File Formats

In the Library section there is a myriad of different file formats. Some may not be known to the general public or the software that can be used to open the file. I will list free and open source software that can be downloaded, used, shared, freely and is usually higher quality than proprietary software for the same function.


  • .pdf: Everybody that knows how to use a computer knows this format and if using Windoze probably have Acrobat Reader already installed. A good alternative is Okular which also opens a lot of other related formats listed here.
  • .epub: book format for the web for a cliche sounding description. The easiest to work with and for us old webheads the preferred format as it is HTML, CSS, compressed into a ZIP archive. Okular above reads them but the most comprehensive software suite for this format is Calibre. Originally a file format for e-readers it is better for long term archiving than PDF. Calibre also has library management, can be used to transfer books between your e-reader and computer, an e-book editor, and the ability to convert between other e-book formats (.mobi, .awz3, etc).
    • Another excellent reader for Linux desktops is Foliate also packaged as a Flatpak.
    • Sigil may be a better choice for e-book editing over Calibre for most people as it has a look and feel more familiar to Mac and Win users.


This is much simpler as luckily the amount of video file formats has shrunk in daily use and all are standard, and well supported. Videos from Hellene Sun will be able to play in the browser and any recent decent video player if downloaded. There is one program to rule them all in this field:

  • VLC: this covers even older formats not used very much anymore espically from the .wmv days which are thankfully over.
  • mpv: no frills, no candy, just play the video and gets out of the way, designed for the CLI but works equally well in a GUI. A nice GUI interface for mpv is: Celluloid (for GTK/Linux).


Any of the above video players will, of course, play audio files. Audio files on Hellene Sun will play in the browser the same as video.

  • .mp3, .aac, .ogg, .flac, .wav: and a plethora of other formats too unwieldy to list. I' am unfamiliar with the Mac and Win software ecosystem, I used Winamp and Jetaudio back in the day. For real operating systems I prefer Audacious, which also runs on Windoze.


Thrown in for evangelism, and widely used if only to convert problematic .doc files:

  • LibreOffice a complete office suite with a very wide range of document file format support, old and new. An office suite is infrastructure software on a desktop so why pay licensing fees for software that is a fundamental function of desktop computing?

Operating System

Also thrown in for evangelism, free your computer and get a real operating system! Unlike the FUD that has been invalid for 10-15 years, Linux distributions are easier to use than a Mac or Win boxes and a lot less maintenance. Extend the life of your computer and be amazed how fast a computer really is without the garbage of proprietary operating systems.

  • MX Linux: very popular amongst new and older Linux users, systemd free! For the secular and not in the know, it means less heat, less battery drain, and better responsiveness.
  • Linux Mint: whose whole focus is to make GNU/Linux easy for the user while retaining the power of GNU/Linux for the power user. Their Cinnamon desktop, like KDE, will be instantly familiar to Windoze users. Unlike KDE Cinnamon will not swamp a new user' s mind with options.

For the non-technical, use the computer for basic everyday functions, Linux Mint is a good choice as it has a loyal and dedicated user base and has tiny little details that are killer other big distros ignore or mess up. MX Linux can appeal to anybody from newbie to greybeard and has a lot of cool tools, and the experience is more like how it was back in the old days without all the low level and endless fiddling older *nix users obsess with. If want to jump into a familiar desktop and just work: Linux Mint. If want to learn, explore, and fiddle: MX Linux.

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