I use Linux and other open-source software almost exclusively, and this page just has information related to that kind of stuff.

Linux Distributions

Fedora:
One of the most solid distributions and very good for a wide range of uses from desktops to servers. I’ve used Red Hat and/or Fedora since it’s inception, but only in the last couple years switched back to using Fedora for my home systems. I did this primarily because Gentoo was taking too much time to maintain, and they seemed to be slowing down with releasing new versions of a lot of the software I use.

Gentoo:
I’ve use Gentoo since 2002 or 2003 and it’s still one my favorite distributions. I definitely would not recommend this distribution for beginners, but for security, performance, and customization it can’t be beat.

Arch Linux:
This is another one of my favorites that I use from time to time, but it seems that it is somewhere between Gentoo’s flexibility and the ease of use of more mainstream distributions, and I never seem to find a good long-term use for it. It’s still not a good distribution for non-techies, but if you’ve used something like Gentoo this one is easy to adapt to, the documentation and community support is excellent, and you don’t have to deal with all the compiling required by Gentoo.

Ubuntu:
I usually choose Ubuntu when installing Linux for other people. There are many good reasons why it’s arguably the most popular distribution today, very user friendly and simple to use.

OpenSuse:

Another great distribution that works well for workstations and servers.

Debian:

Another good distribution but not one I spend much time with anymore. It’s not one I’d recommend for the average user.

I’ve used numerous other distributions in the past and continue to try others from time to time but for everyday use most others distributions do not compare to these.

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Open-Source Software

These are the two applications I use for managing and editing my photos.

Digikam:
This is probably one of the open source applications I use the most. It’s by far my favorite application for managing and editing photos. I’m always using the cutting edge versions, testing betas and using either a release candidate or the most current version for my production work.

Ufraw:
My favorite raw image converter/basic editor. I convert my images with this and do some editing before finishing in Digikam. I always use versions from CVS and update as often as every few weeks.

Luminance HDR:
For creating HDR images from multiple exposures. I have a separate album of these types of photos in my photo gallery.

Darktable:
This has become another one of my favorite editors. It takes some time to learn but it’s incredibly powerful and does some things (like spot removal) much better than any other application I’ve used.

These are some of the applications/technologies I’m using for my website.

Piwigo:
Software I currently use for my photo gallery. Excellent features and community support.

Lighttpd:
A very fast and light web server that I use to host most of my website.

Gallery:
Web photo gallery software I used for many years, but it’s been dead for quite a while now.

Apache:
The apache web server, also used for serving portions of my website.

MySQL:
The database backend I use for my website.

Alternative PHP Cache (APC):
I’ve linked to the Wikipedia page for this because most people have no idea what it is and the Wikipedia page provides a better explanation than the development website.

FastCGI

My preferred desktop on Linux
KDE:
I’ve used Gnome and KDE for what seems like an eternity. I could be happy with either, but I still prefer KDE most of the time. I’ve also used lxde, fluxbox, windowmaker, enlightement, and Xfce, but never seem to be able to stick with any of these.

History

I started out using Unix, which is very similar to Linux, sometime around 1989. I used Unix for many years and it wasn’t until 1996 that I started using Linux, initially at the hospital I worked at. I started out with Debian, RedHat, Caldera, Slackware, Suse, and a bit later Mandrake. Anyone who used Linux in those days knows how difficult it was. Hardware support was horrible and just doing an install often required extensive knowledge and an incredible amount of work. There were times where RedHat or Suse were my primary distribution, but when Gentoo came out I was immediately thrilled with it’s flexibility and how it addressed so many weaknesses in other distributions. On one hand Gentoo is a lot of work, but on the other hand I find it’s the best distribution for my kind of work, which is regularly compiling software and using cutting edge versions of dozens of different applications. I still use commercial Linux distributions like RedHat and Suse at work, but I have a strong preference for the more community oriented distributions like Fedora, OpenSuse, and Ubuntu even in that environment.