May 20, 2007

10 Linux Applications You Want, But Didn't Come With Your Distribution

Tux-small.pngMost Linux Distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora Core come with an impressive list of applications to do just about everything you could want. But there's plenty of neat software out there that doesn't come with your operating system. Below is a list of free Linux applications, that I'm sure you will agree are the "bee's knees".

1. Azureus

Your distribution probably came with a bare bones BitTorrent client. But You'll want something a little more full featured.

2. Second Life

You've heard a lot about it. Why not try it yourself, in Linux. Warning, requires a reasonably modern 3D graphics card.

3. Google Earth

ico_googleearth.pngAlthough not an entirely native Linux port, (it relies heavily on Wine, which it will install for you) the folks at Google have made the popular Google Earth application available. Again, a modern graphics card is needed for the best experience.

4. Picasa

F-Spot is pretty good for managing and editing your photos, but you may like picasa better. Also from the folks at Google.

5. Wine

Want to run the Windows version of iTunes or World of Warcraft or another application? That's possible with Wine, the Windows compatibility layer. It often takes a bit of searching and configuration, but if you want to run it under Linux, you can bet there's someone else out there that wants it to run under Linux too.

6. VMware Player

vmware_logo.gifIf you're using Linux, then what distribution you currently have installed probably isn't your first, and certainly won't be your last. VMware Player is free virtual machine software, that will let you try out other operating systems, without having to actually install them.

Free images of operating systems are available for download here:

7. Smart Package Manager

Sure, if you're using Ubuntu, you've got Synaptics. But if you're using RedHat or Suse, you probably have learned to hate the slow software management tools that came with your system (like YaST). Replace them with Smart, which provides better package management for most distributions, even when working with their own packages.

8. Opera

opera_logo.jpgYes, Firefox is probably your browser of choice. But recently, it's become a bloated memory hog. Wouldn't you like a truly speedy, lightweight browser?

9. VLC

You're Disto may have come with some something like Totem, or Banshee, or Kaffeine. but does it play all the video formats you want it too? Probably not. Why not give VLC a try?


10. Skype

Free VoIP calling from anywhere, with amazing audio quality.

Do you have any others that should be included in the list? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted by stoltenow at May 20, 2007 5:22 PM


If you call Skype free once more I'll bite you.

If you want something truly free, and open standard, use a SIP client, the best pure SIP client is Twinkle, coming second is Wengophone, third is a battle between Gizmo and Ekiga. None of that except Ekiga came with your distribution.

Here's an explanation to why Twinkle is superior to all of them: The rich configuration dialogs. Basically that application has so many options, that you can virtually set up a VoIP server with Twinkle via a GUI instead of using an Asterisk server.

Not only that, but it also supports many of the most popular Codecs, not to mention that the best of them, Speex, is also on the list. And while other clients didn't like forcing codecs, This one just does it.

Two things that Twinkle lacks are what Wengophone solves: Presence and Video.

The second client, for being free software, well, Wengophone, it's great because it has a Qt4 interface, it's much more lightweight than skype, it has libgaim which allows you to get on any IM system in the same application, and it has really nice presence solution, and Video support is really smooth and perfect.

To review the other two, Gizmo is closed source software but uses both jabber and SIP for communication, which are both open protocols, gizmo's own SIP service has alot of really neat features such as free calling (landlines) to active users and having a free phone line for calling in. However, you can use those with any SIP client, so I setup my gizmo account in Twinkle.

Ekiga is just a minimal client without presence, but with video support. However, in recent releases, it has several problems, especially with noise cancellation. And generally this client works for people who just want a sip client for the gnome desktop :) (P.S: I don't really know much about Ekiga).

Posted by: Serge at June 1, 2007 11:56 AM

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