Creative Linux

The 5 Best Photoshop Alternatives You Can Run on Linux

Christian Cawley Updated 08-08-2019

Looking for a way to run Photoshop on Linux? You might have some image editing tasks, photos that need enhancing, or basic painting to complete. But Adobe Photoshop isn’t on Linux. So, what’s the alternative? Is there an equivalent to Photoshop for Linux?


These Adobe Photoshop alternatives for Linux will help you edit images with ease.


If any program could be considered “the open-source version of Photoshop”, it would be GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). GIMP has been around since 1995 (Photoshop launched in 1988) making it one of the oldest open source applications available.

It’s a flexible tool that includes several core features that replicate many of the same effects as Photoshop. GIMP is also built with extensibility in mind, meaning you can add new functionality by installing third-party plugins.

In short, GIMP is powerful enough to suffice in a professional capacity. The only downside is that GIMP specifically avoids copying Photoshop’s interface. Although a strong Photoshop alternative, you’ll have a bunch of new keystrokes and menu commands to learn.

To install GIMP on Linux, begin by adding a PPA repository, then update sources and install:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp

sudo apt update

sudo apt install gimp

2. Pinta

On Windows, one of the better alternatives to Photoshop is the free image editor, Paint.NET. An alternative to MS Paint, it’s flexible and extensible through plugins, and more lightweight than Photoshop.

The Linux equivalent of Paint.NET is Pinta, an app that comes with everything you need right out of the box. This includes all the basic and core functions, unlimited layers, full edit history, and over 35 effects for image adjustments. You can also switch between a docked interface and a free-floating window interface.

While GIMP offers a substantial Photoshop-like experience, Pinta is ideal for quick image retouching and simple edits.

Pinta can be installed from default repositories, but this may be an old version. To guarantee you’re installing the latest Pinta, grab it from the repository provided by Pinta’s developers:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pinta-maintainers/pinta-stable

sudo apt update

sudo apt install pinta

3. Krita

Back in 1998, German developer Matthias Ettrich tinkered around with GIMP and built a Qt-based interface for it. It caused divisions within the GIMP community, ultimately leading to development of a competing image editor: Krita.

The main focus of Krita is as a digital painting application Krita Is the Free GIMP Alternative You Should Be Using GIMP and Photoshop aren't the only options in town. If you're looking for a free GIMP alternative, check out Krita! Read More . As such, it tries to hide away most of its interface elements to make it easier to learn for newbies and easier to paint for veterans.

What constitutes “digital painting”? Things like concept art, comics, textures, etc. These are all made easy by Krita’s default package of tools, including several default brushes, multiple brush engines, an advanced layering engine, and support for both raster and vector editing.

Install Krita from the app’s PPA repository to get the most recent version:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kritalime/ppa

sudo add update

sudo apt install krita

4. MyPaint

If you’re looking for a digital painting application with a truly minimal interface, MyPaint may be right for you. Like Krita, it’s made concept artists, comic artists, and texture painters who hate the distraction of windows and toolbars.

MyPaint is certainly simpler than Krita, so don’t expect it to be as packed full of features. However, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking. MyPaint supports pressure-sensitive tablets, has an unlimited canvas size, and customizable brush options.

If Krita is too heavy for you, then MyPaint is probably what you want. But if you give MyPaint a try and it’s not enough, you’ll want to switch over to Krita.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:achadwick/mypaint-testing

sudo apt update

sudo apt install mypaint

5. Photopea

Use Photopea as an alternative to Photoshop on Linux


A browser-based tool that utilises the resources of your local PC, Photopea runs on any desktop platform. With its Photoshop-like user interface (sidebar, menu, toolbar, history, etc.) and support for standard image formats, it’s an ideal substitute. You’ll get the best results from a Chromium-based browser, such as Google Chrome.

Don’t worry about losing files either. All the editing you do with Photopea is stored on your computer, rather than in the cloud. This app can even handle Photoshop PSD files, Adobe XD files, as well as RAW photo files, XCF, and SKETCH.

Photopea is ad-supported. However, you can pay $20 to hide the ads for three months. While you might experience some performance hits during intensive image editing, Photopea is a great alternative to Photoshop.

Other Graphic Apps You Might Consider

Photoshop’s main draw is image editing and basic painting. The apps we’ve included handle these features, but what if you want something a bit different? Fortunately, Linux users can draw on several open source image editing and creation apps.

These tools are just the tip of the iceberg for graphics apps on Linux.

Not Impressed? Just Install Photoshop in Linux!

While the five tools above make good Photoshop substitutes, you might remain unconvinced. Mercifully, you can run Photoshop in Linux using Wine or via a virtual machine.

Use Wine to Install Adobe Photoshop on Linux

The Wine compatibility layer enables Windows software to install and run on Linux. However, it’s not perfect; older software runs well, more recent applications and games, not so much.

Install Photoshop on Linux with Wine

However, installing Photoshop on Linux How to Install Adobe Photoshop on Linux You can install Photoshop on Linux and run it using a virtual machine or Wine. Read on for all the details! Read More with PlayOnLinux (the interface for Wine) usually goes well, as our guide shows.

Install Adobe Photoshop in Linux on a Windows Virtual Machine

If Wine doesn’t work out (perhaps you want full functionality from the latest version of Photoshop) then consider a VM. Virtual machine software (such as Oracle VM VirtualBox) can be set up in Linux to run Windows. All you need to do then is install Photoshop within the Windows virtual environment.

See our guide to installing Windows in a virtual machine on Linux How to Set Up a Windows Virtual Machine in Linux Many home users prefer to run a dual-boot setup when both Windows and Linux are needed, but if you'd rather run Windows inside Linux, here's how to set that up. Read More to get started.

Find a Linux Photoshop Alternative or Just Install It

By now you have five Photoshop alternatives for Linux. To recap:

  1. GIMP
  2. Pinta
  3. Krita
  4. MyPaint
  5. Photopea

You also have the option of other graphic apps that might suit your needs. Oh, and you can install Photoshop on Linux via Wine, or in a virtual machine running Windows.

Basically, you have everything you need to complete your Photoshop-based task on Linux. Meanwhile, the beauty of Linux’s open source community is that new projects are always under development.

Need help storing and tweaking photos? Check our guide on how to manage your photos on Linux How to Manage Your Photos on Linux Like a Pro Moved to Linux but don't know how to manage your photos? Here's how to keep track of those important photo memories in Linux. Read More .

Related topics: Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Image Editor, Linux, VirtualBox, Wine.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. greg
    August 15, 2019 at 7:48 am

    what is the best free graphics program you would recommend for creating Vector files

  2. Leandro
    August 11, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    Rua bras cubas maua ao vivo 2002 no computador

  3. Mike Walsh
    August 11, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    @ Christian:-

    Your link for MyPaint appears to have been hi-jacked; it goes nowhere, and just ends up on a blank page with a nonsense URL.

  4. Arghya Polley
    March 15, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Among these 5 alternatives, which is the best for making a good logo?

  5. Neal
    June 16, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Just wanted to say WINE is literally not an emulator, as the name even says. It's a compatibility layer. Don't know why you still wrote emulator

  6. Tux User
    August 12, 2017 at 3:57 am

    I ditched Widows for Linux Distro - Fedora Design Suite. Years ago Corel replaced Adobe for my professional web and graphic design needs when I ditched Macs. Inkscape, sK1, GIMP, Krita, Scripbus, LibreOffice, Bluefish are all open source and cross-platform replacement for what I was using on Windows 7. Spyware Windows 10 is untrustworthy option with numerous nightmare stories reported world-wide.

    Fedora installed with no problems and a joy to use for a tux noobie. Linux just says out of my way and lets me get work done. TIP: Import CorelDraw Files in Inkscape export from CD to PDF then import to Inkscape. Also sK1 does a very good job of importing .cdr file with little fuss.

  7. Anonymous
    June 17, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    I run Puppy Linux, and am quite at home using the GIMP. However, just for the hell of it, I've managed to install, and get running, Photoshop CS2 under WINE. It's not hard to do, and it works perfectly. This is using WINE 1.7.53.

    I got hold of CS2 a couple of years ago, at the time when Adobe were shutting down the activation servers; for a couple of months, via a 'workaround', it was possible to download it for free. So, I did! It may be an old version, but it's still extremely capable.

    You can see it running here:-

    Mine is the first one in the Gallery...

  8. M Ament
    April 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I've been a pro graphic artist since 1973 and I've use about every software package available. I want to say this about InkScape: if your business relies on making vector art don't use InkScape. It is horrible quirky, lacks features and is completely unreliable. There is little worse than being on deadline and having your program rasterize your art for no apparent reason making it un-editable or losing text and it's path when you save the file.

    • Anonymous
      June 22, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      I've switched about a year ago to a full linux setup and I'm relying quite a lot in Inkspace.
      I definitely did not had your experience and I really enjoy it, it is lacking of some features for sure but for the rest once you get used to the UI I find it really powerful and stable.

      Can you elaborate on your issues, inconsistencies ? And are you using any alternative for vector work that you would suggest ?


  9. Kirk Nurse
    January 22, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Fine for digital media, huge pain for print, especially the lack of CMYK support. Yes most rips can handle RGB but if you do not know what you're doing it is a nightmare.

  10. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Although it has a less polished interface than these other programs, my favorite app for making panoramas is Fotoxx. You won't really need this functionality if your camera creates these for you like my Sony NEX-5R does, but Fotoxx does many other things including organizing photos though this can be a nuisance when you first start the program up and it requires syncing with your directory. Gwenview and gThumb also get honorable mentions for their basic photo editing and photo management.

  11. Anonymous
    September 1, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I use Gimp a lot, but Digikam is great for photos. And LibreOffice Draw is OK for quick line art. My wife likes XnView because it's easy.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 1, 2015 at 6:55 am

      I always saw Digikam as more of a Lightroom replacement than Photoshop. What do you think?

      • Anonymous
        September 1, 2015 at 11:21 am

        I don't use DigiKam to sort photos, just the editing tools. The filters can be hard to find on Gimp.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm

          Aaah makes sense. Thanks for clarifying, James!

  12. Anonymous
    August 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    The only thing I don't like about GIMP is the name.

    • Joel Lee
      September 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Haha, I'm with you on that one. It's probably too late to change it at this point, but yeah, I wonder how different the product would be if it had a more "proper" name.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 2, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      I don't think it's too late to change it though, Joel. I mean, XBMC became Kodi, why can't GIMP become Retouch or something like that?

      • Joel Lee
        September 2, 2015 at 5:58 pm

        True. GIMP is more of a household brand than XBMC, but I guess it still isn't really a household name in the bigger picture. I have to hand it to you, Retouch is a pretty cool name!

  13. Anonymous
    August 27, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    gimp sucks

    • Joel Lee
      September 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      I think a lot of people would agree with you. What would you use instead? There aren't too many choices on Linux that can match GIMP's depth or breadth, unfortunately.

      • Mihir Patkar
        September 2, 2015 at 5:39 pm

        You know, more than a PS alternative, I'd love an Irfanview alternative on Linux.

        • Anonymous
          September 2, 2015 at 6:40 pm

          I'm sure Irfan Skiijan has received many, many requests for a Linux version of his program. However, I suspect, he is not familiar with Linux.

          As far as an alternative, don't hold your breath. It has fallen victim to the Linux culture of "choice." Coders/programmers/software developers would much rather churn out endless knock offs of *buntu then "waste" their time on creating needed and wanted Windows-equivalent apps. Irfanview and TurboTax/TaxAct programs readily come to mind. It takes relatively little ability to use the Chinese Menu method to develop a Linux distro. However, it takes solid programming knowledge to design and write an application from scratch.

        • Ryan
          January 13, 2017 at 12:50 am

          @Mihir, I have found Shotwell to be a good equivalent for Irfanview. In addition, both Pixeluvo and Polarr now have dedicated Linux versions which is good news.

  14. Anonymous
    August 13, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    "The only downside is that GIMP specifically avoids copying Photoshop’s interface, so there’s very little overlap between keyboard shortcuts, menu organization, settings, etc."
    The assumption being that one is thoroughly versed in Photoshop, has moved from Windows to Linux and is looking for a Linux alternative to PS. However, if one is a Linux user with minimal exposure to Windows, GIMP's dissimilar interface is no problem. I am a Linux user and have not done any image editing ever so for me the learning curve for Photoshop and GIMP is about the same.

    • Michael Tunnell
      August 22, 2015 at 12:30 am

      I agree that it is only an issue for people who are coming from a Photoshop background. I'd say further that the biggest thing that was holding GIMP back from being a good interface was the forcing of each section to be a different window but The GIMP has solved that with the somewhat new Single Window Mode.

    • Joel Lee
      September 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Good point, fcd. I'm sure Photoshop's interface would be annoying for anyone who grew up on GIMP and tried switching over. I only wrote it as a downside because Photoshop tutorials are way more common than GIMP tutorials, and it would be nice if GIMP's design matched enough that those tutorials were cross-compatible.

      I concede that it might be an unfair mark against GIMP, but practically speaking, it is a negative.

      • Anonymous
        September 2, 2015 at 6:51 pm

        "I concede that it might be an unfair mark against GIMP, but practically speaking, it is a negative."
        It's only a negative for Window Fans. :-)

        • Phoenix16_1
          January 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm

          But since it isn't a plus for anyone -> practically speaking, it is a negative.

        • Anonymous
          January 5, 2016 at 5:32 pm

          Not too prejudiced, are you?

        • jdk
          January 5, 2016 at 7:08 pm

          As Lee mentioned, it's a negative toward tutorial fans, which is practically all newbies and veterans alike.

    • Defi
      August 9, 2019 at 6:33 am

      > However, if one is a Linux user with minimal exposure to Windows, GIMP's dissimilar interface is no problem.

      So, a software for... what? 1% of the mankind?