Posted September 28, 2009 by Spyros in Linux Tips

10 Linux Programs That You Have to Use


Most new linux users who migrate from windows systems to linux, have a problem in identifying the best software to use for their new operating systems. This is logical of course, since it’s too new for them and they surely do not know where to start from. Therefore, i decided to make a small list of what i consider the best linux software for everyday’s desktop user. Some people maybe argue and this is definately welcome, please leave a comment if you think there’s something better of course. It’s more than certain that there are contradicting opinions and that’s good for everyone, since in the end we’ll be using the best software :)

1. Internet Browser – Firefox(iceweasel) and Opera

I can’t really decide which one is the best of the two, since i’ve been extensively using them both. I tend to believe that Opera is a bit better due to its speed mainly and the innovative ideas it had presented to the world of browsers. However, since Firefox is getting better and faster with more plugins, it seems to be the ideal solution for the new linux user. So, i’d suggest the new linux user to use firefox and then also take a look at opera too.

2. Instant Messaging Program

In windows we tend to use msn messenger. In linux there are a couple of decent options like pidgin, Konversation and more. As i happen to be a GNOME user, i kinda like pidgin(former gaim). The greatest feature is that it allows you to create accounts for msn live, google talk, jabber, icq and more, making it very versatile. I think at the time, it’s the nicest instant messaging client.

3. CD/DVD Burning Program

Well, at that point i happen to be using the commercial nero for linux but it seems that brasero is the way to go for the open source -and most important- free choice. Easy to use and very effective burning program.

4. Text editor

In linux, text editing is a different story that windows. Some people like to edit inside the shell while others prefer gui editing. For shell lovers, the ultimate program i think is vi and mainly vim (vi improved), although many use nano or emacs. For gui text editing, i believe that bluefish and Kate are the best GNOME and KDE solutions. The only disadvantage i can think of about bluefish is the poor syntax highlighting feature. Should this be corrected, i believe it would be the best gui editor available for linux.

5. Best Torrent Client

When it comes to torrent clients, i think that the most important things are being compact, fast and not using much memory. I’ve personally encountered such features only while using the transmission client. Another popular option is azureus, though i don’t really like it due to its not needed complexity and high memory usage.

6. Best Live Chat/Voice Program

Should you want to talk to other people online, the most popular solution is skype, the also used windows program. Definately the best solution for voice programs.

7. Best Mail Agent

What is the best program to use for reading your mails? It seems that most linux users tend to use ThunderBird, but i also like using sylpheed and the non-gui solution, alpine. However, i believe that ThunderBird is probably the best to try first.

8. Best Office Suite

Microsoft Office happens to be the best(in my opinion) choice if all operating systems are counted as one. You could be using crossover office, the simulator for microsoft office, in order to run microsoft office at your system. However, if you do not own them, you can use the freely available solution named Open Office, which seems to be getting better and better and is definately a nice solution.

9. Best Mp3/Audio and Media Players

In my opinion, the best mp3/audio player for linux is Amarok. It’s created with qt so it’s faster under KDE, but i use it under GNOME as well. Another option for GNOMe would be Rhythmbox, the trying to become Amarok’s competitor and probably xmms, the winamp like choice.

For media players, i suggest that you use mplayer or totem for most uses. Sometimes, mostly in live streaming you may need to use vlc media player, which handles online streams better.

10.Photoshop vs Gimp ?

Well, not really, photoshop is way better but if you need a free and decent photo editing software, GIMP is a great choice.

I reckon that these are the most important programs i use in my linux, and i hope i gave you some ideas of what to install now. If you feel i’ve proposed something that is not the best solution or have another opinion anyway, please leave a comment below. It will only help us both use better programs :)