There has never been a better time to switch to Linux, but you can still hesitate. After all, you are not sure if you can run your favorite Windows applications on Linux.
So let's take a look at 10 popular Windows apps and games and see if they work on Linux.
1. Chrome browser
All common browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Opera) are available on Linux. In fact, you can find a large selection of Linux browsers
The 9 best browsers for Linux
to choose from, like Epiphany.
You will find that Firefox, Chrome and Opera offer the same functions as on Windows or MacOS. This means you can log in to your browsers and easily sync bookmarks, passwords, and other settings on Windows.
Mozilla Firefox is preinstalled on most Linux distributions. However, if you want Chrome, you can download it from Google. Note that you can also install the Open Source Chromium browser.
To meet your email needs, there are numerous options available on Linux – although Outlook is not available for Linux.
Thunderbird, one of the most popular email clients, may be the number one email client for Linux. The ExQuilla extension offers Exchange support, which Thunderbird has been missing for years.
However, if you need an Outlook equivalent for Linux with Microsoft Exchange support without installing an extension, try Evolution.
If you don't need an Exchange email client, you can of course use any web-based email interface with your preferred browser. This allows you to access the Outlook web application along with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and other hosted webmail messages from your ISP or employer.
There is a high probability that Mozilla Thunderbird or Evolution is already installed in your Linux distribution.
Download: Mozilla Thunderbird
3. Microsoft Office
The world's most popular office is not available on Linux. So you have three options:
- Use Office 365 in your browser
- Run Office with Wine
- Install LibreOffice
Office 365 is a smart option. If you have a subscription, you can still get the most out of Office.
Alternatively, if you want Word, Excel, etc. to run from your Linux desktop, you can install Microsoft Office in Wine
How to install Microsoft Office on Linux
Overall, LibreOffice is the best alternative for the Linux desktop. With numerous functions of the Office Suite you get a word processing program, a table, a presentation tool, a database manager and much more. It is intended as an open source alternative to Microsoft Office and fits app by app.
In fact, you will only really experience problems if you tend to use very high-level office functions like macros. While LibreOffice also contains macros, cross-compatibility with the Office macros can be improved.
Apart from that, LibreOffice is a top alternative that completes document compatibility. Other open source office solutions are available, but LibreOffice is ahead.
4. Microsoft Project
A major problem for companies looking to switch to Linux is finding an alternative to Microsoft Project. You can run it in Wine, but it's not compatible with anything since Project 2013.
Is there an equivalent Linux app for Microsoft Project?
Yes there is. ProjectLibre is compatible with files created in Microsoft Project 2003, 2007 and 2010 and can create Gantt charts, network charts and more. ProjectLibre has been downloaded over 4,500,000 times and translated into 20 languages. It is recommended as the preferred Microsoft Project alternative.
Photoshop is also not available on Linux.
People seem to have had some success installing Photoshop on Linux with Wine
How to install Adobe Photoshop on Linux
This often involves installing an older version. If you want current versions of Photoshop, you're out of luck.
However, you can easily install GIMP, an extremely powerful image editing tool. Although some of the workflows may be different than in Photoshop, you can do pretty much the same thing. And if GIMP doesn't have the feature you're looking for by default, there is likely a plugin to help you.
6. Windows Video Editor
As of 2018, Windows 10 will replace Windows Movie Maker. Windows Video Editor is a basic video editing tool that comes with the photo tool.
It edits videos, supports 3D effects, text and slow motion videos and the results can be impressive. In the end, you get something that looks like a well-produced home movie.
But can you do better on Linux? Finally, there is a whole range of video editing tools available under Windows, from Adobe Premiere to Corel VideoStudio Ultimate.
If you want to create very simple home videos, PiTiVi is the place for you. There is also OpenShot for more advanced projects. Read our guide to Linux video editors
The 9 best free open source video editors for Linux
for more options.
After all, Lightworks is a professional video editor, but it also requires a professional price.
7. Solar eclipse
Developers need a reliable IDE (Interactive Development Environment) for programming projects. Eclipse is popular with many developers, especially developers of Android apps. Fortunately, it is also available on Linux and easy to install.
If you're using another IDE like Visual Studio that isn't available on Linux, switching to Eclipse is easy. Eclipse cannot meet your requirements? This is not a problem. Many online browser-based IDEs
The 13 best browser IDEs every programmer should know
are available to fill the gap.
Minecraft is one of the largest video games in the world and a must for many people. Runs perfectly on Linux thanks to its Java roots. In fact, there is little difference between the Windows and Linux versions.
If you want to change Minecraft, most mod files will work. The usual Minecraft game modes
How to change your Minecraft game mode
Minecraft under Linux supports multiplayer – everything is there. You can even set up Minecraft to host a multiplayer game, or build a full Minecraft server on Linux.
Industry standard AutoCAD premium CAD (Computer Aided Design) software has long resisted calls to create a Linux version.
Fortunately, there is a great free alternative called FreeCAD that takes care of your CAD needs. It is also modular, so you can add additional functions if necessary. Interested? Like many Linux apps, FreeCAD is also available on Windows and MacOS, so you can try it out before switching.
SketchUp sticks to design apps and is also a popular option for Windows users. Instead of industrial and mechanical design, however, SketchUp is (usually) used for design and architecture.
But is there a Linux equivalent for SketchUp users?
Again, the PC gods smile at your efforts to switch to Linux. BricsCAD Shape is a free tool for single Linux users that offers a SketchUp-like experience. It is part of the broader BricsCAD family that offers modeling solutions for all purposes – including the AutoCAD alternative BricsCAD Mechanical.
Download: BricsCAD form
Steam is the ultimate PC gaming platform, an extensive library of video games that are digitally transferred to your computer.
Developers Valve released a Linux version in 2013 that is full of AAA games that were previously only available for Windows.
Although not every single Windows game is available on Linux, the list of Linux compatible games continues to grow. Use Steam's filter tool to see which games can run on Linux and to determine if you have any. If gaming is important to you, the availability of your favorite Linux games will make the transition much easier.
The most popular music streaming service has quickly spread to all desktop and mobile devices.
But is there a Linux version of Spotify?
Yes there is! You have two options, a DEB option for Debian, Ubuntu and their derivatives, and a snap installation package. Spotify for Linux, like Windows and MacOS, is a fully functional desktop player. You can log into your account as usual, access your playlists, follow your favorite artists, and so on.
If for some reason Spotify cannot run on your Linux version, don't worry. The Spotify web player runs without any problems in your Linux web browser.
It's time to switch to Linux!
With these 10 important apps, you should be ready to tackle Linux without breaking a sweat. With all the benefits of an open source operating system and knowing that you have apps available to do your job, there is no excuse for not trying it out.
Don't forget to read our list of the best Linux software too
The best Linux software and apps
for other great Linux apps to try!
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