thanks to QtPass, you can adopt the pass approach to security without having to use the terminal. QtPass is a desktop tool that lets you manage your passwords without learning a single command. You can perform most of the same functions as the command-line version.

Download: QtPass (Free)

7. Bitwarden

Bitwarden password manager on Ubuntu Linux

The aforementioned options all exist offline. Bitwarden is an open source web service that syncs your passwords across all of your PCs and mobile devices. Versions exist for Linux, as well as Android and iOS. The available web browser extensions can also automatically enter stored passwords when you visit a website.

Bitwarden saves your passwords online, which is why your passwords are easily accessible across devices. On the downside, copies of your passwords exist online that someone could possibly steal. On the positive side, Bitwarden encrypts and hashes all data before it leaves your device.

Technically, someone can circumvent Bitwarden’s security, or they can get their hands on your master password. With offline options like KeePass, someone needs access to your computer to get your passwords.

In contrast to proprietary alternatives, Bitwarden’s code is openly available for others to review and audit. This offers greater peace of mind that the company is securing your data to the extent promised and that it isn’t doing anything fishy with the information you provide.

You can create an account and sync all of your passwords for free. A paid option adds 1GB of file storage, support for additional authentication methods such as YubiKey and FIDO U2F, and more.

Download: Bitwarden (Free)

8. Your Browser

Creating a master password in Firefox on Fedora Linux

Mozilla Firefox comes preinstalled with most popular versions of Linux. Alternatives like Google Chrome and Vivaldi are only a download away. All three can save your passwords for you and automatically enter them when you visit a site. They can also sync your passwords between multiple computers.

You don’t need a major cross-platform browser to enjoy these features. Linux-only browsers such as GNOME Web and Falkon can save your passwords too. Basically any Linux web browser will do.

No matter which web browser’s password manager you use, understand that this isn’t the most secure option. If you share your computer with anyone, unless they’re signed into a different user account, autofill can give them easy access to your web accounts. Some browsers do a decent job encrypting your passwords and requiring a master password, while others make them available in plain text. And if you choose to sync your passwords, then copies of them may exist online.

What About LastPass on Linux?

LastPass supports Linux. As do other commercial, web-based services such as Dashlane and 1Password. If a password manager works in Chrome or Firefox, chances are you can run it on Linux.

There are also a few older projects that still exist in your Linux app store, but haven’t seen an update in years. Such apps include Revelation and Universal Password Manager. If you happen to like either one, maybe you could be the person to breathe in new life.

Still not sure you need a password manager? Here are some pseudo-superpowers password managers can give you.

Read the full article: The 8 Best Linux Password Managers to Stay Secure

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The 5 Best Linux Distros to Install on a USB Stick

linux-distro-usb

Sometimes you can’t avoid using someone else’s computer. Some airlines limit how much baggage you can bring. Occasionally you have to leave your machine at home. If your computer breaks, you might have to use someone else’s while you wait for a replacement. Except before that happens, you need a way to save your data.

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What can you do in this situation? Shove a version of desktop Linux onto a USB drive and boot into it as required. But what’s the best USB Linux desktop you can install?

1. Linux USB Desktop for Any PC: Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux installation options

For some time, Puppy Linux has been seen as little more than a curiosity. Designed to be used on the most austere hardware, it could comfortably chug away on early Pentium machines without breaking a sweat. But it wasn’t that practical. Many installed Puppy Linux on their antique hardware to just to see if they could.

But Puppy Linux never went away. Updates and new versions are still regularly released. Sure, it’s still stripped down and meant for low-end or underpowered hardware. But you can now install Puppy Linux on a USB stick and get stuff done.

Puppy Linux isn’t a single Linux distribution. It consists of multiple versions based on different code but using the same tool and philosophy. One version is based on SlackWare, which is one of the most well-established Linux distributions.

People continue to use it as their day-to-day operating system. People understand it. Then there are multiple options based on Ubuntu, the most popular version of desktop Linux.

2. A More Modern Desktop Experience: elementary OS

elementary OS desktop

Are you a newcomer to Linux who just wants something simple and attractive to keep in your pocket? Check out elementary OS.

elementary OS offers a cross between the popular GNOME desktop environment and what you get on a Mac. The resulting experience is so intuitive, you can pick it up on your own with a few clicks.

AppCenter provides apps built only for elementary OS along with other essentials, like the LibreOffice suite, the GIMP image editor, and the Audacity sound editor. This way you can hit the ground running even if you have no idea what software is available for Linux.

Since elementary OS shares a lot in common with Ubuntu, you can be confident you won’t have to deal with any hardware compatibility gremlins. Plus, it proves to be buttery-smooth, even on low-end hardware, like laptops and cheap Atom and Celeron-powered machines.

This is important when you’re also dealing with the inherent performance bottleneck that comes with booting your operating system from an USB drive.

3. Tool for Managing Your Hard Disk: GParted Live

Hard drives consist of chunks called partitions. Your computer’s hard drive might have just one partition for all your files and folders. Or it might have one partition for your programs and another for your documents. From time to time, you might need to resize these partitions or wipe them entirely.

GParted is a common Linux tool used to manage these partitions. Many distributions come with this pre-installed. But if your computer doesn’t boot, that does you no good. You need a copy you can load from a USB stick.

It’s called Gparted Live, a USB Linux distro for your flash drive. Loading up this little program will let you reshape your hard drive as you require. Be careful though, as one mistake could potentially render your hard drive unbootable.

4. A Way to Remove Viruses: BitDefender Rescue CD

When malware strikes, it can often be game over. Your machine will run slowly, or perhaps not at all. Your files and folders will be held to ransom. Everything you do on your computer could be monitored. Worse, many viruses and Trojans are designed to actively fight removal.

They’ll prevent anti-malware programs from updating their definitions, or even running. But you have alternatives. By booting into a special Linux distribution, you can scan your system for problems, and resolve them.

One big name in computer security is Romania-based BitDefender, who boast an array of premium and free antivirus and antimalware solutions. In terms of sheer effectiveness, BitDefender’s products tend to rank quite highly. They happen to offer a Linux live CD.

BitDefender has provided helpful instructions, where they explain how you can use the Windows tool Stickifier to create one.

5. A Portable Gaming Setup: Ubuntu GamePack

Ubuntu GamePack displaying Steam, PlayOnLinux, and other gaming software

Linux USB sticks aren’t all about getting work done and saving PCs. Sometimes you just want to have fun. With Ubuntu GamePack, your flash drive is like a portable gaming PC. True, you’re limited by the specs of the machine you’re borrowing, but as long as you stick to titles with modest requirements, you shouldn’t have many problems.

Ubuntu GamePack comes with software that makes gaming on Linux easier. This includes Steam, which lets you download your existing library of Linux titles. Alternatively, you can use PlayOnLinux or Wine to fire up supported Windows titles.

If you’re at a friend’s house for a LAN party, but you don’t have your own PC, Ubuntu GamePack can serve in a pinch. You can also keep copies around on different flash drives as an easy way to ensure everyone is using the same game version with the same configuration.

Are Linux USB Sticks Practical?

How does using Linux on a flash drive work in practice? You might have concerns that running a desktop operating system on a USB stick would be an exercise in frustration. But actually, it isn’t too bad.

Modern USB standards mean there’s far less lag. Plus prices have crashed, while storage quantities have soared. You can now get a 256GB stick with as much memory as your laptop, and it won’t cost you much money.

As for those older 16GB USB sticks you have lying around. You can use them to boost your personal digital security.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Linux Distros to Install on a USB Stick

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How to Multitask on the Linux Terminal With Screen

multitask-linux-terminal

If you’re a Linux user, you’re going to have to get started with the Linux terminal at some point. Some terminal commands might be popular, others obscure, but in many cases, it’s easier to run a command through a terminal window than through a GUI.

But what happens if you need to run several commands at once? GNU Screen makes terminal multitasking like this easy; let’s get you started using it.

What Is GNU Screen?

GNU Screen is a tool for the Linux terminal that splits one terminal into several. It means you can run one command, say a wget download of an image file, while switching to run a second, such as systemctl, to check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your drive.

It allows you to run independent commands like these in separate sessions that you can connect and disconnect to at will.

It’s not just useful for your own PC; it’s almost essential if you’re managing a remote server. If you’re running commands on a server over SSH, what happens if you disconnect? The command might still be running, but you won’t be able to easily monitor or interact with it.

Screen deals with that problem for you. You can reconnect to a Screen session if you lose connection, or detach from it and leave it running in the background until you need to access it again.

How to Install Screen

GNU Screen Terminal Installation Apt

Screen doesn’t come with most Linux distributions, but as it predates Linux, it’s well supported.

If you want to install it on an Ubuntu or Debian-based distro, run the following:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install screen

Similarly, if you’re running Arch, open up your shell window and run:

sudo pacman -Syu sudo pacman -S screen

If you’re using Fedora, run this instead:

sudo yum update sudo yum install screen

Starting a Screen Session

Starting a Screen session is simple. Open up a terminal, or establish an SSH connection, and type screen. You’ll see the Screen introduction window; hit space or your enter key to close it.

GNU Screen Terminal Introduction Licensing

Once you do, your terminal screen will return to normal. There’ll be no obvious sign that you’re running a Screen session, but every command you run from this point will run within a session that you can now detach and reattach to at will.

Viewing and Detaching Screens

You’ll want to know how to connect and disconnect from a Screen session if you plan on using it again. If you’re already in a Screen session, hit Ctrl + A followed by the letter d (lower case).

The session and any commands currently running inside of it will detach to run in the background, ready for reconnection later. Assuming you only have one running Screen session, type:

screen -r

This will reattach your session and allow you to continue. If you need to forcefully detach a session remotely, then reconnect to it yourself, type:

screen -rd

You can run more than one Screen session. If you want to reconnect to a specific session, you’ll need to find out the session process ID number. Type screen -ls or screen -r to list them.

GNU Screen Terminal Screen Reattach List

As the image above shows, type screen -r followed by the initial ID number at the start of each session. For example:

screen -r 25407

If you want to close a session and cancel any running commands within it, reconnect to it and type exit.

Other Screen Terminal Commands to Remember

Screen has a few tricks up its sleeve for users who want to get the most out of it. Here are a few of the most common terminal commands for you to remember.

List Screen Keyboard Shortcuts

Like all good terminal programs, Screen has keyboard shortcuts for you to use. You’re already using one, Ctrl + A and d, to detach existing screens.

If you want to see the rest, simply type Ctrl + A followed by ? to give you a list you can work with.

Create and Switch Between Windows in a Session

You don’t need to switch between sessions to run commands; you can also switch between windows in one session.

GNU Screen Terminal Window List
To create a new window in your session, hit Ctrl + A followed by (lower case) to create a new window. Your first window starts at number 0, your next window 1, etc.

Hit Ctrl + A and then filter through the numbers 0-9. To list each one, use Ctrl + A and then w (lower case) to see a list of sessions with a one digit ID.

Create a Session With a Name

A randomly generated ID is hard to remember; giving your session a name might make things easier. If you want to start a session with a name, type:

screen -S examplename

If you want to reconnect to this session by name, type:

screen -X examplename

Share a Screen Session

Want to share a terminal session with a colleague or a friend? Thanks to Screen, you can. Type:

screen -rx

Rather than detaching anyone currently connected to this session, you simply join it. Other users will see what you type and the commands you run; you’ll also be able to watch other users if they do the same.

Log Your Screen Output to a File

You might need to log your screen output to a file for maintenance or auditing reasons. To do so, type:

screen -L

A session will start with the ability to log to a file with the name screenlog.x (where X is a number, starting from zero) in your home directory. To start a log in a session, type Ctrl + A followed by H (Shift + h).

Lock a Screen Session

If you want to protect a screen session, you can lock the session with your existing Linux password.

Type Ctrl + A followed by x (lower case) to lock a session while you’re currently connected to it.

GNU Screen Terminal Locked Window

This locks it in your current terminal window; type in your account password to unlock.

Terminal Multitasking Couldn’t Be Simpler

Thanks to GNU Screen, you don’t have to worry about waiting for a terminal command to finish. It’s useful if you’re looking to control remote servers, but it’s also a great tool for your home PC if you need to run several commands from one window.

It’s the perfect tool for system admins. It’s not the only command for your Linux terminal toolbox, however, which is why you should bookmark this cheat sheet of important Linux commands.

Read the full article: How to Multitask on the Linux Terminal With Screen

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The 10 Best Linux Games You Can Play for Free

best-free-linux-games

Are you just setting off on your Linux gaming adventure? Then you need to know about the best Linux games you can play for free. So many great Windows games are available on Linux, and there’s even a few unmissable titles that are only available on Linux.

So, if you’re looking for the best Linux games to play for free, here are 10 titles to get you started…

1. Wakfu

Mixing humor with combat, Wakfu is an amine-inspired MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) with a life of its own. Worlds away from the earnest grind of WoW, Guild Wars, and other giants of the genre, Wakfu is just fun.

Heard of Wakfu already? It’s been spun off into an animated TV series, which you may have seen.

Wakfu is a different take on the MMORPG, so veterans of such games might spot a few issues with class balancing and crafting. If you’re new to MMORPGs, however, Wakfu is the perfect introduction to a massive gaming genre.

Wakfu is free, but you’ll need to purchase additional game content from Steam.

Download: Wakfu

2. Freeciv

One of the greatest and longest running gaming franchises is available on Linux via Steam. But if you’re looking for a free and open source alternative to Civilization, the answer is Freeciv.

Pit your nascent civilization against others in a test of time that requires you to dominate financially, militarily, and scientifically, while controlling and protecting your territory. The endgame is either total domination, or a successful rocket launch to explore the stars.

A network mode is available, giving you a great multiplayer experience. Freeciv also has a web version, and you can configure the game map for hexagonal or rectangular tiles, depending on your preferred style of play.

Freeciv was released in 1996 and is based heavily on Civilization 2. You can run it on Solaris, Amiga OS, and Windows, as well as Linux.

Download: Freeciv

3. Dota 2

Join millions of players on Valve’s Dota 2, reportedly the “most-played game on Steam”.

Boasting that “no two games are the same,” Dota 2 boasts a wide selection of heroes, abilities, and weapons. Nothing delivers an unfair of unwelcome advantage, however; you win or lose based entirely on your skill with the game and its features.

With such a popular game, joining as a new player might seem intimidating. Fortunately, we’ve compiled some great Dota 2 tips to help you become a better player.

Perhaps the most intriguing gameplay option is support for the HTC Vive, delivering a immersive Dota 2 experience via VR.

Although the core Dota 2 game remains free, you can buy cosmetic enhancements for your characters.

Download: Dota 2

4. OpenTTD

An open source version of 1995 game Transport Tycoon Deluxe, OpenTTD is a business sim in which you make money in transport and haulage.

Duplicating most features from the original game, OpenTTD ends on the source material, offering bigger maps, customizations, an improved user interface, and local and internet multiplayer, for up to 255 players. Additionally, the game has been visually enhanced, so prepare for polished graphics, bigger maps, new features, and increased complexity.

Fan of the original Transport Tycoon Deluxe or new to the game completely? Find help in the OpenTTD online manual.

It can be tricky to start making money, so check out our guide to creating amazing transportation systems in OpenTTD.

Download: OpenTTD

5. Team Fortress 2

Another big Valve title, Team Fortress 2 (aka TF2) is a free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS). There’s a visible amount of gore in the game, which means the game is 16+, but if you’re old enough and that’s your thing, TF2 is incredibly good fun.

While multiplayer shooters can be intimidating, TF2 makes it easy to get started. Character creation can be tweaked to suit your gameplay style. Meanwhile, newcomers to TF2 can play training and offline practice modes to get themselves in shape for genuine MMO action.

Premium downloadable content is available for TF2, but you’ll find most customization items in-game.

Download: Team Fortress 2

6. OpenRA

An open source take on the Command & Conquer: Red Alert RTS (real-time strategy) series, OpenRA is a fan-created remake. It includes gameplay elements from other games by original developers Westwood, including Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Dune 2000.

Among enhancements over the original OpenRA are support for game replays, capture of civilian structures, fog of war, and the ability to stream games online.

Copyright holders EA announced in late 2018 that they plan to revive the Command & Conquer franchise. However, this should not affect OpenRA.

As well as running as a futuristic RTS, OpenRA can perform as a game server for network play.

OpenRA is available for BSD, macOS, and Windows, as well as Linux.

Download: OpenRA

7. Robocraft

Another multiplayer action shooter, Robocraft lets you build your own customizable robots and engage in combat with other players online.

Building takes place in an easy to use block-based user interface, where dozens of different weapons options can be added. When you’re done, test the robot against the AI before going online and fighting other players.

While things might get repetitive (fix this by creating plenty of different robots), Robocraft is a fun Linux multiplayer game.

Download: Robocraft

8. Hedgewars

First released in 2006, Hedgewars is a side-scrolling turn-based strategy game with a good dose of comedy. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s a Worms clone, but Hedgewars has an army of pink hedgehogs to control for domination of the map.

With support for up to eight players, single, local and network multiplayer, and in infinite number of maps based on 31 environments, you’re not going to get bored with this free Linux game.

Teams can be modified, games tweaked, and a selection of 55 weapons are at your disposal. These include options like the Piano Strike and the Melon Bomb. You can even make your own maps and costume mods, and download mods from other players.

Overall, if you’re looking for some good, free multiplayer strategy action on Linux, Hedgewars is so much fun!

Download: Hedgewars

9. Star Conflict

In this Elite Dangerous-style space combat MMO, you play as an elite space combat pilot, fighting in a galactic interplanetary skirmish.

Essentially a shooter in a spaceship, Star Conflict features PVP and PVE battles and quests, single player and multiplayer campaigns, over 100 types of spacecraft, various tactical roles, and much more.

Premium downloadable content is available for Star Conflict, which can save you a lot of time developing in-game skills.

Download: Star Conflict

10. SuperTuxKart

Created as an open source, Linux-only alternative to Super Mario Kart, SuperTuxKart is one of the most popular Linux games.

Initially released in 2007 (forked from TuxKart, which launched in 2000), SuperTuxKart features characters from various open source game projects, like the racers in Mario Kart.

However, SuperTuxKart isn’t a complete copy of the Nintendo title. To start off, it offers many game modes, from the standard normal race and time trial to the Easter Egg hunt and soccer modes.

As well as Linux, you can run SuperTuxKart on Windows, Android, and macOS.

Notably, SuperTuxKart features a story mode that unlocks tracks and characters, with each won race contributing to advancing the plot.

Download: SuperTuxKart

Where to Find the Best Free Linux Games

Gaming on Linux is easier than you think. You have a choice of finding free games on Steam or browsing the web for the best free and open source titles.

You can also look further afield, beyond Steam, to sites like itch.io where an index of Linux games is maintained. Or you could head to GOG.com and try some retro games with Linux compatibility (thanks to built-in DOS emulation).

Also look within the repositories of your Linux distro. Here you’ll find games that will run with your particular Linux flavor, which will typically include classics like Doom, and a ScummVM engine for point and click adventures.

If you’re keen on Linux gaming, it’s important to ensure you’re using the best operating system and drivers. Check out the best Linux operating systems for gaming to ensure you’re getting the most out of your PC.

Read the full article: The 10 Best Linux Games You Can Play for Free

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6 Changes Windows Users Need to Accept to When Switching to Linux

windows-linux-switchers

Making the jump from Windows to Linux isn’t always a walk in the park for long-time Windows users. That isn’t the say the experience isn’t a great one. It’s just that there are certain things you take for granted in Windows that are quite different in Linux.

Some major differences include the need to become comfortable with the command line, a different approach to handling peripherals, and the need to switch to a new family of applications.

The following are six of the most common things Windows users struggle with when they switch over to using a Linux distribution.

1. Using the Command Line

linux command line

Most Windows users are able to get by very easily without using the Windows command prompt for nearly everything they do. Installing software, adding new devices, and even configuring the Windows OS itself can be accomplished through pointing and clicking.

In many cases, like adding new devices, the experience is plug-and-play, and the user doesn’t even have to do anything.

Meanwhile, in most Linux distros users might need to learn the command line interface (CLI), but doing so is much easier than you might think.

Linux distros also offer a useful package manager that lets you install an impressive assortment of powerful applications. This experience is largely like the Windows experience where you just click on the app you want and it’ll be installed automatically for you.

However, on Windows, if you can’t find the application you need, you have to go to the store (or online) and buy it.

In the case of Linux, you just research the app you need online, find the installation name of the app, and just run a simple “sudo apt install” command to find and install that software (for free).

Other typical uses for the CLI in Linux include:

  • Quickly checking system information and statistics
  • Reconfiguring the system (changing things like display refresh rate)
  • Scheduling system commands or tasks
  • Creating, searching, or manipulating files and folders
  • Network management
  • Installing peripheral drivers and software

Solution: Becoming comfortable with commands available in the Linux CLI isn’t a steep learning curve, and it can greatly enhance your Linux experience.

If you want to dive in and start learning common Linux commands, have a read through these most-used Linux commands.

2. Configuring Peripherals

configuring linux peripherals

Another area where long-time Windows users often find a stumbling block is when it’s time to install new hardware or configuring printer connections.

This is because at times the Linux approach to setting up drivers enters into the “manual” realm where you’re running CLI commands to troubleshoot and set things up.

In Windows, setting up a printer is extremely simple. It’s usually just a matter of going through a wizard that uses default Windows drivers included with the OS.

The problem in Windows is that when a printer driver fails, you’re left trying to find which Control Panel area shows you the right port or device error to troubleshoot your printer problems.

Solution: In Linux, while the existing printer drivers that come with a distro may not work with your printer, troubleshooting problems is much easier. Several Linux commands allow you to easily connect to the printer and configure communications manually.

Again, learning CLI commands can make your Linux experience much more flexible and easier to troubleshoot than Windows.Run into trouble? Check our guide to setting up a printer in Linux.

3. Configuring Internal Components

configuring bluetooth adapter

In addition to configuring new peripherals, installing new hardware inside your Linux computer follows the same approach as with printers.

In Windows, when a new graphics or network card doesn’t work, troubleshooting the problem can turn into a nightmare. Finding the right hardware so you can see the error, and then figuring out how to fix it, is almost impossible for a regular user.

Solution: In Linux, things in this area are getting easier, as new Linux distros (or updated ones) come prepackaged with support for many more internal components.

And when things go wrong, Linux provides you with a lot more power to set things right.

For example, to configuring a new network card in Linux, you have the power (with simple CLI commands) to:

  • Add entries to /etc/network/interfaces to configure the card address and netmask.
  • Set up DNS configuration in etc/resolv.conf.
  • Test the interfaces with ip or ifconfig commands.
  • Set up firewall rules to allow traffic.

This all may sound complicated, but the commands are very simple to learn and let you fix problems with your devices a lot faster than hunting and clicking through countless settings in Windows.

4. Windows Software Is Not Available

libreoffice

Even though Linux desktop distros are becoming more popular than ever before, it’s still a Windows world. That means that the vast majority of software out there is written to work on Windows, and there aren’t always versions available for Linux.

A classic example of this are Microsoft Office products like Word or Excel.

Solution: It may not be quite the “Windows world” as one might think. Windows software is costly. With Linux, there are almost always free replacement applications that are as good or better.

One example of this is LibreOffice as a replacement for Microsoft Office. Meanwhile, anyone who has used GIMP knows that the Linux alternatives certainly give Photoshop a run for its money.

gimp for linux

The key, if you’re a long-time Windows user switching to Linux, is to do your research. Windows software isn’t always the best just because there’s a price tag attached. In the Linux world, you’ll quickly discover that open source alternatives are pretty impressive.

But if you’re dead set on using those Windows apps, a powerful Linux tool called Wine is available to make many Windows applications work just fine on a Linux distro. That means Linux gives you everything you need from your Windows experience, plus a whole lot more.

5. “Limited” Gaming Options

linux gaming apps

A long-running assumption for years has been that there are many more popular games available for Windows than for Linux. The fear of this limitation makes Windows-based gamers wary about making the big leap over into the Linux world.

These days, that fear is completely unfounded.

Solution: You can now run Steam on Linux, so just about any game you can buy to play on Windows, you can play on your Linux workstation. If you install PlayOnLinux, you can even install and run games that are designed to run only on Windows.

steam on linux

This fact alone should make most gamers sprint to use Linux immediately.

Why? Because Linux distros consume far less resources than Windows. This leaves more resources available for an exciting, fast-paced gaming experience!

6. Customizing Desktop Themes

linux themes

Customizing your desktop theme in Windows is as simple as opening up Themes in System Settings, and tweaking things like the desktop background, color settings, the mouse cursor, or applying purchased themes from the Windows store.

Many Windows users think that customizing Linux distro themes are more complicated, or impossible.

Solution: Customizing themes on Linux distros is getting much easier. Most distros now incorporate easy GUIs to customize everything you can tweak in Windows.

Even better, you can go beyond those basic settings by learning some simple theme-based CLI commands. These let you manually change the appearance of individual items like icons, fonts, window settings, and much more.

There are actually a lot of things you can customize in many Linux distros that you can’t customize in Windows.

And in most cases, Linux distros come with an existing theme that’s already more aesthetically pleasing than Windows.

Switching to Linux Isn’t Painful

Even just a few years ago, making the transition to Linux distro for daily computer use was not enjoyable. It was tricky persuading hardware to work properly, and connecting to your home network would require endless of patience.

Thankfully, the developers of most popular Linux distros have made tremendous strides in making their OS handle a much larger family of peripherals and system components.

There are now GUIs available for easily configuring network interfaces. And with the growing collection of Linux-based applications that easily rival some of the best that Windows offers—the transition is nowhere as painful as it used to be.

In fact, I would say that exploring a modern Linux distro is an adventure that any long-time Windows user should try at least once. And if you’re thinking of getting started today, check our list of the best Linux distros.

Read the full article: 6 Changes Windows Users Need to Accept to When Switching to Linux

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