Free or Open Source Software Starter Pack 2016

Continuing the trend from 2015, this late list is specifically for Linux users. I published the Windows list months ago.

1. WPS

WPS is prettier than Libre Office but without a Libre Draw (for flow charts) or Libre Math substitute. The “Writer, Presentation, and Spreadsheet” program keeps open WPS files in the same window with tabs for easy navigation and easy rearranging within the window.

2. Vivaldi

Vivaldi web browser is for the power user that wants more than Firefox or Chrome/Chromium offer out of the box. Chrome-based Vivaldi provides powerful customization options  – create off-screen “web [site] panels”, write notes, move tabs to the bottom or side, change colors of tabs, and more. You can also download extensions from the Google Chrome web store.

3. Master PDF Editor

Master PDF Editor is my default PDF reader. I rarely create PDF forms and documents or verify digital signatures. But I regularly rearrange pages and highlight, strike/black-out text. Master PDF Editor also opens PDF files in the same window.

4. Budgie DE

After reading about new-coming desktop environments from, I decided to test-drive the Budgie desktop environment. It highly resembles Linux deepin with the control center for settings on the right side and a XFCE-like docker/panel on the top or bottom. It also adds “Plank” to the left side, which is basically Docky with a different name. It’s a nice change. It also downloads Solitaire, Photos, and Rhythmbox.

5. Openshot

Though Kdenlive has plenty of advanced features, Openshot Stable (1.4.3 as of January 2017) is my preferred video editor for basic video editing. It’s easy to use and does everything I need for now. It handles audio/visual effects and over a dozen render formats.

6. Shutter

Shutter is my preference for Linux screenshots over Kazam and Screenshot. You can specify target windows for screenshots beforehand, edit within the app, customize default actions, and more. I’ve covered Shutter more in-depth in an older post.

7. Shuriken

Shuriken Beat Slicer is for the music producers and DJ’s. Thanks to freenode IRC channel #opensourcemusicians (or was it #ubuntustudio-offtopic?) for sharing this because LMMS doesn’t have a built-in audio slicer like FL Studio’s Slicex. Do your slicing with Shuriken, export your completed slices, and import them to your DAW of choice.

Please let me know if you find something better.

8. CherryTree

CherryTree has been my go-to app for note-taking since my introduction to Linux UberStudent. It offers so much for organizing information that I haven’t felt the need to go looking for something better.

9. ScudCloud

ScudCloud makes working in multiple Slack channels so much easier. Though I could only use three Slack channels at once (as of December 2016), most channel customization settings can be configured within the desktop app.

10. Cairo-Dock

Cairo-Dock is a highly customizable dock with a launcher menu. Unlike boring stable Docky, Cairo-dock has an application menu, plenty of display themes, and cool visual effects. You can also move it to the top of the screen.

Graphic comparing Cairo Dock to Docky with the analogy of Cairo Dock is to Docky what Ubuntu is to Debian


What would suggest others check out this year? Anything better than the ones I’ve mentioned?

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