Every couple of years, someone compiles a list of programs that GNU/Linux needs to compete on the desktop. For example, in early 2006, Novell conducted a survey of the applications that people most wanted ported to the platform.
However, if you really want to track the most pressing needs for a free desktop, the most useful indicator is probably the Free Software Foundation's (FSF'S) list of High Priority Free Software Projects. Projects make this list "because there is no adequate free placement," the list's home page explains, which means that "users are continually being seduced into using non-free software."
The trouble with other lists is that they are mostly wishful thinking. No matter how many people clamor, we aren't likely to see GNU/Linux versions of Adobe's PhotoShop or DreamWeaver, let alone Microsoft's Visio. Aside from the obvious animosities in Microsoft's case, most major commercial software vendors accept as a truism that they can't make a profit selling in the GNU/Linux market, so, for the most part, they don't even experiment with the idea. To do so, they would have to radically alter their business models, which, as Xara's half-hearted efforts demonstrate, they are either unwilling or unable to do.
Besides, at this point, the makers of major software products on the Windows platform face stiff competition from rapidily maturing free software rivals. So, if the port isn't going to happen, why waste time pining for it?
Another problem with these lists is that they tend to focus on specific programs. Often, they're more indicative of what people use on Windows than any lack of functionality on GNU/Linux. For instance, even before the GIMP recently came out with color management, it made a more than adequate replacement for PhotoShop for all except -- possibly -- the highest-end professional designers.
By contrast, the FSF's high priority list is about functionality. Instead of obsessing about what people use on other platforms, it pinpoints what is still missing in the efforts to build a politically free desktop. This emphasis makes it a more accurate indicator of the platform's current state.
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Projects are listed primarily by the time they have spent on the list (which is often, but not always, an indication of their importance to daily computing). Each links to an explanation of why it is on the list, and the projects, if any, that are working towards providing the missing functionality.
Except for the recently-added GNU PDF, which is actively collecting donations in the hopes of allowing some developers to work full-time on the project, none of the projects are actively soliciting funds. Instead, the list is given mainly for information, and, perhaps, in the hopes of helping developers decide what they might focus on.
Currently, the following projects are on the list: