The term ‘open source’ refers to software whose source code is freely available to download, edit, use and share, with no copyright restrictions. There are many different open source licenses, which give users different degrees of freedom, but the main aim of open source is to encourage experimentation, collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
In the liux world, you’ll find many open source versions imaginable – from office suites to media apps. With that in mind, here’s our pick of the very best open source software.
Office software: LibreOffice
No need to pay for Office with this open source alternative
LibreOffice is a full suite of office software, including excellent apps for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases. These are all fully compatible with the latest Microsoft file formats, so you’ll have no trouble sharing files work users of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.
Usually used as an alternative to Microsoft Office Suite, it is regularly updated and is also compatible with doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx files.
Photo editor: GIMP
More than an image editor – it gives you most of the features of Adobe Photoshop, completely free.
Powerful and flexible, open source image editor GIMP is as close to Adobe Photoshop as you can get without opening your wallet. It supports layers, and is packed with advanced tools for enhancing your pictures or creating new ones from scratch.You can adjust every aspect of your pictures’ appearance manually, or use the dozens of customizable filters and effects to achieve amazing results with just a few clicks. GIMP comes with a huge array of user-created plugins pre-installed, and adding more is a piece of cake.If you don’t need the power of GIMP and prefer a simpler interface, check out Paint.NET – another superb open source photo editor that’s a little lighter on features, but easier to master.
Media player: VLC Media Player
An open source media player than can handle virtually any file format
VLC Media Player is one of the world’s most popular free media players, and for good reason – it can handle just about any audio file, video file, or media stream you can throw at it, without the need to mess around installing additional codecs. VLC Media Player gives you an amazing degree of control over playback, letting you optimize video and audio for your specific hardware configuration.
VLC Media Player is ideal for streaming podcasts, as well as internet radio stations like Last.fm and TuneIn Radio. There’s also a superb archive of extensions and skins, and the WYSIWYG Skin Editor lets you create your own custom designs.The latest addition to VLC is 360-degree playback, which lets you enjoy immersive videos with a VR headset, and more exciting developments are on the horizon to keep pace with new video technology.
Video editor: Shotcut
Great for new users, and an excellent substitute for Windows Movie Maker
If you’re looking for a great open source video editor, give Shotcut a whirl. It might look a little stark at first, but add some of the optional toolbars and you’ll soon have its most powerful and useful features your your fingertips.Some of its best tools include quick filters for audio and video (which are non-destructive and can be layered to achieve different effects), advanced white balancing, wipes and other transitions, color grading, click-and-drag import, and straightforward trimming and compositing of clips.
Audio editor: Audacity
The perfect open source tool for recording and editing podcasts and musicEven if you have the ready cash for an audio editor, you might choose to stick with open source alternative Audacity. It has almost all the tools you need for recording and refining sound files, and any features it lacks can be plugged with its extensive catalog of extensions.Audacity is the tool of choice for many podcasters, musicians and audiobook narrators thanks to its professional quality results. You can use it to combine clips, copy and paste sections of audio, remove noise and other unwanted noises, strip vocals from songs, alter frequencies, and apply effects like echo and reverb.
Web browser: Google Chrome
An powerful, fully customizable browser with a plugin for every purposeWeb browser:Brave BrowserBrave Browser is a free and open source Chromium-based browser that ships with more features than Chrom typically does. It is customizable, security-focused, user-friendly, and ships with an inbuilt ad blocker and password manager among other features.
Steam is not open source but it is regarded as the ultimate online gaming platform, is an online community where you can easily search, install, and manage game collections for different OS platforms.SteamOS + Linux on Steam is the best thing that has happened to gamers in the Linux community.