I’ll be the first person to admit that there are applications missing from Ubuntu. This is also true of other Linux distributions, as well. But I think this is a larger issue with distributions like Ubuntu simply due to its popularity.
This article will share some of the most commonly missed applications that Linux users have expressed interest in seeing ported over.
Microsoft applications missing from Ubuntu
Microsoft Word – As much as it pains me to say it, there are still some situations where you’re required to use Word. Keep in mind, LibreOffice and other software titles provide fairly decent word processing abilities. Sadly though, there are schools and some businesses that require people to utilize this software instead. Admittedly, there is some functionality found in Microsoft Word that is missing in LibreOffice. While I’m perfectly happy with LibreOffice’s word processor, there are some of us who would gladly pay the extra to have access to an installed copy of this software.
Open Source alternatives: LibreOffice Writer
Microsoft Outlook – I detest Outlook. The last version that didn’t make me cringe was Outlook 2000. Everything after that was a clown show. Outlook is the natural complement to businesses and other entities that rely on Microsoft Exchange. And as many of you already know, Microsoft Exchange is a finicky beast when it comes to compatibility with open source Outlook alternatives. So while I’ve had success with Thunderbird add-ons and the Evolution email client, there’s no guarantee that future versions of Exchange will remain compatible with those FoSS applications.
Open Source alternatives: Evolution
Microsoft Powerpoint – I honestly wish that in 2016 I could proclaim that Powerpoint slides were a thing of the past. In reality however, they’re very much alive and well. Having compared LibreOffice Impress and Microsoft Powerpoint, I can tell you that Impress left me wanting more. The basic features are “okay,” but for casual (less tech savvy) users Impress simply lacks templates to be a direct Powerpoint replacement. Microsoft Powerpoint quite frankly, is far more robust and easier to use than its Open Source counterparts.
Open Source alternatives: LibreOffice Impress
Microsoft Excel – No one does spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel. And yes, saying that statement out loud made me cringe a bit. When confronted with larger spreadsheets, Excel loads quicker and is less likely to freeze/crash under a heavy load. I’ve also seen examples where using macros with Excel adds critical functionality. Trying to run those same macros in Open Source options like LibreOffice won’t work. Now, you can indeed create macros for Calc…but you can forget about importing Excel macros into Calc or similar. At least this has been my experience.
Open Source alternatives: LibreOffice Calc
Adobe applications missing from Ubuntu
Adobe Photoshop – The single biggest issue I have with my photography friends is their love of Photoshop. I’ve argued in the past that using a combination of GIMP and Krita is a suitable Photoshop replacement. And contrary to popular belief, GIMP can actually use a plugin to successfully export to CMYK. After much discussion with various Photoshop users, it seems like the biggest hangup is GIMP and similar titles are missing specific tools favored by Photoshop fans. And while plugins for GIMP along with special keyboard shortcut mapping can help it feel more like Photoshop, there are simply some differences that are not easily duplicated in the FoSS world.
Open Source alternatives: GIMP
Adobe Premiere – I’ll be first to admit that in terms of video editing, I’ve been spoiled in that I’ve used Linux tools since day one. Well, at least for any projects seen publicly that is. Over the years, I cut my teeth with KINO, then later Kdenlive and other programs. To be blunt, even Lightworks has a tough time comparing with the workflow provided by Adobe Premiere. Sadly, Adobe Premiere also has tools and effects that are sadly lacking for Linux users.
Open Source alternatives: Kdenlive
Adobe After Effects – This one is a big rub for me. And no, Blender is not a replacement by any means. Blender is more of a Maya alternative, it has no comparison to After Effects whatsoever. I personally would give my right arm to have a decent After Effects alternative in the Open Source space. The absolute closest thing I could find is Eyeon Fusion for Linux. It’s great, but it’s going to require learning a new workflow. For someone who has existing projects in After Effects, getting them to move over to an alternative for Linux is highly unlikely.
Open Source alternatives: None
Adobe InDesign – I wish that I could honestly suggest that Scribus is a drop-in replacement for InDesign. I’m willing to put Scribus above PageMaker, however it’s not as polished to use as InDesign by any means. I’ve found the biggest issue with InDesign alternatives for Linux is that they’re powerful, yet lack any sort of logical flow. The UI is quite complicated for anyone used to relying on InDesign or similar.
Open Source alternatives: Scribus
Adobe Audition – I’m a happy Audacity user, looking to incorporate my workflow into Ardour as time allows. That said, even when I consider Ardour into the equation, Adobe Audition simply has features and functionality lacking in Linux software. While this doesn’t affect me personally, I know of some users who simply find existing Linux audio editors lack what Adobe Audition is offering. Better crossfades, a simpler to manage multi-track workflow, Adobe Audition makes it a must have for some audio productions.
Open Source alternatives: Audacity
Intuit applications missing from Ubuntu
QuickBooks– The last item on the list will likely peter out over time. QuickBooks in 2016 is still a big issue for some small companies. A lot of companies are moving over to web-based solutions (including QuickBooks), however there are still businesses running legacy copies of the software. Out of all the software on this list, I see QuickBooks desktop becoming a thing of the past. The idea of using a locally installed application to manage your businesses finances does seem quaint these days, as most alternatives are hosted in the cloud.
I think the future of QuickBooks will eventually become QuickBooks Online as a single dedicated product. Until then, you still need a Windows PC for QuickBooks Desktop. And folks, please don’t confuse QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise 2017 for Linux with QuickBooks Desktop. The former is not the same as the desktop application.
Open Source alternatives: BeansBooks
Dealing with applications missing from Ubuntu
After reading this article, you might come away feeling like we’re missing out because we lack access to these titles. I however, would beg to differ – here’s why: First off, the alternatives while not perfect are completely usable. Difficult in some cases, yes, but FoSS applications have a number of titles powerful enough to handle most daily tasks.
Perhaps though there is an application title you find that’s missing from Ubuntu (or any Linux distro)? Maybe it’s one I haven’t shared here in this article? Whatever it may be, hit the Comments and share it. Who knows, perhaps there is something I can suggest as alternative.