Open Source Alternatives that Ease the Transition to Linux

These Linux applications might help free you from legacy software that only runs on Windows.


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For many people out there, legacy applications make it difficult to switch to the Linux desktop. Granted, cloud computing has helped to alleviate some aspects of the legacy software challenge. Sadly though, cloud computing hasn't been able to completely replace legacy Windows applications in their entirety just yet.

Which means locally installed applications are still needed. In this article, I'll take a look at specific open source applications that have made my switch to Linux, possible, as well as being apps that I rely on daily.

LibreOffice – I'm using Writer, the LibreOffice desktop word processor, right now to write this article. As a whole, LibreOffice is one of the most used applications on my desktop. In addition to Writer, I also frequently use the LibreOffice spreadsheet Calc.

Gedit – I work with text files every single day. And when I do, I prefer to use a simple text editor that isn't going to add unneeded formatting or other nonsense. When it comes to keeping it simple, gedit is a fantastic text editor. Whether it's editing conf files or creating a new text file for personal notes, gedit is a fantastic application.

Kazam – All too often, I need to create a how-to video for clients. To make this easier, I use Kazam to record tasks and then share them with clients. Kazam is great in that I can record both my headset audio and the video into a single video file. From there, I can easily upload the finished video to YouTube or other video sharing services.

Nitro – When it comes to a strong task manager, nothing beats Nitro. You can use Nitro either by installing the app onto your computer or phone, or by browsing to Nitrotasks.com and logging in. In both instances, Nitro uses either Dropbox or Ubuntu One credentials to login. Nitro offers to-do list management in two distinct ways: First, you can create specific lists. This allows you to compartmentalize each task in its own space of mini-lists. Second, you then have tasks by date. This means when a task is due, you're not going to overlook it.

Gparted – You wouldn't think that I would use Gparted everyday, but with all of the different Linux distributions I use, it's a frequently accessed application in my office. Partitioning my hard drive allows me to set aside space on my computer so I can test various Linux distributions firsthand. For me, running a virtual machine isn't always enough to get a sense of how a distribution runs. Sometimes it helps to get a sense for how well the hardware is supported, among other factors. Gparted works great in this department.

Unetbootin – Sometimes I need to run Linux on a computer I don't use all that often. In instances like this, Unetbootin is a big help. It's a Linux installer for USB dongles that provides me with a Live Linux install without installing it on my hard drive. Best of all, if I decide later on to install Linux to that rarely used machine, I can boot to the USB dongle and run the Linux installer from there. Unetbootin's must-have feature is freedom from the worry about downloading ISO images ahead of time. Unetbootin does this for me, on the fly, within the application itself.

Terminal – This one may seem a bit weak, but you must understand that I handle my log viewing and package management via the command line. This means using a terminal is a big part of my day when I run any distribution. It's actually one of those applications I find myself using whether I'm running OpenSUSE or Arch or Ubuntu.

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Tags: Linux, software, applications, open source apps

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