In part 1 of this series, I provided a list of open source alternatives useful for home office use, such as office suites and finance managers. As for part 2, what follows is just a taste of the many Linux applications available for editing, viewing, and streaming multimedia.
The Adobe suite of applications is not available for Linux. However, alternatives to Photoshop include the very popular GIMP and Krita, the most mature application in the Calligra Suite. Pinta and MyPaint are two simpler options that may be easier for new users to dive into. Inkscape is an alternative to Adobe Illustrator that allows you to create high quality SVG files.
Are you a fan of Picasa? Google used to release version of Picasa for Linux. While that is no longer the case, there are still many Linux photo management applications to choose from. KDE desktops tend to ship with Gwenview by default. DigiKam is a more fully featured photo manager geared more towards professional photographers. GNOME users may be familiar with either Shotwell or F-Spot.
Windows comes with a basic audio recording tool called Sound Recorder. If you need an alternative, GNOME produces an application by the same name. If your needs are heavier, Audacity is a popular cross-platform open source tool that allows you to record, edit, and convert audio files. This tool is versatile enough to make podcasts with, but if you still need more juice, then give Ardour a download. If you just need to convert multimedia files, then consider giving Sound Converteror soundKonverter a spin, depending on your desktop environment of choice.
Linux is overflowing with choices in this category. Rhythmbox provides a streamlined, basic iTunes type experience with a variety of plugins available. Banshee is an alternative that is also rich with options. Smaller music players include Audacious, Decibel, and Quod Libet.
Linux has no shortage of suitable podcast managers. Miro pitches itself as a music and video player, and it allows you to take in podcasts without realizing that is what you are doing. If you prefer something else, Ruji has came out with 5 alternatives podcast client in Linux where you can choose and pick from.
Linux does not yet have video editors that fully compete with Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. As for competing with Windows Movie Maker, Linux is on a much stronger ground. Kdenlive is a popular video editor with many advanced features. Pitivi and OpenShot provide more basic solutions for users with simpler needs. Hoping to make a feature film someday? Lightworks is a substantially more powerful option that is currently being ported over to Linux.
GNOME’s default video player is Totem. KDE’s default player is Dragon Player. The best known alternative is the VLC media player, which is prominent enough that millions of Windows and Mac OS X users also turn to VLC for their video playing needs. VLC can play virtually any multimedia format you throw at it. Lastly, we won’t forget SMPlayer, which is as capable as VLC.
Your experience transitioning to Linux depends largely on your frame of mind going into it. If you expect to run the same applications, you should probably stick with the operating system you are already comfortable with. However, if you are open to learning new applications that perform the same tasks, transitioning should be just fine. If you don’t want to change your operating system, but you also don’t want to invest money in expensive software, many of these programs are also available for Windows or Mac. There is a wealth of information available online for making your switch as painless as possible.
If you have any open source alternatives you would like to recommend, let us hear about them in the comments below.
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