The Best Linux Software

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Linux is full of awesome apps, both open source and proprietary. People new to Linux might be used to Windows or Mac OS X apps that aren’t available on Linux, and don’t know about available alternatives. Even seasoned Linux users tend to find new and useful software quite often.

Linux apps are also very easy to install. In most cases, they’re in your distribution’s repositories so all it takes is a quick search through your Software Center or a single command in the terminal. Speaking of terminals, there are plenty of apps that can help you avoid the terminal, if that’s your preference.

As with any “best” list, there may have been some apps that we left out. Feel free to post suggestions in the comments!

Browsers

Firefox

firefox

Mozilla’s browser is the go-to browser for Linux users. It’s still included in the majority of distros, and also fights for online freedom and privacy the most. While some benchmarks have shown that it might not be the fastest browser out there (although it’s closing the gap), it’s certainly the most open-source and customizable one you can get.

Chrome/Chromium

chrome

The popular browser from Google is also available on Linux. You get all of the same features, speed, and security from the constantly-updated browser. One detail to note is that a lot of distributions have Chromium available in their repositories; Chrome, however, usually isn’t available in the repos and must be downloaded from Google directly.

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Opera

opera

Opera has always had a Linux version of their browser up until they switched to using Chromium as their base. For a while thereafter, Opera was only available on Windows and Mac OS X — until now. Since Opera isn’t very popular compared to Firefox and Chrome/Chromium, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll have to get the browser directly from Opera’s website, which is a pretty easy process.

Games

Civilization 5

civ5

In this strategy game, you take control of a group of people and lead them in an effort to survive as long as possible. You start out as a simple and small settlement that discovers other nations around them. You will have to ensure that your people prosper, while you make diplomatic relations with other nations or declare war on them. As you advance through the game, you’ll also research various topics that you can put to good use to continuously promote your nation’s growth.

Team Fortress 2

tf2_gameplay

A major hit from Valve, the same company that provides Steam, Team Fortress 2 is a comical team-oriented shooting game. It’s also completely multiplayer (if you ignore the training/practice option), so it’s a fun game to play among friends or anonymous players. The game has been going for a long time, and continues to get updates from Valve on a regular basis to add more features.

Minecraft

minecraft

The most popular indie game is also available on Linux, thanks to the cross-platform characteristics of Java. In a virtual world made completely of blocks, you can do whatever you want — mine for precious minerals, build lavish structures, or fight off mobs in an ultimate test of survival. There’s much creative freedom in Minecraft, and such a multi-purpose game is worth playing.

0 A.D.

0ad_gameplay

A championed example of open-source gaming, 0 A.D. focuses on historical warfare and economy. Although the game is still in development with only alpha releases currently available, it is definitely playable with lots of features already built in. It’s also easily obtained via your distro’s repositories.

Dota 2

dota2-screenshot-new-hud

A competitor to League of Legends, Dota 2 is Valve’s offering for a multiplayer online battle arena. In it, you can fight other teams, collect gold, find items, and more. The game is extremely popular with regular daily peaks of over 800,000 concurrent players, and provides excellent performance on Linux to beat the competition.

Urban Terror

urbanterror_3

A personal favorite for a Linux first-person shooter, Urban Terror is described as a Hollywood-style shooter game that doesn’t necessarily favor realism. It has lots of features, decent graphics, and a whole lot of action. Urban Terror usually isn’t found in a distribution’s repositories, so you’ll need to grab the game from their website. Thankfully, they provide a utility which can automatically download the game as well as check for updates.

Maintenance

Ubuntu Tweak

ubuntu_tweak_overview

Ubuntu Tweak is an excellent application for managing some behind-the-scenes tweaks to your Ubuntu-based system. You can make some customizations that aren’t otherwise available via normal configuration tools, enable some workarounds to avoid usage kinks, and clean up unneeded files to regain storage space. Most importantly, it can quickly and easily remove those pesky old kernels that you don’t need any longer and just take up tons of space.

BleachBit

bleachbit

BleachBit is a very handy tool that can free up disc space as well as protect your privacy. It can arguably be seen as the Linux equivalent to CCleaner as it supports “cleaning” a large list of applications, plus it has the tools to securely delete files or wipe free space to ensure that files cannot be recovered. There are also a few other tools which aim to improve performance, primary by deletion of specific files.

Editors and Development

Gedit

gedit_tabs

Gedit is the default text editor for the GNOME desktop environment, and although it might first look like the equivalent to Notepad in Windows, Gedit is far more powerful with more features and customization options. It can even be used as a lightweight code editor if you so choose. However, if you’re looking for a fully-fledged IDE, this isn’t what you want.

Kate

kate_main

Kate is the default text editor for the KDE desktop environment, and similar to Gedit, it looks like a Notepad alternative but actually comes with a ton more features. With Kate, you’ll see a lot more integrations with the KDE desktop which can lead to a more productive and happy life if you use that desktop environment.

Geany

geany_open

If you’re still a bit wary of a full IDE to write code in, but find that Gedit or Kate isn’t programming-oriented enough, then take a look at Geany. It’s not a text editor, nor necessarily an IDE (although one could argue that it might be a lightweight IDE), but a code editor. You’ll find nifty features like a compile/run button, a listing of functions defined in the currently-opened file, and much more.

Eclipse

fedora_android_eclipse

Eclipse is the go-to IDE on Linux, as it’s open-source, is used widely by users of all operating systems and therefore has the most community support. If there’s a feature that you need, the chances are very high that Eclipse can accommodate you. Best of all, it’s easily installed by just taking a quick search through your distro’s repositories.

Documents/Office Suites

LibreOffice

linux_libreoffice4

The best office suite (barring any online products) is LibreOffice, hands down. It simply offers the most amount of features and the best compatibility with Microsoft Office’s document formats. While it’s not always perfect with compatibility, it’s quite good and continuous updates only make the compatibility better. You’ll find equivalents for documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more.

GNOME Office

abiword-main

There isn’t exactly a package called “GNOME Office”, but it’s rather just a colloquial term to describe a set of applications, which includes AbiWord, Evince, Gnumeric, Ease, GnuCash, and more. These are good apps that provide office functionality, and are fairly lightweight as well, so you’ll often see them with distros that feature LXDE. However, compatibility with Microsoft Office formats isn’t always that great, so it’s a good suite if you need the functionality but not the compatibility.

Calligra Suite

calligra_words

Calligra is the new name for the KDE office suite, which also includes all of the applications needed for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Visually it fits in best with the KDE desktop environment, and it offers acceptable compatibility with Microsoft Office formats. Support for open formats such as ODT isn’t that great, however, so you’ll again want to use this one for the functionality rather than the compatibility.

Desktop Environments

GNOME

gnomeshell-desktop

GNOME is a GTK-based desktop environment which provides a very unique desktop experience with GNOME Shell, which features an Activities view and a greater emphasis on the use of virtual desktops. Even if you don’t use pure GNOME, there are several desktop environments which use parts of GNOME in their setup, while others are based on GNOME code but decided to go their own way. This desktop environment is usually seen as a moderate user of system resources, although compared to Windows or Mac OS X it is still rather lightweight.

KDE

kde5_desktop

KDE is a Qt-based desktop environment which aims to provide as many features as possible. It’s often seen by the Linux community as the flashiest desktop environment, but also the one which is the heaviest user of system resources. Currently, we’re in a phase where KDE 4 is slowly being replaced with KDE 5, which is more of a rewrite of KDE rather than a major redesign. You’ll be able to find KDE 5 in some distros within the next 6 months to one year.

Xfce

xfce

Xfce is another GTK-based desktop environment, but it has always been its own desktop environment rather than having ties with GNOME (besides using GTK). It is considered to be a smaller user of system resources, which is great for systems that have lower specs and would otherwise struggle with “bigger” desktop environments.

LXDE

lxde_lubuntu_desktop

LXDE is definitely considered to be the most lightweight traditional desktop environment currently available, before you starting diving into tiling window managers as desktop environments. LXDE uses a surprisingly small amount of RAM, so this would be the desktop environment of choice for underpowered devices or for those who just prefer to save every ounce of power for whatever applications they’re running rather than the desktop environment that melts into the background anyways. Personally, I don’t think it’s the prettiest desktop environment (although tweaking it can make it look decent), but it achieves many technical goals.

Cinnamon

cinnamon_desktop

Cinnamon is Linux Mint’s replacement for GNOME Shell. While it uses some GNOME apps (and forks others, i.e. Nautilus becoming Nemo), the user experience is quite different. While maintaining up-to-date technologies and frameworks, it tries to reserve the more traditional way desktops have worked rather than adopting GNOME Shell’s unique way of handling windows. As development of Cinnamon is somewhat biased towards Linux Mint, it’s not as easy to get Cinnamon on other distributions — although this has been improving.

MATE

mate_desktop

MATE is another project of Linux Mint which aims to replicate the old GNOME 2 desktop and support it, unlike GNOME which dropped support for GNOME 2 in favor of GNOME 3. In fact, MATE’s code originally came from GNOME 2 after support for it ended, and has since been maintained by Linux Mint developers. Like I mentioned, they aim to keep the same desktop experience going, but plans have surfaced that they do want to port the desktop environment to the GTK3 framework in order to keep up with the latest tech.

Unity

ubuntu_unity

Unity is the child of Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. It was developed by Canonical when GNOME announced their plans for GNOME Shell, and Canonical did not want Ubuntu to go in that direction. While a lot of Linux users have complained about the Unity desktop environment, it’s still pretty easy to use, customizable, and most importantly familiar. People run Ubuntu more than any other Linux distribution, so Unity is arguably the most familiar desktop environment of them all.

Audio, Video, and Image Manipulation

Audacity

audacity

If you need to work with audio, Audacity has been the long-standing open-source champion. With it, you can do just about whatever audio manipulation you’d like. Trimming audio, combining audio, stacking audio onto multiple tracks, and many advanced features are all available on Audacity. You can also save your project files and then export to a number of different formats and quality settings.

GIMP

open_source_gimp

GIMP is the closest application to Photoshop, and there’s very, very little that you can do in Photoshop that you can’t do in GIMP — it might just require a different workflow to achieve the same result. It can read virtually any format, let you touch up images, make more drastic changes, or even render graphics from scratch, and then save them in a GIMP project format or into various image formats. GIMP can even import videos and convert them into a GIF. It’s definitely worth a look if Photoshop is a tool you regularly use.

PiTiVi

pitivi_3

If you need to make simple home videos, then PiTiVi is a great tool for you. It allows you to make basic changes such as trimming clips, adding clips together, add effects to clips, add transitions between clips, and then export your final product in various formats and qualities. PiTiVi is definitely not an advanced video editor — it’s aimed for basic home use — but it’s still capable and worthy of recommendation.

Lightworks

lightworks

If you need a more powerful video editor, then Lightworks is arguably the best tool available on Linux. It’s so good, several Hollywood productions have used Lightworks in their video editing. The downside? It costs $438 to outright own the full version, but the free version gives you all the same tools but limits you to only exporting to MPEG-4 at 720p. But hey, at least it’s good to know that there’s a professional-grade video editing solution available on Linux if you need it.

Email and Communication

Thunderbird

linux_email_thunderbird

Mozilla’s other popular offering, Thunderbird, makes for a great email client on Linux as well. It may not be the lightest option available for an email client, but it’s among the most customizable, which can be pretty important for some people. For example, Thunderbird can apply different settings on a per-account basis, unlike say Evolution which has several options which can only be applied globally. Sadly, Thunderbird isn’t receiving the same attention from Mozilla as it used to, but it still receives occasional updates for code improvements and security fixes.

Evolution

linux_email_evolution

This email client is commonly supplied with distributions that feature the GNOME desktop environment. It’s a good email client that looks nice, supports Google Calendars out-of-the-box, and even has decent support for Microsoft Exchange accounts. It also has tight integrations with GNOME Shell, so you’ll be able to get new email notifications and a calendar applet which ties in with Evolution’s set up calendars.

KMail

linux_email_kmail

This is the default email client for the KDE desktop environment. It’s very feature-laden, and also provides good integration with the KDE desktop and related services. It may look a little weird at first, however, so you might have to play around with a few settings before you have it looking the way you’d like it to.

Claws Mail

linux_email_claws_mail

If you just need a simple email client that’s lightweight and lets you focus on your emails rather than providing you tons of features, then check out Claws Mail. This email client also keeps security in mind by displaying plain text emails. You get the idea — simplicity, security, stability. We have a great comparison between Claws Mail and the other three email client recommendations in this category.

Pidgin

pidgin-buddy-list.png

Besides emails, you may also want to send people some instant messages. Pidgin is a fantastic application for instant messaging across many network protocols, including all of the most popular ones such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. It also offers a great plugin system where Pidgin’s functionality can be extended to support whatever you’d like it to do.

Skype

skype_linux_main

Of course, one of the most popular chat networks still around is Skype, and there’s a Linux client for this as well. It’s not quite a clone of the Windows and Mac OS X versions, but it still offers enough features to be able to do whatever you’re used to on Skype. Microsoft also recently updated the Linux client, making it more stable and compatible with newer versions of PulseAudio (this handles communication between apps and your actual audio hardware), which is a good improvement compared to the past state of the Skype client.

XChat

xchat

Linux communities often rely on IRC chatrooms to communicate quickly with others who are interested in the same things. Our favorite choice for a Linux IRC client is XChat, which is clean, easy to use, and very configurable. If you’re looking to consolidate applications, then you could use Pidgin as well, but the IRC experience in Pidgin isn’t nearly as good as it is with XChat.

Media Players

Totem

totem_main_window

Totem is a media player that is usually bundled together with GNOME and GNOME-based desktop environments. It’s a fairly simple media player that loves videos but can also play music. There’s not much to configure with it — it’s meant to just work without any fuss. And it does that well, as Totem rarely causes any problems. A handful of distributions even make Totem prompt you to install appropriate codecs for whatever you’re trying to play with a single click if you don’t already have those codecs installed.

VLC

portable_vlc

If you want complete control, power, and the ability to play anything under the sun, then you’ll want VLC. It has been a favorite among the Linux community for ages, as it handles anything you can throw at it with ease. And there are plenty of options to look at, or even more if you opt to look at the detailed list. It is increasingly becoming the default media player on a number of distros, and rightfully so.

MPlayer

mplayer_gui_selection

MPlayer is another great media player that can handle just about anything you want to play, but it’s interesting because it doesn’t come with a graphical interface. Pure MPlayer will play content either directly in the terminal (such as for music) or by opening a very simple window with no other controls. There are, however, third-party graphical interfaces which you can use to control MPlayer. While VLC has more configuration options, MPlayer may be more flexible, depending on what your needs are.

How Would You Make This List Better?

And there you have it — our Best Linux Software list. There’s so much more software out there than this list contains, and it’s impossible to remember them all or try them all out. If you know of a good piece of Linux software that didn’t make the list, it may not have been intentional. Leave a note in the comments about software you would’ve liked to see on the list and why, and it could be added into the next edition of the list.

What Linux software do you love?

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74 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

dragonmouth

I know that Linux is a super secure O/S but you could have (should have) mentioned a few Linux security apps.

Jessica C

Do you use Linux, dragonmouth? Do you have any favourite security apps to recommend?

denis

I didn’t even think about the word ‘security’ since the day I started using Linux.

Reply

Simen

I know it’s a paid app, but I think Sublime text deserves a place on this list. And maybe PyCharm (freeware-ish)?
Also, thanks for sharing BleachBit, didn’t know about that one.

Ed

Sublime text is a paid app that does not require you to pay for it. It nags you every now and then to consider buying it, but is fully functional if you never pay for it.

Great code editor, by the way. I use or all the time

wyz

Be VERY CAREFUL with bleachbit. If you are too aggressive with this app it’s easy to mess up your installation.

wyz

Hello all. I’m partial to the KDE desktop because of such fine apps as Dolphin (file manager), Gwenview (image viewer), and Digikam (photo management). Other apps you might also look at:
Artha (dictionary/thesaurus), Nixnote (a clone of Evernote), Yakuake (a dropdown terminal), Shutter (a very feature rich screenshot app), Htop (text mode process viewer), Pithos (Pandora radio client), KMyMoney (personal finance manager), Fontmatrix (font manager), and Geeqie (graphics file browser utility that is FANTASTIC for finding duplicate images)

Reply

Kris

Okay… so, the more I read the more I’m tempted. Admittedly, all these different forks/environments make me a little hesitant to dive into the linux world but… If we never try anything new we will never learn, right1

Thanks for the list. Bookmarked for after I take the dive.

Jessy

If you want to give GNU/Linux a try, and you’re currently using Windows, there’s a nice program called “LiLi USB Creator”. It allows you to install a distro on a usb drive and boot on it, to try it out (and eventually install it). I suggest Ubuntu, which has a gorgeous app centre.
If you feel like it’s worth the experience, you can install it on another partition and dual-boot with windows, or whathever your current OS is. The Ubuntu installation goes softly, and you should get through it without much hassle (but still, be careful not to uninstall your current OS and lose your data :P).

Christopher Wetmore

Another thing about Ubuntu that doens’t get mentioned as much: The Ubuntu forums are huge, friendly, and well-indexed. I ran into VERY few problems that someone hadn’t before-and solved. The forum is your friend.

MakeUseOf (hi, Danny!) covers Linux pretty well. There are also sites like OMG Ubuntu that are great for finding new and updated software. WebUpD8 goes even farther, and provides their own repositories-Andrew there is VERY good about getting new versions of stuff the regular repositories don’t cover or only update on a new release. He’s also good about getting patches out.

Yes, you’re going to have to do a lot of your own support work. But you are not alone, and half the fun of Linux is being able to customize it.

Enjoy!

Ed

Install Linux in a virtual box and try to use it as a daily driver from within this box. Then you’ll see how you like it, but still be in Windows or Mac at the same time.

I have a Linux Ruby server in a virtual box and remote into that Windows PC from my chrome book while I’m in class. So in my chrome book, I have full access to Linux and Windows. If my chrome book gets stolen, all my work is at home. This way, I don’t have to carry around a $1200 Mac like everyone in class.

Reply

Robert O

Excellent list!

A few other pieces of software I would add to the list:

Steam (Valve Software): this client software for the Steam service changed the way I used Linux… I started playing (and buying) many commercial games!

Softmaker FreeOffice: I preferred this over the slow, bloated (but still excellent) LibreOffice.

MuseScore: Excellent music notation/composition software.

LMMS: Excellent music creation software.

Inkscape: Great vector-based graphic/art software.

Blender 3D: Amazingly capable 3D modelling/rendering program.

XBMC: Great multimedia center software.

FocusWriter: My favorite distraction-free text editor/notepad.

Doc

If you have trouble finding it, XBMC is now named Kodi; seeing as the original XBox is so old, it was time to change names. :)

Reply

Jimmy Naidoo

Blender(blender.org) – great 3D rendering/video editing tool. Scribus(scribus.net) – powerful desktop publishing program. Flightgear(flightgear.org) – realistic flight simulator. SolveSpace(solvespace.com) – parametric 2D/3D CAD software. SuperTuxKart(supertuxkart.sourceforge.net) – fun 3D racing game. The Battle for Wesnoth(wesnoth.org) – addictive turn based strategy game…

Reply

mpvUser

don’t forget MPV for video player

mpv.io ;)

Reply

Meena Bassem

you forgot to mention WPS office
http://www.wps.com/

Reply

corey

You forgot Kingsoft office and krita…

Reply

ym

All the apps on this list are bloat! But since you asked, here are some awesome apps which are way less bloated than the apps above. Most of the below are terminal apps:

Best security –
– firewall: iptables (lookup simple stateful firewall) or even better nftables (or even the simple gufw or ufw)
– lynis
– chkrootkit
– rkhunter
– hostblock (not really an app)

Best shell
– zsh

Desktop environment — what’s that? — whatever!

How about window manager?
– Openbox (obmenu with pipemenus, yay!)
– i3
– sithwm

Best app search (think, Spotlight)
– dmenu
– but close second, synapse

Best file manager
– spacefm
– ranger
– screen

Best app store
– apt-get

Best browser
– w3m (seriously, no javascript, no java, no security holes)
– elinks
– lynks

Best word processing
– wyrd
– wordgrinder
– joe

Best spreadsheet
– sc

Best podcast apps
– gpodder
– newsbeuter / podbeuter

Best media software
– xbmc
– mpv
– vlc

Best pdf reader
– zathura
– xpdf

Best image viewer
– ristretto

Best chat
– irssi

Best science
– r
– python

Best system control
– xdotool
– wmctl

Best bloat
– bsdgames, glances, screenfetch, figlet, toilet, cowsay, brewtarget

arjaybe

Ooh! Aren’t we manly?-)

Bobb

Sheldon??

Reply

Dan

I uninstalled LibreOffice and replaced it with Softmaker FreeOffice. It’s fast and has better file format support for MSOffice files. Otherwise, I think the list is ok.

Reply

Azus Smith

No doubt, Linux is a best operating system with free of cost tag. It is a open source operating system. In open source package, user can customize operating system as per need.

That’s why, most of technocrats are preferred Linux over Windows platform.

Reply

mauve

You may want to try Kdenlive for non linear video editing and Digikam for photo editing / cataloging if you work with KDE. Inkscape for vector drawing, Scribus for desktop publishing, Gimp (already mentioned), LibreOffice (idem) complete the tool chain. Knowing the basics of a shell (bash, zsh) is a tremendous productivity improvement, especially if you have some vi basics as well. For comprehensive distributions, I used to be a fervent fedora user (KDE spin), but I’ve switched recently to Manjaro (again, KDE flavor). It’s very, very easy to setup and almost hassle-free.

Reply

Gjergji Kokushta

As Corey here mentioned Kingsoft Office or by now called WPS, (even though WPS is not open source) offers a very light, powerful office suite (Writer, Presentation, Spreadsheet =WPS). I installed LinuxLite (http://www.linuxliteos.com) on my very old laptop and installed WPS. Works much faster than Libre Office (LO) and you get a better Microsoft compatible documents compared to LO.

For Windows users who want to try Linux, Linux Mint (Cinnamon) is a good choice to get used and easy transit. As I mentioned above, also LinuxLite is a quite similar to Windows interface and Windows users habits.

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Peter

Don’t forget HandBrake…..a pity it doesn’t support Intel’s QSV feature on the linux version.

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mmstick

Opera should not be on this list. GNOME Web (Epiphany) should have been in it’s place.

I don’t think games should have been listed, and it’s rather silly to mention Minecraft instead of Minetest.

Ubuntu Tweak is specific to Ubuntu so it shouldn’t be listed unless you rename the article to ‘Best Ubuntu Software’.

I’m surprised they did not mention the Atom and Sublime text editors.

They seem to have forgotten the existence of the budgie desktop environment, as well as tiling window managers like i3.

Asunder should have been listed under audio/video/image, as well as Krita, MyPaint, Inkscape, OpenShot Video Editor and transcoders like Transmageddon.

Geary is missing from Email.

Forget mplayer, mpv is significantly more advanced.

I suppose Blender3D is no longer considered in a software list? What about desktop publishing with Scribus?

Reply

aum

smplayer is very good….in particular I love that it remembers where You are up to for any show.
Cheers.

Reply

ace

Totem is not better than VLC. c’mon!!!

Reply

d

As a window manager I recommend awesome or dwm.

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Bob

Skrooge is an excellent and free alternative to Quicken. Stable and customizable. It uses simple single-entry accounting so it is easy to learn, unlike GnuCash which uses double-entry.

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Gertjan Lettink

If Ubuntu Tweak belongs in the list, then (open)SUSE’s Yast is missing.

Reply

Anonymous

How did you guys forget kingsoft office? It’s really feature rich and has skins /themes to switch to. This app will make those migrating from ms office feel more at home. And supports the most recent of ms office formats.

Reply

Anonymous

How did you guys forget kingsoft office? It’s really feature rich and has skins /themes to switch to. This app will make those migrating from ms office feel more at home. And supports the most recent of ms office formats. Great article guys

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Nathan

Don’t get minecraft, and pay for it, get Minetest, which is Free and Open Source, and has a very helpful community, both for modding, and general playing.

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Greg Bulmash

Seconding Inkscape. I have Illustrator and prefer Inkscape.

For those saying something shouldn’t be on the list, particularly closed source cross-platform apps, please read the intro. This list is mostly aimed at people migrating from Windows or Mac who are worried they’ll have to go without their favorite app.

And trying to give Minetest to a kid whose friends who all play Minecraft… Nope. That’s like when my dad bought that video game system from Fedco in the 80s that was “just as good as Atari.” – Not. The. Same. Thing.

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Dustin

I’m fairly certain that your description of MATE is inaccurate. It’s not developed by Linux Mint in the same way that Cinnamon is. LM contributes to MATE, yes, but MATE != Cinnamon in the way you have described. I just thought I’d let you know so you could at least look into it and correct the article once confirmed. Otherwise, great article! :-)

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Orbmiser

As to the statement KDE is “also the one which is the heaviest user of system resources.” Is plain straight up FUD!. Unity,Cinnamon & Gnome always chimed in heavier and less snappy then KDE. Which chimes into desktop at 390mb. Show me that with Unity or Cinnamon. Like how you slant Gnome with statements like “This desktop environment is usually seen as a moderate user of system resources, although compared to Windows or Mac OS X it is still rather lightweight.” Like making excuses or giving it an explanation for it’s heavier presence.

All this outdated and old statements like KDE is a Resource Hog or Heavy and Bloated are just plain untrue when compared to Gnome,Cinnamon & Unity. Please quit spreading the FUD about KDE.
.

wyz

Yes Orbmiser, what they’re saying about KDE is nonsense. FUD for sure!

Jeremy

Running Cinnamon (for hours) right now and it weighs in at 106MB.

I don’t even hate KDE. It’s a more cohesive experience and I much prefer Qt to GTK+.. but there’s definitely more to it than Gnome. I know KDE users are defensive.. but “more” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just accept that different people prefer different things.

For some, it’s too much. For others, Gnome and the rest don’t offer enough. It’s okay.

And I’ve never had problems with lack of “snappiness,” but I always thought that was just one of the latest marketing buzzwords from Apple.

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ThomasK

Best first person shooter?

I would say Double Action: Boogaloo

Free to get and free to play for Linux users from Steam.
http://store.steampowered.com/app/317360/

Imagine Max Payne on steroids, insanely intense mad gangsta action with wild acrobatic moves and hilarity.

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Richard

Any good screenshot capture application, being able to draw nice arrows, circles, ovals and the like and can cut a part of the screenshot? Is there a good open source application that can do this??

marin

Shutter – Screenshot Tool

Reply

Abdel

Openshot, calibre, transmission, freefilesync, virtualbox, gparted, dropbox and gtkhash are all great and very useful programs and which are missing from this list.

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dragonmouth

Saying that something is the “Best” is a semantically null statement. It is more accurate to say that something is “the most popular.” The “best” software is the one that works for YOU and YOU are accustomed to using. Everybody has different requirements, likes and dislikes. For some tvm is the “best” desktop environment which many others would dispute. The most popular DEs are KDE and GNOME.

All the above suggestions are nothing more than personal preferences.

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Alex Cox

Is Ubuntu really the most popular distribution? MINT is downloaded more often.

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David

Thirding Inkscape – it really is a “must have”, IMO.

Also – TextAdept is a fabulous text editor, but little known it seems. It loads like lightning, is very powerful (Lua based), and deserves a much higher profile.

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Mike

Alex – careful using Distrowatch stats as an indicator of number of downloads (or actual installs). Mint is a great distro but I don’t think you’ll find it deployed more than Ubuntu. But it does seem to be searched by people visiting Distrowatch quite a bit.

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Anonymous

- Remmina: remote desktop and more
– keepass2: password manager

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Vicente

You skipped many good editors such as vim, emacs, sublime text or atom.

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Bob

“GIMP is the closest application to Photoshop, and there’s very, very little that you can do in Photoshop that you can’t do in GIMP”

Photosop CC!!. Yeah right!. Where is the high bit color depth, and professional plugin integration!. Like the Topaz and Nik Software plugins. Gimp doesn’t even come close!. Should have said Paintshop Pro version 7, and not Photoshop!

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jymm

I hate these “best software” articles. Best is what works best for you. I know Gimp is great, but it is more than I need, and I don’t want to take the time to learn it, so Krita works “best” for me. I am glad to read alternatives in Linux. Many OS’s don’t give you all the alternatives in their package manager though. I love Linux, but at time wish my OS would give me more choices.

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Jec

what about WPS office? i hate people whining why there’s no MS Office, or why libreoffice is different (not ribbon).

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Jec

what about WPS office? i hate people whining why there’s no MS Office, or why libreoffice is different (not ribbon).

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Jec

what about WPS office? i hate people whining why there’s no MS Office, or why libreoffice is different (not ribbon).

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Jec

what about WPS office? i hate people whining why there’s no MS Office, or why libreoffice is different (not ribbon).

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jeremy

Bluefish and scribus should be on the list. Also calibre.

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Van

The Opera browser currently will not work in Debian Stable (Wheezy) and derived distros due to the fact that Opera requires a later version of the libc6 package.

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Albin

I use many of these on Mint, Cinnamon and XFCE. An extra consideration for me is Windows compatibility of files and settings. LibreOffice has a good Windows version now. I’d note for photographers who shoot RAW that GIMP has a good plug in called UFRaw, but I prefer Rawtherapee – both good for Windows, too. I also use a lightweight photo app XnView Multi-Platform (the “MP” version is the same for Win and Linux.) OpenShot video editor is moderately capable, but I’m not sure of the status of Windows version.

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CFWhitman

Some apps that I have found useful and not mentioned in the article:

Media playing:
Mixxx
A nice application for DJ’ing (that’s what it was originally developed for). It can also be used to mix audio tracks for other purposes.

Smtube/Smplayer
Smplayer is a nice media player originally based on mplayer. Smtube is a YouTube browsing program that lets you play YouTube videos on machines that aren’t powerful enough to handle a browser + Flash very well.

Gmusicbrowser
A media management/playing app that has a very configurable interface and is not too heavy.

Quod Libet
Another media management/playing app that is not heavy and integrates Internet radio capability.

MPD
A media management/playing app that runs as a server. It can be controlled by clients both local and remote and is very lightweight.

Photography:
Darktable
A really excellent RAW photo editor/developer that was modeled after Lightroom and actually has some features that Lightroom lacks (though the reverse may be true as well).

Raw Therapee
Another very good RAW photo editor/developer which sometimes can be used to show parts of a RAW file that are cropped out with commercial RAW photo editors.

Geeqie
Probably my favorite image viewer thanks to the ease with which it works with either the mouse or keyboard shortcuts. It has additional features like various histrograms and duplicate image search, etc.

DispcalGUI
A color calibration GUI for allowing you to calibrate your display with the help of a colorimeter or spectraphotometer.

Email:
Davmail
This is an email gateway to allow generic email programs to interface with a Microsoft Exchange server.

Audeo/Video Ripping/Converting:
DVDStyler
This is a fairly easy to use program for authoring your own DVDs with menus and chapter breaks.

Handbrake
A good program for ripping DVDs or converting video files while manipulating subtitles.

MakeMKV
Not fully open source, but works well to rip Blu-ray discs or problematic DVDs in conjunction with Handbrake.

RubyRipper
A CD ripper that you can use to make sure you catch any imperfections in a ripped track. It can output to many formats.

Window Managers:
Fluxbox
One of the most fully featured plain window managers, this can be used as a lightweight GUI for old hardware or VNC server sesions.

IceWM
Another of my favorite plain window managers for people who prefer a more traditional panel than Fluxbox has.

Openbox
Similar to Fluxbox but without the panel, this is more standardized and can be used to replace the window manager in some desktop environments (it is the default in LXDE). You can also use it with a panel of your choice or without any kind of panel if you want a completely uncluttered desktop.

There are more, but I am running out of time.

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Tamius Han

IMAGE, VIDEO, AUDIO EDITING:

* Inkscape (vector graphic)
* Blender (3D modelling but does video editing on the side. In case you need something above PiTiVi but don’t like limitations of free Lightworks)
* Krita (they say it’s better for painting than GIMP, though I don’t like it that much)
* RawTherapee (the closest you’ll get to Adobe’s Lightroom for free or on Linux)

GAMES:
XCOM: Enemy unknown and Bastion both run on Linux. Also Transistor.

TORRENTS:
Transmission (best option, lightweight)
QBitTorrent (closer to the uTorrent experience, except without ads)

MISC:
KDE Connect (use your phone as touchpad, get your phone notifications on your desktop, easily share files from phone to your computer, etc.)


Besides that:
> Unity
> Best linux software

Pick one.

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Aravind Sagar

I’d like to point out Pantheon desktop of ElementaryOS, which is simple, elegant and puts user experience in the forefront.

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Phill

In regards to web browsers:

Firefox as a web browser for Linux is sadly falling behind as a viable Linux webbrowser, as it no longer has up-to-date Flash support from Adobe. I find it strange that, even though this has been known since 2014 when Adobe stopped providing support for Linux, and Mozilla refused to adopt the Pepper plug-in API, that reviews of Firefox for Linux do not mention this issue.

It is an important consideration (specially for persons not yet aware of the issues concerning Adobe and Mozilla), as lack of up-to-date Flash affects ones browsing experience (some things, such as embedded videos, etc, are becoming unaccessible), but also regarding information security (though Adobe will keep providing security updates for a few more years).

Thankfully, Chrome, and the latest release of Opera, support Pepper, and up-to-date Flash is available for them.

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Chris

I am shocked you have not included NoMachine in your list of applications. It is probably the most popular application for remote access when we are talking about Linux. Update your article!!!

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Lucio

GLABELS print labels in any format
VIBER is like whatsup but can easily been installed both on smartphone and on computer, so you can message via computer as using phone
BARRY or LINBARRY to connect and manage your blackberry via linux
LIBRECAD 2D easy cad

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Alexander

For audio editing, Bitwig Studio is missing from your list. It is one of the most advanced commercial audio production applications available for Ubuntu Linux.

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Romel Fausto

Blender 3D, Inkscape

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Hans

Does anyone know an application to view/open MS outlook archive? Preferably for Linux Mint. Thx.

Albert P.

PST can only be opened on a cpmputer with MS Outlook, even Windows programs rely on Outlook to open it. You can install Thunderbird on a Windows machine to import your e-mail from Outlook, then copy Thunderbird’s mailbox to Linux.

Albert P.

About XChat: it is no longer maintained. A fork called HexChat has been created. It is already used on Linux Mint.

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Lee

Great list. I would like to highlight another e-mail app: Geary. It is the standard Mail app on Elementary OS but is available for Ubuntu aswell!

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jafd

Are there any clipboard extenders / information managers for Linux comparable to ClipMate (www.thornsoft.com) ? Have been using that for twenty years, can’t see myself using an OS that doesn’t have equivalent capability

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vincecrue

With the maturation of these graphical applications like Krita, Inkscape, Gimp and Blender they are becoming more accepted to the broader artist community already. :)

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Alan Knight

Unity is not customizable! That’s plain wrong! You can’t even change the position if the top bar and the launcher.

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Simen

How is Adobe Bracket not included in this! Such a sweet sweet editor! :-)

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