Linux Apps

The Top 20 Must-Have Linux Apps from 2017

Best Linux Apps 2017
Written by Martins D. Okoi

2017 was a good year for many apps. Steam received better updates, Skype for Linux got a design overhaul, and GNOME Tweak Tool will soon be the only tweak tool you’ll need on Ubuntu.

Months ago we compiled a list of the 20 Must-Have Ubuntu Apps in 2017. Now that 2017 has ended we decided to take a look back on how Linux applications have fared so far in general and compile a list of Top 20 Must-Have Linux Apps from 2017.

Without further ado,

1. Google Chrome (Web Browser)

Google Chrome Browser is still my favorite web browser because you can be rest assured that it supports most the newest technologies. There are alternatives that are arguably as efficient, e.g. Firefox and Opera, but we know how those browsers do when they’re placed to run side by side.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

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For example, Firefox Quantum was just released last year so let’s wait and see if it will add support for CSS grids before Chrome does.

Download Google Chrome for Linux

2. Gnome Tweak Tool (Desktop Customization Tool)

Just like Google Chrome, I reckon Gnome Tweak Tool needs no introduction. It features all the options Unity Tweak Tool offered and even more.

Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tool

Download Gnome Tweak Tool for Linux

3. Stacer (System Optimizer)

If you can remember Stacer from our list of must-have Ubuntu apps, it still ranks top on my list of system optimization apps. The electron-based app just keeps on coming with cool updates I’m beginning to think alternatives will find it hard to keep up.

Stacer Dashboard

Stacer Dashboard

If there are any I should know about let me know.

4. VLC Media Player (Video Player)

VLC is so cool it can stand in for both an audio player and screen recording app. Adding to its slick and customizable user-friendly UI, you can use it to stream podcasts and videos online.

Vlc Player

Vlc Player

Oh – and it is as free as it is open-source!

Download VLC for Linux

5. Steam (Gaming)

Steam is still the world champion for gamers even on Windows and Mac platforms and the good news is that its latest version is a lot more stable and stylish; and there are a lot more games to choose from.

Steam for Linux

Steam for Linux

Download Steam for Linux

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6. Peek (Screen Recording)

If you don’t fancy using VLC to carry out screen recording tasks then perhaps you should try Peek out.

Peek - Gif Recorder for Linux

Peek – Gif Recorder for Linux

It remains my favorite till date because it is lightweight, beautifully designed, and you can quickly turn the videos into Gif animations.

7. GitBook Editor (GitBook Workflow)

GitBook Editor is a well-designed free, open-source, and cross-platform desktop client developed for GitBook by GitHub. Try it out if you intend on using version control when you write your next publication.

GitBook Editor on Linux

GitBook Editor on Linux

8. NATTT (Task Time Tracker)

NATTT (Not Another Time Tracking Tool) is a free and multi-platform time tracker app that is arguably the fastest and yet simplest way to track your time.

NATTT Time Tracking Tool

NATTT Time Tracking Tool

9. MPS-YouTube or YouTube-DLG (YouTube Downloader)

You can use mps-youtube or youtube-dl to search for, stream, and download YouTube to your desktop right from within your command line.

If you would rather use a GUI app then YouTube-DLG should be your pick.

10. Nuvola Player (Cloud Music)

Nuvola Player is free, open-source, and built to feel like a desktop app. It supports a plethora of playback functions including Last FM, lyrics fetching, and Libre FM scrobling – that is beside being able to connect to and play music from various music streaming platforms including YouTube, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.

Nuvola Player for Linux

Nuvola Player for Linux

11. Museeks or Deepin Music (Music Players)

I list 2 here because I am torn between both options. Both music players feature a beautiful minimalist UI and they both possess the functionality an average user will expect to use in his music player apps.

Museeks Light Theme

Museeks Light Theme

Deepin-Music-Player Features

Deepin-Music-Player Features

Maybe you will be able to decide for yourself after reading our post on Museeks and Deepin Music

12. Exaile (Music Player and Manager)

You should take note of the “manager” part because that’s what sets Exaile apart from Museeks and Deepin Music. The python-based music player relies on plugins that extend its functionality and you can imagine how vast its list functions can become after you factor in the open-source market.

Exaile Music Player

Exaile Music Player

13. Natron (Adobe After Effects Alternative)

Natron is an open-source video compositor app that provides Linux users with efficient video editing tools in order to achieve high-quality results at fast rates.

Natron

Natron

Download Natron for Linux

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14. FreeCAD (3D Modelling & Design)

FreeCAD is a full-featured open-source OpenCasCade-based mechanical engineering and product design tool that is customizable and can have its functionality extended with the use of plugins.

FreeCAD

FreeCAD

Download FreeCAD for Linux

15. Korembi 2 (Wallpaper Manager)

Korembi 2 is an updated version from Korembi and untill 2017 ended, I didn’t come across an app that was as easy to use as it was. It features wallpaper gradients, parallax backgrounds, and an inbuilt wallpaper creator.

Download Korembi 2 for Linux

16. ODrive (Google Drive Client)

ODrive combines your cloud storage services into one shareable encrypted account that you can access with a single password. Changes are synced across all accounts automatically and you can share files with anyone using web links.

ODrive

ODrive

Sign Up for ODrive

17. Thomas and Take a break (Pomodoro Timers)

Thomas made it to our list because it has a simple philosophy and it carried it on to its UI. It’s aimed at Pomodoro enthusiasts who want to do nothing but remind themselves of when to take breaks while Take a break takes things to the next level by suggesting exercises you should do while on your breaks.

Thomas Timer App

Thomas Timer App

Take a Break - Computer Break Reminder

Take a Break – Computer Break Reminder

18. Everdo (ToDo List)

Everdo is a task manager app that implements the “getting things done” technique in a bid to help you finish all your tasks on time. It features a sleek and minimalist interface that you will love the moment you get into it and that’s one of the reasons it has made it to our list.

Everdo Todo List App

Everdo Todo List App

Download Everdo for Linux

19. Synergy (Mouse and Keyboard Sharing)

Synergy is ideal for computer users who enjoy using more than one screen. It’s neither open-source nor is it a free app but it is the best app in its category available for Linux as far as I know so you might want to check it out.

20. Ardour (Audio Recorder & Mixer)

Ardour is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) used by professionals to record, edit, and mix sounds. It is such an excellent sport it is often regarded as the ideal Adobe Audition alternative for the open-source community.

Ardour Sound Mixing

Ardour Sound Mixing

Download Ardour for Linux

We have skipped a number of categories because we have either made posts on them before or will do so soon e.g. the 9 Best Free Dropbox Alternatives for Linux, and the Top 5 Diff/Merge Apps for Linux, to mention a few.

What do you think about our list? Are there important categories we shouldn’t have skipped? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Jr. (Dillivine) Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Web designer & developer, technical writer, and programmer.