20 Linux apps you can't live without

Following the success of our 25 killer apps for Linux post, we've dug deep to find the 20 must-have apps you should get your hands on today. Believe us when we say that for Linux users, they're indispensable.


Long-time Linux users know that the key advantage to the operating system is that a programmer can decide to make one particular tool – usually something he or she needs in a toolbox – and release the application into the wild. Qtfpsgui is just such a tool. It enables you to experiment with high-dynamic range lighting in a photo or 3D image that might be used in a game or 3D world. The options for controlling HDR lighting are simple: adjust a slider for gamma correction, load a tonal mapping tool to adjust light sources and other variables. Then, save your work for modelling in a 3D world.

Experimenting with photography can lead to some wondrous results. Hugin is a panorama photo editor that can stitch your photos together. The process works like this: when taking photos, you position the lens for each successive shot so that the right side of the current photo lines up with the left side of the next photo – you turn to the right each time you take a new shot. You don't have to be exact, since Hugin can stitch the photos together quite well, although a tripod certainly helps.


Far beyond the simple mechanics of recording a sound, making an audio clip and sharing it with the world, this powerful music production studio is intended for those who want to adjust the fine frequencies of each audio track in a new composition, and don't want to get bogged down with the 'happy palette' approach of a tool such as Apple Logic Pro. Even though it runs on Linux, it supports the VST instrument libraries that began life in Windows.

There's a built-in sampler that enables you to create unique sounds, then add them to your audio timeline. A pattern editor helps you take those new sounds and make a recurring sequence. Sliders for mixing the music (panning left or right, adding EQ and changing the volume) help you created the finished work

We think a good next step in the development of CeeMedia would be to form some kind of social networking feature, so users can exchange movie ratings and reviews – similar to what Flixster.com does today. As it stands, CeeMedia is essentially a front-end database for all your video entertainment and it excels at that very specific function.

If your office library is overflowing with books, try Alexandria, a cataloguing utility that makes it easy to scan through book covers, track which books you have loaned out or those you might need to discard because they're just taking up space. A good source for book covers is Amazon.com, but be sure to click the image for the larger version.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.