Previous Page
PCLinuxOS Magazine
Article List
Next Page

Windows Migration: What Software Do I Need?

by Meemaw

Now that you have experimented with Linux, or even installed a version, you remember a certain program that you need. In Windows, it was called ABC. Does Linux have a program that does the same thing? What's it called? When I first converted to Linux, I found an equivalent programs list that helped me find what I needed. Sadly, this list is outdated, and many of the programs on it are either not up to date or have been discontinued.

In this article I will discuss equivalent programs for the ones you had in Windows. All of the Linux programs I mention can be found in the PCLinuxOS repositories. Some of the more popular choices for Windows programs will be in Red text, and Linux equivalents will be in Blue. There's no possible way to anticipate EVERY user's needs, so we'll touch on what we think are the most common application equivalents.

When you tried a Live CD, Live DVD or Live USB, you found that most of them had several useful programs already installed (web browser, text editor, cd burning program, music player, video player, calculator, etc). Some of them differ depending on which desktop environment you were using. We'll start with the Web Browsers.

Web Browser

For a while, the only browser was Internet Explorer. Now, however, there are several others;

Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari

Mozilla Firefox, Konqueror, Chromium, Opera, Midori, SeaMonkey, Epiphany

Notice that Firefox, Chrome/Chromium and Opera are common to both groups. I always liked that because I have to use Windows at work. But because I use Linux at home, I can use the same browser in both places. We will find that several other programs have Linux versions PLUS Windows and Apple versions as well. This also helps those who want to try these programs before they commit to switching.

E-Mail Clients

All of my email is web-based, so I can access it on both of my computers but others want a program on their computer that they can use to receive their email. However, if you are the sort that likes to have and use a dedicated email client, you have plenty of choices to choose from.

Outlook, Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, Lotus Notes, Eudora

Mozilla Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail, Claws Mail, Eudora, Postler

Address Book

Outlook/Outlook Express

Evolution, KDE-PIM, gaddr, rubrica, osmo, contacts

Instant Messenger/IRC Client

Yahoo Messenger, AIM, Trillian, Pidgin, XChat, MSN, mIRC

Pidgin, XChat, KVirc, Kopete, aMSN

Video/Audio Conference

NetMeeting, GoToMeeting

Ekiga (formerly GnomeMeeting)


Skype, Linphone, Blink, Cisco IP Communicator, Ekiga, Google Talk, Mumble, Ventrilo

Skype, Linphone, Ekiga, Decibel, Mangler, Google Talk plugin, Twinkle

File Manager

Windows Explorer, Xplorer2, Total Commander, Unreal Commander, Nomad.NET, etc.

Konqueror, Thunar, Dolphin, Nautilus, Midnight Commander, XFE

Archiver (Compress and decompress files for storage or email)

7-Zip, WinZip, WinRAR, PKZip

ArK, File Roller, Xarchiver

Text Editor (When you don't need a whole office suite)

Notepad, Wordpad, Sticky Notes

KWrite, Kedit, Gedit, Kate, Mousepad, Leafpad, scite, Medit, Nedit, Geany

PDF Viewer

Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader

Kpdf, Evince, Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader, Epdf, Okular

PDF Creator

Adobe Acrobat, Ghostscript. LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Scribus

Ghostscript, Kghostview, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, ps2pdf (a print-to-file function in many programs), Scribus

Office Suite (most including word processor spreadsheet, presentation creator, drawing program & database)

Microsoft Office, Microsoft Works, Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice, LibreOffice

LibreOffice, Calligra (formerly KOffice), Abiword (word processor only), OOo4Kids

Scanner Controls

Each scanner cd generally includes its own program, VueScan

XSane, SimpleScan, Kooka, VueScan, SimpleScan, Gnome Scan, gscan2pdf

CD/DVD Burning

Nero, Roxio Easy CD Creator, ImgBurn, Windows Media Center

K3b, GnomeBaker, Iso Master, XFburn, Grafburn, Brasero, Audacity, Mencoder, DVD::Rip, AcidRip

System Configuration

Control Panel, SysConfig, Regedit

PCLinuxOS Control Center, KDE Control Center, Gnome Control Center, XFCE Settings Manager, LXDE Control Panel

Audio/Music Players

Windows Media Player, WinAmp, iTunes, VLC

MPlayer, AmaroK, Noatun, VLC, Clementine, Totem, XMMS, KsCD, XBMC, Exaile, Banshee, DeaDBeeF, Listen, Rhythmbox, Songbird, Xfmedia, Parole

Video Players

Windows Media Player, iTunes, VLC, Power DVD, RealPlayer & others

MPlayer, XBMC, VLC, Xine, Parole, Xfmedia

Video Creators

Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premier, Video Studio 4, (and some video cameras have their own programs on CD)

Avidemux, Cinelerra, Cinepaint, Kdenlive, LiVES, Kino, Openshot

Picture Viewers

Windows Fax & Image Viewer, IrfanView, XNView, ACDSee

GPicView, Ristretto, picturewall, ephoto, Eye of Gnome, viewnior, kuikshow, Cornice, flphoto, Imgv, gliv, GQView, Shotwell, f-Spot, gthumb, Mirage, Gwenview, IrfanView

Graphic Editor (simple)


Kpaint, Tuxpaint, MTPaint, Mypaint

Graphic Editor (like Photoshop)

Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Paintshop Pro, Corel PhotoPaint

GIMP, ImageMagick, Cinepaint, MTPaint, KolourPaint, Gnome Paint, Krita

Vector Graphics Editor

Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, OpenOffice Draw, LibreOffice Draw, Inkscape

Inkscape, (Sketch), Sodipodi, OpenOffice Draw, LibreOffice Draw, Dia, Xara-Extreme

3D Graphics

3D Studio Max, Maya, POVRay

Maya, Blender, POVRay


In-system <Shift>+, Snag-It

KSnapshot, Shutter, screenie, Xfce Screenshooter, MTPaint Screenshot, scrot

Desktop Publishing

Microsoft Publisher, Adobe PageMaker, Scribus


Personal Finance Manager

MSMoney, Quicken, Quickbooks, MoneyDance, GnuCash, KMyMoney, grisbi, skrooge

GnuCash, KMyMoney, grisbi, Money Manager EX, Homebank, iFreeBudget, skrooge

HTML Editor

Microsoft FrontPage, Dreamweaver, many web-based sites, LibreOffice, OpenOffice

KompoZer, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Bluefish, Blue Griffon, many web-based sites



Blender, Qcad, OpenCascade, KiCAD

Space Simulator

Open Universe, Celestia, Google Earth

Open Universe, Celestia, KStars, Marble, Google Earth, Stellarium


Family Tree Maker, Legacy



While it would be nearly impossible to list every possible Windows application and the PCLinuxOS equivalent, you can see that PCLinuxOS isn't lacking when it comes to providing the software that you need to get your tasks completed. You would be hard pressed to find a Windows application that doesn't have a Linux equivalent. In many instances, Linux has more to offer than what's available in the Windows universe.

It's important to remember two things that are somewhat linked. First, you don't download software from the internet and install it on your computer, like you do/did under Windows. Second, you install software ONLY from the PCLinuxOS repository. Installing software from outside the official PCLinuxOS repository will render your installation ineligible for support. When you install software from outside the repository, no one knows exactly what changes were made to your installation, which could be reason for the problems you may be experiencing. There are very few exceptions to the second "rule."

I hope that we've covered at least some of the most common and popular Windows applications, along with the Linux equivalent. If there's something that you use that we didn't cover here, don't hesitate to ask others in the PCLinuxOS forum what they recommend. The best thing about it is that the software in the PCLinuxOS repository is priced the same as PCLinuxOS... FREE. Along the way, you may just make some new friends.

You can also take a look at some additional resources that might be able to help direct you to Linux equivalent software.

PCLinuxOS Forum (we can't leave this out... other PCLinuxOS members will probably be your best, if not friendliest, resource)

Linux App Finder (a well maintained database of Linux equivalent software)

alternativeTo (just software, regardless of platform) (not only software, but alternatives to just about anything)

OSalt (find open source alternatives to most any software title)

Enjoy your journey!

Previous Page              Top              Next Page
Copyright (c) 2013, The PCLinuxOS Magazine. All Rights Reserved.