4 easy Linux projects for newbies and intermediate users – PCWorld

It’s nearing the end of the year, and most people are busy finishing up the last week’s worth of work, and students are finishing up finals. For me, the last week and a half of December is usually a time to catch up on sleep, and take it easy. But an endless flow of cookies and Netflix can get tiresome. 

Even if the end of the year is full of family commitments, dinners, and last-minute oh-geez-what-do-I-buy-my-brother-in-law shopping, a small project that doesn’t take too long can be rewarding, and may yield future benefits. Here are a few ideas that shouldn’t take more than a few hours.

Fedora 25 try before install

1. Try a new Linux distro

A lot of Linux users love the OS because of the level of customization it allows. Once everything is set up just right, workflows can be quicker, and computing can be more personal and enjoyable. But sometimes it’s good to step out of your comfort zone.

Trying a new distribution might be trivial to some, but to others it might be like trying sushi when your favorite food is pizza. It can feel strange. You might not like it, but who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love all over again.

If you’ve never tried running a Linux operating system, this is a great time to dip your toes in the water. Total novices might want to try Fedora 25 because of the ease of writing the image to a USB stick. Canonical’s Ubuntu 16.04 is also a good toe-dipper. Both operating systems can run “live” on a USB drive (meaning you don’t have to go full-bore and nuke Windows if you’re just looking to test drive).

For users who have been running Fedora or a flavor of Ubuntu for a while and feel like they have it down, playing with Gentoo or Arch Linux will present a bit more challenge when it comes to setup, but will offer a great learning experience.

gpg —gen-key

2. Create an OpenPGP keypair

Creating an OpenPGP keypair is a great way to learn how public-key encryption tools work. Some Linux distributions come with GnuPG (called gpg) preinstalled, since the OS needs it to verify the signatures of packages.

Creating a keypair in Linux is pretty easy, and can be accomplished by running gpg —gen-key in a terminal window. The Fedora Wiki has a great tutorial on creating keys in KDE, GNOME, and through the command line. If you’re using Windows, you can use GPG4Win to create keys.

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