4 Windows Applications That Originated On Linux

Danny Stieben 03-10-2011

windows linux applicationsWe all know that, as the most widely used operating system, Windows has the largest collection of software. Whenever a developer wants to create a new program, they’re more than likely going to choose Windows as their first (or only) supported platform. That way the developer can reach the maximum number of people that would use the software.


However, not every successful piece of software started out in the Windows world. In fact there are quite a few examples, both well known and lesser known, that have made their way from Linux to Windows after a large amount of adoption. Curious as to what they are? Let’s find out.


windows linux applications
Alright, so everyone knows about GIMP. There’s nothing really that should be new to you about this excellent image manipulation program, except that it indeed started out on Linux before it became so popular it was ported over to Windows. GIMP has been quite an important project to the Linux world as the GTK framework was created to be used in GIMP. Today, the GTK framework has grown in a way that now it’s a main part of popular Linux desktop environments such as GNOME and XFCE.

Banshee Music Player

windows linux app
Banshee carries with it a recent success story as a Linux music player similar to iTunes. As of late it’s been included in a lot of distributions as the main music player over Rhythmbox, including in Ubuntu. Not too long ago Banshee also released a Windows version after their rise in popularity, and I hope to see it adopted by the Windows community as much as it has adopted GIMP. It’s a great choice if you think your current music player is boring or doesn’t have enough features. Please note though that the Windows version is currently labeled as Alpha quality software.

Tomboy Notes

windows linux app
Next on our list is Tomboy. This nifty little note-taking application may finally be the answer to your cries for a solution that actually works. I was never able to find a Windows application that worked well enough for me, but in my opinion, Tomboy does it right. It’s easy to use and offers some splendid features, such as numerous formatting options and Wiki-style links to other notes. It has definitely helped me stay organized, and I’m glad that it’s available under Windows for others to enjoy too. Note that Tomboy requires a separate GTK# installation, which you can download from here.

Ubuntu One – Windows Client (Coming Soon)

windows linux applications
Last but not least on our list we have Ubuntu One. This is actually a Dropbox-type service that originated with (can you guess?) Ubuntu. It offers many of the same features as Dropbox, but includes better integration with the Ubuntu operating system. Also unlike Dropbox, the free version offers you 5GB of storage. Since people want multiple ways of accessing their data, a Windows client is currently in the works. Although the Windows client isn’t yet released as stable, you can find the well-hidden beta by going here.



Don’t forget that this list does not include all Linux applications that found their way into Windows. This list only gives an idea of what kind of programs from the Linux world exist and adds some attention to those specific programs. I am glad that these Linux programs are popular in many places, and I hope that someday Linux as a whole will receive the same result.

What other programs that started out in Linux deserve a mention here? What do you like or not like about Linux programs on Windows? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: MethodDan

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  1. Anonymous
    October 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Correct me if wrong: VLC

  2. R van Gemert
    October 4, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Thunderbird, blender (yes the first release (not called blender then) was Linux/Unix/BSD only), Windows desktop animations/3d (vista/Win7) are deeply based on beryl/compiz (which are made for Linux).
    Windows 8 booting (runlevels) is going to be introduced, and runlevels as such (as introduced in win8) are new to the windows world, and borrowed from Linux init.
    the list goes on and on on on on on on

  3. Grégoire Penverne
    October 4, 2011 at 4:07 am

    Chrome :p

  4. Mohammad Bahathir Hashim
    October 4, 2011 at 3:43 am

    How about GNU Emacs and TeX system, which are exist before MS Windows :)
    Other:  Inkscape.

  5. Dragonbite
    October 4, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Evolution was even being ported
    Qt applications were being ported (KOffice? Krita?)

  6. Joe
    October 4, 2011 at 12:16 am


  7. Hussam
    October 4, 2011 at 12:01 am

    There are tons of multi platform open source applications.

  8. Gabe
    October 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I can think of another one: Pidgin

  9. guest
    October 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Yatra: Nice spam.. not.Tomboy & Banshee require mono = no, no, no.

    • Fitoschido
      October 4, 2011 at 12:33 am

      What a stupid argument.