I know, I know. Not another blog post that lists the “top 10 something or other”. But bear with me.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes a given application awesome. I use a lot of applications every day, many I couldn’t do my job without… but not all of them are awesome.
It’s hard to describe just what “awesome” is. It could be the reliability of something. Or the sheer joy it brings when you use it. Or that it does something truly unique and inspiring.
With that in mind… my list of the top 10 most awesome applications for the Linux desktop (in no particular order).
Elisa is one bad-ass media center. We’ve been covering its progress (with a fair bit of admiration) for some time on the Linux Action Show and it just keeps gettng better.
A simple, modern, attractive look and feel. Animations and visual effects in all the right spots. Lightweight, fast and handles most of our media center-type needs (music, videos and photos). It has some bugs… but it is just so cool that any rare crash is forgiven.
Conduit may not be as flashy as Elisa… but holy-convenience-batman is it cool.
In a nutshell Conduit allows you to build… conduits… between… things.
From the website: “Conduit is a synchronization application for GNOME. It allows you to synchronize your files, photos, emails, contacts, notes, calendar data and any other type of personal information and synchronize that data with another computer, an online service, or even another electronic device.”
Customizable synchronization is just plain awesome. Why ever OS doesn’t have a similar feature built in is beyond me.
When it comes to music management, Banshee is it.
I’ve said it before, and I’m likely to say it again, but Banshee is the best music player/manager software. Period. For any platform.
Keep your iTunes. Keep your Windows Media Player.
I’ve got Banshee.
It’s fast, flexible and looks great. If you have music or listen to podcasts… you need Banshee.
You could make the argument that Second Life is a game… therefor it shouldn’t be included in an “application” list.
But, man, Second Life is so much more.
They’ve built a virtual, 3D world that is totally dynamic. People online can create objects and design how they work with othe objects. Basically Second Life provides a huge 3D canvas to create something. And that’s pretty slick.
To be honest I hardly ever use Second Life. But, just the same, it is quite awesome.
I know, I know: “What about OpenOffice?”
OpenOffice is great. It works.
But KOffice… well that really scratches a particular itch.
It has an astounding painting tool (Krita) and a very cool math formula editor (KFormula) which is something that many people won’t need… but those who do… need it badly.
Plus fantastic diagramming (Kivio) and project management (KPlato).
That’s why KOffice is so amazing. It provides a huge array of (easy to discover and use) tools that are necessary parts of getting work done for so many. And, sure, it has a word processor too.
This one is a bit different from the others.
These are just a package of commercial audio/video codecs.
Some of you may not be interested due to the commercial nature of the software.
Others may not be interested due to a disinterest in working with audio/video in various formats.
But for those of you who want to be able to playback a WMV HD video… well, this is just the ticket. These codecs are fast and have incredible video quality. I can’t recommend them enough.
It’s a launcher. I know. It’s been done.
But it hasn’t been done this incredibly well.
Check out their release page for screenshots and more for the current version.
The plugins available are what really makes this application so freaking awesome. If you do any social networking, Do is a must have.
Plus now Do has a dock. And it’s fantastic. Blows my mind.
Ah, Tomboy. The little note-taking application that could.
And that’s really the gist of it. Tomboy is, at its heart, just a Gnome applet that lets you take notes.
That’s it. And that’s why it’s awesome. It’s small, fast and easy to take quick notes in.
Then, there’s the fact that you can interact with Tomboy notes from both Gnome Do and Conduit. Yeah. Wrap your head around those possibilities. Awesome.
I found myself stuck on a Windows Vista box recently. For the first few hours I thought “hey, this isn’t that bad, I can still get my work done”.
Then I needed to take some photo’s I’d taken and upload them to a photo gallery I host on a server for my family that uses Gallery2 (which is great if you’re looking to host your own photo gallery, btw).
That’s when it hit me. There’s no version of F-Spot for Windows.
You see, I’d been spoiled by F-Spot. It managed photos (with tags) quickly and easily. And F-Spot is the champ of exporting and syncing your photos to online galleries.
Maybe I’m a bit abnormal… but I’d run Linux as my primary system just to have F-Spot. It’s an amateur photographers dream.
Ok. So I may be more than a tad biased here. But I love this application.
It’s still in Beta. But, even so, it just does so much that I’ve been yearning for.
I’m a book person. The amount of sci-fi and comic books I read borders on the ridiculous. (I’m a nerd… so a growing portion of those are eBooks.) And, until now, there hasn’t been that one application. That application that would let me organize my books like I would organize my music (or my notes).
Plus I wanted it to be customizable so it could be easily changed to fit the look of the different desktop themes out there. Plus, it just had to sync with eBook readers (like the Kindle).
Being as nobody else was doing it… I did. And it’s awesome. (Okay, I’m done tooting my own horn now. Hey, at least I saved it for the bottom, right? )
I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 10 awesome application. I know there are more… but these are the 10 that I find to be the most awesome at this particular moment. Have any you’d like to add to the list?