This blog post is about the best productivity software for Linux which can be installed directly from within your distribution of choice. I will provide a short description and list the reasons why I chose a particular software title.
What I do and which software I use
In a nutshell, I do a ton of web design as well as industrial design and many things in between. Web design requires the creation and preparation of images. Because of that, I use 2D and 3D software programs which cross over into the design world and vice a versa.
Here is a list of the best Linux Software for web and industrial designers:
Communication is key to every project
- Blender 3D
My go-to tool for all things 3D
Powerfule 2D image editor
A tablet-friendly image creation tool
This is the best free CAD application there is
Perfect for managing WordPress-driven sites
The brain of my home recording studio
Creates all my PDF and eBook content
A powerful and free video editor
High-end screen capturing software
An automated backup solution
The best of the best code editors
Before I mention more about each program I’ve listed, I want to state that I use ArcoLinux because it is always up-to-date and lightning fast. Stability and the out-of-the-box usability experience also rank high but speed is number one for me. And now I’ll go into more detail about each app.
First off I start with email. Every project I work on uses Thunderbird for for communication and sending/receiving of assets. There are many options when it comes to email but I picked Thunderbird for these three reasons.
- Quick to configure
- Easy to back up
- Does an amazing job filtering and deleting spam
Thunderbird stores everything in a hidden directory named .thunderbird (note the dot!) and to back up all the configurations and emails I periodically copy that directory onto an external hard drive.
I have set up Thunderbird’s spam filter to automatically delete 99% of the junk mail I get. Thunderbird works amazingly well and only preserves genuine emails.
I am constantly driven to create and Blender allows me to make 3D models of anything that I can imagine. Blender has a steep learning curve but as they say, you only have to climb it once. The main advantages of using Blender are:
- Fast and efficient UI
- Capable of producing stunning photo-realistic renders
- Powerful mesh unwrap and texturing tools
I could afford a commercial 2D software suite and even own a license for a well-known brand but prefer to use GIMP. After customizing the interface, the tools are all where they need to be. My main reasons for using GIMP are:
- Has all the tools I need to create and tweak images
- Best image optimization work flow for web export
- Even more amazing with the Gmic plugin
Krita does kind of the same as Gimp but is better suited for a tablet-based workflow. I use Krita for sketching with my WACOM tablet as well as painting wear and tear for my 3D Blender textures. I especially like Krita’s:
- Rich assortment of painting tools
- Very active development cycle
- Ideal companion for Wacom tablets
I am often envisioning new products and in order to document my ideas, I need to create shop drawings and 3D models. FreeCAD offers me a similar workflow as SolidWorks does except that, like the name says, it’s free. For me, the best features of FreeCAD are:
- Free professional CAD program
- Many workbenches for drafting and part design
- Plenty of YouTube videos to learn new features
99% of my online time is spent in Firefox. I manage a handful of WordPress sites using Firefox and continue learning by watching a lot of YouTube training videos. There are many reasons why Firefox is my browser of choice. Here are a few of those:
- Easy to export and import bookmarks
- uBlock (plugin)
Reaper is a well-designed digital audio workstation (DAW) and the brain of my home recording studio. Unlike commercial DAW’s which require a huge install, Reaper is only a tiny 12 Meg program. There a many YouTube videos that demonstrate how to use Reaper and free themes give it a high-end look. I have picked Reaper for my audio editing needs because:
- Has impressive features for a 12 Meg (in size) program
- Lots of free themes give it a high-end look
- Amazing set of tools to edit MIDI and audio clips
I don’t have a lot of use for an office suite but when I need a spreadsheet or word processor then I fire up LibreOffice. There are a few choices for Linux users but LibreOffice just feels perfect to me. I find LibreOffice especially handy for creating eBooks and PDF documents.
- Full-blown office suite
- Opens and exports many file types
- Includes spell checker and thesaurus
Shotcut is kind of the reason why I am writing this article. I just read several blog posts which list the best Linux software and the more I read (past tense), the more I realized that the authors have no clue what they are saying. My software list is based on actual usage and not some quick web search results. All videos for www.littleComposers.com are being created with Shotcut. Here’s why Shotcut is my one and only video editor:
- Stable and fast workflow
- Includes many robust plugins
- Animated key frames
OBS stands for Open Broadcaster Studio and is used for screen capturing. I am not a gamer and instead record the footage of web cams which I then import into Shotcut for further editing. Here is why I use OBS:
- Capture web cam footage at 60 frames per second
- Amazing routing options for a wide range of inputs
- Deals nicely with internal and external audio sources
Timeshift is a smart backup program and so amazing that I have it installed on all of my computers. Sometimes I experiment with extreme configurations and if something goes wrong, I boot from USB and restore my whole system to how it was an hour or a day ago. I would lose 100’s of hours of work a year if Timeshift didn’t back it up for me.
- Set and forget after initial setup
- Brings a machine back from hell
- Works amazingly well with external SSD drives
- Auto brackets – a must for coding
- Lightning fast executing of everything
- Default editor for all of my text files
*Firefox, although a web browser is perfect for administering WordPress and Drupal-driven web pages. Thus, a text editor is no longer needed unless one customizes the underlying code.
I’d like to close this blog post with a tribute to the Linux terminal. The Linux terminal is the most powerful tool I know. It encrypts and decrypts my files, creates secure passwords for me and provides a ton of functions. Let me provide an example.
Let’s say I need a new password for a gmail account. This is the command I’d type in the terminal $ pwgen -sync 50 2 and press enter.
Instantly, the above command in bold text creates two passwords which look like the samples below:
The Linux terminal is worth learning and those who master it can do things that most computer users can’t.
I hope that you found some useful information and if you use a Linux software program that I am not listing here then do tell me about it. I’m always on the lookout for capable programs to add to my existing tool chain. Thank you for reading.