Windows vs. Ubuntu’s Best Applications

For Ubuntu, ALL software is free!

On Ubuntu, all software is free. It’s also equal to, or superior to, the Windows versions. I now use loads of new software that I could not even justify the expense of buying for Windows — just to play with it, or try it out… And I mean, ALL software… like: Office Professional, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Photoshop, Quicken, Quickbooks, Microsoft Project, Adobe Illustrator, FrontPage, DreamWeaver, Nero, Avid Liquid, Final Cut Pro, video editing, backup, …you name it! EVERYTHING …except anti-virus software — no such thing… (There is no such thing as a virus or spyware in Ubuntu — because, unlike Windows, Ubuntu is a secure operating system.)

I’ve organized the links below like this…

OpenOffice Spreadsheet ubu win mac site alt

ubu explains how to install programs on Ubuntu (if it’s not already installed by default), win gives you instructions for installing this program on Windows, mac gives you the instructions for installing on a Mac. All versions are totally free.

Windows version Ubuntu’s “best of breed” version (equal or better, and free)
vistalogo1.jpg ubuntu-1280x1024_cropped_tight1.png
Microsoft Office OpenOffice Suite ubu win mac site
Word OpenOffice Word Processing ubu win mac site
Excel OpenOffice Spreadsheet ubu win mac site
PowerPoint OpenOffice Presentation ubu win mac site
Access OpenOffice Database ubu win mac site
Internet Explorer Firefox site ubuntu win mac
Outlook Evolution site ubuntu win mac
advanced e-mail client Thunderbird site ubuntu win mac
MSN / AIM / Yahoo / Gtalk / IRC Pidgen site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Photoshop Gimp site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Quicken / Quickbooks GnuCash site ubuntu win mac (alt alt)
Microsoft Publisher Scribus site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Microsoft Project OpenProj site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Adobe Acrobat Professional “print to a PDF file” is built-in
Adobe Illustrator Sodipodi site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Windows Media Player Totem site ubuntu win mac alt alt or VLC site ubuntu win mac alt alt
iTunes Rhythmbox site ubu win mac alt alt
Picasa F-Spot site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Nero CD/DVD burning Brasero site ubuntu win mac alt alt
CD ripping Sound Juicer site ubuntu win mac alt alt
BitTorrent / uTorrent Deluge ubu win mac alt
Windows Image Viewer F-Spot site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Final Cut Pro / Avid Liquid Kino site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Visio Dia site ubuntu win mac alt alt
FrontPage KompoZer site ubuntu win mac alt alt
DreamWeaver Screem site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Skype Ekiga (includes free normal telephone number via site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Notepad Text Editor site ubuntu win mac alt alt
muti-user collaborative editor Gobby site ubuntu win mac alt alt
wifi network manager Wifi Radar site ubuntu win mac alt alt
audio editing and/or recording Audacity site ubuntu win mac alt alt
hyperlinked post-it notes Tomboy site ubuntu win mac alt alt
desktop sharing for support / VNC / virtualization Vinagre site ubuntu win mac alt alt
WinZip File Roller site ubuntu win mac alt alt
Window Media Center / TiVo MythTV site ubuntu win mac alt alt
WinFax GFax site ubuntu win mac alt alt
graphic charting Inkscape site ubuntu win mac alt alt
charting for programmers Umbrello site ubuntu win mac alt alt
backup — to local or network Simple Backup site ubuntu win mac alt alt
backup — to CDs or DVDs Home User Backup site ubuntu win mac alt alt
backup — including configuration files QuickStart site ubuntu win mac alt alt
WinRAR File Roller site ubuntu win mac alt alt
eMule downloading aMule site ubuntu win mac alt alt
KMid site ubuntu win mac alt alt
3-D Studio Blender site ubuntu win mac alt alt
FTP client FileZilla site ubuntu win mac alt alt
database management MySQL site ubuntu win mac alt alt
audio handler PulseAudio site ubuntu win mac alt alt
anti-virus / anti-spyware none (there is no such thing as a virus or spyware in Ubuntu)
run Windows applications on Ubuntu Wine site ubuntu win mac alt alt
disk usage analysis Disk Usage Analyzer ubu site

The majority of these applications already come pre-installed in the latest version of Ubuntu by default (version 8.04, Hardy Heron). All others must be installed, for free, with one click under the menu: “Applications–>Add/Remove–>All Open Source” from within Ubuntu.


Many of these Ubuntu applications are also available in versions for Windows and Mac. There are many advantages to using these programs — even on Windows or Mac. Besides the obvious fact that they are all free, they are all “best of breed” equal to or better than the commercial options. The other greatest direct benefit to you is… Once you finally decide to take the leap and switch from Windows or Mac, to Ubuntu Linux, you will already have been using all the best Ubuntu applications. You’ll already be quite familiar with them and the transition will be a breeze for you! Additionally, by using these programs you are actually supporting the entire Open Source movement. By using these programs, and telling all of your friends about them, you are increasing the user base — and the developer base for these best applications. This means that they will continue to grow and improve even more quickly. In the table above, a link for win appears if there is also a Windows version, and mac appears if there is a Mac version available.

For support, for any of these applications, you will

get instant answers to your questions at the Ubuntu Forums.

In cases where there are two or more applications that are so close in the running that it was difficult to decide which one is the “best of breed” — I have included a link to the ‘first runner up’ application as alt, for alternate. In a few cases, there might even be two alternates, and you will see two alt links.

NOTE: What are your favorite Windows applications? Did I miss something on this list? Do you disagree with my choice of which Ubuntu application is the “best of breed” for a certain category? Please email me and let me know so I can continue to update this list and make it more complete. We’ll keep this article as a living document — continuing to evolve and improve.

See also, my article comparing Windows to Ubuntu

And… Who is “Open Source”? And if it’s All Free, How do they Make Their Money?



What’s so dangerous about the Cult of  Scientology?  And why You should Care.  Click here to find out.


Free yourself from the closed proprietary ‘Big Brother’ corporate greed of Microsoft, Apple, etc. Choose  Open Source Free Software.

Are you using Ubuntu Linux on your home computer yet?  Do you use Google?  Did you know that the Google search engine you use every day operates 100% on Linux?  There’s no Windows or Mac running the Google company or any of its services.  Check out  Windows vs Ubuntu’s Best Applications and and and and  Google: Open Source Free Software


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Bruce Wagner


16 thoughts on “Windows vs. Ubuntu’s Best Applications

  1. Tristan Rhodes

    Great list Bruce. I have found a few applications that I wasn’t aware of, which I really enjoy learning about!

    I would replace “Planner” with “OpenProj” for Microsoft Project replacement. ( )

    For a Visio replacement I prefer Dia: ( )

    I have been trying to catalog open source software so that more people will be aware of just how good stuff there is available.

    Here is my list:

    But I also highly recommend these two sites:

    Linux App Finder –
    Open Source Alternatives –

    Keep up the great blog.

    Tristan Rhodes

  2. mingo

    Hi Bruce,
    I am not computer savvy, but I am sick and tired of Windows and the problems (viruses) that come with it. Where do I go to learn how to take Windows XP off and run Ubuntu?

  3. Bruce Post author

    Dear Mingo,

    You’ve already found the right place! Right here. I’ll help you through the process.

    First, do you know how to burn a CD from an ISO file?

    If so, go to the Ubuntu web site (at ) and download Ubuntu Desktop Edition version 7.10 for a standard PC. Once you have the ISO file downloaded, then burn a CD from the ISO image file.

    If you don’t know how to burn a CD from an ISO file, just go to that same page ( ) and click on “Request a Free CD”. An installation CD will be mailed to your home for free, in the regular postal mail.

    Once you have the Ubuntu Desktop Edition 7.10 Install CD, make sure you have ALL of your data and Windows programs backed up safely — before you begin.

    Once you have verified that you have all your stuff backed up — because installing Ubuntu is going to erase EVERYTHING from your computer’s hard drive — the next step is: Insert the Ubuntu CD into your CD drive. Shut down your computer. Then, once it’s completely powered off, then turn it on again. The PC will boot from the Ubuntu CD. When it’s finished booting, you will see an Ubuntu desktop. Double-click on the big icon called, “Install”.

    Follow the instructions on the screen. When you get to the section about partitions, select, “Use Entire Disk”, or “Use Entire Drive”.

    Once you’re finished, you’ll have Ubuntu installed…. along with all of the default applications.

    Let me know, here, how it went…


  4. Bruce Post author

    Before I made this list, I had discovered “The Linux Alternative Project” at

    It’s another great resource for Linux alternatives to the standard Windows applications.

    I’ll not stop studying it more, researching each application to determine it’s popularity, stability, features, user feedback, etc. — as compared with the other contenders, and updating my list with the “best-of-breed” winners continuously, based on my research.

    I don’t want to just make another “complete” list of ALL applications randomly.

    My goal is to:

    (1) List application types in the order of importance to most users,

    (2) List only the very best-of-the-best alternatives, specifically for running on Ubuntu, and

    (3) Also list links to simple instructions for installing those same applications on Windows or Mac, where such versions exist.

    That’s why I kind of wanted to list only one single application per type. I’m having a hard time deciding whether to list “alternates” (“runners up”) or not. And, in some cases, I’m having difficulty determining which one is THE best of breed. But I am determined to get to the bottom of it, and continue to maintain this list as a “living document”, and I will…

    What do you think of the way I have organized the links i.e.

    OpenOffice Spreadsheet ubu win mac site alt alt

    Does that make sense to everyone?

  5. Pingback: Ubuntu Beginners get Amazing Support « Bruce’s Journal

  6. Joe

    Although Linux is probably good for just a simple user workstation to do basic stuff and run web servers etc. (FreeBSD) would be better…
    Would have to disagree on several of those applications being just as good or better…

    Here is reason I still won’t use Linux as my workstation, (though I do have ubuntu 8.04 in VMWare as well as Solaris 10)
    Microsoft Office firstly is the de facto standard… try doing complex access databases and excel macros… they do not work properly in open office… all your major corporations are using it… with the exception of possibly Lotus for their windows client… If you work in IT and on apps, forget about it.

    Next, gimp and accessories is absolutely no replacement for Adobe CS3, it would be a laundry list of things you can’t do with the linux apps… also, its pretty standard mac/windows application…

    Visual Studio 2008…once again, very hard to replace this and you would run into problems if you are a developer.

    For basic burns… yeah, you can use a burning app, but if you are doing feature rich stuff, Nero 8 will win everytime hands down.

    Could list several other little custom applications that just won’t work in Linux… the whole paying for is rather nil now anyway as windows comes default with most new pcs…

    There is of course the driver issue also… companies issuing hardware generally don’t develop them for linux, so you have to wait 6-12 months for a new update or edit a conf file

    Of course, if you are a gamer, then… you are going to be out in the water trying to play the newest games.

    That being said, I run Windows XP SP3 as my workstation… never any spyware, never any viruses…
    and not the bloat of Vista… xp sp3 has support until 2014 according to Microsofts roadmap

    Don’t get me wrong, linux is great, it just has its flaws and is not a replacement for most power users, though would be suitable rolling out for classrooms, or similar functions where paying for Windows would eat a big chunk of change.

  7. Sol

    Thanks for the list, helped me out quite a bit. I just installed Ubuntu a few days ago and would love nothing more than to format my windows partition and use only Ubuntu. However, there are a few programs I cannot live with out: DVDfab and Nero Vision (Brasero doesn’t seem to have many features.)

    If anyone has a suggestion I would appreciate it. Also, is there another program that you would suggest for burning regular CD’s? I’m not impressed with Brasero at all.


  8. Paul Mills


    Your site is so helpful to me. Thank you for your generosity in spending some of your time helping people.

    I am looking for a Ubuntu program that is like InTouch for the mac, that is a simple, searchable file file data base. I like to keep quotes, account numbers, etc in a simple data base. Is there anything out there in Linux world that would work on ubuntu 8.04?

    Thank you!

  9. Mike

    I like what you have here. That being said, you may want to correct one thing.
    “…there is no such thing as a virus or spyware in Ubuntu…”

    It’s a common misconception that viruses and spyware “do not exist” for Linux. They do indeed exist, or at least can exist. Just the fact that the nature of Linux is more secure than Windows and viruses exist for Windows in such abundance due to the massive market share it has do not mean viruses/spyware do not exist for Linux. ( If Linux had its popularity it would encounter many of the same security issues.

    That being said, w00t for Linux not having any virus/spyware problems like Windows!

  10. Bruce Post author

    Viruses do not exist in Ubuntu Linux because it is a SECURE OPERATING SYSTEM.

    It has NOTHING to do with “market share” – period.

  11. Lee

    One could make the argument either way. Such as, because Ubuntu is open source, more people can scrutinize the code and find vulnerabilities with the intent to fix them. Conversely, someone could always look for the vulnerabilities on purpose, with intent to write a virus. But let me just say this; most people who know their way around Linux and can code are probably not going to write viruses. That is usually the job of 14 year old kids who think they are cool. I would like to think that most people who make the switch are more mature than that. Oddly enough, I am only 18 and I understand that. I have heard it said, though, that no one wants to write a virus for the OS they are on, so thats why Ubuntu has none. Honestly though, who knows?


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