Some Great Linux Alternatives For 4 Tasks Normally Requiring Windows

Danny Stieben 04-04-2011

linux alternatives for windowsAll across the geek communities there’s always been an adage about Linux, saying that it’s an operating system more for fun, and less for work. However, Linux has been receiving plenty of attention lately, and you can now do things with Linux that you might’ve thought would only work in Windows.  Let’s take a look at some of those things.


Money Management: GnuCash & kMyMoney

People have usually resorted to using Microsoft Money or Quicken for their money managing needs. However, we don’t need to use either of them when there are a couple of worthy programs that are Linux-native!

linux alternatives for windows

GnuCash is an excellent money management application that does everything a home user needs. It’s stable, allows multiple currencies, supports popular formats for bank statement downloads, and generates many graphical and text reports. As long as you remember that the expense accounts are like the expense categories you’re used to, GnuCash is capable of doing everything you please.

using linux instead of windows

Another noteworthy program that you can try out is kMyMoney, something which is more suited for KDE desktops, of which there are numerous articles available on MakeUseOf. kMyMoney offers support for tracking your accounts, budgets, and investments, as well as reports.


Video Editing: kdenlive, Pitivi & OpenShot

Movie editing has been a virtually impossible task under Linux for quite some time, but recently a couple of movie editors have popped up, and they’re getting better and better by the day. Each editor has its own advantages over the other.

using linux instead of windows

Kdenlive is a great overall video editor that can handle anything you throw at it. It contains many transitions and effects, such as blue screen which can be adjusted for green screens. Aside from all those features, kdenlive runs on all Unix and Unix-like systems and is great to try out.

linux alternatives for windows applications


Pitivi is a much simpler, lightweight video editor that (so far) doesn’t have any transitions and effects. This editor is useful when you simply need to cut some parts out of a video that you recorded. It also requires less dependencies to be installed, which is a plus for some people.

linux alternatives for windows applications

Openshot is another video editor that is capable of more. It can handle most file types and add flashy effects and transitions. A unique feature that Openshot has, compared to other Linux video editors, is that it has the ability to create 3D effects using Blender as a backend technology, the same software used to create the open source movies Big Buck Bunny and Sintel.

Photo Editing & Graphics: GIMP & Inkscape

You have most likely heard about GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, so it shouldn’t be something new. However, GIMP has important ties to Linux that you might not know about. The great Photoshop alternative was first on Linux before it was ported to Windows due to its popularity. Even more, there are some very nice plug-ins for GIMP that can easily be installed in some distributions (more about that in a future article).


linux alternatives for windows applications

Inkscape is also a handy graphics program that most graphic designers use. It is different from GIMP in that it deals with vectors, which is perfect for maintaining clear and crisp images even after massive scaling. Like GIMP, it provides all the tools you could need to get the job done, and it performs as expected. No wonder it’s among the most used programs for Linux graphic designers!

Home Server: Amahi

Windows Home Server was decent, but quickly became outdated, with certain technologies being discontinued. Time to put Linux to good use as our alternative option!

linux alternatives for windows


Why buy a system when you can build your own for free? What we need  is Amahi. Using Fedora as its base, Amahi takes care of most of the things people commonly want in a home server. Combine that with CrashPlan to make backups and you’ll have a server that does everything you need it to. We have previously covered this subject with an article by James How To Set Up A Home Server With Amahi [Linux] Read More .


Overall, Linux is an extremely capable platform. In addition to its reliability and security, it is now ready to help you do all of your work. The programs above are great alternatives for Linux to help you ditch Windows.

What other alternatives do you use or recommend for tasks that historically required Windows? Do these alternatives make you consider trying out Linux?

Image Credit: Openshot

Related topics: Image Editor, Money Management, Video Editor.

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  1. Hammy Havoc
    April 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Amahi is pretty interesting; Reminds me of the ClarkConnect OS if any of you remember it. Very friendly. Not my cup of tea, but I point people towards it as it is very good.

  2. JohnBUK
    April 18, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    As a MS Money user, whilst in Windows, I tried Gnucash but found it less than intuitive. However downloaded and used KmyMoney on Ubuntu (gnome not KDE) and it's very easy to run with as it mirrors MS Money quite closely.

  3. Gaurav Butola
    April 5, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Use Wine, End of the Story.

    • Pfindan
      April 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

      I agree wine is an exellent alternatvie.... Using it i havemt booted into windows in mOnths!

      • Gaurav Butola
        April 5, 2011 at 11:45 am

        Its only because of Wine that I have deleted the windows partition completely. Pretty much everything has worked for me on Wine.

        • Anonymous
          April 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm

          I installed MS Office 07 with WINE, but couldn't print. So It's sucked and my wife still needs Win7 to do homework. :(

    • professional Dev & Photog
      November 9, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      I wish WINE was the end of the story, unfortunately it's not even close. Just ask any professional photographer. Even virtualization isn't the end of the story and thus professionals whose work spans both programming and creative usually find themselves either dual booting or using 2 machines. GIMP is nice and I use it for small quick & dirty tasks. But there isn't anything on Linux that can fully replace the Adobe software.

      Until Linux can offer truly complete replacements for Photoshop, Lightroom and Excel I will be stuck with a dual boot system. There are "alternatives" for those 3 programs, but they do not have the same power, they do not have 1:1 feature parity.

  4. Lisa
    April 5, 2011 at 1:14 am

    I love that makeuseof has so many Linux articles.

    I have to say that although GIMP is super powerful, its too much for my needs. I use Pinta, which does a lovely job for easy photo editing.

    I also hardly boot into Windows anymore.


    • professional Dev & Photog
      November 9, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      That's ironic, because I have to say that although GIMP is super powerful, it isn't enough to meet my needs.

  5. timmyjohnboy
    April 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    These are some good choices, some of which I use almost daily (such as GIMP). I almost never boot Windows anymore!

    • Danny Stieben
      April 5, 2011 at 12:09 am

      That's great, timmyjohnboy. Not having a need to boot up Windows in almost all cases is a great achievement of computing freedom. Don't forget that it only gets better from here. :)

      • timmyjohnboy
        April 10, 2011 at 4:29 am

        I still have a few Ubuntu grievances like printer driver issues and lack of a few quality programs I still use Windows for.

        • JohnBUK
          April 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm

          Re printing, in the end I junked my Canon Printer and bought an HP Deskjet 3050 all in one WiFi printer. HP provide Linux drivers and it runs just fine on Ubuntu 10.10.

        • timmyjohnboy
          April 18, 2011 at 8:08 pm

          Yeah, my printer is a cheapo but they do have Linux drivers for it; they just don't work.

        • Metroidxprime
          May 9, 2011 at 5:09 am

          Get a different printer i walked into Goodwill and bought a All in one Printer/Scanner/Copier and paid $7.00 works flawlessly with Linux

        • timmyjohnboy
          May 9, 2011 at 5:13 am

          Yeah, eventually that's my real answer.