101 of the Best Software for Your Linux Machine

A photograph of a laptop's screen with programs running on it.

One of the core strengths of every Linux distro is that it comes with a package manager filled with plenty of free software that you can install right out of the box. From office suites to small utilities, you will find tools and software for almost every category. This article will show you some of the best software that you should install on your Linux machine.

Office Suites

1. Libreoffice: the king of free and open-source office software. It provides programs that allow you to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

2. Calligra: a simple, yet highly functional office suite software from KDE. It also comes with a powerful vector graphics editor that you can use to create infographics and logos.

3. Onlyoffice: a beautiful office software package that aims to provide a modern “Microsoft Office”-like utilities to Linux along with native online collaboration modes.

4. WPS Office: a proprietary office suite that has good compatibility with Microsoft Office format and comes with an AI assistant. You can use that AI for writing prompts, summary generation, and optical character recognition.

Text and Code Editors

5. Vim: an improved version of the original Vi modal text editor. It is both lightweight and easily expandable through third-party plugins such as Plug. It is not for the faint-hearted though, as it even requires a full article to explain how to exit VIM.

6. Emacs: the king of extensible text editors. Aside from editing code, you can also use Emacs for managing RSS Feeds, creating LaTeX documents, and chatting in IRC channels.

FYI: learn what Emacs can do for you by installing Doom Emacs on your machine.

7. Micro: a simple, no-fuss console code editor for Linux. It is also relatively extensible through a developer-supported plugin framework.

Are you a software developer? Are you using a Linux debugger to bug-check your code before compiling it, yet?

8. Visual Studio Code: Microsoft’s answer to code and text editors. It is a powerful IDE that is both feature-filled and tweakable through third-party extensions.

Note Taking Apps

9. Obsidian: a note-taking program that allows you to link and analyze topics using keywords. It also can create notebooks with graphs, kanban boards, and flowcharts.

10. Zim: a light, yet powerful note-taking app. It treats every note inside it as a separate wiki page that you can link and manipulate inside the notebook.

11. μPad: a cross-platform note-taking program that lays out notes in a large board that you can organize and format.

12. Joplin: a modern note-taking application focusing on rich media and collaboration. It allows you to share notes between different users as well as save websites as note files.

13. Buho: a simple program that creates “sticky post”-type notes laid out on a virtual board. It also has a mobile app that will automatically synchronize with your desktop client.

Task Management and To-Do Lists

14. Taskbook: an extremely fast command-line to-do list application that is easy to use and port to other UNIX-like systems.

15. Taskell: an easy-to-use that makes use of kanban boards to manage your tasks. It stores information in Markdown which makes it easy to store in a VCS.

16. TickTick: a cross-platform task management tool that is both clean and quick. It also can synchronize tasks across different users making it great for remote teams.

17. sleek: an ultra-minimalist task management utility for Linux. It supports the popular “todo.txt” format as well as a robust tag system that makes it easier to organize various tasks.

18. Planner: a beautiful task management program with native support for Todoist. Planner also has support for CalDAV files making it compatible with calendar servers such as Baikal.

Email Clients

19. Thunderbird: the most popular desktop email client today. It can display all email formats and can install plugins through its extensions store.

20. Evolution: a practical desktop email client for Linux. It also can manage contacts and send encrypted emails by default using GPG.

21. Claws Mail: a powerful desktop email client that is both lightweight and extensible. Claws can also encrypt messages and connect to USENET boards without any additional utilities.

22. Sylpheed: a plain email client that aims to provide an easy-to-use interface along with stability and high reliability.

23. Geary: a basic email client that is focused on accessibility and simplicity. It also renders emails in a “conversation-like” manner similar to modern IM clients.

Good to know: learn more about the best email clients for Linux today.

Instant Messaging and IRC

24. Pidgin: one of the best and oldest IM software available for Linux. It supports the major chat protocols such as IRC, ICQ, and XMPP. Pidgin also has a plugin framework that you can use to extend the client.

25. HexChat: a popular cross-platform IRC client. It has a highly detailed interface that is fast and it supports multi-server connections.

26. Signal: a privacy-oriented IM client that’s available for both desktop and mobile. It uses end-to-end encryption to ensure that every message you send is secure and uncrackable.

27. Caprine: the unofficial Facebook Messenger client for Linux. It uses an Electron wrapper which makes it identical to the messenger’s fully-featured web client.

Web Browsers

28. Firefox: the most popular free and open-source web browser for Linux. Firefox has an extensive addons collection and a “sync” feature that is compatible across different platforms.

29. Tor Browser: a fork of Firefox that integrates the highly secure Tor network into its base code. It also provides security features through “Anti-Fingerprinting” and “User Agent Spoofing.”

30. Chromium: the open source upstream of the popular Google Chrome app. Chromium serves as a simple, yet highly effective base for anyone who’s looking to create a custom web browser.

31. Iridium: a fork of Chromium that focuses on security and privacy. It works by integrating a more secure encryption algorithm for WebRTC as well as removing some of the Google-specific features in the browser.

32. Qutebrowser: a unique browser that uses Vi-style keybindings for control and browsing. It uses QtWebEngine as its web renderer which ensures that pages load fast and are responsive.

33. VLC Media Player: one of the best free and open-source media player software for Linux today. It supports almost all media codecs and it can read almost all container formats. There are tons of things you can do with VLC too.

34. mpv: a powerful console-based media player for Linux. It is compatible with modern video and audio codecs while still being lightweight enough for lower-end devices.

35. xine: a media player that supports both physical media and online video streaming.

36. Cinema: a GStreamer-based video player that automatically provides high-quality metadata information for Movies and TV Series in your local disk.

37. Handbrake: a powerful utility that can transcode a video file to various standard codecs. It also has a batch convert feature which makes it it easy to transcode entire directories.

38. Ciano: a simple and minimalist media converter that is easy to use. Aside from video, it can also convert images and music files.

File Archivers

39. CoreArchiver: a basic archive manager that is designed to be quick and responsive even on lower-end machines.

40. Deepin Archive Manager: a lightweight Archive Manager that aims to provide a clean, and simple way to extract and create file archives in Linux.

41. PeaZip: a powerful Archive Manager that supports RAR, TAR, and ZIP right out of the box. It has a powerful scripting engine that you can use to automate archival tasks.

42. Xarchiver: one of the best and oldest Archive Manager software still available for Linux today. It supports a variety of compression formats such as gz, xz, bzip2, and zip.

43. Arqiver: a simple Archive Manager that is easy to use for new users. It supports password-based encryption as well as the popular 7zip format.

FYI: know more about file compression algorithms by looking at some of the best compression utilities on Linux.

Torrent Managers

44. Deluge: a high-performance, cross-platform BitTorrent client for Linux. It also comes with “thinclient mode” that allows you to leech and seed torrents straight from a headless server.

45. Transmission: a minimalist BitTorrent client that works on a variety of platforms. It provides a fast and easy-to-use torrent client that is accessible to both new and power users.

46. qBittorrent: a powerful BitTorrent client that aims to recreate the popular µTorrent interface. Aside from that, it has a built-in search engine that can look for content from public torrent sites.

47. Vuze: a lightweight BitTorrent client that can directly play downloaded media files straight from its client. It also has a first-party plugin support which you can use to extend the program.

FTP Clients and Download Managers

48. FileZilla: the most popular FTP client that you can install today. It supports all of the current FTP standards including FTPS and SFTP.

49. JDownloader: a popular direct download tool that allows you to fetch multiple, large files in parallel. It can also automatically reconstruct fragmented RAR files while downloading.

50. Motrix: a clean and simple download manager for Linux that can do parallel downloads as well as dynamically change its user agent to protect your privacy.

51. Persepolis: a basic download manager that can do fragmented parallel downloads as well as automatic, scheduled fetches.

52. aria2: a high-performance CLI download manager that can work with FTP, HTTPS, and SFTP. It also ensures consistent file verification across the different protocols.

53. Escrotum: a basic CLI screenshotting tool for Linux that can do whole and partial screenshots. It also can store these on either the disk or the system clipboard.

54. Shutter: a powerful screenshotting utility that allows you to take both simple desktop screenshots and context-specific “website screenshots.”

55. Flameshot: an easy-to-use and intuitive screenshot app with in-app drawing features. It can also automatically upload these screenshots to image hosting services.

56. maim: a simple and lightweight screenshot program with auto-masking, shaders, and GIF support.

57. Open Broadcaster Software: the best cross-platform screencasting software for Linux. It can both record and stream high-resolution video as well as display custom-made graphics and transitions.

58. FFcast: an ultra-minimalist Bash program that allows you to use FFmpeg as a dynamic screencasting tool.

59. GPU Screen Recorder: an efficient screencasting utility that uses your GPU to either record or stream your machine’s display.

60. Kamoso: a simple, yet handy webcam program for Linux. It can take both still images and video as well as set various clips as favorites.

61. Cheese: a fully featured webcam application that has a built-in effects library that you can dynamically apply to your pictures.

Image Editors and Drawing Tools

62. GIMP: the best Free and Open Source cross-platform image manipulation software for Linux. It can create and modify various digital assets such as photographs, digital graphics, and documents.

63. Krita: a free, professional-grade drawing program for artists. It has an intuitive interface along with a 2D animation suite.

64. Pinta: a basic image manipulation program for Linux. It is designed to be easy to use for novice computer users. It also comes with a variety of image effects similar to photo filters.

65. AzPainter: a simple drawing program for UNIX-like systems. It is lightweight and with a condensed set of features making it easier to learn for students.

Video Editing Tools

66. Kdenlive: a multi-track video editor for Linux. It supports almost all modern video and audio codecs as well as provides post-processing tools such as color grading and text graphics.

67. Davinci Resolve: a powerful, professional-grade video editing program that can do accurate color grading, 3D CGI, and audio post-processing.

68. Flowblade: a sleek and fast video editing program. It is equipped with a variety of compositing tools, high-quality filters, and a resource-efficient proxy editor system.

Audio Recorders and Editors

69. Audacity: the Swiss Army knife of audio editing. It contains every tool that you need to tweak and modify any type of audio as well as generate beeps and noise.

70. Polyphone: a handy soundfont editor that allows you to create and play digital samples of musical instruments. You can also modify these samples to create your custom instrument.

71. Ardour: the best digital audio workstation software for Linux. It supports multi-layer tracks, direct audio recording, and a rich collection of instrument samples.

eBook and Document Readers

72. Calibre: a fully-featured PDF and eBook reader for Linux. Further, it also comes with a powerful metadata editor as well as a versatile eBook to PDF CLI converter.

73. Shelf: a simple and minimalist document viewer with support for basic text searches and annotations.

74. Foliate: an eBook reader with a beautiful rendering engine for its text. It also has an easy-to-use interface that is both aesthetically clean and accessible for users.

Remote Desktop Connection

75. TigerVNC: a powerful remote desktop solution that uses the VNC protocol to provide low-latency screen sharing and control to remote machines.

76. TeamViewer: a proprietary remote desktop SaaS that allows you to create temporary “sessions” where you can view, control, and even annotate a remote machine’s screen.

Tip: find out more about remote desktops by setting up a VNC server in your Linux system.

Disk Cleaning Tools

77. Bleachbit: the best disk cleaner software for Linux. It removes all the unnecessary files in your home directory as well as wipes your disk’s free space.

78. rmlint: a minimalist Bash program that deletes all the empty files, directories, and broken symbolic links in your system. Not only that, it can remove duplicate file copies freeing additional disk space.

Disk Partitioning and Recovery

79. Gparted: an easy-to-use, graphical disk partitioning utility. It provides an intuitive look at your partitions through graphs. The program also gives you a variety of tools to create and modify these partitions.

80. cfdisk: a lightweight TUI disk partition program. Unlike graphical tools, you can install cfdisk on a headless machine and still be able to configure that machine’s disks over SSH.

81. TestDisk: a powerful data recovery program that uses leftover data in your disk’s partitions to recreate and recover deleted files.

Data Encryption

82. Tomb: a simple, yet highly secure file encryption program that allows you to encrypt individual files and folders in your filesystem.

83. VeraCrypt: one of the best data encryption software available for Linux today. It creates an encrypted virtual disk drive where you can store your data. Further, the program is also incredibly quick at encoding and decoding ciphers.

Good to know: explore the world of data security and encryption by using GPG with GNU Kleopatra.

Window Managers

84. i3wm: a functional manual tiling window manager for Linux. It comes with a proper configuration file which you can use to extend the program to do whatever you wish.

85. Openbox: a beautiful floating window manager that takes advantage of your mouse to create and modify windows on your desktop. Openbox comes pre-installed on several Linux distros.

86. dwm: a minimalist automatic tiling window manager. It’s lightweight and offers only basic features. However, this allows it to be one of the most extensible managers that you will find in Linux.

File Managers

87. PCManFM: a resource-efficient and fast file manager. It has a utilitarian interface that offers the most function over the program’s aesthetics.

88. CoreFM: a plain file manager that provides the right balance between aesthetics and function.

89. fm: a simple TUI file manager that aims to provide a clean and beautiful way of managing your files in Linux.

90. ranger: a feature-filled and highly customizable TUI file manager that is equipped with a plethora of keybindings and internal commands.

Terminal Emulators

91. Alacritty: a “modern approach” to terminal emulators. It uses GPU acceleration to provide fast and highly responsive terminal windows.

92. Kitty: a high-performance terminal that takes advantage of your system’s GPU to reduce its overall system resource consumption.

93. urxvt: one of the most popular terminal emulators that you can install today. Urxvt is customizable, lightweight, and runs on almost any UNIX-like system.

94. st: a minimalist terminal stripped down to its bare essentials. St is designed to be simple both to use and in its source code implementation.

Command Shells

95. zsh: a feature-filled command shell for UNIX-like systems. Unlike other shells, it comes with automatic argument completion and extensive configuration support.

96. ksh: one of the oldest alternative shells available today. Ksh offers a slightly faster and more responsive shell especially when running large scripts over a period of time.

97. tcsh: a stable command shell that provides a more expressive scripting syntax. It’s also programmable and highly configurable.

Network Diagnostics Tools

98. Wireshark: a powerful network packet analyzer for Linux. It allows you to check and dissect the various packets that pass through your network interface inside your network.

99. darkstat: a highly useful network logging tool. It’s a lightweight daemon that accumulates network traffic data and presents them through informative graphs.

100. Nmap: a handy network scanner for your local network. It logs and checks the various devices and ports that your local network interface can detect.

101. Ntop: a simple network traffic monitor that gives you a live overview of the current state of your network.

FYI: learn more about computer networking by using Traceroute in Linux to track how a packet travels through the internet.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Ramces Red

Ramces is a technology writer that lived with computers all his life. A prolific reader and a student of Anthropology, he is an eccentric character that writes articles about Linux and anything *nix.

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