Firefox – Recently I've been experiencing better performance from Firefox than I have with other browsers. Because of this, I'm back with the open source browser and loving every minute of it. Now I still think that Chrome handles extension compatibility with regards to updates better, but overall Firefox is providing a better browser experience. It seems to me that Chrome is becoming increasingly resource-intensive, whereas Firefox appears to be trying to "lighten the load," so to speak.
Gnome-Screenshot – I also enjoy taking screenshots of various applications when creating how-to tutorials. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, offering a screenshot is useful when describing something overly complex. The application I use for this task is Gnome-Screenshot. I use this application to take my screenshots under XFCE, Unity and Gnome.
SpiderOak (Libraries) – While the application itself may not be completely open source, many of the libraries SpiderOak contributes to and uses, are licensed under the GPL. This makes using this great cloud-based backup tool all the better. I love SpiderOak's consistent Linux client support and the fact that all of my data is encrypted.
Synapse – I've been using keyboard launchers for so long that applications like Synapse have become my "go to" means of locating documents or accessing my favorite applications listed above. With a click of my ctrl-space keys, I'm instantly plugged into my computer's resources thanks to Synapse. The feature I love most about this app is being able to locate software or documents that I might have forgotten the proper name for. Needless to say, it's search feature is difficult to beat.
Cairo dock – Because desktop panels and keyboard launchers aren't right for every occasion, I've come to love Cairo dock as a supplement. Cairo dock is attractive, and its plugins are also pretty neat. Options like the sharing launcher and shutdown icons have made Cairo dock a very useful alternative to relying on panels under XFCE exclusively.
Parcellite – As clipboard managers go, Parcellite is one of the most reliable options I've ever used. I've used a number of other clipboard mangers; however, Parcellite's hotkeys and auto-paste keep me coming back for more. I also love the fact that I can edit clipped information within the clipboard without losing what was copied in the first place. Features like that make Parcellite a must-have tool for your Linux desktop.
HPLIP – I realize not everyone out there owns a HP printer. However I do own one, and it's nice to know that it's always supported across all Linux distributions thanks to HPLIP. Going beyond mere drivers, HPLIP allows me to check my ink levels and access my all-in-one's scanning options. The single killer feature that HPLIP brings me is the ability to easily set up wireless printers. Doing this without HPLIP would be much more involved.
There are literally hundreds of great Linux applications out there to choose from. The applications listed in this article are the best and most commonly used in my own office. You might even have some great apps that you'd add to this list yourself. If you do, I'd encourage you to leave a comment below to keep the conversation flowing.
What I enjoyed most about this list is that the applications provided here are all 100% Linux-compatible, without excuse. And because of these apps, I'm lucky to be freed from legacy software that would otherwise bind me to Windows or OS X.