This is a collection of software that I like a lot and use on a daily basis.
This page will likely keep growing as I remember more things to add. Please contact me if you want some other suggestions or if you have suggestions for me, I welcome it all!
I’m huge on BSD and BSD-like operating systems, so I used to be big on ArchLinux. Then it was switched to systemd and the BSD-like roots were entirely abandoned. For an Arch-like experience free of systemd, check out Artix Linux.
Here is what I actively use now:
My absolute favorite operating system and the best choice for a server. While, admittedly, not without flaws on the desktop, it combines an amazing system of ports with lots of system customization.
Useful links if you plan on using FreeBSD:
One of the OG distributions and the oldest one that is still maintained to this day. Very BSD-like and very minimalist in nature, which makes me quite happy.
Unfortunately, unless you are 100% okay with Patrick Volkerding’s selection of software (a lot of which is pretty good!), you might find some things that I mention below missing from the official repos.
Use sbopkg to easily work with SlackBuilds.
I intend to write a small guide on getting Slackware up and running, so look forward to that!
No systemd, has a musl base and its own, pacman-inspired, package manager. Easily the “lightest” OS out of my list in terms of configuration needed, so I run it on machines that I didn’t want to spend time on configuring.
I am not a big fan of portage and USE-flags for package management, so I don’t use it, but it’s free of systemd and fairly BSD-like.
Has amazing support as a desktop and a laptop OS. Actively used by its developers. Focuses greatly on security. Unfortunately, it lags behind FreeBSD in terms of some features. Most notably, OpenBSD is weak in terms of emulation and virtualization (no Wine, no bhyve), does not have a rich system of ports or jails. For those reasons, I do not use OpenBSD.
My go-to window manager and what I use on almost all my machines. There is little to say about it. It is suckless, so it just works.
I use Window Maker on machines with touchscreens as DWM is a little tough to control touchscreen-only without some serious tweaks. Window Maker works great. I really like the NEXTSTEP-like design and dockapps, too.
It’s vim. You all know it or at least you should.
vim is quick to start and thus provides a very easy way to edit files straight from the terminal. Lately, I’ve started using it as a lightweight development tool. With vim 8’s async support, many of the problems I’ve previously had with vim plugins have disappeared.
You can find my vim setup with plugins here
Yes, I use both! Even with vim 8’s async plugins, I find that Emacs still handles larger projects a bit better.
This article provides a complete set of plugins you need to start developing C with Emacs.
I do not really recommend Spacemacs. While it seemed like a good idea to me, I found configuration layers to be very hard to troubleshoot when they do not seem to work as intended. Due to abstraction, you need to individually visit every single layer’s configuration just to see what is being pulled in. This also means that unless you start with spacemacs-base and manually configure every single layer you will be using a whole lot of plugins you never really need, slowing down your startup time and using up RAM. And if you were going to go in and set it up manually, you may as well as just do that from plain Emacs.
I use dwm, so this goes hand in hand. I suggest you install patches for better mouse support before you use it, however.
What I use on my Window Maker machines. Lightweight and can be pulled in or out with a hotkey.
GPU accellerated and fairly simple to configure. Not very light in terms of dependencies, however.
Not exactly a terminal emulator, but rather a terminal multiplexer. Somewhat fits in this category, I run it persistently in all of my terminal sessions.
For the most part, every single browser that supports the horror that is the modern web sucks. GNU IceCat sucks the least, as it is mostly resistant to things like fingerprinting and doesn’t phone home. It still sucks, however.
Best terminal-based web browser from those I’ve tried. Supports images through image buffers as well as cookies.
It’s like regular mutt, but with a whole bunch of extra features that make it more usable. Can be interfaced with w3m to view HTML email.
Never really needed one. I do most of my file management with coreutils out of the terminal. However, when I do use one, it’s usually PCManFM on my Window Maker machines. I’ve tried SpaceFM, but it wasn’t as touchscreen-friendly.
You’d think it’d be like xev or something, but I really like Mirage. It’s reasonably lightweight and supports animated images and some obscure raw formats out of the box.
Best PDF/DjVu viewer out there. Lightweight, has vim-style bindings.
Does everything I need it to do, supports playlists, has a nice two-pane interface and a server-based design.
Amazing tool for when you need to quickly whip up presenetations. Great for presentations in general.
Quick, no-fuss static website generator. 180 lines of shell code. After digging through a whole mess of bloated static site generators, this works great for my use-case.
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