Linux seems to be getting more popular every year. With well-maintained, user-friendly distributions like Ubuntu, many people are taking the plunge and realizing that this free, open source operating system is a viable alternative to both Windows and macOS
To get you started, we’ve compiled examples of the best Linux apps for the most common categories. We have tried to give preference to open source software whenever possible, but some of these applications are proprietary.
Best Photo Editing App: GIMP
Adobe Photoshop is widely regarded as the industry standard for photo editing. After all, people call any photo manipulation “photoshop”. Photoshop is available for both Windows and Mac. In fact, there is even its own iPad version now.
However, there is no native version of this popular Linux app. Although it is possible to use Photoshop through a virtual machine or WINE, this will not work optimally. Worse, you need to subscribe to a 12 month subscription to use the app.
Fortunately, Linux has a GIMP. Reliable, free and open source Photoshop alternative. The GIMP has been around for several decades, and while its learning curve is different from Photoshop, it offers most of the most important features you got from Adobe. An experienced GIMP user can achieve the same results as someone who knows Photoshop, but without all the baggage that comes from a proprietary subscription-based application.
Best Digital Art App: Inkscape
Vector drawing software can be quite expensive, but if you’re willing to put up with some rough edges, Inkscape will provide you with all the tools you need at no cost.
Of course, your artistic talent depends on you, but if you have drawing skills, Inkscape can help bring your vision to life. It has some limitations when it comes to file format support, but in general, you shouldn’t have any problems sharing your creations with clients and other artists.
Linux gaming has always been a lackluster pursuit. Even when AAA games have Linux versions, installing and configuring them is the opposite of fun. Modern application interfaces in Ubuntu and other Linux desktop versions can help, but still not as smooth as it should be.
Which brings us to Steam It is a client application from Valve Corporation, which owns and operates the world’s largest digital PC store.
Not only can you buy Linux games through Steam, but you can also play a variety of Windows games that are certified to run with a dedicated WINE implementation. Known as Steam Play, this game has literally changed the game on Linux
Best Office Collection: LibreOffice
Beloved by frugal students, workers, and open source software enthusiasts around the world, LibreOffice is the ultimate alternative to the vast array of Microsoft Office. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation application, and database solution.
Libreoffice will seem familiar to those who worked with Microsoft Office in the 2000s, before the interface was radically changed. Functionally, most users will find everything they want in Libreoffice, although these features may be where you might not expect.
Of course, there are many great alternatives to Microsoft Office, you can see our roundup of the best ones here
Best Desktop Publishing App: Scribus
Desktop publishing (DTP) has experienced some renaissance over the past few years. With the rise in popularity of e-books, e-book readers, tablet computers, and other digital paper substitutes, it is again important to create smart page layouts and beautiful book interiors.
Self-publishing is also easier than ever, and if you have access to a specialized desktop publishing program, you can make it look like the real thing without leaving your own computer.
This is where Scribus enters the scene. This wonderful program started out as a simple Python program and has now evolved into a serious DTP program. If you want to know what Scribus is capable of, just take a look at this list of “Made by Scribus” publications. This is a real deal, and the author of this article actually developed and published a technical computer manual using this very program.
Considering the cost of professional DTP software, Scribus is certainly ranked as one of the best Linux apps of all time.
Best Email Program: Thunderbird
With the popularity of web-based email services like Gmail, few ordinary users really need a desktop email client. However, if you need to use a work email account or a private mail server, it still makes sense to install the client software.
The same is true if you need to use advanced settings or keep all your email offline. Whatever the reason you need an email client, Linux users should definitely give Mozilla Thunderbird a try. It is also supported on Windows and Mac, which can be useful if you need to use multiple platforms and need some consistency.
Thunderbird is gaining momentum, but in early 2019, Mozilla made a commitment to modernize Thunderbird with Gmail support, interface updates, and convenient encryption. Even as it stands, it is still the most supported and one of the most fully featured Linux mail client applications.
Best Screen Recorder and Broadcast Device: Open Broadcast Software
There is a long list of reasons for screen recording. You want to create a tutorial, document a bug, or broadcast something live to your audience. Open Broadcast Software has been the preferred package for these use cases across multiple platforms for many years.
The interface is a bit spartan and requires some training, but OBS is easy to use if you know how. It also offers some nifty advanced features, the main one being the ability to easily create recordings that combine multiple video sources. For example, you can simultaneously record data from your desktop and from your webcam. It is easy to arrange the elements that will end up with the final product.
Because OBS is so popular, it is backed by all the important streaming services and also sponsored by the real heavyweights of the industry, so it’s pretty safe to jump on the OBS bandwagon without worrying about having to switch to something else in the future.
Best Media Player: VLC
Most people these days just consume their videos through streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, and Apple TV +. However, before broadband was so widespread, we often had to receive our digital media as separate files from various sources.
The variety of encoders and formats put a bet on whether a given video could play at all on your computer. We were then blessed with a VLC player that seems almost completely unflappable in the face of whatever media format you use in it.
Best Video Editor: DaVinci Resolve
It’s amazing that you can get a Hollywood-grade video editor like DaVinci Resolve for free, but it’s true! The free version has some minor limitations compared to the $ 300 DaVinci Resolve Studio, but for 99% of users it will be a fantastic video editor that also includes a robust composer and audio processing package by default.
If you have the correct version of Linux (like CentOS), you can also create an absolutely monstrous multi-core video rendering workstation with multiple GPUs. DaVinci also sells a catalog full of awesome video editing equipment and cameras that work perfectly with Resolve, so if you’re planning to move into the big league of video production, DaVinci is there for you.
If this professional solution scares you a little, you should also take a look at OpenShot
Slack, despite its name, is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world where groups of people can work together productively. There are entire organizations out there that use Slack as a liaison, and since so many developers work in the Linux environment, you can be sure there is a reliable version of the application out there as well.
Best BitTorrent App: uTorrent for Linux
Many people will of course say that Transmission is their torrent client of choice, but there is a reason why uTorrent has become the de facto standard when it comes to Bittorrent software on any platform. It’s fast, super lightweight, and incredibly easy to use.
Yes, it might be considered a â€œvanillaâ€ choice these days, but it’s easy to forget that uTorrent is the standard by which others are judged. Using it is similar to putting on your favorite pair of socks. It’s just good. The Ubuntu store version works with WINE but still works fine.
Best Web Browser: Mozilla FireFox
While Chrome has certainly become the browser of choice for most people, Mozilla Firefox has several distinct advantages on Linux First, it is an open source application. Chromium, which Chrome is based on, is also open source, while Google Chrome is not.
FireFox is more than lagging behind Chrome when it comes to modern browsing features and offers far fewer privacy concerns. If you don’t like the idea that Google is always there for everything you do on the Internet, ditching Chrome is an important first step in keeping your online activities safe.
Best Audio App: Audacity
If you’ve worked as a sound engineer for a while, chances are you’ve heard of Audacity before. It is a powerful multitrack audio recording application with a robust set of plugins and tools for managing your recorded audio.
Audacity is simple enough that anyone can use it when it comes to simple recordings, but it can also be used to create professional content. You can record music using the multitrack feature, or create a beautiful podcast with background music and clearly edited dialogues.
Audacity also has a great set of retouching tools so you can remove unwanted noise, change the audio properties of a clip, and work with all the other common magic sound engineers. Sure, you need to know what everything does and how it works, but that’s nothing serious when watching YouTube tutorials won’t help.
Best Music Player: Clementine
VLC does a great job of being a music player, but if you’re serious about your locally stored music library on your Linux machine, Clementine is the only game in town.
It is lightweight, fast and very convenient. Your music library will be organized in no time, and you’ll spend more time jamming than browsing through a giant random playlist.
Best Virtual Machine App: VirtualBox
Virtual machine technology has evolved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Most modern processors can run virtual machines with little performance degradation, and this allows you to access multiple operating systems on a single machine without having to partition a disk or reboot the system.
Virtual machines are also very handy for privacy and cybersecurity purposes and of course allow you to run applications that are not intended for the host operating system.
Fortunately, Linux users have access to one of the best virtual machine applications on any platform. VirtualBox is easy to use and widely compatible with many different operating systems as a host. This means that you can run Windows, other Linux distributions, and more in a window on your Linux desktop.
Best Backup App: Change time
User-friendly backup solutions are pretty rare on Linux, but if you have a Debian system (like Ubuntu</a, you can use a Linux app called Timeshift to create incremental backups, much like Time Machine on macOS
It’s free and open source, although it requires manual installation. Once you’ve installed it on your system, it has a user-friendly graphical interface and is easy to customize. In the unlikely event that your Linux system crashes, you’ll be grateful for having Timeshift.
Best Application Section: Divided
Managing hard disk partitions is something Windows users never have to worry about, but Linux users often have to tweak their hard disk partition structure. If that’s what you need to do, the best app for that is Gparted.
The latest version of Gparted has a clean and simple graphical interface, so you will have no problem understanding the current structure of your disks. You can easily delete, resize, and create partitions, with little chance of causing irreparable damage to your system. It is definitely much easier to use than the command line.
There isn’t much to say about DropBox for Linux This is the same basic client for the DropBox service that you use on other platforms. That is, it integrates nicely with your local filesystem and just works.
You can sign up for a free account that includes several gigabytes of storage, so there is no reason not to use that account.
Best Instant Messaging App: Beijing
Pidgin is a universal instant messaging application that allows you to plug in a long list of settings and use many different instant messaging services. It’s completely free, small to download, and doesn’t consume any noticeable amount of system resources.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have Skype or proper VOIP support, but if you want to enjoy text chat, it needs to be downloaded.
Best Linux Antivirus Applications: ClamAV with ClamTk Front End
As with macOS, Linux doesn’t have much of an issue with viruses. This is largely due to the relatively small user base, so naughty people writing malware have little incentive to target these niche systems.
ClamAV is an open source Linux antivirus application that can fight a small number of common Linux viruses. ClamAV itself only offers a text-based command line interface. Therefore, you need to add ClamTk GUI for a more pleasant experience.
For the vast majority of Linux users, this is not the most important application, but if you are using a vulnerable mission-critical machine, pay attention to it.
Linux has the best applications!
Don’t ever let it be said that Linux doesn’t have the right applications for just about every use case. We didn’t even notice these common types of software. There are many scientific, creative and relatively niche operating system software packages available, often for a hefty sum of zero.