45 Outstanding Linux Utilities to Maximize your Productivity

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!

Excellent Utilities
AES CryptEncrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
CerebroFast application launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
CopyQAdvanced clipboard manager
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
ezaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
KoohaSimple screen recorder
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats
ImagineA simple yet effective image optimization tool
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
notiMonitors a command or process and triggers a notification
NushellFlexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
nvitopGPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
Oh My ZshFramework to manage your Zsh configuration
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
pastelGenerate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
RnoteSketch and take handwritten notes
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
StickySimulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
ZellijTerminal 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.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 months ago

This one’s discontinued.
I use Obsidian, and as separate editors I have ghostscript (dual pane) and Marktext.

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Emms
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Obsidian isn’t open source, so it’s off-topic as this collection covers open source software only.

10 months ago
Reply to  Pierre

Well it isn’t when you use open source Markdown editors to open the files for editing 😛

It was Abricotine that I was referring to, I’d suggest Marktext/Ghostwriter should be up there as alternatives (different tools for different moods – both great FOSS).

Luke Baker
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Emms

I’ll be updating the Markdown article to remove the recommendation for Abricotine.

10 months ago

This is very helpful for me. I’m discovering some really cool apps although I’d like more detailed installation instructions to help me install them in Fedora.