It is time to share a list of the best 25 Free and Open Source Software I found during the year 2021. Some of these programs may not be new in that they weren’t released for the first time in 2021, but they are new and have been helpful to me. It is in the spirit of sharing that I’m writing this article hoping you find some of these programs useful as well.
To begin, you may want to search for the program using your distribution’s package manager, like so:
Fedora and derivatives:
# yum search all package Or # dnf search all package
Debian and derivatives:
# aptitude search package
OpenSUSE and derivatives:
# zypper search package
Arch Linux and derivatives:
# pacman -Ss package
If your search returns no results, head over to the website of each tool where you will find the standalone package for download and installation instructions, along with information on dependencies.
You can use Simple Screen Recorder to make audio and video screencasts (entire screen or selected area). It is easy to install and use, but powerful at the same time.
We already covered Simple Screen Recorder in-depth here: How to record programs and games using Simple Screen Recorder.
2. Jaspersoft Studio
Jaspersoft Studio is a report designer program that allows you to create simple and sophisticated reports as well with charts, tabs, tables (and everything you can expect to see in a world-class report) and export them to a wide variety of formats (with PDF perhaps being the most common).
With Q&A forums and User groups, plus several samples and examples, the community website is a great resource of help to master this versatile program.
3. Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code has reached a significant level of popularity among web and cloud developers who are also Linux users since it provides a nice programming environment out of the box that supports extensions to add functionality.
If you’re like me and music (especially the guitar) is one of your passions, you’ll love this TuxGuitar program, which will let you edit and play guitar tablatures like a pro.
Jitsi is a free and open-source audio/video conferencing and instant messaging platform for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. It provides complete encryption with the support for protocols such as SIP, XMPP/Jabber, AIM/ICQ, IRC, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!, Google Hangouts extensions, as well as OTR, ZRTP, etc.
GCompris is a cross-platform high quality complete educational software collection for children aged between 2 to 10, and it comes with more than 140 entertaining activities that help little children learn skills such as the identification of letters and numbers, the use of the mouse and keyboard, primary algebra training, reading time on an analog clock, vector drawing, language learning through games, and much more.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a multi-platform, free and open-source photo editing software used for image manipulation and image editing, free-form drawing, transcoding between different image file formats, and more specialized tasks.
FreeCAD is a general-purpose 3D Computer-Aided Design program fit for use in engineering and architecture. Given the fact that FreeCAD is FOSS, it is easily customizable and extensible through the use of Python scripts.
Although not a new kid on the block in any way, I chose to include OwnCloud in this review due to its importance. As an alternative to commercial Dropbox, security, and privacy are achieved without much hassle and allow you to easily set up customized cloud storage and file sharing solution.
We already covered installation about Owncloud in-depth here: Create Personal/Private Cloud Storage Solution in Linux
MediaWiki is a program for creating and managing a Wikipedia-like website (in fact, Wikipedia itself is based on MediaWiki) where a community can add, remove, update and revert entries, and authors are notified upon such changes.
You can think of Bleachbit as the CCleaner for Linux – but more powerful. It will not only recover disk space by deleting temporary or otherwise unnecessary files, but will also improve Firefox performance and securely destroy unnecessary files to prevent recovery.
We already covered installation about Bleachbit in-depth here: Disk Space Cleaner and Privacy Guard for Linux
13. GNU Health
GNU Health is a free, extremely scalable Health and Hospital Information Platform, which is used by health professionals across the world to enhance the lives of the underprivileged, offering a free technique that optimizes health promotion and disease prevention.
14. OCS Inventory NG
Open Computer and Software Inventory Next Generation, or OCS Inventory NG for short, is a lightweight web application that can help network and system administrators to keep track of 1) all the devices connected to the network, and 2) machine configuration and software installed in them.
The project’s website (listed below) has a fully functional demo in case you want to check it out before attempting to actually install the program. In addition, OCS Inventory NG relies on well-known technologies like Apache and MySQL / MariaDB, making it a robust program.
Often used in conjunction with OCS Inventory NG, GLPI is a multilingual, free IT asset management software that not only provides the tools to build up a database with an inventory of your network devices but also includes a job tracking system with mail notifications.
Other distinguishing features include, but are not limited to:
- Interventions in history
- Solution approval
- Satisfaction survey
- Exporting inventory to PDF, spreadsheet, or PNG formats
We already covered installation about GLPI IT Asset Management tool in-depth here: Install GLPI IT and Asset Management Tool in Linux
With Ampache, you can set up your own home media center or online audio and video streaming application and access it from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Although it is designed as a personal application, Ampache allows for public registration if an administrator chooses to enable that feature.
17. Master PDF Editor (Paid)
Master PDF Editor is an easy to use pdf editing tool for working with PDF documents that comes with powerful multi-purpose functionality. It helps you to easily add text, create and modify pdf, add images and encrypt the files. Master PDF also allows you to merge files into one or split documents into multiple files.
18. LibreOffice Draw
LibreOffice Draw is an application that is inbuilt in the LibreOffice suite that enables you to create anything from an easy sketch to complex ones and provides you the means to communicate with graphics and diagrams. With Draw you can easily open and edit basic PDF files.
19. uniCenta oPOS
If you own a small or medium business you will undoubtedly need a Point Of Sale program. As such, uniCenta oPOS may be a lifesaver for you. It uses a MySQL / MariaDB database for data storage, and thus a single database can be used with multiple active terminals at the same time. On top of all that, uniCenta oPOS also includes a search panel, a price-checker utility, and a tool to create printed reports.
OpenShot is a FOSS video editor for Linux that can help you create “the film you have always dreamed of” (in the words of its developers) with your home videos, pictures, and music files. It also allows you to add subtitles, transition effects, and export the resulting video file to DVD and many other common formats.
21. LAN Messenger
LAN Messenger is a multilingual (a language pack is needed) and cross-platform (works in Linux, Windows, and Mac) IM program for communication over a LAN. It provides file transfers, message logging, and event notifications – all without the need to set up a server!
Cherrytree is a free and open-source hierarchical note-taking program that comes with rich text formatting, syntax highlighting, and advanced customization options. Its advanced search feature enables you to search files across the file tree irrespective of their path.
It comes with keyboard shortcuts, importing and exporting notes, syncing with cloud platforms like Dropbox, and password security to keep your notes secure.
FlightGear is an awesome open-source flight simulator tool, that is used to create a knowledgeable and open flight simulator system for use in experiments or academic environments, pilot training, as an industrial engineering program, for DIY-ers to chase their chosen exciting flight simulation design, and last but surely not least as a fun, practical, and demanding desktop flight simulator for Linux.
MuseScore is an open-source and free professional music notation application that is used to create, play and print beautiful sheet music using easy to use, yet powerful interface.
Tmux is an open-source Linux terminal multiplexer that allows you to run multiple terminal sessions in a single window. It is useful for running several programs in one terminal, detaching them (they keep running in the background), and reattaching them to a different terminal.
In this article, I have described free and open source applications that I have found during the year 2021, and hope that it sparks your interest in one or more of them.
Would you like us to cover any of them in greater detail on this site? Have you found another great FOSS application that you would like to share with the rest of the community? Just let us know using the comment form below. Questions, comments, and suggestions are also welcome.