One of the many things to consider when looking for an alternative operating system is whether or not there are the right apps to help you stay productive. No matter how secure or reliable an operating system is, if there are no applications to use, that operating system is worthless.
I remember back in the early 2000s finding enough apps on Linux was a bit difficult. Sure, there were equivalents, but they were so early in development that sometimes they couldn’t help me get where I needed to be without a lot of work.
Consider this: I worked in an organization that was pretty much all MS Office.
In fact, I was the only person who didn’t use MS Office. Needless to say, using Star Office was problematic. I had to bend and twist the formatting and templates to make it work, and it barely worked. I was told that if I didn’t start using MS Office there would be penalties.
Luckily, that was a metaphorical lifetime ago. Today things are much different and there are many apps available for the Linux operating system, apps that are 100% capable of helping you be productive, creative and efficient in whatever you do.
Let’s take a look at some of those app counterparts you might not know (and some you might).
Also: How to Easily Run Apps in Linux
The equivalent of MS Office
This one is a little tricky because the days of locally installed office suites are slowly coming to an end…unless you’re on Linux. Of course, you can use Office 365 as much as you want on Linux. You can also use Apple Pages in iCloud, Google Docs, or any number of cloud-based productivity suites. But when you need an equivalent to MS Office, who do you turn to?
In a word, LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a complete office suite that includes documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, formulas, and even a full database component. LibreOffice is powerful, easy to use and highly compatible with MS Office file formats. So if you have to collaborate with MS Office users and you’re worried that Linux has no equivalent, don’t worry.
The Photoshop equivalent
Some would say that Photoshop simply has no equivalent. And for many, that’s perfect. Photoshop is, after all, the de facto standard image editing tool. And no matter what the Linux community requests, Adobe will never port its software to the Linux operating system.
That’s okay because Linux has GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is a very powerful image editor that has plenty of bells and whistles to help you create all the images you or your business need. While you might not find the amount of plugins for GIMP, that doesn’t mean it can’t be extended or isn’t worth considering. I use GIMP to create book covers etc., and I’ve rarely thought about Photoshop.
Also: How to Get Photoshop for Free
The Zoom equivalent
I can get this one comfortable really quickly, because Linux actually has an official Zoom equivalent. Ok, it’s not open source, but it can be installed on just about any Linux distribution on the market. And the Linux version of Zoom works just as well as it does on any platform.
The Slack equivalent
See Zoom above. That’s right, Linux also has a Slack app that can be installed via Snap or Flatpak. Very easy.
The Chrome equivalent
Okay, this one comes with a caveat because I don’t think anyone should use Chrome. However, I also know that it is by far the most used web browser in the world. That being said, if you’re on Linux, consider the Firefox browser instead. However, if that’s just not in the cards, you can install an official version of Chrome on Linux.
The Spotify equivalent
I may sound like a broken record, but Linux has an official Spotify client, which can be installed via Snap packages or from the official repository for Debian and Ubuntu-based distros.
The antivirus and anti-malware equivalent
I do not need it. But, in case you’re too paranoid, there are still versions of Kaspersky, Bitdefender, McAfee Antivirus, ESET, Comodo Antivirus, and Avast available for Linux. Of course, if you don’t like the idea of using a proprietary solution, there’s always open source ClamAV.
Also: The best antivirus software and apps
The equivalent of the media player
When you need to play local media, such as music and videos, the best available option is VLC Media Player. The Linux version of this software is the same as on Windows, so you should have no problem getting familiar with it.
The equivalent of the password manager
This one is also simple, as almost all password managers on the market have Linux versions or work through a web browser. So, for anyone who wants to secure their accounts and services with a strong password (which everyone should), Linux has you covered.
As you can see, there’s an alternative for just about anything, and it’s only scratching the surface. And since everyone’s workflow is different, it’s unclear what kind of apps you’ll need to use. But I bet with just a little research, you’ll find a Linux equivalent for whatever software you’re using…as obscure as it is.
The lesson here is that Linux has plenty of apps that can solve just about any kind of problem, whether it’s business, creative, or personal in nature.
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