Every Linux user has a set of his or her favorite, must-have applications. The selection depends on their preferences, habits, and often on the distribution they use, because not all Linux distributions ship the same apps by default.
Discovering and trying out new apps is one of the most exciting things about being a Linux user; after all, nearly all of them are free. It’s also interesting to get recommendations from other Linux users. As a result you gather enough knowledge and experience to build your own list of best Linux apps. You’ll find plenty of similar lists across the Web. Some feature the most popular, tried-and-true apps, while others tend to include new, yet unheard-of software. This list is a mix of both, and the aim is to provide a balanced overview of quality apps for Linux while keeping you informed about the latest additions to the Linux world.
So, let’s start with the list 30 Best Linux Apps and software:-
For Web Development
Eclipse is a popular integrated development environment (IDE) that works on OS X and Windows as well, thanks to being built on Java. It relies on plugins to provide support for many programming languages, including Python, C++, Ruby, Scala and Clojure. This extensibility makes it possible for programmers to customize Eclipse according to their skills, needs and projects they’re working on.
LightTable is a modern-looking advanced code editor with more than 100 plugins available. It supports several programming and scripting languages, and the feature that sets it apart from other, similar apps is the instant feedback option. This feature helps you evaluate your code as you’re working on it, so it’s easier to catch mistakes and learn new functions.
Code::Blocks is a development environment for C, C++ and Fortran. It’s also cross-platform, and supports several different compilers, code folding and completion. Among other useful features, Code::Blocks offers a tabbed interface, a hex editor and a GUI designer module to help you create application interfaces.
Brackets is a beautiful and lightweight text editor primarily used for HTML and CSS scripting. It supports all the features that modern text editors have, like automatic indentation, code folding, themes and countless plugins. There’s also a live preview mode which is great for web development, as it lets you see the changes on your website on-the-fly, in your browser.
5. Aptana Studio
Aptana Studio is based on Eclipse, but it’s focused on the development of web applications. With plugins, it’s possible to create Adobe AIR and iPhone applications with Aptana. It features a helpful Code Assist functionality, a built-in terminal and integration with Git for better version control.
Pidgin is the favorite instant messenger of many Linux users, and for a good reason. With support for all the popular chat protocols – Gtalk, IRC, Yahoo, ICQ, XMPP – and others (like Facebook) available via official and third-party plugins, who wouldn’t love Pidgin? It also works on Windows, and has many cool features, like custom emoticons, “Now Playing” status messages, different types of notifications, and buddy grouping and filtering.
Telegram is a relatively new player on the instant messaging scene, and it has the advantage over Pidgin (and many others) in that it supports almost all platforms (OS X and iOS, Android, Linux, Windows and Windows Phones). It’s focused on privacy and security, so it encrypts all messages and even lets them self-destruct if the users want that. All your chats are kept in sync across devices, and you can use Telegram to send files to groups of up to 200 friends.
8. Claws Mail
Claws is an email client perfect for users who seek simplicity and stability. With its uncluttered interface and many useful features (multiple account support; email filtering, folders and labels; threaded conversations; email scheduling; integrated address book; anti-phishing measures…), Claws is a great alternative to Thunderbird, which many uses often describe as bloated.
There aren’t many Twitter clients for Linux, or at least not many that work and have all the features that a power-user would require. Choqok is an exception: a feature-packed yet easy to use Twitter client with support for multiple accounts, notifications, Twitter lists, image and video previews, URL shortening, and filtering/hiding Tweets from your timeline.
Jitsi is proof that there are powerful Skype alternatives for Linux. It’s a full-fledged communication center with support for Google Talk, Facebook chat, Yahoo, ICQ and XMPP, but that’s not all. You can use Jitsi for audio and video calls, conference calls, desktop streaming and group chats. It supports encrypted conversations, file transfer, call recording, notifications and more.
Firefox is the default browser on many Linux distributions, and there are hundreds of extensions that let you change its appearance and functionality. It’s a great browser for all types of users because it’s easy to personalize. The growing amount of users worldwide should convince you to try it, if you haven’t done so yet.
Backups are extremely important, yet people put them off and perceive them as a hassle. SpiderOak is a secure way to automate online backups. A free account gets you 2 GB of cloud storage, and you can install the client on your computer as well as mobile devices, and keep everything synchronized. You can backup only selected folders, define schedules, and password-protect files which you want to share with others.
qBitTorrent is often described as the closest Linux alternative to utorrent. It’s lightweight with a nice interface, and has all the features you need: from integrated search, DHT and peer exchange support, encryption and port forwarding to bandwidth scheduling, IP filtering and download queues.
TeamViewer is not an open-source application, but it’s on this list because it has a Linux version and because many new Linux users rely on it when they get stuck with a software problem. It’s an application for remote desktop control that lets another user access and administer your system. However, it can also be used for online meetings and direct file transfer between computers.
Sometimes you can’t download everything from torrents, and you don’t want to keep your browser running all the time. Then you need a download manager, and uget is a fantastic one that works on Linux, Android and Windows. It lets you queue, schedule and categorize downloads, and most importantly, supports download resuming. Uget offers even more than that, but it manages to stay lightweight and simple to use, which is really commendable.
We might pretend we don’t care or console ourselves by thinking we’ve got “nothing to hide”, but the fact is that privacy and security are extremely important, and that it’s a wise practice to be mindful of them on the Internet. Tor helps you in that mission by providing a browser and communication tools that block trackers and enable anonymized surfing. Of course, there’s so much more to it, and you can learn all about it on the project website.
Security offline matters as much as online, if not even more. Your passwords need to be kept safe and preferably encrypted, and KeePass is a tool that’s cut for the job. It can run as a portable application, and can import and export your passwords in several formats. KeePass can also help you manage new passwords with a random password generator and clipboard integration.
Although we could’ve listed Tox under communication tools, its strong focus on security and privacy earned it a place in this category. Tox lets you exchange encrypted messages with your friends and make free audio and video calls. It has a stylish, attractive interface that will fit well into any desktop environment.
Privoxy is an advanced web filtering tool which you can use to block ads, prevent trackers and control which sites can access your computer. There’s much more to Privoxy, and it takes some effort to learn how to configure it, but it’s well worth it if you care about privacy.
Gufw is a simple and very user-friendly firewall for Linux which you can configure in just a few clicks. It provides basic protection, and supports app filtering and custom rules. You can also use it to log and track your Internet traffic and “invisible” activities that happen while you’re browsing the Web.
For Image Manipulation
Krita is a Linux h(e)aven for digital artists and illustrators. This amazing application lets you customize its appearance to suit your workflow, and has a special painting mode that eliminates all distractions and lets you focus on your art. You can use it to create patterns and textures, modify and import brushes, apply filters and effects, manage layers, and achieve perfect symmetry with in-built drawing aids.
Pinta is inspired by Paint.NET and offers all the basic image editing and drawing options. It’s a bit like advanced Microsoft Paint – simple enough to use, but not lacking in crucial features. You can use Pinta to draw various shapes, retouch images with effects and filters, and even manage layers of your photos.
You probably already know everything about Gimp – it’s the most powerful image editing tool for Linux, well-deserving the title of the best Photoshop alternative. If you’re not happy with what Gimp offers by default, there are many awesome plugins that add new functions and image effects.
Professional photographers might appreciate darktable, because it supports RAW image editing, among other cool features. You can use it to tweak every little detail of your photos. One of the best things about darktable is the extensive, helpful documentation available on the official website and as a PDF guide.
PhotoQt is a non-intrusive, lightweight image viewer app for Linux that hides many features below the surface. You can preview images as a slideshow, set the wallpaper directly from PhotoQt, as well as rename and delete images, scale, rotate and zoom them, and set your own keyboard shortcuts for image browsing.
Atraci is a fresh, cross-platform app that lets you search and stream music directly from YouTube. You can organize your favorite tracks in playlists, view videos in full screen, and browse current top songs on YouTube directly from Atraci.
Miro (previously called “Democracy Player”) is a versatile multimedia application that lets you play a number of audio and video formats, as well as stream online content, watch Internet TV and download videos. It can also convert some video formats, has built-in torrent support and lets you schedule videos, online shows and downloads. Basically, Miro is a full-fledged multimedia center akin to Kodi and other home entertainment apps.
Tomahawk is a truly innovative Linux app that combines music and social media. It lets you stream songs from a bunch of online services, like Last.fm, Soundcloud, Grooveshark, Jamendo, Deezer, Google Play and many more. You can connect your social accounts and get detailed stats on your music consumption and preferences. With Tomahawk, it’s easy to share songs and playlists with your friends and get recommendations tailored to your taste.
Clementine is a reliable music player that’s inspired by Amarok, but not as complicated to use. It has so many great features: a tabbed interface for playlists, lyric and artist info fetching from online sources, search and streaming support for Internet radio and services like Spotify and Grooveshark, podcast discovery and download, remote control from Android devices and support for music copying to iPods and USB music players. Clementine is all you need to enjoy music and manage your collection on a Linux system.
SMPlayer is one of the most practical multimedia players for Linux because it comes with built-in codecs, ready to play all popular formats right out of the box. It can play YouTube videos, download subtitles for your movies and remember individual settings for every file you play. Advanced users will appreciate features like the equalizer, video filters and custom subtitle positions and synchronization.
Of course, there are so many more Linux apps that could rightfully be included in a “best of” list. Which are your favorite applications for Linux? Can you recommend some new, undiscovered apps? Let us know in the comments.