Before starting on describing the software and my workflow it is perhaps in order to give a little information on the operative systems I use.
Although I have tried many different versions of Linux (so called distro hopping) I decided a few years ago to go with Ubuntu on my stationary PC, which is the machine I use for most of my work including photographic processing, I am now using version 12.04 LTS, I also havePCLinuxOS installed on an old laptop, (which has been used for writing parts of this blog) this is also suitable for photographic work, it just uses a different desktop environment.
I should also mention the fact that anybody can install and work with Linux nowadays, no need to work from the text-based terminal, all work, from administration, word processing, image processing, etc. is done from the GUI.
Once set-up anybody (including your granny!) can use it.
Why Linux? you may ask, first of all it is free, more or less all the software I need for it is also free, Linux will normally make better use of your system resources if you have plenty, and should normally run faster than a Windows OS of equivalent age, security is another factor, I got fed up with Windows being slowed down by Anti-virus, anti-this and anti-that, I have not had antivirus software on my PC for the last 5 years, there aren’t really any viruses in the wild for Linux, you can install AV software but this is really only for checking emails so you don’t pass on anything to others using Windows.
If you do get into trouble the official forums are very helpful and normally very fast, but do make a search before posting anything, your question will almost certainly have been asked before and answered!
All the major software required to work on a PC with Linux is usually included in the initial installation, should you require other software then this can be downloaded from a so called repository, this is another security factor, all software in the repository is checked so no malign code will be downloaded, plus a check will be made so that all dependencies are satisfied.