Chromebooks can now run Linux desktop apps, offering an entire new universe of software to Chrome OS users. you’ll install a Linux distribution like Ubuntu on your PC, too. But what applications are available for Linux?
Web Browsers (Now With Netflix, Too)
Most Linux distributions include Mozilla Firefox because the default browser . Google also offers a politician version of Google Chrome for Linux, and you’ll even get an “unbranded” open-source version of Chrome named Chromium.
Pretty much everything inside your browser should “just work” in Linux. Netflix now works normally in both Firefox and Chrome on Linux because of added support for its DRM.
Adobe Flash has subsided common on the online but is additionally available for Linux. It’s included with Chrome, a bit like on Windows, and you’ll install it separately for Firefox or Chromium. Linux doesn’t support some older browser plug-ins like Silverlight, but those are not any longer widely used on the online .
As the desktop PC world has shifted more and more to online, web-based software, Linux has become easier to use. If an application you would like to run features a web version, you’ll use it on Linux.
Open-Source Desktop Applications
Most of the desktop applications you employ on Windows or Mac are probably not available for Linux. However, many open-source alternatives are.
Microsoft doesn’t offer Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Linux. Linux distributions usually include LibreOffice instead. (You also can access Office Online during a browser for free of charge .)
Adobe doesn’t produce Photoshop for Linux, but you’ll use the open-source GIMP image editor instead. Linux distributions often include other simple media tools just like the Shotwell photo manager and PiTiVi video editor, too.
Apple’s iTunes doesn’t run on Linux, either. you’ll run other media center programs just like the Rhythmbox application included with Ubuntu and lots of other Linux distributions. otherwise you can use the web-based versions of the many online music and video services.
The desktop version of Microsoft Outlook isn’t available, but you can use Mozilla Thunderbird and a simple Calendar app, or just web-based email and calendaring. There are lots of alternatives.
Other common open-source utilities do run on Linux. for instance , the favored VLC media player and VirtualBox virtual machine program both run on Linux.
Linux desktop environments accompany a set of software. You’ll get all the quality utilities sort of a file manager, PDF viewer, text editor, video player, and archiving utility by default.
Of course, Linux does include a strong command-line environment and developer tools. You get the Bash shell complete with GNU utilities, and you’ll install more things with a couple of terminal commands. Linux’s Bash shell is so powerful that Microsoft added it to Windows!
Minecraft, Dropbox, Spotify, and More
Some of the software you employ on Windows is out there on a Linux system. This software is usually called “proprietary” software because it’s closed-source, not open-source.
Spotify, Skype, and Slack are all available for Linux. It helps that these three programs were all built using web-based technologies and may be easily ported to Linux.
Minecraft are often installed on Linux, too. Discord and Telegram, two popular chat applications, also offer official Linux clients.
Dropbox officially supports Linux, but Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive don’t offer official clients.
If you’ve got an application you’re keen on and depend upon , it’s worth searching online to ascertain whether it’s available on Linux. you would possibly not find the precise software you’re after, but it’s going to be available on the online , otherwise you may find an honest alternative.
Steam on Linux
Valve’s popular Steam gaming service also runs on Linux. Don’t jump for joy just yet, though. While Steam itself runs on Linux, not every game on Steam is out there on Linux.
You can browse the Steam OS + Linux category on the Steam store to ascertain the games available for Linux. On the Steam website, search for the Steam icon on a circle next to the sport , indicating Steam OS support. Any game that supports Steam OS also will run on Linux since Steam OS is predicated on Linux.
The majority of Steam games aren’t available for Linux, even as they aren’t available for macOS. However, many games—particularly indie games—are. You’ll have something to play on Linux, but you’ll ’t play everything you can on Windows.
Wine for Running Windows Apps
Wine is an open-source compatibility layer for the Windows API. In other words, it allows you to run Windows applications on Linux, macOS, and other operating systems. At least, that’s what it does when it works correctly.
This is an open-source community project that’s reverse-engineering the way Windows works. It doesn’t work perfectly, and it can’t run every application. albeit it can run an application, some features could also be broken, other things might not look right, and therefore the application might occasionally crash. It can take some fiddling and configuration to urge an application working correctly, too.
We don’t recommend counting on Wine to run some Windows software on Linux. Wine can run some old apps well, but you would possibly also use Windows if you propose on running a bunch of Windows applications.
Wine offers better performance than a virtual machine while playing PC games—assuming those games run well in Wine. But you’re nearly always more happy just running the sport on Windows.
If you’re curious how well an application works, consult the Wine AppDB to ascertain what other Wine users have reported. you’ll also try CrossOver Linux, which works similarly to CrossOver Mac. It uses Wine under the hood but helps walk you thru installing and configuring popular applications to figure properly. It’s a paid application.
Valve is adding built-in support for the Proton compatibility layer, which is predicated on Wine, to the newest versions of Steam for Linux. this may be interesting to play with within the future.
Virtual machine programs are available for Linux, too. Oracle’s VirtualBox runs on Linux, and you’ll also use a Linux-specific virtual machine like GNOME Boxes. The Boxes application uses the underlying KVM virtual machine support within the Linux kernel.
Either way, this software will allow you to run Windows and other operating systems on a Linux desktop. This provides differently to run Windows software if you would like it.
Applications you run during a virtual machine won’t perform also as if they were running on real hardware. It’s also more annoying to share files and other data between software during a virtual machine and applications running on your normal Linux desktop. and therefore the virtual machine won’t offer ok performance to play recent 3D games, so don’t calculate it for demanding applications.
Like Wine, though, this is often differently to run Windows applications if you would like them. You won’t have the annoying configuration issues you’ve got with Wine, and everything should just run—unless it needs hardware it can’t access within the virtual machine. But it’s still inconvenient to run many of your applications inside a virtual machine.