I must admit that I'm still shocked at how popular Linux Mint has become. The reasons why are covered in my "Why Linux Mint won" article. But there's more to Linux Mint than the distro itself. There are also what I'd call "must have" applications. This article will share my own must have applications that I think every Linux Mint user should check out.
Best Linux Mint Software
Mpv Media Player – I like VLC, overall it has been a great media player. But lately it's had a nasty habit of blurring and stuttering videos with some file containers. This prompted me to explore mpv as an alternative media player. I was skeptical when it first launched. After watching some of my localized video content however, I'm definitely sold. Features that have won me over include GPU video decoding, a high quality video output and on-screen controls. I wasn't sure the on-screen controls were going to work with my needs initially, but I'll admit they've grown on me.
Simple Note – Now I will grant you, Linux Mint has no shortage of note taking applications available in its repositories. But I'd also point out that not all of the note taking apps are created equal. This is why I think Simple Note is a natural choice for casual users. It's dead simple to use, and provides both mobile and desktop application access. Plus, it can synchronize between a local client and the Web. This is helpful when using the application between your Mint PC and a portable device like an Android phone.
Guvcview – If you have a webcam with your Linux Mint install, then you need guvcview. This software allows you to set the color, resolution and if the camera allows it, even the zoom. My Logitech C930e works great with guvcview. I can even use the software to control the pan, tilt, focus, exposure and backlight compensation. Additionally, guvcview allows you to record video with audio or take single photos from the camera.
Kdenlive – Linux Mint is capable of using any made for Linux video editing software available. That said, my most resounding recommendation remains kdenlive. Keyframing, effects, hardware support for Blackmagic and Leap Motion shuttle controls are just a few of the features that set kdenlive apart from other editors. Perhaps most importantly is that if I do manage to crash the software, the backup feature will make sure my video restores from the point it crashed. And compared to other editors, this feature is rarely needed. With proxy editing, configurable shortcuts, it's not difficult to see why running kdenlive on your Linux Mint install is a natural fit for your video editing needs.
OBS – Previously I had to use multiple applications to capture my desktop while also capturing my Google Hangout sessions. Then I started running OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). OBS allows its users to handle multiple webcams, Xcomposite captures, input/output audio capture, plus oodles of other media sources. Linux Mint users will also find the ability to setup customized profiles and scenes is super-simple. I'm also pleased to see such a strong focus on the Linux branch of the software as it definitely fills a need for users such as myself.
Liferea – There are a number of solid RSS readers available for Linux Mint users. That said, Mint users generally prefer a no-nonsense approach to reading the latest news and happenings across the blogosphere. Liferea fits the bill with its simple use navigation, OPML import option, plus Liferea provides fantastic in-line reading for those articles you wish to explore further. Liferea may lack some of the features found in more advanced RSS readers, however it does provide basic importing/exporting of feeds while also allowing you to organize your RSS feeds into categories.
Google Play Music Desktop Player – Even though the unofficial Google Play Music Desktop Player is an Electron application which translates into extra resources on your Linux Mint install being used, it's also the only Google Music application available for Linux. I love the fact that even though the software is a touch more bloated than I might like, it gives me access to my Google Music playlists, offers me full keyboard media key functionality and comes with a dark theme.
Gparted – You might not think of a partition editor being too exciting at first glance, but the reality is that Gparted makes setting up your Linux Mint partitions after an installation much easier. I've found using Gparted shines best when you're working with partitions for new hard drives or external drives. My favorite feature is the software's ability to clone the data from one drive to another. If you're looking for a GUI method of manipulating or resizing your Linux Mint partitions, Gparted should be on your shortlist.
Vivaldi – Lately Vivaldi has been growing on me. It's a fast, reliable browser packed full of features. And considering I think Yahoo as Linux Mint's default search engine really stinks, Vivaldi is a great way to bypass this issue completely. If I was to select one feature that I think would wow Linux Mint users, it'd have to be the customization options. Vivaldi allows you to customize just about everything you can think of! Other features of note include tab stacking, theming with your choice of colors and of course, quick commands for easy access to other lesser used Vivaldi functionality.
Steam – Even before it made its way to Linux distros like Mint, Steam provided its users the ability to browse, buy and install games without making a trip to the local big box store. Steam allows you to message your friends while each of you plays your favorite video games. It also provides a mechanism to send your friends an extra copy of a video game with a few mouse clicks. For Linux users, Steam has changed the playing field and provided a lot of fun for all involved. And you know when a Steam game sale takes place, Linux Mint users are among the first to buy the latest titles.
Finding new software for Linux Mint
Even with the software recommendations above, you may still find there are applications yet to be discovered. To address this, I recommend building up your own must have software list for your Mint installation. Below are a few other options for finding great new apps.
Alternative To – This is a fantastic resource for discovering new software. Usually Linux software found here will be aimed at Ubuntu users which means it will generally work the same way with Linux Mint. To use effectively, simply type in the name of the Windows application you're trying to replace. There you'll find Linux alternatives for your Linux Mint installation.
GetDeb – Originally built with Ubuntu users in mind, GetDeb provides deb packages for various software titles that will run on your Linux Mint installation. The key to making this work is to remember that Mint is based on Ubuntu LTS releases. This means trying software built for Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04 and so on.
Awesome Linux Software – Posted to GitHub, this list of Linux applications is separated out by category and/or software type. It's quite an extensive list and odds are if you haven't found what you're looking for, this list likely has it available.
What say you? Do you have favorite applications for your Linux Mint installation? Hit the comments, let's talk about it!