Essential Open Source Applications for Linux Users

| April 29, 2015

Linux has become a popular alternative operating system for technology enthusiasts and fans of open source applications. If you have linux installed on your home machine what are some of the essential Linux applications that you should have installed? Here is a list of the best ones.




You might already be a Linux convert, but what if you want to still run some Windows applications? Don’t worry there is VirtualBox, which is a reliable open source application that once installed on your Linux PC, allows you to run a windows operating system from inside your Linux desktop. Windows and its program library might be filed with vastly closed source applications, but its a great way to access any essential programs you need on Windows, and allows you to also confidently make the cross over from Windows to Linux.


Libre Office is a fork from the Project. There will be a good chance that your Linux distribution already includes this great productivity application, as its the most powerful, complete office suite on Linux at the moment. Libreoffice comes packed with advanced features and capabilities. You can work with text documents, and even open Microsoft word documents, as well as edit HTML.

There is a spreadsheets program for calculating figures, and also a presentation application that works like microsoft powerpoint. Libreoffice also has a database application built in. If you prefer the local compatibility that you get from a Linux application rather than a cloud suite like Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online, then You’ll love Libreoffice.

Thunderbird and Lightning

Mozilla Thunderbird is the best desktop email application for Linux users. There are many different email clients available to use on Linux, but Thunderbird is as robust, and well developed as they come. All your email options and more are built into Thunderbird, and its the perfect client if you have a large amount of daily emails that you need to sort through.

If you combine Mozilla Thunderbird with the official Lightning extension, you get a complete Microsoft Outlook alternative. There is email, calendaring, and tasks included in the application. You can even keep the calender and tasks synchronized with the cloud by connecting up to Google Calendar.


If you’re a fan of instant messenger then Pidgin on Linux should be your go to application. Its a well developed messaging program that is reliable and compatible with many of the open standard messaging clients such as Google Talk Hangouts, Aim, IRC, and Yahoo, as well as other networks, and anything that supports XMPP Jabber standard.


The Swiss army knife of media players is VLC. It works great on Linux, and although the standard Linux desktop environment might already included video player, but you wi9ll probably have to install codecs left right and center. With VLC you get a media player than can handle all the codecs that you throw at it. Its packed full of useful features as well as basic playing capabilities, and is a cross platform application that means if you used it on PC or Mac, then you’ll feel right at home with the Linux version.


The best open source Bittorrent client on Linux has to be Deluge. It offers a powerful plugin system and an interface that will make uTorrent users feel right at home. Although on a standard Linux installation you probably already have a Bittorrent client like Transmission, Deluge gives you more solid options and powerful features.


If you want to manage your digital photo collection on your Linux computer, you need an application like Shotwell installed. Shotwell automatically imports photos from any connected devices you have, and lets you manage your entire collection straight from your desktop.

Its an application that includes easy editing tools, and you can touch up your photos or perform other tasks such as brightness settings on them too. Its a simple Linux application that does everything you need when it comes to photos. It includes some really interesting features too, you can publish your photos and videos to social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Flickr,and youtube for your videos.


Considered the open source communities answer to Photoshop, Graphical Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is an application that has been around on Linux for a long time. Its meant as an application that allows you to take up advanced functions opn photos and images, and allows you to touch up colors, add layers, and use text as well as many other features. You can perform mostly all the features that you can on Photoshop with GIMP, and if there is a feature missing, its probably already in development for the next release.


If you’re after a powerful desktop music player that goes beyond you MP3 library, then checkout Clementine. Its an advanced music player that give you access to not only your local music collection, but can connect to online radio service,s and podcasts as well as give you the ability to move files back and forth between your connected mobile devices. There are a number of music players that come installed with Linux, such as Rhythmbox, Amarok, or Banshee, but Clementines variety of features trumps them all.

Visual Studio Code

Although only still an announcement from Microsoft at this time, Visual Studio Code will be made available as a Linux Application. This will allow developers to build their own applications with support for languages such as Javascript, Node.js, Typescript and ASP.



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