Brief: What are the must have applications for Linux? The answer is subjective and it depends on for what purpose do you use your desktop Linux. But there are still some essentials Linux apps that are more likely to be used by most Linux user. We have listed such best Linux applications that you should have installed in every Linux distribution you use.
The world of Linux, everything is full of alternatives. You have to choose a distro? You have got several dozens of them. Are you trying to find a decent music player? Alternatives are there too.
But not all of them are built with the same thing in mind – some of them might target minimalism while others might offer tons of features. Finding the right application for your needs can be quite confusing and a tiresome task. Let’s make that a bit easier.
Best free applications for Linux users
I’m putting together a list of essential free Linux applications I prefer to use in different categories. I’m not saying that they are the best, but I have tried lots of applications in each category and finally liked the listed ones better. So, you are more than welcome to mention your favorite applications in the comment section.
We have also compiled a nice video of this list. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel for more such educational Linux videos:
Google Chrome is a powerful and complete solution for a web browser. It comes with excellent syncing capabilities and offers a vast collection of extensions. If you are accustomed to Google eco-system Google Chrome is for you without any doubt. If you prefer a more open source solution, you may want to try out Chromium, which is the project Google Chrome is based on.
If you are not a fan of Google Chrome, you can try out Firefox. It’s been around for a long time and is a very stable and robust web browser.
However, if you want something new and different, you can check out Vivaldi. Vivaldi takes a completely fresh approach towards web browser. It’s from former team members of Opera and built on top of the Chromium project. It’s lightweight and customizable. Though it is still quite new and still missing out some features, it feels amazingly refreshing and does a really decent job.
uGet is the best download manager I have come across. It is open source and offers everything you can expect from a download manager. uGet offers advanced settings for managing downloads. It can queue and resume downloads, use multiple connections for downloading large files, download files to different directories according to categories and so on.
Xtreme Download Manager (XDM) is a powerful and open source tool developed with Java. It has all the basic features of a download manager, including – video grabber, smart scheduler and browser integration.
Deluge is a open source BitTorrent client. It has a beautiful user interface. If you are used to using uTorrent for Windows, Deluge interface will feel familiar. It has various configuration options as well as plugins support for various tasks.
Transmission takes the minimal approach. It is an open source BitTorrent client with a minimal user interface. Transmission comes pre-installed with many Linux distributions.
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage service available out there. It gives you 2GB free storage to start with. Dropbox has a robust and straight-forward Linux client.
MEGA offers 50GB of free storage. But that is not the best thing about it. The best thing about MEGA is that it has end-to-end encryption support for your files. MEGA has a solid Linux client named MEGAsync.
Pidgin is an open source instant messenger client. It supports many chatting platforms including – Google Talk, Yahoo and even IRC. Pidgin is extensible through third-party plugins, that can provide a lot of additional functionalities to Pidgin.
We all know Skype, it is one of the most popular video chatting platforms. Recently it has released a brand new desktop client for Linux.
LibreOffice is the most actively developed open source office suite for Linux. It has mainly six modules – Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. And every one of them supports a wide range of file formats. LibreOffice also supports third-party extensions. It is the default office suite for many of the Linux distributions.
If you want to try out something other than LibreOffice, WPS Office might be your go-to. WPS Office suite includes writer, presentation and spreadsheets support.
This is a relatively new music player. Lollypop is open source and has a beautiful yet simple user interface. It offers a nice music organizer, scrobbling support, online radio and a party mode. Though it is a simple music player without so many advanced features, it is worth giving it a try.
Rhythmbox is the music player mainly developed for GNOME desktop environment but it works on other desktop environments as well. It does all the basic tasks of a music player, including – CD Ripping & Burning, scribbling etc. It also has support for iPod.
If you want minimalism and love your terminal window, cmus is for you. Personally, I’m a fan and user of this one. cmus is a small, fast and powerful console music player for Unix-like operating systems. It has all the basic music player features. And you can also extend its functionalities with additional extensions and scripts.
VLC is an open source media player. It is simple, fast, lightweight and really powerful. VLC can play almost any media formats you can throw at it out-of-the-box. It can also stream online medias. It also have some nifty extensions for various tasks like downloading subtitles right from the player.
Kodi is a full-fledged media center. Kodi is open source and very popular among its user base. It can handle videos, music, pictures, podcasts and even games, from both local and network media storage. You can even record TV with it. The behavior of Kodi can be customized via add-ons and skins.
GIMP is the Photoshop alternative for Linux. It is open source, full-featured and professional photo editing software. It is packed with a wide range of tools for manipulating images. And on top of that, there is various customization options and third-party plugins for enhancing the experience.
Krita is mainly a painting tool but serves as a photo editing application as well. It is open source and packed with lots of sophisticated and advanced tools.
Every Linux distribution comes with their own solution for text editors. Generally, they are quite simple and without much functionality. But here are some text editors with enhanced capabilities.
Atom is the modern and hackable text editor maintained by GitHub. It is completely open-source and offers everything you can think of to get out of a text editor. You can use it right out-of-the-box or you can customize and tune it just the way you want. And it has a ton of extensions and themes from the community up for grab.
Sublime Text is one of the most popular text editors. Though it is not free, it allows you to use the software for evaluation without any time limit. Sublime Text is a feature-rich and sophisticated piece of software. And of course, it has plugins and themes support.
Albert is inspired by Alfred (a productivity application for Mac, which is totally kickass by-the-way) and still in the development phase. Albert is fast, extensible and customizable. The goal is to “Access everything with virtually zero effort”. It integrates with your Linux distribution nicely and helps you to boost your productivity.
Synapse has been around for years. It’s a simple launcher that can search and run applications. It can also speed up various workflows like – controlling music, searching files, directories, bookmarks etc., running commands and such.
As Abhishek advised, we will keep this list of best Linux software updated with our readers’ (i.e. yours) feedback. So, what are your favorite must have Linux applications? Share with us and do suggest more categories of software to add to this list.