Monday, May 9, 2011

Best Linux Applications

For some time I have been playing with various Linux distro (Ubuntu in particular) and I noticed that some of the applications I use more often than others.  I keep trying various applications on Ubuntu, mainly because an abundance of them are available in library for FREE and there is no reason you shouldn't try them.
The applications vary from music players, browser, photo management, disc burning tools and email clients etc etc.  The list just goes on and on..
As you can guess, being an open source, you have limitless options for any particular application.  As Linux is becoming popular day by day, more and more applications are being developed to satisfy the growing needs of the users and the community.
Before you start reading this post further I would just you to please read "20 things to do after installing Ubuntu Linux" to get the bare minimum applications and plug-ins for your Ubuntu installation and then come back here to read more.
I am happy to introduce you to the best and must have Ubuntu (Linux) applications: (Almost all applications are available in Synaptics or through direct download. However if you find difficulty installing any application mentioned here, let us know in comments.)
  1. Mozilla Firefox and Opera Browser: Mozilla Firefox is the default browser for Ubuntu users.  No doubt it is the best browser in the world, and with amazing list of add-ons it just becomes irreplaceable.  Even then I would recommend you to give Opera browser a try. I have found Opera being faster than Firefox sometimes.  Download and install Opera from here.


  2. WINE: Sometimes people refer WINE as a Windows Emulator but it is not an emulator.  In official terms, Wine is translation layer which is capable of running Windows applications.  Though not all applications can be installed using WINE, yet it is the best choice for some Windows only software to run under Ubuntu.  Learn more about WINE at
  3. Virtual Box: Virtual Box is a must for those who want to get the best from both the worlds.  It is an application which magically lets you run another/multiple operating systems within an operating system (OS).  So you can try various other OS like Kubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora etc and even Windows and Mac without having a need to reinstall your existing OS.  How cool is that?
    Besides using VirtualBox (VB) to try various other OS, you can use VB to install software which have no Linux alternative like Windows Live Writer etc. Best thing about VB is that you can use both OS (host and guest) simultaneously.
    The instructions to install VirtualBox are mentioned here.  However it is as simple as downloading a .deb file and running it. To see how you can run Windows 7 within Ubuntu, check out this earlier article on Knowliz.

    Office Applications

  4. Thunderbird or Evolution: In fact the use of desktop email applications is reducing everyday. But if you are still a fan of desktop email application like Microsoft Outlook, then Thunderbird is definitely the best choice for Linux users.  However Evolution is the default email client for Ubuntu which seemlessly works with other Ubuntu plug-ins.  Everyone has his own opinion about these two apps, so no single app is a winner.
    Don't forget to use Lightning add-on for Thunderbird.
    In fact a third appliation Zimbra, a Yahoo company, is also used.  All of these applications support multiple POP and IMAP accounts.
  5. OpenOffice is the Linux alternative for Microsoft Office on Windows.  OOo comes as the default Office application on Linux.  It is very powerful office suite which includes Word (Word Processor), Excel (Spreadsheet), Presentation, Drawing, Database and other applications.  Other than that you can install add-ons too to make it even more powerful.
    (Don't forget that you can use it for FREE on Windows too as a replacement for costly MS Office.)
  6. Project Management: Search and install 'Project Management' from Synaptic and along with mentioned above you have a complete Office suite including Project for managing your project milestones.

    Media Applications

  7. Music Players: Rhythmbox is the default music player for Ubuntu, but I prefer using Songbird and VLC player.  Both of these player players play most of the audio and video formats but based on your preference you may chose one over the other.  But all of these are really good music players.
    Find out how to install Songbird on Ubuntu.
  8. Boxee: Boxee is like Windows Media Center and even better.  Boxee can pull in feeds from various web apps like Pandora, Digg, Youtube etc and play within the application.  You can install various Boxee apps and use them to quickly go through the content of that feed like, Fashion TV etc. or you can add your own feed URL to view within Boxee.
    Boxee is still in alpha, so sometimes it does crash, but overall I am happy using it.  Can you believe that you can control Boxee from your iPhone using Boxee iPhone app.  I will strongly recommend you give it a try.  You can get Boxee from here.
  9. Miro Internet TV: Miro is a free HD video player. It can play almost any video file and offers over 6,000 free internet TV shows and video podcasts.
    Miro.pngMiro has a simple, gorgeous interface designed for fullscreen HD video. Since Miro downloads most videos even from Youtube.
  10. Kino: Kino is my favorite video editing application on Ubuntu.  It supports firewire to capture video from your camcorder and to transfer videos from them for editing purpose as well. Visual effects can also be provided, though initially it feels a little strange to work with them.  Definitely a must have for all video editing fans.KinoMedia Management and Editing
  11. GIMP: GIMP in short is Adobe Photoshop packaged in Linux but FREE.  How about that.  You can do almost any thing you can do on Adobe Photoshop and even extend its capabilities with free plug-ins.
    To learn everything about GIMP, consider subscribing to Meet The GIMP video podcast which tell you each and everything you can do with GIMP and how. GIMP.png
  12. Picasa and F-Spot: Picasa as you know works on Ubuntu Linux too and it works the same way as it works on Windows.  Picasa.pngGo ahead manage you photos on Ubuntu too using Picasa.
    Another application with is by default available in Ubuntu is F-Spot.  You may chose to use F-Spot over Picasa because it provides everything you need to manage you image library.
  13. RecordMyDesktop: If you ever want to record anything on your Ubuntu box, then RecordMyDesktop is a must have.  This application is available in Synaptic and provides you everything you will need to create a tutorial.
    It is a must have for all Bloggers and teachers who frequently creates howtos and tutorials.
    Initially it takes some time to learn how to use it though.
  14. Audacity: Audacity is a free, easy-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
    You can use Audacity to Record live audio, Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files, Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together and Change the speed or pitch of a recording etc.audacity-linuxDisc Burning Applications
  15. Brasero and DeVeDe: Brasero and DeVeDe are two most popular disc burning applications.  You can burn all kinds of CD, DVD, VCD, mp3 and DivX files with these applications.
    Brasero is a default disc burning application for Ubuntu.

  1. VOIP and Instant Messaging Applications
  2. Skype?.pngSkype: Who doesn't know about Skype, so instead of explaining it all over again what it does, I will tell you that you can just grab it for Ubuntu as well.  Just download the .deb file and double-click to install.  That's it.
    Start using all the features of Skype, though plug-ins are not yet supported on linux. I use it regularly to talk to my parent overseas.
  3. Ekiga Softphone: is a free Voice over IP, commonly VoIP or internet telephony, service provider. Some of the features are: Integration with Novell Evolution, LDAP Support, Advanced Address Book, Calls History, Video4Linux, Video4Linux 2 and Firewire Cameras support, Devices Auto-Detection and Configurable sound events etc.Ekiga_in_a_Call
  4. Gizmo: As they say, Gizmo is a FREE phone for your computer.  With Gizmo you can make Free internet calls to anyone in the world. You can use it for instant messaging through MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Jabber, send an receive SMS, make video calls and use it for file sharing.
    In short almost everything you can do with Skype.  And yes, you can use Skype as well within Gizmo that too natively in Ubuntu environment.  Gizmo 5
  5. Pidgin or Kopete: Pidgin is an easy to use and free chat logo.pidginclient used by millions. Connect to AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and more chat networks all at once. Latest Pidgin supports Video and audio chat as well.
    With Free official and third party plug-ins you can do a lot more including Facebook chat and Twitter etc.
    Some people (generally on KDE) love Kopete as well and you can install Kopete on Ubuntu GNOME as well.Finance Software
  6. GNU Cash: GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software. GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses.
    Some of the highlights are: Double-Entry Accounting, Stock/Bond/Mutual Fund Accounts, Small-Business Accounting, Customers, Vendors, Jobs, Invoices, QIF/OFX/HBCI Import, Transaction Matching, Reports, Graphs, Scheduled Transactions and Financial Calculations etc.
    You can consider it as a Microsoft Money replacement on Linux. gnucash.png
    Desktop Publishing
  7. Scribus: Scribus is a Desktop publishing program that can do almost anything Adobe  Acrobat can do. With this tool, your newsletters, press packets, fliers, books, manuals, etc., are done in-house and on the cheap.
    If you want to see Scribus capability then check out any edition of Full Circle Magazine.  All of these magazines are created solely using Scribus.Other Useful Applications
  8. Google Earth: You know you can install Google Earth on Ubuntu also.  Download the installer file from Google and install it.  Though all the installation instruction are mentioned in there for Linux, yet if you find any problem, you can refer to this article on Technomania to find the instructions for Ubuntu..Google Earth
  9. Filezilla: FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface. It is not only easy to use but also boasts load of features like IPv6 support, Drag and drop, pause and resume file transfer and remote file editing etc.
  10. Bluefish or Kompozer: Bluefish is a powerful HTML editor targeted towards programmers and web designers, with many options to write websites, scripts and programming code. Bluefish supports many programming and markup languages, and it focuses on editing dynamic and interactive websites.
    KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.KompoZer
  11. Adobe Air: As soon as you install Adobe Air for Linux, you open path for a lot of useful rich internet applications like Times Reader, Desktop Twitter, TweetDeck, Seesmic Desktop etc.  100s of other cool Adobe air applications are waiting for you in Adobe Air library. Go grab some.

Over to you:

This list is in no way complete unless I take inputs from other Ubuntu and Linux users.  So please go ahead and tell us in comments what other applications are your favorite and why.  And if you also use these applications then also let us know your views about those applications.

At the same time these 25 must have applications will be useful for the newbie in Ubuntu (Linux) community.  Those who are still trying various things in it may find this list useful.

+91 91777 50037


  1. Amazing blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
    I'm planning to start my own website soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go
    for a paid option? There are so many options out there
    that I'm totally confused .. Any recommendations? Thanks a lot!
    Review my homepage :: How to use the IP telephony

  2. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found
    that it is really informative. I'm going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!
    Review my web page - What is an IP telephony