Open Source Musings

Sharing a passion for Linux and open source, with a decidedly non-techie slant

You can't buy a computer with Linux pre-installed. How many times have you heard that refrain? I've heard it a lot over the last 20+ years. And still do every so often nowadays, believe it or not.

While that statement might have been true at one time, it's a patently false one today. There are a number of vendors from whom you can buy a Linux-powered laptop, desktop, mini, or server.

Here's a list of some of them:

Seller Types of Computers
System76 Desktops/Laptops
Star Labs Laptops/Minis
Laptop with Linux Laptops/Minis
SlimBook Laptops/Desktops/Minis
Purism Laptops/Minis
Kubuntu Focus Laptops/Minis
Entroware Desktops/Laptops/Servers
Tuxedo Computers Laptops/Desktops
Vikings Store Laptops/Desktops/Servers

Some Points to Remember

Note that:

  1. The list in this post isn't meant to be an exhaustive one. I know there are other vendors out there, but I'm most familiar with the ones above.
  2. Because I included a company in the list isn't an endorsement of it. If you have problems with any of those companies, please don't share those problems with me.
  3. I don't earn any money for either sharing those links or if you buy anything from the companies I've listed.

And, yes, what those companies charge is more than what you'll pay for a computer at your local big-box retailer. Why? Economies of scale, which smaller makers and sellers aren't able to take advantage of. No one is trying to rip you off.

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #hardware

Ah, passwords ... I have more than a few of them. And I'm sure that you do, too. And the problem isn't just the sheer number of passwords that we seem to accumulate. It's also organizing and remembering those passwords.

To help us do both, a small cottage industry of password management software has grown into existence. Many of the popular tools in that category reside on the web, including at least one open source option.

But if you don't want to keep some or all of your most important passwords on someone else's computer, there are more than a few solid options for managing your passwords on your (Linux) desktop. Let's take a quick look at three of them.


When I test drove Zorin OS Core in 2022, something that mildly vexed me was that I couldn't change the background of the desktop from an image to a solid colour.

But, as always with Linux, there's a workaround. Like the one I discovered in this post in the Zorin OS forum. Here's what to do:

Crack open a terminal window, copy and paste the command below, and press Enter:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri ""

That removes the wallpaper. To change the desktop background to a more pleasing colour, find a colour picker app (whether online or on the desktop), and get the hex code for the colour you prefer — for example, #3a79bc.

Then, copy and paste this command into a terminal window:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background primary-color 'your-hex-code'

Replace your-hex-code with the code from the colour picker app. Here's an example:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background primary-color '#3a79bc'

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #desktop #cli

Even though I put The Plain Text Project out to pasture in December, 2022, I still use plain text for most everything that I do. And I'm always stumbling across some new text-only tool or another.

One that I encountered at the end of 2022 is Noodle. It's billed as a collection of text-based thinking tools. I look at it more as an easy-to-use plain text workspace.

Curious? Let's take a look at it.


Note taking applications like Obsidian, Logseq, Craft and others have become the darlings of the personal knowledge management (PKM for short) crowd. Tools like that have many features and offer opportunities for their users to endlessly twiddle and twern to make those applications more than they are. Or, sometimes, more than they should be.

But not everyone is an adherent of PKM or of pushing tools to their limits. There are folks out there who only need something simple with which to jot down ideas or thoughts, to store that pithy quote or link or recipe. Something that's basic, fast, and which packs few frills.

A note taking tool which fits that bill is V-Notes, a very stripped down app for the GNOME desktop. Let's take a look at it.


Here's a quick look at another trio of useful little tools for the Linux desktop that can help you quickly and efficiently tackle some simple tasks.

The utilities I'm about to look at are ones that you might not always use, but which are handy to have around when you need them.

Let's jump in, shall we?

Text Pieces

Described by its developer as a Swiss knife of text processing, Text Pieces kind of lives up to that billing. Text Pieces does some weird, wonderful, and at times geeky things to plain text.


Lately, I've been spending an inordinate amount of time and mental energy dealing with various myths and misconceptions that others have embraced. In a number of areas. In a number of spaces. About a number of things.

And, to be honest, it's been getting tiring.

Case in point: an email I received a few weeks before writing this post, taking me to task for both using and advocating the use of elementary OS. The two main arguments that my correspondent put forward in that missive were that 1) users get locked into elementary OS, and 2) that users have to pay for not only the distro but also for the software that they install.

The content of that email reflects some of the FUD I read elsewhere on the web in 2022. At that time, some troubles between elementary OS's founders hit the online Linux press and blogosphere and, as can be expected, speculation was dialed up to 11. The contents of the email I received, and all that speculation, also illustrates a level of ignorance about the distribution in question.

The next several hundred words are my response to the person who emailed me and to others like them. And those words don't only apply to elementary OS.


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