Essential Free Tools for Linux Desktops

Since a tool is any device used for completing any particular function, a digital tool inherits the same definition with the addition of it being for computers. Computer applications are programs created to enable users to complete specific tasks and although computer apps and tools are typically categorized differently, even applications are tools in a broad sense.

There is virtually an unending list of applications/tools for Linux desktops but today I want to focus on a select (relatively) few arranged in alphabetic order and what’s even cooler is the fact that they are all free and among the best in their category. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

1. Amarok

Amarok is a powerful free and open source music player with a nice responsive and customizable UI and tons of features for listening to audio. It is constantly developed in order to provide users with an enjoyable listening experience coupled with extra functionality which can be added to it using plugin extensions. Its feature highlights include a context view, bookmarks, dynamic playlists, a pop-up dropper for dragging’n dropping, etc.

2. Catfish

Catfish is a simple but versatile and lightweight tool for searching files quickly and reliably. It offers several features such as a clutter-free UI, auto-complete, searching for hidden files, searching the content of hidden files, filtering by date and file type, etc. Its search functionality is powered by locate and find behind the scenes while its autocomplete is powered by Zeitgeist and locate.

3. ClamavNet

ClamavNet is a free and open source utility app for detecting Trojans, viruses, and other malicious threats. Its features include multiple file format support, integration with various command-line utilities, a multi-threaded scanner daemon, and support for multiple signature languages.

4. ClickUp

ClickUp is a modern freemium project management and productivity software created to provide individuals and teams with a better way to manage their projects, event plans, teams, and virtually anything that needs managing. It offers users access to tools for time tracking, scheduling, a Gantt chart, privacy & permissions management, collaboration, integration with several 3rd party applications, and tons more. Its free version gives users access to 100MB storage, unlimited projects and spaces, and unlimited users.

5. Clonezilla

Clonezilla is an open source utility for creating partitions. It is a partition and disk cloning/imaging app similar to Norton Ghost and True Image and it works to facilitate system deployment, bare metal backup, and recovery. It is available in 3 versions, Live, Lite Server, and Server Edition.

6. DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is a robust freemium software for professional color correction, 8K editing, visual effects, and audio post production. It offers users several advanced features most notably a well thought-out layout and multi-user collaboration for artists, colorists, assistant, project managers, etc.

7. EasyMiner

EasyMiner is an open source CPU/GPU mining tool for Litecoin, Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies. Its features include an easy-to-use UI, support for the Stratum and sha256 mining protocol, support for NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, etc.

8. Everdo

Everdo is a powerful cross-platform, privacy-focused, to-do/get-things-done application with an amazingly beautiful UI and a ton of features such as smart filters, schedules, tags, etc. It offers a one-time fee of €69.99 which gives users access to unlimited projects, areas, notebooks, among other extra features.

9. FreeMind

FreeMind is a free and open source Java-based application for creating professionally organized mind maps. It offers several features including import/export, smart drag’n drop, a nicely tabbed UI, fast one-click navigation, etc.

10. Gifski

Gifski is a command line utility for converting videos into GIF animations at the highest possible quality. It is open source and based on pngquant whose features it uses for cross-frame palettes and temporal dithering in order to produce animated GIFs with thousands of colors per frame. Gifski is so cool that you can compile it as a library to use it seamlessly in other apps. You would need to contact its developer if you want to use it in a closed-source app, though.

11. Gpick

Gpick is an open source color picker and palette editing tool with several advanced functions such as exporting palettes to various formats e.g. CSS, HTML, Inkscape palette, support for multiple pixel values, harmonious colors, etc.

12. MindForger

MindForger is a remarkably robust Markdown editor and note manager designed to mimic the way the human mind learns, recalls, recognizes, associates, and forgets data in the endeavor to make it easier to use which in turn, will boost productivity. It features a minimalist UI and several notable features not excluding backup, sharing, synchronization, stencils, code refactoring, advanced document metadata, etc.


NATTT (Not Another Time Tracking Tool) is a free multi-platform time tracking app that enables users to keep track of your projects and how much time you have spent on them. It uses a unique approach to time tracking and features a clean UI with nice animations, an activity overview which you can export from the calendar, automatic sync, etc.

14. OBS Studio

OBS Studio is a robust open-source cross-platform screen capture app for video recording and live streaming. Its features include allowing users to set up an unlimited number of scenes, a built-in audio mixer with per-source filters, a streamlined settings panel, a modern dock UI, a variety of configuration options, etc.

15. PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux is a completely free and open source Wine-based application that enables users to conveniently install games and applications developed for the Windows platform on Linux desktops. It is written in Bash and Python and uses Wine as its front-end interface.

16. Safe Eyes

Safe Eyes is a free and open source tool that aims to keep the eyes of Linux users healthy by reducing and preventing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). It also incorporates modes that remind users to take breaks away from their computer screen and supports customization using plugins.

17. TeamSpeak

TeamSpeak is a free, multi-platform VoIP application with several features such as live game broadcasting, a beautiful UI, multiple chat channels, offline/LAN functionality, multiple servers, military-grade encryption, and a welcoming community.

18. TIPP 10

TIPP 10 is a beautiful free touch typing tutor for browsers, Linux, Windows, and Macs. It features a clean UI, a progress tracker, multiple keyboard layouts, detailed lessons for keyboard users at any typing level, etc.

19. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a modern source code editor developed optimally developed for building and debugging web and cloud applications. It offers all the features expected in a text editor right out of the box e.g. support for 20+ programming languages with color syntax and autocomplete, goto, a command palette, etc. and its functionality can be extended using plugins which are 100% free.

20. XSane

XSane is a free and open-source graphical frontend for SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) which gives it support for working with all scanners supported by the SANE library. With XSane, you can scan to file, create fax, make photocopies, and start XSane from GIMP using its plugin.

All these tools have a modern, clutter-free User Interface and have been designed to offer users with not just a wonderful User Experience but also a productivity boost. Are there any essential tools or categories that I left out? Add your suggestions and/or share your experience with any of the above-mentioned apps with us in the comments section below.

Liked it? Take a second to support Martins Okoi on Patreon!

Martins Okoi

Martins is a developer with over 300 listicles on FOSS software. While studying for an MSc in Cybersecurity, his passion for technology keeps him covering different tech topics especially about the best software for readers to use. If you enjoy our articles please support us and make a small contribution: Buy Us A Coffee