10 Cool Linux Apps You Maybe Didn’t Know About

Stefan Neagu 06-11-2008

Ubuntu comes pre-installed with a wealth of apps – covering almost every task you need to do, while still managing to fit on a CD. Are you ready to discover some pretty cool Linux apps that don’t get the attention they deserve? Let’s check them out.


You can easily install any of these apps using the ‘Add/Remove Applications’ from the upper panel.

cool ubuntu linux apps

1. Midori

midori - light weight web browser

Midori is a web browser that uses the well-known WebKit rendering engine, providing quite a speed bump from Firefox and standards complying page rendering. Midori is currently packaged into Xubuntu and features include tabs, bookmarks and customizable search engine box. The browser is extensible via Javascript.

2. gDesklets

gDesklets - widgets for linux


gDesklets is a platform for widgets, tiny applets sitting on your desktop in a symbiotic relationship of eye candy and usefulness. You can populate your desktop with status meters, icon bars, weather sensors and news tickers.

I managed to configure gDesklets to emulate the OS X Dashboard feature in addition to the standard placement on the desktop.

3. AcidRip

acidrip - rip and encode DVDs

AcidRip is a GTK application for ripping and encoding DVD’s. It neatly wraps MPlayer and MEncoder, which I think is pretty handy, seeing as MPlayer is by far the best bit of video playing kit around for Linux.


As well as creating a simple Graphical Interface for those nervous of the MEncoders command line interface, it also automates the entire process.

4. Cheese Webcam Booth

take pics using webcam

Cheese is a Photobooth-inspired GNOME application for taking pictures and videos from a webcam. It also includes fancy graphical effects based on the gstreamer-backend.

5. Gmount-iso



Gmount-iso is a small tool written using PyGTK and Glade. It allows you to easily mount your CD images.

6. KGRUBEditor

GRUB editor

A tool to view and edit the menu.lst file of the GRUB boot manager. It offers many features and it is the perfect solution for those who want to change the way GRUB works, without messing with the menu.lst file.

7. Flickr Uploader

Flick uploader linux


Postr is a small app that lets you upload photographs to Flickr, with tight integration into the GNOME desktop.

8. DOS Emulator

DOS emulator

DOSEMU stands for DOS Emulation, and allows you to run DOS and many DOS programs, including many DPMI applications such as DOOM and Windows 3.1, under Linux.

Features include:

  • word size and addressing modes of the iAPX86 processor family’s “real mode,” while still running within the full protected mode environment
  • simulate a hardware environment over which DOS programs are accustomed to having control.
  • provides DOS services through native Linux services; dosemu can provide a virtual hard disk drive which is actually a Linux directory hierarchy.


9. E-book reader

ebook reader for linux

FBReader is an e-book reader with a lot of great features:

  • supports several open e-book formats: fb2, html, chm, plucker, palmdoc, ztxt, tcr (psion text), rtf, oeb, openreader, non-DRM’ed mobipocket, plain text, epub
  • reads directly from tar, zip, gzip, bzip2 archives (you can have several books in one archive)
  • supports a structured view of your e-book collection
  • automatically determines encodings
  • automatically generates a table of contents
  • keeps the last open book and the last read positions for all open books between runs
  • automatic hyphenation (patterns for several languages are included)

10. HomeBank

homebank for linux

HomeBank is a fast, simple and easy to use program to manage your bank accounts. It differs from gnucash for the better look and feel, and for the faster start-up speed. It has a lot of features such as easy analysis with graphical charts (statistics, budget, overdrawn, car cost), multi-accounts support, budget management, reminders, import from OFX/QFX-CSV files, visual status of operations. It is based on GTK2.

Let’s hear some other interesting, less-known Linux apps in the comments! If you’re new to Linux, don’t forget to check out MUO’s ultimate guide to Linux Getting Started With Linux and Ubuntu You're interested in switching to Linux... but where do you start? Is your PC compatible? Will your favorite apps work? Here's everything you need to know to get started with Linux. Read More !

Related topics: CD-DVD Tool, Disk Image, Ebooks, Flickr, GRUB Bootloader, Online Banking, Ubuntu, Webcam.

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  1. Venkatesh
    November 25, 2015 at 10:25 am

    i prefer "QtCAM" instead of cheese.

  2. mothman
    June 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for Midori, I have a linux box that is old and slow. I striped down ubuntu and run icewm with nautilus, and it ran great with the exception of firefox slowing it down. I knew there was a faster one, but I couldn't remember its name.

  3. nass
    November 19, 2008 at 8:11 am

    I prefer Screenlets instead of Desklets

  4. Mike
    November 10, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Acidrip is a dead project, the sourceforge and freshmeat pages for it have both been taken down. Ogmrip works better and has more flexibility regarding filetypes and codecs.

  5. Hamdani Amin
    November 9, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Although most of productivity software run under Vista and XP, your post had made an eye opening for those skeptical few. I also had the opportunity to look into possible alternative software available as FREE alternative that come with Intrepid which also features at this post. As a business owner, that enough to make me think to switch into Ubuntu.

  6. statmonkey
    November 8, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Not sure if these have been covered on Muo before but my lesser known essentials list would be:
    Scite - kind of a programmers notepad but good for everyone since it recognizes formats like bash and html inherently

    Thinking Rock - wonderful GTD app running in java that interfaces with Sunbird and Google calendar if you are a GTD fan you will find this the closest thing to the intent of D. Allen out there

    Conky - not unknown but could not live without it. Use it to put gmail/calendar/amarok on desktop

    Zim - Like Thinking Rock never close this app. Great for organizing thoughts, keeping track of changes made to your system, etc. Html wiki that is simpler and more organized than using a word processor or text to track what you do.

    QuickSynergy - move across mutliple machines/monitors etc from one server machine. I can control and access my server/client machine/laptop all from one desktop by simply moving my mouse. Not sure I can even describe how wonderful this simple app is.

    Lots more. Man I love linux/Ubuntu!

  7. Jon
    November 7, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    For those that are transitioning from Windows to GNU/Linux, check out Wine or even better is Crossover. Wine you can get somethings working. Crossover, you can get a whole lot more, like Office 2k7.

  8. Cibbuano
    November 7, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    It's not so 'unknown', but if you've started using Ubuntu or another Linux distro, I strongly recommend you to dip your toe into LaTeX. You write documents in LaTeX as a text file, which then compiles to a beautiful looking PDF.

    Kile is the best frontend for LaTeX, and it's in the Ubuntu repos. I don't think I could live without it!

    • That Man
      December 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

      Actually, LyX is also a really nice frontend. If you'd rather edit the text by hand (like me), there is a nice plugin for the default GNOME Text Editor called Gedit-LaTeX. If you'd rather use Geany, there is also a geany-latex plugin. LaTeX looks far more professional than a simple word document and my professors love the output compared to everyone else's MS Word/OO.o Writer documents.

  9. Bob Smith
    November 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Here's one that's very good and not known too well: sabnzbdplus ( It's a usenet newsreader that DOES handle SSL connections. I've been using it for a month or so.

    I'm also using BMPx - a media player that I use primarily to connect to its incredible line-up of radio stations. But it has a ton of other uses:

  10. curts
    November 7, 2008 at 8:41 am

    How does DOSEMU compare to DOSBox?

    • Marius Gedminas
      November 7, 2008 at 4:25 pm

      DOSBox is easier to set up and use. It emulates x86 and DOS with a lot of bells and whistles (protected mode, sound, etc.).

      DOSEMU is perhaps more accurate (it's really an x86 emulator that runs the actual OS inside, so you can install any version of DOS you want/need), but harder to set up and use.

      DOSBox would be my first choice.

  11. Stefan Neagu
    November 7, 2008 at 12:49 am

    There seems to be a problem with the second screenshot, for gdesklets, that got confused with Midori, should be fixed soon. Sorry!

  12. Stefan Neagu
    November 7, 2008 at 12:35 am

    I just joined MUO, and I planning on writing more articles for them. Thanks!

  13. disconnect
    November 6, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    thanks for this post.. as Alfred said, keep these linux entries coming!

    is Cheese Webcam Booth similar to Apples phonebooth?

    • Stefan Neagu
      November 7, 2008 at 12:49 am


  14. shamil
    November 6, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    gmount-iso i discovered last night. Handy little bastard. Mounting stuff in cli is easy enough, but not the iso mount commands. I still can't remember those. I'll have to check out gdesklets tomorrow. Cheese doesn't seem to work that great ever, idk, wish it did, it's like the only program for linux that will record video straight from my webcam. And i really don't know if acidrip will replace dvdshrink running in wine. dvdshrink works great in wine. Why would dvdshrink be better? It compresses and rips the dvd all in one process. Can acidrip compress dvd rips to fit on 4.7gb dvds? If it does, i'm sold.

    • Mike
      November 10, 2008 at 11:52 am

      As far as I know there's nothing that works the same way dvdshrink does. dvd::rip is about as close as you'll get.

  15. Alfred
    November 6, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Most of them I did not know and a lot might be interesting. Lately I am really enjoying Ubuntu Intrepid and will not go back to windows unless I really need it. So please keep those Linux entries coming :P. Thanks