Blogging on Linux is About as Good as it Gets
This is for you technology freaks out there.
You can blog from any computer that has an operating system and a supported web browser. Basically, you just need to be a compliant linux blogging client. Well, Linux is about as compliant as you can get, when you consider that the actual blogging server side software is probably already running on some form of Linux anyway, since Linux pretty much OWNS the web hosting and server space.
So, who would want to do this?
Anyone who wants to do it without the unreliability of a Windows machine, which slows down the longer it’s been running and makes you wait and wait to get things done, even on a fast machine. I know it because I’ve been there. I am there with another machine that I own. That one is not new, but it’s a powerful machine. It has a quad core CPU and 8GB of RAM. The disks are fast too, spinning at over 7000 RPM. Well, it takes forever to boot up and when it’s been running awhile it just slows to a crawl while stuff is swapping to and from disk. Te reason I stay with Windows on that machine is that there are a few things I need Windows for, and I’ve built another machine for Linux and my daily work.
It was cheap and easy.
First off, if you have an older machine or laptop lying around doing nothing, you may want to try this on it. I don’t mean something that is like 10 years old and less than a gigabyte of RAM, although you could try one of those. You might be pleasantly surprised. What I’m talking about here is a machine that is a few years old, like maybe 5 or 6 years old. That should work well. You want 2-4GB of RAM (4 is ideal but 2 will work okay) and 160-250GB hard disk just to have some room to grow. The cpu can vary. While a one GHz machine will work, a 2 or higher is ideal. Most machines in the last few years are multi core, so they are much faster than the old single core machines ever where at the same speed.
Blogging on Linux – The Machine That I Used
I built the best linux blogging client by just going to Ebay and creating a search that would alert me when new machines meeting my search requirements are added. I specifically was looking for the Lenovo Thinkpad T61 models because they are durable. IBM sold their Thinkpad business to Lenovo, and the machines are the same configuration and the look and feel is identical. The only technical issue on the model I got involves the sleep mode. It goes to sleep fine but waking up messes things up and it needs a hard reboot. I turned off going to sleep when closing the lid as a result. I use this machine as my workhorse so I won’t bee “sleeping” is frequently, and hopefully the issue will be resolved in the future, but it’s no biggie. The thing I was looking for was a machine that is built like a tank and was fast and cheap.
I found it.
This particular machine as a 2GHz dual core Intel Centrino cpu, 4GB of RAM, and a 250GB hard disk. This is perfect. If the disk ever dies, I can swap in a solid state drive for a little bit of money, but those use less power, are MUCH faster, and create less heat. The only reason I don’t do it now is because this machine works great and I was going for a cheap and quick solution to needing a mobile and smaller machine than the huge 18″ Windows powered monster that is my main machine. That one is 5 years old and the fan is loud and I know there are subtle hard disk issues, so it isn’t ideal for a quick booting blogging rig.
This Lenovo only set me back $139 (in 2014) with free shipping from a reseller in Pennsylvania. They refurbish off lease corporate machines. This one that I bought also came with what looks like an extended capacity battery which holds a charge for over an hour, so I couldn’t be happier with what I got for such a small fee.
If I wanted Windows 7 on this, it would have cost another $70 for them to install and configure it, but I can tell you that Windows would have sapped the power from this machine and made it a slow booting bookend in no time.
Blogging on Linux – Linux to the Rescue
I built this Linux blogging client originally with a distribution called Opensuse. Linux “flavors”, or bundles, are called distributions, or “distros” for short. All they are are the linux and GNU software wrapped with whatever configuration or theme which that bundle uses, and they have created their own installation programs, package management (software install and management) system, and the like. There are some distros that are almost unheard of, some that tailor to specific small market niches, and some that are very popular. Opensuse is based on a German distro that went corporate, the way that Red Hat went corporate but still has the totally free Fedora distro to mirror that one. Opensuse was okay, but some guys at work convinced me to give Ubuntu, which is based on Debian Linux, a shot. It’s VERY popular, which means a large support community, and thus problem resolution that is way faster than other distros. The Ubuntu distribution is very slick and comes with a great installation and package management solution. It’s a breeze to get new software and to keep the installed software updated.
I installed Ubuntu Linux and then I went to the package manager and searched for the Cairo-Dock software, which emulates the MAC OSX dock. What I have is a desktop that is as pretty as MAC OSX but it just as powerful, and much more stable and quicker than Windows.
I then went on to install a plethora of web browsers, including Google Chrome and the freer version which is called Chromium. The system came with Mozilla Firefox preinstalled.
What Else Does a Linux Blogging Client Need?
You can blog just by using any of these web browsers to log into your online blog platform, whether it’s WordPRess, Blogger, Tumblr, or any other, including WordPress powered Kalatu, and blog away.
Well, that is great, but if you want to jazz up your blog, then you need graphics and such. You might also want to be able to capture screen sessions if you are into doing demos and uploading YouTube content… You know, stuff like that.
Okay, there is a free software equivalent to everything out there.
For graphics, I recommend the Gimp, which is the Gnu Image Manipulation Program. It’s basically like a free Photoshop, with all of the capabilities you need and then some. Filezilla is great for uploading files to web hosting accounts via FTP, and Simple Screen Recorder is great for recording desktop instructional sessions. The VLC Media Player is great for playing back multimedia content. Libre Office is a full featured office suite that can open MS Office file formats, and You can even install Skype and other communication programs. It can print to Windows printers as well. Adobe Reader is available too. One of the things that I need my Windows installation for is my keyword research tool, Market Samurai, but much of my blogging uses other keyword research methods that focus less on researching strength of competition and just goes for using long tail keywords and producing great content, like this article.
Building a great linux blogging client is easier than you think, and even newbies shouldn’t be afraid to pick up a cheap machine to experiment with. If not having that whiz bang Macbook pro or Air is your excuse for not taking action and really going for it online, then you’re being silly when you can create a veritable Mac killer for pennies on the dollar, as I have just proven.
Blogging on Linux is a power user’s dream come true because your machine is now powered by open source software that will never go out of business and be without support because it is not created by a private company. It’s created by an internet connected network of open source developers that love to do open source work. They take donations, so if you have the means, by all means donate. If not, then use it guilt free.
If you need advice here, you can always comment or hit me up on Facebook.
I hope that this intro has perhaps opened up your eyes to the world of different software, and also educated you to the FACT that what you thought was an older machines could actually run FASTER than a more modern machine running Windows when that older machine is now running the Linux operating system. It’s free to get and easy to install and get up and running in no time. There are loads of free references material and whole sites dedicated to using Linux. You can even head off to the nearest bookstore and pick up some books on it if you are so inclined.
Blogging on Linux is a great thing so get blogging!