Cool Tools for Desktop Linux

[Luke Turner]
2021-04-10
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A list of cool tools, customizations, hacks, etc. for Linux. Specifically, I am using Endeavour Linux.

This list is focused on desktop Linux tools and tips and tricks that are cool. It will not cover security configuration, OS fundamentals, very common tools like Vim/Firefox, or boring stuff.

Terminal customization

  • kitty - A fast and featureful terminal emulator.
  • fish - A user-friendly shell (Bash replacement)
    • Tip: Configure kitty with shell fish to use fish while keeping bash as your login shell.
  • fisher - A plugin manager for fish.
  • Tide - An easy-to-configure custom prompt plugin for fish.
  • fzf.fish - A cool integration with fzf that provides a kind of autocomplete on steroids.
  • See awsm.fish for other fish stuff.
  • Fira Code - A free font. Basically Fira Mono plus programming ligatures.

A note on themes. I like to have a consistent color theme across my terminal and my text editor(s). I use Dracula because:

  1. It looks good enough.
  2. It’s had a theme for every editor or terminal I’ve cared to use so far.

Handy Functions

Functions written in fish lang.

function ff
  fd "" $argv[1] | fzf
end

This recursively lists all files in the specified directory, and provides a UI to fuzzy match on the results. (Mneumonic: *F*ind *F*ilename.)

vim (ff)

Text editing

I’ve discussed my Doom Emacs config in other posts. Suffice to note here that:

  • Doom comes with a doom-dracula theme.
  • To use Fira Code ligatures in Emacs, you can:
    • Install Fira Code Symbol.
    • Add (ligatures +fira) to your ~/.doom.d/init.el
    • Run M-x +ligatures/install-patched-font
    • Set Emacs font to Fira Code.
    • If your org outline asterisks disappear, this can be “fixed” by enabling (org +pretty).
    • See ligatures module docs for details.

Desktop Environment

  • i3 - A lightweight tiling window manager. Available as an installable “flavour” of EndeavourOS.
    • i3blocks - Alternative feed generator for i3bar.
    • rofi - A modal application launcher and window switcher (alternative to dmenu)

Alt/Win

With my 2013 Macbook Air keyboard, the Super (Command/Windows) and Meta (Option/Alt) keys are reversed compared to a Windows-style keyboard. This can be adjusted:

localectrl set-x11-keymap us macbook78 "" "altwin:swap_alt_win"

Adjust the layout (us) and model (macbook78) as needed. See localectl(1) for more information.

Reboot to apply this change.

Backlight keybindings

The Endeavour OS flavour of i3-wm includes keybindings to handle the +/- backlight buttons by calling xbacklight.

However, xbacklight is not installed, so the keys appear to do nothing.

To solve this problem, we can use the acpilight package:

pacman -S acpilight
usermod -a -G video $USER

Web browsing

  • Nyxt - Keyboard-centric Web browser scriptable in Common Lisp.

Applications

These don’t really fit in any other category.

  • Syncthing - Dropbox-like shared folders
  • spotify-tui - Terminal-based Spotify player
  • stow - For version-controlling all your configuration

Cool lists

Looking for something else? Maybe this list felt too short? Check out these huge lists: