Finding apps for Linux is easy and complicated at the same time. For decades now, all you have to do is open a package manager or app store and enter the name of the program you're looking for. Complete. Simple.
But as a new user of Linux, there's a good chance you don't really know what you're looking for. And as new software gets to market faster, it is easy for experienced users to miss out on the latest knowledge. Fortunately, several websites have popped up introducing you to Linux apps that you've never seen before.
Flathub is a universal app store that contains software you can install no matter what Linux distribution you're using. The programs here are available in Flatpak format, which has been chosen as the universal app package format of choice by a number of distributions.
Fedora Silverblue and Endless OS distribute everything as a Flatpak, and elementary OS has been moving in a similar direction since version 6.0.
Flathub is mostly supported by the GNOME community, so you'll find plenty of apps here that are tailored for that particular desktop. Given GNOME's position as the default desktop in most Linux distributions, this won't be a problem for most users.
However, Flathub is hardly limited to GNOME. Many of the apps here are desktop-independent, especially games. Flathub is also home to a growing number of well-known commercial, proprietary apps like Steam, Discord, and Slack.
Install apps from Flathub
Flathub places setup instructions at the top of the homepage. Flatpak is preinstalled on some distributions. If you're using GNOME, all you need to do is access the To install Button under an app to receive the goods.
If you're not using GNOME, you can follow the command line instructions to add Flathub to the list of sources your distribution checks for software. Regardless of the distribution, you can also use the command line to install and remove programs.
the Flatpak Command does a good job of guessing which program you're looking for, even if you don't know its real name. You can also copy and paste installation commands directly from the website.
Snap Store is another universal app store that has revolutionized how easy it has become to find apps for Linux. As the default app store for Ubuntu, the most popular Linux distribution, the Snap Store is likely to get more traffic.
Snap Store uses the Snap format, which works in virtually every Linux distribution. It comes from Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, which has put extensive efforts to help other companies and encourage them to release their software for Linux as a snap package.
As a result, the Snap Store contains a much larger amount of proprietary software. This and other aspects of Snap's design limit the store's look and feel to free and open source software enthusiasts, but it's a great destination for people switching from macOS or Windows in hopes of seeing if a program that you already use is also available for Linux.
KDE Plasma users will also find more of their desktop apps in no time at all than a Flatpak.
Install apps from the Snap Store
There is a To install at the top right of the page with the app you want. When you click this button, a menu will appear. Ubuntu users just have to tap the button that asks them to open the app on their desktop store.
If you're using a different distribution, this menu will take you to instructions on setting up snapd, which is needed to install Snaps. If you're already good to go, you can copy and paste the command provided.
The KDE project has a handy site with over 200 apps created by the community. This software is intended for KDE Plasma, but feel free to use it on any Linux desktop. Some are also available on Windows and macOS.
While KDE Plasma isn't the most widely used Linux desktop, its community is by far the most prolific when it comes to creating apps.
Far from recreating and redesigning the basics, the KDE community also has apps for advanced functionality such as office suites and various media creation tools. There is also KDE Connect for synchronizing your phone and PC and Kirogi, an app for controlling drones.
The KDE page is great for helping plasma purists find the software made specifically for their desktop as these are the apps that integrate best.
Install apps from KDE.org
KDE.org does not offer any apps directly. Each app contains a To install Button that can be integrated into your Linux app store, e.g. B. KDE Discover or GNOME software. If an app is not available in your distribution's repositories, this button will not be able to bring up the app.
Apps that are available in other ways contain buttons for other methods of distribution. At the time of this writing, there are no links to the Snap Store, but buttons to download from Flathub appear frequently. The educational children's app GCompris even contains links to F-Droid, Google Play and the Microsoft Store.
The GNOME Project also provides a list of apps available for the GNOME desktop. Unlike KDE, which provides a comprehensive list of old and new programs, GNOME's list is mostly those that conform to the current desktop design guidelines.
Everything from the app icons to the theme and layout will feel largely consistent in the software here. If you love the look and feel of GNOME, this website is the place for you.
GNOME's catalog is nowhere near as long as KDE's, and you won't find software as complex as digiKam and Kdenlive. However, the GNOME team provides helpful information on each app. In addition to download links and relevant websites, GNOME also introduces you to the maintainer of each app and puts names and faces behind the code.
Install apps from GNOME.org
GNOME is all-in on Flathub, so every app listed has a link to that site. Some of the GNOME Core apps are currently not yet listed because they are not yet available on Flathub. But at the moment the site is still very new and that could change soon.
An AppCenter for everyone?
The above pages list all of the apps that you can install on most versions of Linux. Another site is in the process of making the list. As part of the AppCenter for Everyone campaign, the elementary OS team worked to make AppCenter apps available to other distributions.
Appcenter.elementary.io lists apps that are available for elementary OS. To get access to some of these in other distributions, you can add Elementary's AppCenter Flatpak remote repository to your system.
How to manually add software repositories on Linux
If you want or need to manually add software repositories to your Linux computer, here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
About the author
(319 published articles)
Bertel is a digital minimalist who writes from a laptop with physical privacy switches and an operating system recommended by the Free Software Foundation. He values ethics over functions and helps others take control of their digital lives.
From Bertel King
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