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Anyone considering the switch from one operating system to another needs to spend some time thinking about what functionality they might gain or lose. With a switch from Windows to Linux, you might, for instance, feel that you don’t want to make the change because while you know you can use one of the open source office suites Which Office Solutions Should I Use On Linux & Why? Which Office Solutions Should I Use On Linux & Why? Computers are necessary tools to be productive members in today’s society. We need them to be able to do what we want them to, whenever and wherever. A part of being productive means using an... Read More , you won’t be able to play your favorite game.

Meanwhile, Mac to Linux switchers may be reluctant to leave image processing and video editing behind.

In truth, however, none of these activities must come to an end. Linux is a vast and versatile operating system, capable of supporting these tasks and more.

Play Games with Linux

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Can’t play games on Linux? Think again. While the early days of Linux gaming was limited to independent titles and open source ports of well-known Windows games (like FreeCol FreeCol Is A Cross-Platform Game Akin To Civilization But With A Twist FreeCol Is A Cross-Platform Game Akin To Civilization But With A Twist Games like Civilization are fantastic ways to see a society grow, thrive, and dominate other civilizations, but what about a twist on that idea: colonies? Instead of growing, you must fend off your ruling country... Read More , a Colonization clone and OpenTTD Create The Ultimate Transportation System in OpenTTD Create The Ultimate Transportation System in OpenTTD OpenTTD, is easily accessible, free, and available for all major platforms. Read More , which owes an awful lot to Transport Tycoon) times have changed considerably.

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For low end machines, the open source options remain, as do various Linux-only titles Linux Has More Than Just Indie Games: Top 8 Blockbuster Games Available Linux Has More Than Just Indie Games: Top 8 Blockbuster Games Available While it's true that Windows still has a better selection of games, there are plenty of "AAA" titles (the really big hits) that are already available under Linux. Read More and browser games 10 Free Two Player Games You Can Play In Your Browser 10 Free Two Player Games You Can Play In Your Browser Up for a quick game with a friend? Whether you're both physically next to each other or miles away, you can enjoy a little downtime with nothing but a browser window on your computer. Read More . But if you’re rocking some high end hardware, you would do well to install Steam on Linux How to Install Steam and Start Gaming on Linux How to Install Steam and Start Gaming on Linux Installing Steam on Linux computers is straightforward, and the result is usually the same seamless gaming experience you had on Windows. Read More  and start enjoying some of the games you originally played on Windows.

The impending arrival of the Linux-based Steam machines Steam Machines Are Finally Coming! Here's What You Need to Know Steam Machines Are Finally Coming! Here's What You Need to Know Read More  – essentially games consoles and HTPCs in one slick-looking case – means that more and more mainstream titles are being retooled to run in Linux, thanks to the support of Valve’s Steam platform. Such titles include Civilization V 5 Ways Endless Legend is More Exciting Than Civilization V 5 Ways Endless Legend is More Exciting Than Civilization V Endless Legend's core mechanics will be familiar to any 4X strategy fan, but here are five ways it blows the Civilization juggernaut right out of the water. Read More and Beyond Earth, the Football Manager Football Manager 2014: A Worthy Addition To The Long-Running Series Football Manager 2014: A Worthy Addition To The Long-Running Series Football Manager 2014 is out now – but what does this latest addition to the long-running soccer management simulation and statistics game bring to the table? Is silverware within reach if you upgrade? Read More series, and various FPS, MMO and RPG games.

Quite simply, Linux is growing into a gaming platform, and now is the time to get involved.

Image Editing & Processing

You probably know that a Mac is the device of choice for digital artists and graphic designers around the world, although you’ll probably be surprised to find that a big chunk use Windows. What unifies these talented creators of art and design is their reliance on Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator applications, which are sadly unavailable on Linux (unless you plan to run them in Wine Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) with WINE Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) with WINE Read More ).

Fortunately, Linux users who are aspiring and working artists don’t have to end their ambitions there. Our recent look at Photoshop alternatives for Linux 5 Photoshop Alternatives You Can Run on Linux 5 Photoshop Alternatives You Can Run on Linux it is tragic that after all these years, the open platform of Linux still has yet to produce competing software that can really match Photoshop head-to-head. But powerful options are available... Read More will give you a good idea of what you can do with open source alternatives, most of which run on Linux. In a nutshell, it’s virtually everything that you can do on a Mac or PC!

You Can Even Edit Video on Linux

Windows users with digital video cameras will know how tricky it is to find good quality video editing software. While Windows Movie Maker was once a good choice, the world has moved on. But do you really want to migrate to Linux and find that there is no alternative to something like Adobe Premiere?

No, of course not. But fortunately, there are alternatives. If you haven’t already heard of Lightworks Lightworks: Lightweight Open Source Video Editing Software Lightworks: Lightweight Open Source Video Editing Software Read More , this is just one of a handful of good quality applications. We reckon that PiTiVi is another good option Video Editing on Linux Just Got Better With PiTiVi Video Editing on Linux Just Got Better With PiTiVi PiTiVi, a video editor that has historically been in the "simple home user" category, has gained several features since its early days. Read More for Linux users, offering basic editing tools, effects, but Kdenlive remains the best video editing software Kdenlive – A Stable & Versatile Free Cross-Platform Video Editor [Linux, Mac & Live CD] Kdenlive – A Stable & Versatile Free Cross-Platform Video Editor [Linux, Mac & Live CD] Kdenlive is a free and cross-platform video editor that will probably mean more to your average Linux user than Windows or Mac types. If you're searching for a decent, all-in-one solution for editing video on... Read More on Linux.

Record and Edit Audio

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Whether you’re editing a podcast or recording your band’s next great record, audio editing support is a massive advantage (unless you prefer recording live). But does Linux offer this support?

If you’re editing audio on Windows, there is a very good chance that you’re using the versatile open source Audacity suite 10 Creative Uses For Audacity That You Probably Haven’t Thought Of 10 Creative Uses For Audacity That You Probably Haven’t Thought Of You've probably heard of Audacity. It's a free cross-platform application for recording and mixing, which also happens to be incredibly powerful and versatile. You can use it to record vocals, instruments and other sounds, mix... Read More , and this is available on Linux. While it doesn’t offer the full suite of tools you might expect from pro applications, Audacity is good enough for most tasks.

For those Linux-based audio editing projects that can’t be completed with Audacity, meanwhile, take a look at apps such as Linux Multimedia Studio (LMMS) Top 5 Free Linux Music Creation Tools For The Artist On A Budget Top 5 Free Linux Music Creation Tools For The Artist On A Budget Read More which we’ve summarized previously.

Need to Run Windows? Go Ahead and Do it in Linux!

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In the event that you have migrated – or are planning to – from Windows and suddenly need to switch back to your original operating system, using a dual boot setup Tired Of Windows 8? How To Dual Boot Windows & Ubuntu Tired Of Windows 8? How To Dual Boot Windows & Ubuntu If you discover that Windows 8 isn't quite your cup of tea, and you have no feasible path to downgrade, it may be a good idea to dual boot with Linux to have an alternative... Read More is a good idea (although sharing data between platforms 5 Ways to Share Personal Data on Linux-Windows Dual Boot PCs 5 Ways to Share Personal Data on Linux-Windows Dual Boot PCs You want ability to access data between operating systems so you can use Linux easily. Let's see how we can work around this problem, and get your data where you want it. Read More can be frustrating).

But if you’re using a suitable machine (and this is pretty much anything with an Intel Core i5 CPU or higher) then virtualization technology will allow you to run Windows within Linux. To do this you’ll need to install a virtual machine application such as Oracle VM VirtualBox How To Use VirtualBox: User's Guide How To Use VirtualBox: User's Guide Learn to use VirtualBox. Get virtual computers up and running inside your computer, without having to buy any new hardware. Read More , although there are alternatives in the shape of VMWare Run Multiple Operating Systems At Once With VMware Player Run Multiple Operating Systems At Once With VMware Player We’ve lavished attention on VirtualBox here at MakeUseOf, and for good reason. However, VirtualBox isn’t your only option for creating and using free virtual machines. VMware Player, VMware’s free product, is every bit as good... Read More and QEMU, which is used by the Gnome Boxes tool Gnome Boxes: An Easy Way To Set Up Virtual Machines in Linux Gnome Boxes: An Easy Way To Set Up Virtual Machines in Linux Gnome Boxes is a simple virtualization tool that prefers ease and convenience over numerous customization options. Read More .

These tools provide a software environment that mimics hardware, enabling you to install Windows within Linux. This can prove extremely useful if you have to use Windows for a particular task but don’t want to stop what you’re doing in Linux to switch devices or reboot – it’s there on your desktop as an option for you to launch as and when. A virtual machine can also keep your Linux environment and your PC safe Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Read More from Windows-based threats.

Do All of This and More in Linux!

Did you know that without Linux there would be no Android? Or that the vast majority of web servers Why You Really Want a Linux Virtual Server Instead of a Private Server Why You Really Want a Linux Virtual Server Instead of a Private Server We'll show you how to set up your own server, and explain why a hosted virtual private server (VPS) may still be a better choice. Read More currently in use are Linux based? The open source operating system is versatile and user friendly, and as you can see is capable of doing anything Windows and Mac OS X can do – if not more!

Perhaps we missed something, however. Could Linux hold even more surprises for Windows users? Give us your suggestions in the comments.

  1. Sinjin Tang
    September 1, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    i would read an article about making Linux pc into a media center

  2. Luis Olarte
    September 1, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Why not just do what is the simplest thing, try a live distribution.
    like AVlinux, Musix, KXstudio this distribution are Debian based and if you are gamer just add steam.
    This will have most of the software that would required for Audio video production & graphics and you can game on it too.
    This would be a complete OS just by adding the last thing the steam portion.
    I was waiting for Steam OS to be finished, but windows made the decision all to eminent.
    Windows 10 & windows 7 are having the same issues with all privacy.
    I could deal with some of the quirks that windows 7, but now longer it's become just like Google and many others with my privacy.
    And now MS wants me to buy the same games again, but now with no DRM just for windows 10.
    So the time has come I will loose some of my games, no way I will just use Dos Box and Linux.
    If I am going to buy and game it will be on Linux not windows, plus all my work is done on Linux any way.
    I was multy booting before now, I will just get free space on drive and no more worries of malware.
    It is time to just leave windows on the side of the road.
    The time is here, and it is now.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 1, 2015 at 7:37 am

      Wow, you seem really psyched about Steam OS! Have you checked how many of your favorite games will be coming to it? When I last checked, I was a bit disappointed with what the catalogue hinted at.

      • Luis Olarte
        September 5, 2015 at 7:15 am

        Ho yes I know how much of my steam library I will loose.
        What I am loosing in games, I will gain in my privacy just for starters.
        And as far if I will purchase new games with no DRM, I do that now from GOG.
        The one's that can be use in steam OS that is fine, if not I will just use free Dos or VR with limited net access.
        The point is I rather loose on my gaming, but not on my privacy and the last rights that I still have.
        I know that most of you think that living under scrutiny is better than uncertainty, I will take the latter.
        Even if Hoover is dead they are still doing it now, no way that I will help them put my life in the box of files to be classified.
        They talk of free speech, tell me where do you see it.
        Just making this post I am being an out spoken radical, just for saying what I think.
        How long do you think it's going to take, before you loose the right to your games.
        It is being done to you right now.
        You have Roms to games that you have purchased in the past, and are being toll that you can not port them to another device.
        Or simply express your self, or to have any choices.
        They put two candidates then tell you this is the crap that we have chosen for you, they are both payed for.
        Now it is your choice, do you call that a fair trade.
        This sounds political yes.
        But the choices that you are making now, will determine the future that is to come.
        This is one of the ways, I have chosen to stop helping them.
        I have developed software in the past, I know what you can do with it.
        Most of holes are there by designed, in the hardware and software.
        And everything points to a very bleak future, where you are 24/7 monitored and tolled what to do.
        This are the thorns I have chosen to use, do you with yours as you will.

  3. Ben Leverett
    September 1, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Where you said "......more and more mainstream titles are being retooled to run in Linux...........", yeah ... one of those games should be "Found: A Hidden Object Adventure".

  4. James Van Damme
    September 1, 2015 at 12:44 am

    There's other video editors, like the simplest, OpenShot. Also, Avidemux.
    for audio, OcenAudio has some cool filters.

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