Useful Linux software you might not know about


A fully customizable file manager! By "fully" I truly mean it - you can edit everything. Choose what is seen on the sidebar - devices, shortcuts, tree view? Or nothing, leaving the whole window for managing files. Click on any toolbar button or bookmark to set its shortcut. Set custom icons for bookmarks. Format or backup devices. But the most important feature is custom commands. For a tutorial, we will be adding a command to move all selected pictures to the Pictures folder. Right click on any file, then on Copy, choose New, and click Command. For its name, type "Move to Pictures folder". The actual command will be "mv %F /home/hackerman/Pictures" (of course replace hackerman with your real username). Now you have to choose upon which conditions the command will appear. For that, go to the Context menu, and choose rule "MIME type" "equals". Inside the textbox, type "image/jpeg", and click Add. That will display the command for every jpeg file. Now do the same but with "image/png" and "image/gif". Voila! Now, every time you right click an image (or many), there will be an option to put it (them) in an appropriate place. Note: if there are multiple files, all of them have to fit the command's requirements. So if you select 100 files, of which 99 are images and one is a music file, the command will not appear. Anyway, that's the power of SpaceFM. Our command is pretty basic, but the possibilities are endless. As an exercise, try to make a command to move all the pictures in the current folder to the Pictures folder.


A torrent client with an in-built search engine! There are more of them but the others all suck. For example, Vuze has ads in its free version. Tixati is bloated to hell and back. Frostwire is also bloated..(video players have no place inside torrent clients) KTorrent is the only other one that's open source but the last time I used it, most of its search engines didn't work and displayed a big ugly error. That, then, leaves qBittorrent, which also has a really nice, clean user interface.


Even better than torrents. As qB, it has a search engine, but is also more configurable in other ways. You can add friends and send messages, but the most important feature is the ability to set a SOCKS proxy server - yes, this means you can download files through Tor. In an age where ISPs literally send letters trying to scare you from torrenting, and some people even get fined, this is very important. Note: I wasn't able to get High ID with Tor - it doesn't seem to be possible, and apparently is with some VPNs. However VPNs are paid, and can rat you out. Also, only TCP traffic goes through Tor, while aMule still sends some UDP traffic, but the actual file is downloaded through Tor - I know because when I turned it off, the download stopped. I think the UDP is just for server requests. Regardless, this is uncharted territory - not much information at all on running aMule through Tor, so some issues could still pop up. Tor does not provide perfect security regardless - even with all the effort spent on the Tor browser, they can barely deal with simple things such as fingerprinting. Tor itself was deanonymized many times, and probably many more tactics are in preparation or even active, but unknown to the public. But it is better than relying on direct connections, and is your best free option.


The best Linux music player! (and I think I've tried them all). The UI is great. Everything is so intuitive and usable. You can choose what you see on the sidebar - playlists, album lists, your folders, etc. Its preferences menu has everything it needs to and nothing more (while some other players, like DeadBeeF or Clementine, have too much stuff shoved in there). In the track view, you can easily add or remove the visible columns that you need - and there's LOTS of them, while DeadBeeF only has a few. Supports ratings and grouping tags (which can also be displayed as columns in the song list) - and here we come to QuodLibet's most important feature, which is missing in other music players. The advanced tag filtering capabilities. Every option that is available as a column can be used as a search term. So you can search by length, album, author, whatever. And combine all those in any way you want. Let's say I'm not in the mood for short or sad songs and I've assigned those a relevant grouping value. So I can type (grouping = !sad, grouping = !short), which means "show me songs where the grouping tag is NEITHER sad nor short". I also don't want any badly rated songs, so let's add a rating over 0.5. &(grouping = !sad, grouping = !short, #(rating > 0.5)). See? You can do everything with this, and no other player has this capability. A detailed explanation of QuodLibet's filtering is available here.

Claws Mail

A mail client that (similar to SpaceFM) manages to be featureful while not getting in your way. UI is clean and immediately understandable; I especially like the Preferences menu where you can see all the categories at once on the left side and the options they consist of on the right side. Using Claws Mail has been painless and very efficient for me - you can easily do literally everything you want in regards to mail handling (PGP support available through plugin - works very well) - while being able to ignore the things you don't care about without hassle. Contrast that to Thunderbird, which is usually the mail client of choice for Linux systems. First of all, it is not even a mail client but an abomination consisting of an RSS reader, calendar, task manager, and a fucking chat program. It even has a default search engine and fucking tabs - like what the fuck? This isn't a web browser! Of course, the UI is also terrible - check out Principles of bad software design to know more. There is also Sylpheed (from which Claws Mail has been forked a long time ago) which is a decent choice but lacks some important features while not really being more usable. The Preferences menu is badly designed as well.

Last updated: 03 / 11 / 2018

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