This is a series of cornerstone articles highlighting essential utilities. These are small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
You’ve migrated over from Windows or Mac OS X to the wonderful world of Linux. You’ve selected a Linux distro (after a bit of fruitful distro hopping), chosen a desktop environment, and studied the basic Linux commands. Or you’ve been using Linux for decades, know the operating system like the back of your hand. Whatever your level of experience, you want some really useful free utilities. Software that enriches your workflow, offers new opportunities, and allows you to tap into new innovations. This article picks the finest open source software to maximize the goodness of Linux.
We frequently mention that customization is important. It empowers users and can serve as a way to get people to feel confident doing more complicated things on their computers. It’s a lot easier to think you can learn to code if you’ve already fixed a bunch of little annoyances on your computer.
The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. There’s a wide range of software we’ve recommended. There’s genuinely useful utilities, productivity software, and much more. All to download for nothing, and with full access to the source code. They offer great opportunities to enrich your computing experience.
The series is growing. We’re regularly adding new utilities to the series. We recommend you bookmark this page!
|Abricotine||Markdown editor with inline preview functionality|
|AES Crypt||Encrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard|
|Ananicy||Shell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities|
|broot||Next gen tree explorer and customizable launcher|
|Cerebro||Fast application launcher|
|cheat.sh||Community driven unified cheat sheet|
|CopyQ||Advanced clipboard manager|
|croc||Securely transfer files and folders from the command-line|
|Deskreen||Live streaming your desktop to a web browser|
|duf||Disk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df|
|exa||A turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command|
|Extension Manager||Browse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions|
|fd||Wonderful alternative to the venerable find|
|fkill||Kill processes quick and easy|
|fontpreview||Quickly search and preview fonts|
|horcrux||File splitter with encryption and redundancy|
|Kooha||Simple screen recorder|
|KOReader||Document viewer for a wide variety of file formats|
|Imagine||A simple yet effective image optimization tool|
|LanguageTool||Style and grammar checker for 30+ languages|
|Liquid Prompt||Adaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh|
|lnav||Advanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting|
|lsd||Like exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls|
|McFly||Navigate through your bash shell history|
|mdless||Formatted and highlighted view of Markdown files|
|Nushell||Flexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel|
|nvitop||GPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards|
|OCRmyPDF||Add OCR text layer to scanned PDFs|
|Oh My Zsh||Framework to manage your Zsh configuration|
|Paperwork||Designed to simplify the management of your paperwork|
|PDF Mix Tool||Perform common editing operations on PDF files|
|peco||Simple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful|
|ripgrep||Recursively search directories for a regex pattern|
|Rnote||Sketch and take handwritten notes|
|scrcpy||Display and control Android devices|
|Sticky||Simulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop|
|tldr||Simplified and community-driven man pages|
|tmux||A terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow|
|Tusk||An unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential|
|Ulauncher||Sublime application launcher|
|Watson||Track the time spent on projects|
|Whoogle Search||Self-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine|
|Zellij||Terminal workspace with batteries included|
This article complements our recommended software where we recommend many hundreds of applications for all different purposes, not only utility software.
And if you have any suggestions for open source utilities to add to this series, please use the comment feature below. We really love receiving your opinions and thoughts.