These days, lots of us have more than just one device. Maybe it’s a Linux machine at home and a Windows computer at work. Or maybe it’s three computers, a smartphone, a tablet, and a netbook running Archbang. Whatever your span of devices, Dropbox is absolutely essential for keeping all your files (and other stuff) in sync. You get 2 GB of free space to start, but it’s really easy to load up on extra space for free.
When you have to download a large file, BitTorrent is almost always a better alternative than a slow direct download. Linux has some good BitTorrent choices, but our favorite client is Deluge. It’s simple to use feature-rich, and has a nice plugin library, so advanced users have all the features they need to tweak their speed and privacy to their liking. If you aren’t a fan of Deluge, tryqBitTorrent—it’s equally as awesome.
Everyone needs a backup. There’s no worse feeling than having your hard drive crash and having to start from scratch. Enter CrashPlan. While you could alwaysback up to an external drive, that won’t save you if you lose your computer in a fire, burglary, or other disaster. CrashPlan backs your computer up to the cloud, using either CrashPlan’s cloud service or a friend’s computer, keeping your data safe no matter what. Plus, it’s really easy to set up. Set it, forget it, and relax.
Linux has a lot of file archiving tools, and if you’re a command line buff, look no further than the terminal to get everything done (whether it’s the built-in tar command or the awesome p7zip). But, if you need a more friendly GUI, PeaZip is our pick. It may not be pretty, but it can work with over 130 different archive types, encrypt archives for safe keeping, and integrate with both GNOME and KDE. Plus, it still has the command line features advanced users crave, for when the GUI isn’t necessary.
Linux has some awesome apps, but sometimes the big guys ignore Linux and we’re left out in the cold. Wine is (sometimes) the answer: if you’ve got a Windows program you can’t leave behind (whether it’s Outlook for work, Photoshop for images, or World of Warcraft for fun), Wine will run it on your Linux desktop. It doesn’t work with every program out there, but Wine’s app database will help you figure out which ones work well, so you can get one step closer to leaving Windows behind forever.
When Wine doesn’t cut it and you just have to run that Windows program or two, VirtualBox is your next choice. VirtualBox will run an entire Windows installation in a virtual machine, so you can perform all your Windows tasks without ever leaving Linux. It isn’t always ideal, but if you’re stuck with Windows at work, for example, this might end up being the compromise you need.
Linux users spend a lot more time in the terminal than the average Windows or Mac user, which means you should have a really good terminal emulator on hand. The default terminal that comes with your distro may be fine, butTerminator will take your command line work to the next level. You can arrange terminals in a grid, re-order them, configure a bevy of keyboard shortcuts, save your layouts, and a lot more. If you don’t want or need everything Terminator has to offer, you might still want to check out Guake and Yakuake, the awesome drop-down terminals you can access with a keyboard shortcut.