With numerous forced updates, shady distribution practices, and security and privacy concerns, many folks are ready to say goodbye to Microsoft Windows. As a result, many find themselves considering a switch to one of the many flavors of Linux available. However, making the jump from Windows to Linux can be stressful. Learning an entirely new operating system is time consuming, resulting in frustration and a loss in productivity. Unfortunately, it’s not just the OS itself. The prospect of learning the ins and outs of entirely new software is often a deal breaker for a lot of people.
Luckily, there are a number of popular Windows applications that are also available on Linux. These programs look and behave the same way as their Windows counterparts, making the transition to Linux much less intimidating.
Skype is synonymous with VoIP video chatting. Granted, it may not be the best out there, Skype is one of the oldest and most popular. Fortunately, there is a version of Skype available for Linux. After installing, all you need to do is sign in. All of your contacts will be there, and you’ll be ready to chat via video, voice or text in no time. Furthermore, if you buy and use Skype credit, you’ll be happy to know that the Linux version operates exactly the same as its Windows counterpart.
2. VLC Media Player
The modest, minimalist design of VLC Media Player disguises its reputation as one of the most versatile media playback programs out there. The program can read virtually any file you throw at it: DVDs, audio streams, HEVC, you name it. This is why many folks opt for VLC, regardless of which operating system they choose. As an open-source project, VLC has found its way onto almost every platform imaginable, including Linux. Mint, Fedora, Ubuntu, and openSUSE – regardless of which flavour of Linux you choose to install, VLC is available.
Once upon a time if you were a gamer, you pretty much had to have a Windows-based PC. However, now that Steam has a Linux client available, you can pretty much say goodbye to your Windows rig. If you’re not a gamer, Steam is an online-platform where users can download games and other related media. In addition, Steam acts as a management hub for your games and provides social integration like friend lists and in-game voice chatting. Be aware that there are some caveats. At this point in time, Steam for Windows has a larger library of games. If you find that your favorite game isn’t supported, don’t abandon Linux just yet. Many Linux Steam users simply use WINE to run a Windows virtual machine in order to gain access to games that have yet to be ported to Linux.
Those of you who rely on cloud storage for your important files, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Dropbox, the popular cloud storage provider, also has a client for Linux. This means that you can still use your Dropbox account with your new Linux installation without missing a beat. In addition, this makes migrating all of your old documents and files from Windows to Linux a breeze. Before installing Linux over Windows, simply sync your Dropbox account to back up all your important files. Then, after you install Linux on your machine, simply log in to your Dropbox account and start downloading what you need. Currently, Dropbox is available for Ubuntu (.deb) and Fedora (.rpm). Alternatively, Dropbox can also be compiled from source.
5. Mozilla Thunderbird
Thunderbird is a highly customizable email client from the folks that brought you Firefox. Its primary function is to allow users to access and manage their email. In addition, Thunderbird acts as a newsreader, an RSS aggregator and text-chat client. Furthermore, as a free and open-source program, Thunderbird has a number of extensions available that can add additional features and functionality. Thunderbird is a default program automatically installed when opting for Ubuntu. For all other distros, the set-up process is simple.
It should come as no surprise that arguably the best media management program is also available for Linux. For the uninitiated, Kodi organizes your movies, TV shows, music and more into a customizable interface. Browsing your collection is a breeze, and the sheer amount of eye candy available will make your friends weak in the knees with envy. Linux users have two options to consider when installing Kodi. If you already have Linux installed as your OS on your machine, you can follow the install guide to get Kodi up and running.
Did we miss any of your favorite apps that are available on Windows and Linux? Let us know in the comments!