Top Ten Apps That Make Linux Fun To Use

Break the dull Linux desktop habit -- audio-video, games, image editing, comics and more. Plus: what's your favorite Linux app?
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Many Linux enthusiasts associate desktop Linux with their repetitive daily routine. Same old, same old.

Looking to mix things up a little, I thought it’d be fun to take a more entertaining look at what we can do with our Linux boxes. I’m listing ten noteworthy Linux applications that I find very fun to use.

After all, Linux is more than a mere efficient platform. It can also provide a great deal of entertainment as well.

1) Ekiga – When most people think of a video conferencing application, they're generally envisioning Skype. It's understandable, as Skype has managed to brand itself in a way that is tough to compete with.

Yet there’s another application called Ekiga that has been created with open standards in mind and is open source at the application level. Did I mention it was created with the Linux enthusiast in mind?

Providing SIP calling, video conferencing and LAN chatting options, Ekiga is easily the best open source/open calling standards software available. I also like the fact that, like its proprietary cousin Skype, you can add telephone call-in/ call-out abilities for comparable pricing that is tough to beat.

2) GIMP – Those who have used the proprietary photo editing application Photoshop might find most alternatives difficult to use. Getting past that hurdle, there is something amazing about the open source alternative known simply as GIMP or "The GIMP." GIMP allows you to create, edit and alter images with much of the functionality found in Photoshop.

GIMP is quick and simple to use. And once you take the time to learn where the functions are, you'll be surprised at the feature set available in this software bundle. While GIMP is not that sought after on other proprietary platforms, it continues to be the photo editing software of choice for most Linux enthusiasts based on my own experience.

3) VLC – Toss in a DVD movie and enjoy. That is the raw power and ease of using the video viewing application known as VLC Media Player. Its abilities include re-encoding video, playing network video streams, and the option to play nearly any video format -- including Flash -- without any problems.

Advanced abilities are also available through a built-in wizard, and you can access these same functions manually. VLC provides complete control over audio and video settings, which translate into maximum usability for the user. VLC is widely used as a means of watching movies and streaming video alike. It's among the best video viewing software available, bar none.

4) Frets on Fire X – Okay, so I promised I wouldn't include any games. Sorry, but I had to add in this Guitar Hero clone simply because it's so darned much fun to play! It would be a crime to leave it out of this list.

Based on the original Frets on Fire concept, Frets on Fire "X" is the continuation of the guitar-playing game that is played with either a keyboard or guitar. Frets on Fire X is a real blast to experience, while requiring substantial skill to make any headway through the presented challenges.

Songs can be found throughout various resources on the Web with everything ready to be added fairly easily. Not a game for the easily frustrated, this is an open source entertainment experience and a great way to "get into" some of your favorite music.

5) GNOME Do – Assuming you can get past the fact that this is designed for the GNOME desktop, GNOME Do takes the idea of using keyboard shortcuts and bumps it up to a whole new level.

Imagine keyboard shortcuts to just about everything you use on your Linux desktop. Surf the Web, access specific applications, alter system functionality -- the list goes on and on.

Using this keyboard navigation software will change the way you look at your keyboard completely. Best of all, it's very simple to use and requires no memory or special key commands. Just run GNOME Do in the background and type in the first few letters of the program or task you're looking for.

Next Page: More Linux Apps

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Tags: open source, Linux, Linux desktop, Linux downloads, open source tools

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