My list of best software for Linux

So you decided to make the switch to Linux or maybe you still have some doubts and want to know if there is any good software out there to use on Linux. In your search for information you find a lot of open source applications that can be potential alternatives for the applications you know and use now under Windows or macOS. But there is so much information and all this information is scattered over the internet. You hope there is maybe one complete overview of good open source software that supports your decision to make the switch. Well maybe you found it. In this living post I maintain my list of best software for Linux, which hopefully helps others as well in their decisions. 

Why a software list

When I first started my interest in Linux and Open Source software and my deepening in its possibilities, I experienced an intensive and sometimes exhaustive search for the best or most usable Open Source applications as an alternative to the mostly closed source software I was using in the past on my Apple iMac. I soon began to see that it was much better for me personally to read about personal experiences than to study dry comparisons of software properties. So I started roaming forums and personal blogs where other Linux users told about their favorite applications and their experiences with them. That information helped me a lot, but it was still very fragmented on the internet. To simplify that search for other beginners I started to review my own favorite applications and collected these in a total list. I hope that this list can easily help others on their new Linux journey.

Keep in mind that this is my personal list. My requirements for software can be completely different from others. For some use cases, like photo raw editing, I need professional grade software, so I selected darktable. But for other purposes I like simplicity, so for my email I prefer Geary instead of Thunderbird, although I know that the latter has far more options. We are all different, so I don’t say you must use the applications mentioned in my list. The list is only there to have a relatively complete overview to make your choices as a beginner a bit more easy.

I always like to receive input on new software, alternatives that are not in the list and use cases that I didn’t mention yet. And if you have other opinions on the content of the list, feel free to let me know. I am always open to learn.

My list of best software for Linux

Below is a list of powerful applications for Linux that in my eyes can compete with their Windows and OSX counterparts and that I use on a regular basis.

Last addition (September 06 2018): Cronopete backup application

My software list

Software TypeMy favorite applicationGood alternatives
2D AnimationSynfig Studio
3d modelling and renderingBlender
App developmentAndroid Studio
Artistic drawingKrita
Backup personal dataLuckyBackupBack in time
Backup system dataTimeshiftCronopete
Book WritingManuskript
Color ManagementDisplayCAL
Color PickerPick
Desktop environmentZorin OS GnomeCinnamon
Desktop publishingScribus
Digital Audio Recording, Mixing and ProductionTracktionAudacity, Frinika, Ocenaudio
Duplicate file finderFSlint
DVD AuthoringDVDStyler
File finderAlbertFSlint
Home administrationHomebank
Image manipulationGIMP
Internet BrowsingFirefoxVivaldi
Laptop battery optimizationTLP
Linux distributionZorin OS 16Linux Mint
Messaging ManagerFranz
Mind mappingMinder
Mobile IntegrationZorin ConnectKDE Connect
Music collectionClementine
Music management Clementine
OfficeLibreOfficeWPS Office
Password managementBitwarden
PDF EditorLibreOffice DrawInkscape, Scribus
PDF ReaderEvince
Photo and video importRapid PhotoDownloader
Photo managementDigikamXN View MP
Photo raw editingdarktableRawTherapee
Reduce eye strainSafeEyes
Remote controlTeamViewer
Script WritingKIT Scenarist
Simple Photo ManagementShotwell
Small business
System Optimization and MonitoringStacer
Vector dawingInkscapeGravit Designer
Video compositingNatron
Video conversionWinFFHandbrake
Video editingShotcutDaVinci Resolve
Video playingVLC
Web CMSWordPress
Web DesignPinegrow
Web developmentBrackets
Application startup optimizationPreload
RSS FeedsNewsFlash
To DoSuper Productivity
Personal project managementZenkit Base
Note takingJoplin
Traditional film processing but digital Filmulator
ZettelkastenZenkit Hypernotes
Take breaksGo For It!
CodingVisual Studio Code


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About John Been

Hi there! My name is John Been. At the moment I work as a senior solution engineer for a large financial institution, but in my free time, I am the owner of,, and author of my first book "Linux for the rest of us". I have a broad insight and user experience in everything related to information technology and I believe I can communicate about it with some fun and knowledge and skills.

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