back to article Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

Much to the dismay of many a sysadmin, Linux is no longer purely the domain of Captain Command-Line and his trusty side-kick Admiral APT. For those looking to make the most of their new-fangled graphics-capable hardware, here’s a selection of freeware to start with, in our case as installed on Ubuntu 14.04: BleachBit RH …

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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

    At the moment I have to import half of KDE into Mint to get Kate up and running... looks like Geany has the same general philosophy.

    1. mdava

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      I am an (extraordinarily) amateur user, but Geany is great.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      Yep, someone experienced in both could comment on how well it stacks against Kate, which is also my day to day choice for general text editing chores.

      I'm using KDE as my DE, so I have already pulled that half and the other as well.

    3. Raumkraut

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      Kate and Geany are both good ATEs. I used Kate when KDE was in the 3.x days, then Geany in the time between KDE 4.x being adopted and it becoming stable enough, and now I'm back to Kate - though ever wavering.

      I use Kate day-to-day, but if asked for a recommendation I'd probably say Geany is the better of the two. Kate seems to have a lot more niggles and irritating bugs which I hit. I feel that Geany behaves more like what most people would expect (ctrl+tabbing between recent documents is only a recent addition to Kate!).

      Honestly, the only things keeping me with Kate at the moment are how the "Documents" side-pane works (Geany has functionality close, but not close enough), and the MiniMap/DocumentMap which can replace the scrollbar (one mailing list post I saw says it'd be "trivial" to implement in Geany, yet nobody has done it yet).

      One thing Geany does much better than Kate IME is indentation. I've had nothing but pain with how Kate handles indentation (particularly, its complete lack of automatic detection).

    4. Wilseus

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      FWIW I use Geany every day as my main editor at work. I haven't found a text editor I like better, with the possible exception of !Zap on RISC OS, but that's another story :)

      1. Chika

        Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

        I liked !Zap but I eventually moved to !StrongED for some reason. As I recall, much of my text editing was HTML and I preferred the way !StrongED worked though I eventually shifted to Quanta Plus on Linux, usually running on KDE3. For much of my ordinary text stuff, I use KWrite, though I do have Kate installed and have dabbled on occasion.

    5. i1ya
      Meh

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      You can also try "medit". It is well-made alternative of Kate/KWrite/Gedit (which is now GTK3), GTK2 based, has all Gedit features that Gedit but also, like Geany, is more developer-oriented.

      P.S. And if you like lightweight and fast editors, give "scite" a look. It is very very fast, can crunch large files (except when you have extremely long lines which can lead to slowness), has almost no dependencies, and also a cross-platform (works on Windows as fast as on Linux). It also includes some weird Lua-based inner platform but I never tried to script anything in it.

    6. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      Nearly as nice as Notepad++

      LibreOffice : Isn't already on everything?

      But the rest of the list? Really the best 8?

      1. i1ya

        Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

        Shutter is really the best tool for screenshots that I discovered. It allows to make a quick edits in screens, crop them, annotate and then upload into cloud. Also you can drag-and-drop your images directly to Thunderbird to attach them to messages (from my experience, usually drag-and-drop sort of sucks in Linux).

        As for other open source desktop-based software, you have to try a lots of junk before you will find real gems you can't live without.

    7. thames

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      I can definitely recommend Geany. I've used many editors over the years, and am very pleased with Geany and use it every day for editing C, Python, etc. It seems to fill the space between "simple editor" and "massive IDE" quite nicely. It's very configurable, so have a look in the preferences menu if there is something you don't like about the defaults. Chances are, there is an option to change it.

      I used to use Kate, but that was at least five years ago, so I can't compare the latest versions of both. However, if you like Kate then you will probably be more than happy with Geany. It's also definitely several steps up from GEdit (which I used prior to Geany).

      The biggest problem with comparing editors is that you get used to doing things a certain way, and any change, even for the better, can be hard to get used to. Geany has loads of editing features, and I only use a subset of them. If you take the time to explore while working on a project, then you will find many things which you can use to improve your work flow.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

        And the challenge is - can it cope with my indentation preferences?

        Braces on a new line at the same indentation as the control, but variables *always* start on the left margin - this seems to confuse everything else.

        Anyway, it's installed now, so time to play!

    8. Roo
      Windows

      Re: Hmm. Geany could be worth a look...

      "At the moment I have to import half of KDE into Mint to get Kate up and running... looks like Geany has the same general philosophy."

      FWIW I found it to be very quick and easy to download & build Geany on Mint Debian Edition (MATE desktop already installed). Geany starts up instantly and it does just enough to help but not too much to be awkward. It's simplicity & speed remind me of the old Borland ASCII IDEs, while it brings modern 'features' like auto-completion (which isn't as clever as Eclipse or Visual Studio - but works very well for me).

      I think everyone should give it a go and if they don't like it they haven't wasted money or filled their hard drive with IDE or wasted 2 hours of their lives installing it. :)

  2. Michael Habel Silver badge

    1) Why did Mr. Dormon elect not to mention XBMC... (Ok then Kodi), then?

    2) Tomahawk really? >2014 and still not streaming your stuff from the Browser though GMusic?

    Besides I'd probably prefer Nightingale for that task. Though the HDD in my NAS just died, and the fact that I'm mostly on Windows7 at the moment. Kinda makes an informed opinion (from my side), a bit harder. Fortunately XBMC / Kodi, can also be used as an Audio Player too...

    So why would Mr. Dormon fail to mention such an important piece Software like XBMC for?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Because XBMC is perhaps a little over-the-top as a media player for a desktop or laptop and setting up an HTPC is still rather a bespoke process?

      1. phil dude

        xbmc/kodi

        over the top? Not at all. The point about it , is that it can be seen by many devices but also runs as an HTPC.

        My N9 has controls and can stream stuff.

        Just saying...

        P.

    2. Will Stephenson

      After an age of 'streaming my stuff from gmusic through my browser' you've prompted me to give Tomahawk another go. Turns out it can now play music from Google Play Music (and everywhere else), and most importantly, it has a global keyboard shortcut, so I don't have to focus a browser tab to pause the music

  3. Stuart 22

    GIMP

    That is all ...

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: GIMP

      It's hardly an everyday tool for the masses. You might as well clamour for Blender or Audacity to be in the list - all 3 are great but all are a bit niche.

      1. plrndl

        Re: GIMP

        In a world where everyone carries a camera phone, and "photoshop" has entered the dictionary, GIMP is hardly a niche app.

        1. Cipher
          Coat

          Re: GIMP

          Mind you, going forward Gimp will *require* systemd.

          1. pyite

            Re: GIMP

            That's fine as long as it doesn't require !#$^!#$ upstart.

          2. Chika

            Re: GIMP

            Sadly that can be said for a lot of stuff these days. You could even say that GIMP has been gimped. Why is it that developers don't have the balls to actually say how bad systemd actually is? Or is it that they have been sucked in by the hype? We need an LT rant here, STAT!!!

          3. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: GIMP

            >Mind you, going forward Gimp will *require* systemd.

            That's going to be awkward on my OSX install....

          4. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: GIMP

            Gimp 2.8+ sucks golf balls through garden hoses already, as they destroyed the Save dialog. I mean, causes serious waste of time for me ... I went back to 2.6, does the trick.

            I guess 3.0 will require systemd ... 3.1 will probably be the last gimp version, ever. I bet the devs will even ask: "Why did you leave ?"

            1. grantmasterflash

              Re: GIMP

              If a program sucks because you have to select a different menu to save I'd hate to see what your criteria is for a program being great. As far as systemd... gimp will use systemd because every system will have it which means the people using it won't even know systemd is involved so usage won't even budge.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: GIMP

                ...As far as systemd... gimp will use systemd because every system will have it ..

                I look forward to seeing this on the XP and Win7 boxes I use the gimp on daily..I seriously want to see systemd try out-Borg the Borg..should be fun.

                and yes Gimp 2.8 does suck..resources mainly (it isn't just the I'll-save-as-xcf-only irritation), it crashes a lot more than the 2.6 version running on the machines I normally use @work.

          5. grantmasterflash

            Re: GIMP

            Which going forward will be on just about every system.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: GIMP

          Speaking as someone who uses it, GIMP isn't particularly intuitive either. Took me quite a while to find out how to just get a window displaying the layer stack in the toolbox area set aside for it the first time I needed it.

        3. JDX Gold badge

          Re: GIMP

          >>In a world where everyone carries a camera phone, and "photoshop" has entered the dictionary, GIMP is hardly a niche app.

          Everyone (thinks they) know what "photoshop" means/does but being able to use the thing is still niche.

          The fact you seem to suggest Gimp/Photoshop are the right tools for the masses to use with their cameraphone photos only compounds the sense that either you don't know what you're talking about, or are an expert user totally out of touch with the majority of computer users.

          GIMP is a high end tool for people who are prepared to put effort in to learning how the darn thing works.

    2. SolidSquid

      Re: GIMP

      I'd say Pinta is probably a better option if someone is looking for a general usage image editor. Gimp is if you're doing some heavy duty stuff which requires layers or other advanced features

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: GIMP

        Except Pinta appears to require a ton of Mono libraries. No thanks.

    3. pyite

      Re: GIMP

      I bring out the GIMP regularly, it has sure come a long way since I first tried it (when Bill Clinton was in office)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know 10 is a small number, but

    A good roundup but there are so many others. I think Remmina (which provides *nix users with an Windows compatible RDP client) is really useful, myself.

    And so are Xfburn, and Unetbootin, and..... and... well .... do carry on.

    1. Wilseus

      Re: I know 10 is a small number, but

      Remmina is indeed useful, I use it myself, but it loses a star for being chock-full of bugs!

      1. Adam Inistrator

        Re: I know 10 is a small number, but

        +1 remmina ... all your rdp/ssh/scp connections in 1 and you learn where the bugs are and avoid them. on windows tunnelier is the same tool ... thankfully windows is in the past for me

  5. Chemist

    Darktable

    For RAW photo development

    Kdenlive for video

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Darktable

      Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Darktable

        "Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often."

        Interesting, I had lots of problems a few years ago but it's been rock solid on the 3 computers I use it on (i7 laptop 8GB, old AMD dual-core 2GB, Intel dual core 2GB) Certainly since I bought my current video camera early 2012 which is 1080p/50 so generates huge clips and rendered files. It took a few months for kdenlive to support 1080p/50. I'm using kdenlive 0.9.10 on OpenSUSE 13.1. What I did find was that all the necessary helper programs needed to be from the same repository

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often

          Strange, because I run also OpenSUSE 13.1 and my Kdenlive is definitely more crash prone than older versions. And is exactly the same version as yours, mine coming from packman as well as all the helper programs (I used packman not because I needed the higher Kdenlive version, but because I needed newer ffmpeg versions than the ones on the default repos for other parts of my media handling workflow) My Kdenlive is currently 0.9.10, with ffmpeg version 2.14 (reported but zypper says 2.3.3) and melt 0.9.2

          And I too use it mainly to edit footage from my 1080/25p camera. So it must be down to how we use the program. You're clearly kinder on Kdenlive than I am.

          Your answer however, triggered a few checks. The Kdenlive version in the default 13.2 repos is 0.9.8 (was 0.9.6 for 13.1), so still a couple of minor revisions away from what is on packman for 13.1. Packman does already have a repository for 13.2, and NVidia semi-official SUSE repository seems also to be available for 13.2.

          So perhaps it is "big upgrade" time now...

          1. Chemist

            Re: Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often

            The version I'm using reports 0.9.10, but Yast2 reports 0.9.10-16.2 64bit from Packman but I've been using older versions without any stability problems for years now - certainly before OpenSUSE 13.1. In the past there have been times when dragging a clip or rendering would crash so I took to saving ALL the time but not done that for years as I say.

            I also had a problem with the program reporting that the rendering had failed but in fact the output was fine. Mind get_iplayer does that for me at the moment too.

          2. Salts

            Re: Kdenlive is great, but it still crashes too often

            You could also give lightworks a try http://www.lwks.com it is not open source but has a free version, you have to relicense(free) every month but it is cross platform Windows/OSX/Linux which is what I like and am waiting for the ten cross platform freeware apps, not so much in the article but the gems from fellow commentards :-)

    2. fruitoftheloon
      Thumb Up

      Chemist Re: Darktable

      Chemist,

      yay for Darktable, I also like Entangle.

      Cheers,

      J.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Chemist Darktable

        "yay for Darktable, I also like Entangle."

        Yes, I use Entangle as well - really good. Darktable took a little getting use to but now I'd be reluctant to use anything else.

        Hugin I also like for panoramas.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Haven't we been here before

    And still none of the suggestions will run without me installing a load of un-necessary gui crap.

    1. fruitoftheloon

      @Chris W Re: Haven't we been here before

      Chris,

      un-necessary for what?

      J

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

        J, Un-necessary for stuff that linux is good at like running servers. If you want to use a gui to write a letter, watch a video or manage you media then get Windows and stop trying to pretend that linux is as good. It isn't, just admit it and get on with life.

        1. fruitoftheloon

          Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

          Chris,

          I don't want to run windows on any of my [aged] boxes at home, hence why my personal preference is for Mint, personally I cannot justify buying newer kit so that I can run the latest versions of Windows.

          I find Mint much easier on the brain than Windows, for me it just 'gets out of the way more' than Windows, also for audio web dev and video editing I have a MacPro/FCP/Studio.

          I don't quite get your point about pretend[ing] linux is as good, if it meets a given users requirements then it is good enough.

          Cheers,

          J

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

            J, You're an exception. Fully agree, I always say whatever gets the job done. Most linux fanbois will insist that windows is the devil's work which you should never touch under any circumstances while linux was created by their saviour, you must use it and never say it is not as good as windows. They close their eyes to all the hoops they have to jump through to get things to work and convince themselves after 10 days that whatever it was worked out of the box so to speak.

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

              You'd reboot your system (or start a VM, make space for another box etc.) just to write a letter ?

              Hint : nobody writes letters much now.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

              Chris has a valid point. Most of the Linux/FOSS GUI apps, and the bloated bug-infested libraries they're built upon, are crappy knock-offs of commercial software from the Windows/Mac worlds.

              It's true, Windows is complete fucking garbage that costs too much except when it comes with a new machine, but often it's the best platform for running other crapware... especially trendy throwaway apps that'll be relegated to the dustbin in a few years. It's sad to see developers wasting their (unpaid) time on the futile imitation of commercial hypeware that doesn't fit the open-source / volunteer / DIY model. That's just my opinion, man. :)

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