Best Free and Open Source Linux Software

Last Updated on July 1, 2024

Open source software is any program where the developer releases the source code for free. Whenever software has an open source license, it means anyone in the world can download, modify and distribute it without paying fees to its original creator.

Open source doesn’t just bestow a “free” download. Many companies develop software without charge but don’t publish the source code preventing other developers improving the code base. By contrast, open source projects are built on the endeavours of many collaborators who give up their time and expertise to create sublime software.

This is the largest collection of recommended software. The collection includes hundreds of articles, with comprehensive sections on internet, graphics, games, programming, science, office, utilities, and more. It is updated regularly.

Document Management Systems
Documents - Explore our recommended software for businesses including office suites, databases, and business intelligence tools. There's also comprehensive coverage of text editors.
Web Browsers
Internet - A huge section looking at all the essential internet and networking software. Areas covered include as web browsers, email clients and servers, instant messaging, remote desktop, network servers, VoIP and more.
Education - Linux makes a stable and reliable platform for educational purposes. There's software here perfectly crafted for students, teachers, and educational institutions.
Internet Radio
Audio - We cover everything audio related here such as music players, music servers, internet radio, synthesizers, scorewriters, Digital Audio Workstations, and audio editors.
YouTube Tools
Video - Another field where open source is particularly strong. We examine video players, editors, and converters. YouTube tools feature together with subtitle downloaders and editors.
Paint Palette
Graphics - Creative people will be in their element here. Explore great open source image viewers, camera tools, animation, HDR imaging, photo management, ray tracing, fractals, and much more.
System Administration
System Admin - The software featured here plays an essential role in the maintenance and operation of Linux computer systems and networks. Backup software is also explored in detail.
Desktop - Explore the best desktop environments, as well as extensions/widgets which extend GNOME and KDE, the gamut of window managers, application launchers, and docks.
Productivity - Improve your workflow with sublime file managers, diary, e-book, collection managers, clocks, calendars, calculators, mind-mapping, note-taking, sticky notes, task managers, terminal emulators, and more.
Genome Browsers - Web Based
Science - Linux is the top choice for data scientists worldwide. Explore the finest software in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Astronomy, and more.
Games - Play great free and open source games spanning all the different types of games including first-person shooters, 2D shooters, educational, racing, simulation, and much more.
Vulnerability detection
Security - Security has always been a cornerstone of Linux but no operating system is totally secure. Look to harden your system with a firewall, use encryption, as well as monitoring networks, detect anti-malware, and more.
Replacements for du
Utilities - A kind of system software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize and maintain the computer. Review this section in conjunction with the System Admin section.
Object Relational Mapping
Coding - Linux provides everything a developer could want in the coding department. We feature the finest compilers, debuggers, CD/CI, IDEs, prototyping, object-relational mapping, web frameworks, and more.
Finance - Explore a wide spectrum of financial software including personal finance, stock trading, investment analysis, accounting, stock market, economics, business solutions, and microfinance.
Web Delivery
Web Apps - Learn about the finest free and open source applications that are accessed via a web browser over a network. We also cover software that's reliant on a web browser to run.
Other - There's something here if you're looking for help in tracing your ancestry, or help with handicraft. We also explore the lighter side of Linux with candy and humor. Raise a smile!
Programming Books
Books - Do you want to master a programming language? We cover all bases here. Learn C, C++, Java, Python, R, or whatever takes your fancy with awesome free books and tutorials.

The compilation is being frequently updated and new articles added on a regular basis. For each article, an expert in the area makes recommendations. The articles include our legendary rating chart offering you a succinct way of knowing what to try next.

Here are the latest updates to our compilation of recommended software.

June 2024CategoryArticle
Web BrowsersInternetData Analysis for Big Data
System AdministrationSystem AdminSystem Profilers
ProductivityProductivityAddress Book Managers
GraphicsAnimation Tools
Object Relational MappingCodingC# Object-Relational Mapping
Replacements for duUtilitiesBatch Renamers (Terminal-Based)
ProductivityProductivityDesktop Search Engines
Web BrowsersInternetMastodon Clients (Text-Based)
Web DeliveryWeb AppsJavaScript Runtime Environments
GraphicsImage Compression Tools (Command-Line)
Object Relational MappingCodingClojure Web Frameworks
Web BrowsersInternetUPnP Media Servers
Web DeliveryWeb AppsSurvey Tools
Web BrowsersInternetKey Value Stores for Big Data
Vulnerability detectionSecurityFirewall Distributions
Replacements for duUtilitiesCharacter Map Tools
Object Relational MappingCodingBuild Systems
Vulnerability detectionSecurityHost-Based Intrusion Detection Systems
Object Relational MappingCodingF# Static Site Generators
Genome Browsers - Web BasedScienceProof Assistants
System AdministrationSystem AdminEncrypted FUSE-Based File Systems
GraphicsImage Compression Tools (GUI)
StockmarketFinanceStock Market Investment Tools
Genome Browsers - Web BasedScienceData Science Notebooks
Object Relational MappingCodingErlang Web Frameworks
Web DeliveryWeb AppsPHP Application Servers

The updates are in accordance with our recent announcement about our plans to massively revamp the site.

The original objective in starting the compilation was to dispel the FUD that Linux does not have the necessary software to compete with Windows. Over time, the aim of the compilation was to enable Linux users, whatever their level of computing experience, to identify software of all types that is worth exploring. With the huge range of open source software available, there is simply not enough time for users to evaluate every application even within a single category of software.

Open source software is often confused with freeware, but the two are very different. Freeware refers to software that users can download and use entirely for free, at no cost. However, they don’t have the right to change the source code.

The opposite of open source software is proprietary software, where only the individual creator/s, or the business who created it, has the right to control or modify the source code.

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6 months ago

Huge compilation. This will take me a month of Sundays to go through.