What's your most amazing 2019 Linux discovery?

I’m preparing a double episode of Linux For Everyone where I run down one awesome discovery I made (or neat thing I learned) from every month this year. I’d love to hear what your biggest discovery has been in 2019!

If you’re feeling talkative, share it in an audio file (any format is fine and email it to linuxforeveryone@pm.me – I’ll play a few in a future episode!

Or just respond here, and stay tuned for Episodes 21 & 22 for my big list!

EDIT: Here’s part 1


Ok recycling a comment from a while back but it still holds true that I could not believe after decades of using Linux it had never even occurred to me that this was possible.

The Original title was

Why Linux is just so Cool

OK I already know Linux is just the best OS bar none but it is only when you stumble across something that is inherent in Linux that will work on any platform and is just so damn useful you have to think to yourself “Wow man! Linux is cool”

So my little gem is Linux and the standard device. Now we all know stdout and stdin and probably have used it in pipe form for ages

cat <file> | grep <string>

But what you may not know is that the standard output can also be accessed through the filesystem at /dev/stdout and /dev/stdin. Go on look yourself, they are there by default. What this means is that programs that don’t have stdout support can be made to work anyway.

In my example I am using the PicoTTS tools which should be available on most distributions. However the syntax for the command is very limited.

Usage: pico2wave <words>
   -w, --wave=filename.wav     Write output to this WAV file (extension SHOULD be .wav)
   -l, --lang=lang             Language (default: "en-US")

Help options:
  -?, --help                  Show this help message
       --usage                 Display brief usage message

So standard tricks will not work:

pico2wave -w out.wav "Test me"| aplay -
aplay: playback:2715: read error`

Bummer. I don’t want to have to make things more complicated and write a file and then have to read it back again with aplay.

But there is a neat trick you can use. If you symlink /dev/stdout to a file the program can access, writing to that file will automatically be directed to stdout.

 :$~ ls -la /tmp/pipe.wav 
 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Jan 21 10:53 /tmp/pipe.wav -> /dev/stdout

so now you can use that as the destination file:

pico2wave -w /tmp/pipe.wav "Test me"| aplay -
Playing WAVE 'stdin' : Signed 16 bit Little Endian, Rate 16000 Hz, Mono

WooHoo! it works. And not only that you are not even writing to the disk so it could be a R/O filesystem and still work. This is how I managed to put text to speech on my raspberry pi clock with a very small footprint. It is fast, configurable and perfect for little projects you want to talk to you.

Well just thought I would share this with the LAS crowd because I know many of you are new to Linux and even if you are not tricks like that you may not be aware of. Remember it can concatenate anything to stdout. So can be a bitmap or an mp3 or anything you need as a stream of data.

Maybe that will qualify?



I’ve been on Linux for about a dozen years and while I’ve learned a lot, I’m still scratching my head when I see some posts here and on BDL. I’ve got two things.

  1. Linux is coming to me, or to my older machines. A few years ago I couldn’t run Gnome or KDE on my laptop and now I’ve had Gnome running for a couple of months on my 2012 Acer and it runs perfectly. I’ve always used XFCE but I haven’t had that on either of my laptops for months.

  2. There’s this writer I found on Forbes writing these excellent articles on Linux, but I just can’t recall his name… :grinning:

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That Falkon is stable, adaptable and fast enough to become my go-to browser on Linux for basic browsing / searching etc, with Firefox only when privacy is top-priority.

Gnome and KDE are almost as low-resource now as XFCE and so I’ve switched to Gnome.

Boxes is extremely quick, easy and rock-solid for virtual-machines under Gnome.

Fedora 30 and 31 seem so stable, they might even be possible daily drivers now!

I also discovered DL and associated shows this year - also excellent :slight_smile:

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My personal discovery would probably be the Raspberry Pi with Pi-hole. I absolutely love the idea behind it and how easy it was to set up initially. The folks over at Pi-hole have a very active community filled with helpful tidbits.

Another personal discovery is how easy it was for me to convert completely over to Linux from the other operating system! Been going strong since September.

Also, have to throw in DLN, like @ak2020 mentioned. The amount resources out there for Linux is abundant, and now I have 15 active podcasts which I keep up with weekly! Thanks for all the content DLN, and to all of the other content creators for Linux :clap:


My most amazing 2019 Linux discovery?


I’ve been trying to switch to Linux for years, but it always ran into issues usually surrounding hardware, but the main drawback was gaming. I’m a big PC gamer, and have a huge Steam catalogue. However I heard around March time that Steam was getting to be worthwhile using in Linux thanks to the work that Valve have been putting in on Proton.

After solving an initial issue* that led me to believe nothing had changed, I was able to get the vast majority of my Steam library up and running, largely without issue and out of the box!

This was a game changer for me.

2019 was finally the year I was able to make the switch to Linux full-time at home**, and I really could not be happier! I’ve tried a tonne of different distros and have finally settled into using Manjaro & latterly vanilla Arch, and am having a brilliant time tinkering and testing. I’m definitely in my element :smiley:

*Steam doesn’t like running games on an NTFS drive. Once I reformatted my Steam SSD to ext4 everything worked.

**Unfortunately I still have to use Win10 in work :unamused:

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#1, by far DLN !!! #2 The LUG @dasgeek started.

I’ll 2nd pi-hole. It has changed my internet experience at home as much as Netflix has spoiled me with no commercials.

Other honorable mentions ( for me ).

KDE being almost as light on resources as Xfce. I converted.

In my Linux self-study training, I learned some of the options for managing applications via apt-get and rpm. The surprise was to learn that there are options for reinstalling without overwriting the config files and options for a complete reinstall.


I learned that you can take the content of /proc/mount and inject that directly into fstab. Good if you nuke fstab by mistake and haven’t rebooted yet.

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  • @JasonEvangelho and his articles on Forbes.

  • The DLN community although I already was listening to some of the podcasts. Now I am still catching up with so much great content.

  • Debian 10 Buster comes with Plymouth by default and it looks gorgeous and works flawlessly and flicker free. Welcome to the mainstream Debian!


In 2019 I discovered just how good a newish Arch based distro could be… EndeavourOS. It and ArcoLinux are now fighting it out in that category on my computers. They haven’t pushed MX-18/MX-19 out of first place for me, but I could happily survive if MX Linux disappeared.


That I could spin up basically any linux distro I want in a matter of minutes using Oracle Virtual Box. I was like Jason - distro-hopping/shopping for the absolute best flavor of linux - yet constantly building new bootable usb sticks and constantly rebooting a machine. No more reboots and fire up any version of linux from the ISO.

During the year I learned, I liked Peppermint 10 a lot from a UI design standpoint. Linux Mint continues to be a perennial favorite and I have to say I kind of used also Deepin on a semi-regular basis.



My biggest discovery for 2019 for Linux has been Lutris, sure, I knew about Lutris but what discovery that I made, thanks to @FrenchGuyCH, was that I can run Fusion360, a CAD / CAM 3D parametric modeler and manufacturing software application by Autodesk. Why is this significant? Although I can use my employer’s software application by PTC, Creo to do 3D modeling but that only runs on Windows. Also, I really don’t dig the idea of being dependent on my employers hardware and software to do a pet-project. Now, I can do EVERYTHING on Linux. I can design components, using Fusion360 thru Lutris on Linux, develop or document circuits using Fritzing or KiCAD, 3D print with any of the numerous open source tools and quite literally, never have to touch Windows again for any of my personal projects and needs. 2019 was my second year of the Linux Desktop, meaning, I am now free to be on Linux for everything (except for tax preparation… but I can do that in VM :wink: ). This has been an exciting Linux year.


Welcome @billmal. Glad to have you here. Peppermint and Mint (bit of a mint theme, eh?) are great choices and ones that I revisit often. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over distro hopping or if I even want to. It’s too much fun! As long as I have one stable installation somewhere so I can get things done I’m fine.


I need to figure this out. I keep seeing people claim Lutris does things other than games but their site only lists games. :confused:

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Tab completion in the terminal. I’ve been using Linux for 13 years and have heard it name dropped but this year I finally figured out what it was and how to use it. My God, if I could use a time machine I would tell former me to move their pinkie finger and hit the darn key.


It does FUSION 360?!?!
I got to try that out this weekend :grin:

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For me it’s simply Linux :smiley: I made the switch this year so the whole ecosystem is an amazing discovery !

in episode 21 you talk about Lollypop so as I was still searching for a music player fitted to my habits, I gave it a try. It’s as you said, polished and robust ! My problem with all the others is my music is on the NAS and I found few of them were able to play it nicely from there. Still have to look how you can edit the infos on the file though (Synology app is painful for that task)

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Here here!!!

Double Here Here!!!

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The zstd compression utility. It rocks when creating and restoring full-disk images, compressing and decompressing on the fly, using all your CPU threads, with sweet performance.


This is difficult, I feel like everything has been incremental improvement.

It’ll have to be Linux podcasts because the knock-on effect has been many of those improvements.
DLN got me onto the Pine stuff for instance.
The selection of Jupiter broadcasting podcasts got me onto other things including Linux Academy.
Darknet Diaries made me interested in security again.

DLN is probably the only Linux community I’m part of though, no-one point going elsewhere when all the greatest minds are here.