5 open source programs that I consider essential and why

Screenshot of the Caliber book collection manager

Caliber is a book collection manager.

If we free software users can agree on something, it is that we will never agree on something.
Asking at a meeting of linuxers which is the best distribution is to start a strong discussion. Discussion that will only end when we join together to respond to whoever says FreeBSD is much better.

The same can be said for word processors, browsers, video players, and any other piece of software.

What follows is a purely personal opinion. This is the list of 5 open source programs that are essential for me.

Below is the comment form so you can tell us yours.


VLC Player Screenshot

The VLC video player allows you to change the size and color of the subtitles. In the capture it is seen in two colors because the subtitle file includes formatting instructions.

VLC is a multiplatform and multimedia player. It can also play DVD and Blu Ray without the need to install additional codecs.

I am very nearsighted. VLC allows me to see the subtitles in yellow letters on a black background, go back in the playback or play more slowly. These days video tutorials are taking over written tutorials and it is not always easy for me to follow them at first glance. Hence, I consider these characteristics as essential.

Another very interesting function is to convert between different video formats.

You can also use it to stream content to and from your mobile device.

Installation on Linux.

  • Repositories
  • Snap package
  • FlatPak Package


Screenshot of the Caliber book viewer.

The Caliber book viewer has different options to make reading easier.

Caliber is a book collection manager that also includes two other applications; an ebook publisher and an ebook reader.

The main tool also allows you to convert texts between different formats.

At one time it was possible, using a third-party plugin, to remove copyright protection from Amazon Kindle books, but Amazon has improved that protection.

The Ebook reader allows you to change characteristics such as the size and color of the font and the background color of the page. To do this you may need to first delete the style sheets with the editor.

Do I need to say why I love this feature?

Installation on Linux.

Although it is in repositories, it is recommended to use this command


Screenshot of Audacity audio editing software

Audacity is a tool for editing and converting audio files. Although the capture is in English, the program has a Spanish translation.

Audacity is a complete audio editing tool. In my case I use it to create audio books.
I discovered the usefulness of audiobooks in the last year.

I spend more time than I would like on public transportation, queuing, and other situations where you can't keep your eyes on a tablet or e-book reader.

Being YouTube, so far, the most complete repository that I found Audacity is the ideal option to convert between formats. We can also speed up the playback speed a bit without any loss.

Installation on Linux.

  • Repositories.
  • Snap package.
  • FlatPak package.


JDownloader Download Manager Screenshot 2

JDownloader2 is a download manager that works with the main services.

I use JDownloader2 for absolutely all the reasons that I use the rest of the programs.

JDownloader2 allows you to download from the main download servers in addition to video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo or PornHub (the latter I found out at the request of a friend).

In the case of YouTube, you can choose to download only the audio or download the subtitles separately.

Installation on Linux.

In both cases it is required to have the Java virtual machine installed.


Screenshot of My Agile Pomodoro

myAgilePomodoro is a timer for the pomodoro technique and the Agile methodology.

I am a true addict of personal productivity techniques. Pomodoro is one of my favorites.

The basis of the Pomodoro technique is that the brain can only stay focused for short periods of time. That is why he establishes 4 work periods of 25 minutes, 3 short breaks of 5 and a long one of 15.

Open source Pomodoro timers are there for everyone. From GNOME extensions and widget for KDE Plasma to cross-platform programs.

In the case of myAgilePomodoro, it is a timer that can be used both with the traditional Pomodoro technique and with Agile, a methodology created for efficient software development. The program keeps detailed statistics of our performance.

One point against is that it is not translated into Spanish. However, the English interface is perfectly understood. Like the instruction manual.

I prefer myAgilePomodoro to other alternatives since being written in Java I can install it on both Windows and Linux. With the option to export data between different versions I can continue my task in either one without having to add up the pomodoros or the tracking statistics of my work by hand.

Download from the web.

Requires Java virtual machine.


  • Repositories: Refers to the program servers used by the different Linux distributions. It is used in conjunction with a Software manager.
  • Snap Packages: Program installation format promoted by Canonical. It is installed and updated independently of the components of the rest of the operating system.
  • FlatPak packages: It has the same characteristics of the Snap packages. It is promoted by Freedesktop.org.

See information

Final words

I do not consider myself a particularly interesting person, nor do I intend to propose myself as a reference in the Linux community. I just discovered that commenting on how you use a certain program usually starts a very productive exchange of experiences.

Much more productive than the mere enumeration of characteristics of a program.

Again I remind you that at the end of the post is the comment form. I am going to be very interested in knowing which programs cannot be missing from your hard drive and why.

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  1.   Daniel said

    I'm going to test it, Jdownloader2. Thanks

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Hope this can help you. Greetings

  2.   Andreale Dicam said

    Totally agree, but lacked the teacher of teachers: Firefox!

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Thanks for your input

  3.   Yamil said

    jDownloader is gorgeous. I have been using it since before I switched to Linux.
    For me the inevitable is the double panel file manager, and Krusader is the best thing that has happened to me since I returned to foray (and definitely to stay) in the world of GNU / Linux.
    I still haven't found an image editor that is easy to use and with the potential to replace the only one I learned to use fairly well: Fireworks (don't laugh, my idea was to learn how to design websites and I ended up using it for this other): - )
    Good post!

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Thanks for the comment.
      I'm going to do one on image editors to see if we find something you like

  4.   01101001b said

    Good tools. Congratulations! :-)

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Many Thanks

  5.   parsee said

    Regarding Caliber: too cluttered for my taste, and I hate the way it organizes the collection (apart from the fact that I don't need 20 thousand formats of the same book, I only use ePub). That led me to discover Sygil. Check it out.

    On an alternative drawing, apart from Krita (sooo good but also sooo loaded with functions), it paints. Yes, as it sounds, "paints." Simple but also powerful.

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Sigil (last time I looked at it) It was used to edit epubs. It is not an alternative to the rest of the things that Caliber does.
      Coincido that is a bit complex when it comes to managing collections.
      Thanks for your comment