Moving from OS X to GNU/Linux was pretty easy because I was able to find comparable Free Software (libre) alternatives to many of the proprietary applications I used on Mac OS X.
Here is a listing of my most-used Mac OS X applications and the alternatives I now use on GNU/Linux:
- Microsoft Office – I now do everything in LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a fork of the older OpenOffice. It is fantastic. I will occasionally use Microsoft Office 365 on GNU/Linux to edit files inside a browser window.
- Screenflow screencasting software – I now use a combination of Kazam for screen capture, Audacity for audio editing, and KDEnlive for the video editing.
- Firefox & Chrome – I use the Firefox version made for Debian and the Chromium browser (both work with 1Password)
- Snagit – Shutter is nice. It has editing features to make simple annotations.
- iMovie – The previously mentioned KDEnlive and OpenShot are fantastic non-linear video editors.
- Marked2 – For editing markdown files, ReText can never reach the awesomeness that Brett Terpstra achieved with Marked but it is still pretty nice to use. If you haven’t heard of markdown, just buy Markdown by David Sparks. Markdown editing is the one skill I now use more often than anything else. It is a massive time saver.
- 1Password – I now use the Windows version of 1Password on GNU/Linux (my HowTo post). I have recently been working on a transition to KeePass2.
- YNAB – The Windows version of YNAB personal finance and budget software runs on GNU/Linux using Wine. I would love to move to GnuCash for this kind of money tracking but the iPhone app for YNAB and the syncing is soooo easy to use.
- OmniFocus – OmniFocus just might be one of the best Mac and iPhone productivity (Getting Things Done or GTD) apps out there. The OmniFocus graphical user interface is tip-top. That said, upon switching to GNU/Linux I changed to the command-line Taskwarrior productivity manager. It took me a couple of days to get the hang of but now I can’t live without it. Besides a web browser, it is my most-used application.
- Adobe Photoshop – The Gnu Image Manipulation Program or GIMP is a perfect alternative to the super-expensive Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator – Creating and editing scalable vector graphics is really easy and fun using Inkscape. I love this app. There is even a great course on Lynda.com to help you learn Inkscape.
- Photos (formerly iPhoto) – My photo management is now taking place in Shotwell. Though, there are some alternatives such as Digikam and Darktable.
Sadly, there are still some Mac OS X applications that I have not been able to find an alternative to in GNU/Linux.
- PDFPen – This Mac-only PDF manipulation application is pretty much the best thing that ever happened to PDF. Surprisingly the iPad version of this app is equally fantastic.
- Textexpander – I have not yet been able to find anything that comes close to comparing with the awesomeness that is Textexpander. If you use a Mac and you don’t have Textexpander you are doing it wrong!
- iCal – Unfortunately, I am still using Calendar via iCloud.com. I will soon be moving my contacts and calendar to Nextcloud – expect a post on that when it happens.
Besides the proprietary 1Password, YNAB, and Microsoft Office 365, all the GNU/Linux software I now use is Free Software (“free” as in freedom/libre) or Open Source Software. It is also available free of charge!
I think the best way to find Free Software applications it to visit the Free Software Foundation’s Free Software Directory. The software is sorted by groups and has pretty good descriptions.
Additionally, the Ubuntu Mate distribution (which I use on my RaspberryPi) has a great software tool called ubuntu-mate-welcome that you can install on regular old Ubuntu. It has a nice listing of useful proprietary software and Free Software (you can tick a box to hide the proprietary software).