Music, Photos, and Video
Chances are, your Linux distribution of choice comes with a pretty solid video player, like MPlayer. For most people, that’s fine, but if you need something with a bit more control, VLC is a good place to start. It supports more video and audio formats than you can shake a stick at, and it requires virtually no work to get your movies playing—though it does have some handy command line toolsfor you advanced users out there.
digiKam and Shotwell
Linux actually has a few solid photo management tools, but our favorite is definitely digiKam. It’s more on the professional side of things, which means it has more features than you can shake a stick at, including a ton of organization features, support for over 300 RAW formats, the ability to compare pictures side-by-side, and a ton more. It is a bit complicated to use, though—so if you prefer something a bit simpler, Shotwell may be more your speed. It does the basic sorting, tagging, and editing most users need, plus it has the built-in ability to share photos to Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa (a feature digiKam also boasts).
If you’re editing something that can’t be done in digiKam or Shotwell—whether it’s a screenshot or you just need some more advanced tools—the GIMP can probably get it done. It may not be Photoshop, but it can do an awful lot on its own.
Picking a music player for this list was tough. Linux has a pretty big selection, and as we’ve said before, music players are an incredibly personal choice. In the end, we decided on Clementine. It’s got a good set of features, an easy-to-browse interface, and is loved by basic and advanced users alike. If you want something a bit different, we recommend checking out Banshee and Amarok, too.
No matter what you pick for your music player, we recommend having a streaming service on hand, even if it isn’t your main player. We like Spotify, and while it isn’t technically supported on Linux, Spotify has some preview buildsavailable that can at least get you up and streaming. You can also just use theweb player if you don’t mind giving up a browser tab.