I am always looking for the best Linux distribution for web design.
Spoiler alert: My new top choice is OpenSUSE

WARNING!  OpenSuse is for advanced users only. While the code of the operating system is top notch, the documentation is the opposite. If you want to experiment with OpenSUSE, I’d suggest that you do so with a spare computer.  Think of the OpenSUSE documentation as of the New York yellow pages with all names and number in random order.  The info is there but it’s time-consuming to find it.  With that out of the way, here is my new discovery.

  1. OpenSUSE
  2. ArcoLinux
  3. Tails

OpenSUSE

Until a few days ago, my main Linux distribution of choice was ArcoLinux.  ArcoLinux runs great on my newish Dell Inspiron 5680 PC so why did I switch to OpenSUSE?

Well, the main reason for moving to OpenSUSE was my laptop.  Because of the Intel/Nvidia graphics processors (optimus), Manjaro was the only distribution that worked.  But I wasn’t happy that shutting down the device could only be done from the terminal plus there were other annoyances which, thanks to OpenSUSE, are no more.

OpenSUSE MSI Laptop

A few days ago, I bit the bullet and downloaded the almost 5 GIG OpenSUSE Tumbleweed ISO.  My gamble paid off.  OpenSUSE installed perfectly well on my MSI laptop and the whole setup took less than an hour including configuring the network and installing the web design software I need.

Must have software for web designers

Unlike the olden (golden) days of web design when Adobe products were the standard, web design software has changed.  These days, I do everything with opensource software. Here is a list of the most important software:

  • Firefox
    Administer WordPress and Drupal sites
  • SublimeText3
    Write HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP scripts
  • GIMP
    2D artwork creation for the web
  • Thunar (SFTP)
    Secure file transfer to and from web servers

Firefox

Most of the web design work I do happens on WordPress. Firefox has everything I need to log into a WordPress-driven page and perform the needed jobs.  These days, there is little need to check and verify with all the various browsers which is why I don’t even bother installing any other browser.

SublimeText3

What can not be done with Firefox can be done with the amazing SublimeText3 editor.  HTML5, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, you name it.  If it needs to be coded, SublimeText3 is the go-to tool.

GIMP

Web designers need to adjust images and GIMP is my choice. There is also Krita and a few easier to use applications but GIMP has everything and then some.  Best of all, YouTube offers fresh and professional tutorials which can bring new users up to speed because when it comes to web design, time is money.

Thunar

There are many flavors of Linux, desktop environments and window managers.  I use only XFCE because it is super fast and the Catalina Dark theme gives me that polished OS X look.
While designers prefer aesthetically pleasing software, the real power of Thunar is its ability to mound remote web servers.  Because of that, I don’t need an SFTP client to encrypt the transfers between my machines here in Vancouver and the web server which is physically located in California.

Because of all of the above, I have decided to move my main graphics workstation to OpenSUSE as well.  I prefer to have all of my computers run the same operating system so that I don’t have to keep track of all the issues the different distributions have.

ArcoLinux

ArcoLinux is amazing and if it run on my MSI laptop, I’d never switch to any other distro.  ArcoLinux is lightening fast, installs Blender perfectly and comes with built-in scripts to install a local network in just minutes.

If you check out ArcoLinux, then I recommend the D ISO. By default, ArcoLinux comes with a bit of bloat which takes time to remove.  I prefer a lean system and only the themes and icons that I actually use. Nothing else.

Tails Linux

If you know what Tails Linux is that you most likely wonder what Tails has to do with web design? Well, once in a while, you have to look at the competition and if you don’t want the competition to know that you did, then Tails is the way to go

Conclusion

Web design is a tough business.  Keeping up with the ever changing standards is almost a full-time job.  Yes, you could install of the above mentioned software on Windows 10 but if you know how to do an advanced W10 configuration then you should be able to install Linux and enjoy the speedy workflow.  You’ll no longer have to keep up with all the buggy releases and endless updates.  Linux is a locomotive. If you need heavy lifting, then check out ether OpenSUSE or ArcoLinux.
YouTube has countless videos that show you how to install Linux which, amazingly, has become so simple that kids do it.  I discovered Linux in the late 90’s and haven’t looked back since.  Thank you for reading.

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