Open Source

On this page:-

  1. My favourite FREE software
  2. Reasons to use Linux – Linus Tech Tips from 2020
  3. What about Linux gaming? Linus Tech Tips from June 2020

1. My favourite FREE software

The software I’m recommending here is FOSS (Free Open Source Software) that should run on Mac and Windows and Linux. It’s absolutely free, now and forever. It’s OPEN, which means you’re not just ‘trusting’ a company to do the right thing with locked, closed off software – tens of thousands of hackers have studied the software and verified there are no nasties on it.

Even if you stick with Apple or Windows operating systems there could be something in the software list below that you need right now. So take a look!


Operating System:    Instead of Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac use Linux Mint.
(Note: professional graphic designers need Adobe which works on Apple or Windows, not Linux. Hobby designers can use the non-Adobe alternatives below. For work reasons I’m staying with Windows myself but I loved my brief time with Linux Mint. Also, not all VR headsets work well in Linux.)

System security:        Bitdefender for Windows or Mac OS
Password manager:  Bitwarden

Internet Browser:     Firefox or Brave

Office Suite:   Instead of Microsoft Office use Libre Office (which is being used by local governments around the world) or Google Docs or see this list of  7 alternatives. (Also, instead of Adobe Reader you can use LibreOffice to edit PDF’s.)

Email software:   I’ve gone 100% cloud and access all my email via a browser, but if you must use email software on your desktop, try Mailspring or Thunderbird.

Connect phone to Linux desktop:  To send phone videos and photos and files to Linux, try KDE Connect

Notes app:   Instead of Evernote or Onenote or Notion, use Joplin. Why? You’ll need to host it at a cloud service for syncing, like Onedrive or Dropbox or WebDav or Nextcloud (Nextcloud is self-hosted cloud storage). The best thing about this? You can lock into this software for good as the Open Source crowd are not going anywhere – and you can make noise on the forums about what you want. Open Source are more community focused than some of the other names out there like Evernote, Onenote or Notion. Sure some of these are powerful apps: but what if they go bankrupt and / or make decisions you really hate? Joplin software is free, and you probably already have some cloud storage or other.

Mind-mapping:  (Thoughts that branch out from the centre) Freeplane

E-book management: Calibre


Graphic Design: Instead of Quark or Adobe Indesign use Scribus

Photo editing: Instead of Photoshop use Gimp. You can also load PhotoGimp plugin to make Gimp look more like Photoshop. (Gimp edits in RGB which is great for the internet but not as accurate as CMYK for print. CMYK is coming soon to Gimp. In the meantime, Professional designers will need Adobe Photoshop.)

Photo Management and library: instead of Mac’s or Lightroom, use digiKam

What about digital art drawing? Try Krita!

Vector line drawing: Instead of Illustrator use Inkscape

3d Modelling: Use Freecad or Blender

Small office websites? Replace web design packages for smaller home business websites with WordPress or Squarespace or these days just start your own Facebook page.

Gaming on Linux: use Lutris


Media Player: Instead of iTunes use MPV

Transcoding media (EG: from one type of sound file to another) Handbrake

Audio mixing and podcasting: Audacity

Music mixing: LMMS or more advanced try Ardour

Screen recording: (Recording your screen to create a youtube tutorial) OBS Studio

Video Editing: Kden Live for true open source. Or if you don’t mind a free version of closed but Commercial software – try Da Vinci Resolve. Note: Da Vinci does not offer 4k video editing for free.

Compositing: Like Adobe After Effects: move that 3d Image made in Blender into a live action video in Natron.

Music archives: instead of iTunes / Spotify, if you have all your own CD’s and want to load them into something use Strawberry Music Player.

For anything else, just google “open source alternative to…” the software you want to replace, and see what comes up. Also see the following wikis.
Business Models for Open Source software

Open Source Economics
Desktop Linux

2. Reasons to use Linux – Linus Tech Tips from 2020

3. What about Linux gaming? Linux Tech Tips from June 2020

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