Comprehensive Guide: 21 Masthead Apps For Ubuntu (Release 2020)

What are the best apps for Ubuntu? This is a question that is often asked to me, but instead of answering individually, I decided to write a list of the best Ubuntu programs so that everyone can read it!

So, below is a list of the best Ubuntu apps. In this list, there are suggestions for users of absolutely any level, and for the green novice who installed his first Ubuntu yesterday, and for the experienced guru who has learned all the power and power of Linux.

Feel free to share your favorite Linux apps in the comments section below the article.

Well, read on to find great software for Linux!

21 best Ubuntu apps

To make this list more interesting, I decided NOT to include the apps that come with Ubuntu by default.

This means that well-known programs such as Mozilla Firefox, LibreOffice, and Thunderbird will NOT be listed below. Why remember what you already have?

I’ve also tried to select Linux apps that are available directly from the Ubuntu archive (although, as you’ll see, there are a few exceptions) to reduce the need for third-party PPA and external repositories.

1. Geary Email Client

Like most Gmail users, I tend to read, write, and send email in the browser. It’s simple, fast, and as cross-platform as possible. But the Geary email clientshown above is so good that it almost convinced me to upgrade to a desktop app.

Geary is a full-featured IMAP mail client that allows you to configure sending and receiving mail from popular webmail providers, including Gmail, Yahoo!Mail and Outlook, using the wizard interface.

Once everything syncs, you’ll find that Geary offers a clean, modern look with good integration with the GNOME Shell desktop, the same one that Ubuntu uses.

It has powerful (and fast) mail search features, a comprehensive editor for writing emails, and many other thoughtful features such as email streaming.

You can very easily install Geary in Ubuntu, just keep in mind that some features vary depending on which Linux distribution you are using.

Install Geary from Ubuntu Software

If you want to use the latest version of Geary, you need to install the app from Flathub (see also our Flatpak installation guideif you need it).

2. Lollypop Music Player

Lollypop is a feature-rich GTK music player and manager for Linux and a fantastic alternative to Rhythmbox, the standard Ubuntu music app.

The player seamlessly integrates with the GNOME shell desktop and has all the necessary features, such as adding music, viewing music, playing music, creating playlists, and the like.

Lollypop also offers a party mode; it can get lyrics, album covers, and artist biographies from online sources; and it can “scrobble” tracks on sites like Last.FM and ListenBrainz.

While traditional music playback apps like Lollypop may seem old-fashioned in the era of music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Prime Music, not only are they not outdated, but, as this app shows, they don’t even look outdated!

To use the latest version, you will need to add the official Lollypop PPA or install the app from Flathub. Alternatively, you can install Lollypop in Ubuntu from the Ubuntu Software store:

Install Lollypop from Ubuntu Software

3. Google Chrome Browser

No list of the best Linux apps is complete without mentioning the world’s most popular web browser, Google Chrome.

You all probably know everything you need (or, in some cases, everything you want) to know about Chrome, just mention that it is well supported, contains a lot of features, and runs on Linux desktops as well as on macs and windows!

You can log in to your Google account to sync bookmarks, extensions, passwords, and even apps between Linux and other devices you use Chrome on, such as a Windows device.

So if you’re a Google fan, an avid Android user, or just someone who likes the way Chrome works, you can easily install it on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and related distributions.

Go to the official Chrome page to get the 64-bit Ubuntu installer, and then double-click on it once it’s downloaded. Follow the on-screen instructions and install.

Open the Google Chrome website

4. The GIMP Graphic Editor

If you’re looking for a viable alternative to Photoshop, you don’t need to look any further than GIMP.

GIMP is not only a (valuable fur) weird name, but also a powerful open source image editor that is freely available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.

Despite missing some of Adobe’s most striking achievements, the app is more than up to par with its fabulous competitor, which is quite surprising when you remember that it’s completely free software.

So, whether you want to correct some shortcomings on the next self-made “against the Eiffel Tower” or create a monumental multi-layered masterpiece to put it in the internet, GIMP can do both.

You can install GIMP on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and other similar Linux distributions from the repositories.

Download GIMP

5. Kdenlive Video Editor

Need to crop a video clip before uploading it to YouTube? Try Kdenlive. Want to work on a multi-camera video podcast with smooth transitions and cool video effects? Try Kdenlive.

Why? Because Kdenlive is by far the best open source video editing software for Linux, Ubuntu, and similar distributions.

This non-linear video editor offers a solid balance of basic and advanced video editing features, including so-called keying, which doesn’t seem to have any digestible Russian translation at all, rotoscoping, keyframe editing, cool transitions, and useful export profiles.

Install Kdenlive from Ubuntu Software

6. Telegram Desktop

If you use the popular Telegram messenger on your smartphone, check out the official desktop application, which is called Telegram Desktop.

The cross-platform client boasts a user-friendly layout, encrypted chats, and improved privacy. All the messages you send, read, and receive are also perfectly synchronized with your mobile phone.

I should note that to subscribe to Telegram, you will need a mobile phone number (valid). But after you confirm it, you can continue. Download it directly from the Snap Store:

Telegram Desktop in the Snap store

7. ePub reader Foliate

There are a number of desktop e-book readers running on Linux, but Foliate isundoubtedly the most comprehensive of them all.

The GTK-based Foliate boasts a clean, well-thought-out and streamlined user interface; provides the user with a set of parameters such as: font size and spaces, page layout; and supports text notes, dictionary search, bookmarks, and tracks reading progress.

Foliate is available in both Flathub and the Snap Store, or you can download the installation package for the latest version of Foliate directly from the GitHub page.:

Release of Foliate on GitHub

8. Caffeine

Caffeine is a small app with one purpose: to prevent the screen from locking (or turning on the screensaver if you use it).

Why would you need such a thing? If you’ve ever tried to watch a video and your lock screen turned on, you know why. I use caffeine in all situations where suddenly turning on the screensaver or darkening the screen can interfere.

A true software stimulator, Caffeine works like a small applet in the notification area that you can turn on to keep your computer active (and turn it off when you don’t mind it taking a nap!)

Install Caffeine from Ubuntu Software

9. Tilix terminal Emulator

Ubuntu comes with a decent terminal emulator by default. But if you’re looking for something more advanced, check out the terminal emulator Tilix.

Tilix allows you to split multiple terminal sessions inside a single merged window (or not one, if you want) both horizontally and vertically. The app also supports custom titles, custom links, and custom backgrounds.

The Tilix feature set is completed with drag-and-drop permutation, support for persistent layouts (for example, opening the same CLI tools in the same position each time) , and notifications (convenient for completing a task).

Install Tilix from Ubuntu Software

10. OnlyOffice Office Suite

OnlyOffice is a free, open source, and regularly updated suite of productivity apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

By and large, OnlyOffice is a free, high – performance, open-source version of Microsoft Office that can work with files created in Microsoft Office.

Its only significant drawback is that the application uses its own toolkit, that is, it does not merge with your other applications. But it’s the functionality, not the form, that matters, and OnlyOffice provides it in containers.

Desktop version of OnlyOffice in the Snap Store

11.  Etcher

Etcher — This is a free utility for writing images to an open source USB flash drive for Windows, macOS, and Linux. I already included it in my list of the best Electron apps, but I couldn’t resist adding this plugin here, as it’s just so damn good at what it does.

If you regularly try new Linux distributions, you will understand how important it is to have a reliable tool for flashing, and Etcher is just what the doctor ordered.

Just launch the app, select a valid .iso or .img file, select the disk to burn the image to, and that’s it! A bootable USB or SD card is ready in super-short time.

Etcher is available for download from the project’s website in 64-bit and 32-bit .appimage format.

Etcher Download Page

12. Cawbird Twitter Client

IfTwitter is your social network, sign up for Cawbird, a continuation of the excellent (but no longer released) Corebird twitter client.

Cawbird combines the traditional work of Twitter (that is, the reverse chronological flow of recent “tweets”, rather than ranking by popularity algorithm) in a great GTK interface.

Likes, favas, retweets, replies, notifications about mentions, the ability to subscribe or unsubscribe from a particular account, and, of course, a section with personal messages. All this is present in Cawbird.

Under the wing of this bird, you’ll also find several innovative features, including the ability to add text extensions to phrases and emoticons; automatically save tweets in the editor window; and (very mercifully) the ability to lure or blacklist certain accounts, tags, topics, and keywords.

Download Cawbird from the Snap Store

13. VLC Media Player

The universal VLC media player needs no introduction. Like Firefox and LibreOffice, it is one of the most well-known cross-platform and open source software programs.

VLC will play almost any media format you add, video, audio, or anything in between! In addition to playing DVDs, VLC can access shared DLNA resources and online streams, and even transcode videos from one format to another.

So despite the glut of Linux video players available (Celluloid is my personal favorite), I still recommend VLC for everyone because of its broad support, huge feature set, and robust nature.

Install VLC from Ubuntu Software

14. GNOME Tweaks

GNOME Tweaks is a Swiss army knife for the modern Ubuntu desktop. It has sliders, switches, and toggles that control a variety of behaviors and settings. Tweaks is so useful that I even included it in the list of things to use right after installing Ubuntu.

If you want to change the GTK theme in Ubuntu, change the icon set, adjust the desktop font, show the battery percentage in the top panel, move the window buttons in the opposite direction…

Whatever task you are facing, before you look for other ways to do it, first check GNOME Tweaks, most likely it will cope.

Install GNOME Tweaks from Ubuntu Software

15. RSS Feeds Client

RSS feeds are a convenient way to stay up to date with the latest news, posts, and podcasts from the sites you like.

But to start using RSS feeds, you need an RSS client. I love Feeds (formerly known as GNOME Feeds). This is a well-made GTK RSS Reader for Linux with a fantastic design.

Admittedly, it lacks any kind of “cloud” integration (so you can’t sync reading items with an RSS service like Feedly or The Old Reader), but the app makes it easy to import and export channel lists.

It also has read-only and mark all as read buttons; the ability to save articles for offline reading; and a built-in reader mode, which is perfect for viewing posts from your favorite news sites – hmm, like this one.

Feeds on Flathub

16. Steam

Want to start playing on Linux? Then you will need Steam from Valve. It is the de facto platform for distributing games for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

I’ve lost count of the number of native Linux games that Steam boasts, but we’re talking about many thousands, from indie hits and retro favorites to top AAA blockbusters like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, DiRT 4, and various Warhammer releases.

Even better, when you buy a game on Steam, you can access versions of it for any platform – so if you already have a neat library of games for Windows, you can automatically play it on Linux machines as well!

To install Steam on Ubuntu, simply download the official installation package from the Steam website:

Download the Steam Installer (64-bit)

17. ULauncher

We’ve already marked Ulauncher with an asterisk and given it the highest rating on our list of the best app launchers for Ubuntu and Linux Mint, thanks in part to its wide feature set and great-looking user interface.

Ulauncher is a performance string triggered by ctrl + space and inspired by Alfred for macOS and similar semantic search tools that came later.

The application allows you to run applications on your system using only the keyboard … but, thanks to the extensions, Ulauncher can do a lot more than run apps.

Adding Ulauncher extensions allows you to expand the features available from the launcher, such as searching for definitions in the dictionary; finding and copying emojis to the clipboard; launching an internet search, and much more.

Downloadulauncher for Ubuntu (64-bit)

18. VSCode Code Editor

There are many code editors available for Linux, including Gedit, Atom, Sublime Text, and even Notepad++, but the best code editor is Visual Studio Code.

VSCode (despite being made by Microsoft) is a free, powerful code editor available for Linux, as well as for macOS and Windows systems.

It has built-in support for various languages, including TypeScript, JavaScript, and Node.js. It also has a “smart” autofill feature and can be extended and adapted to specific workflows with plugins.

You can install VSCode in Ubuntu as a Snap app:

Visual Studio Code in the Snap Store

19. Flameshot

If you want to take screenshots in Ubuntu or Linux Mint and want to provide them with comments, text, calls, arrows, and other icons, you will definitely like Flameshot.

This snap’tastic app has many features (too many to mention each), but they are all extremely easy and easy to understand. Just select the area of the screen you want to capture, add some markup, highlight or hide some sensitive data, then press Enter to take a picture.

If you’re a fan of Shutter (a GTK screenshot creation and editing app that no longer works properly in the new version of Ubuntu), Flameshot is next in line, as the best replacement.

Install Flameshot from Ubuntu Software

20. Neofetch

Looking for a fancy way to learn more about your system? For example, what window manager, GTK theme, desktop environment, what kernel version are you using? You can browse through many menus to find out the answer to each question, or you can simply install Neofetch and get all the information in one place.

Although it’s not a GUI application (meaning you won’t find a launcher like an icon), it’s very easy to use: just run the neofetch command!

You can even set Neofetch to create a screenshot of the moment you launch it, making it perfect for those moments when you want to show off your eye-catching desktop setup!

Install Neofetch from Ubuntu Software

21. Shortwave

Shortwave is a GTK internet radio app that makes it easy to find and listen to internet radio stations – heck, it can even record them!

With a simple and intuitive user interface, Shortwave’s unique focus makes it a finely tuned alternative to more general-purpose media players and features close integration with the GNOME Shell desktop (including support for media management).

And the cherry on the cake is the built-in Google Chromecast support if you want to send your favorite radio stations from your Linux system to a large-screen TV.

I highly recommend it.

Shortwave on Flathub

But wait! There’s something else!

As I said at the beginning: this list could be 101 apps longer than it is, but given that you probably don’t want to spend all day scrolling through the article, I’ve limited myself to showing only 21 apps – voluntarily accepted restrictions.

However, there are a few other applications that I want to mention at least in passing.

First, a stack of well-known cross-platform programs , such as Blender, Spotify, Skype, Slack, Audacity, and VirtualBox, is available for free on Linux, as well as some less well-known pro tools, such as Lightworks (video editor) and Waveform Free (digital audio station).

As for the GUI, Peek is a gorgeous animated GIF screen for Linux desktops created using GTK; Olive is a promising new video editor; Drowing is a kind of alternative to Microsoft Paint for Linux.

If you are an Android smartphone user, then use Scrpy (a great tool that allows you to mirror your Android phone on the Linux desktop to interact and manage it), as well as KDE Connect or GSConnect.

I intentionally didn’t list many CLI-based tools above, but there are a few that I just can’t keep quiet about: ncdu (disk utility); rainbowstream (CLI client for Twitter), cmus (music player), and an alternative to htop (system performance monitoring).

To learn more about apps, check out the lists of the best Linux music players and the best app launchers. And check out my selection of the best Electron apps, most of which can be run on Windows, macOS, or Linux.


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