The Best Linux Applications: Multimedia


In issue 148, we're going to be running a feature on the best Linux applications. While we've all sat around and talked about our favourites, we want to hear some of your suggestions as well. So, each day this week we'll put up a post asking for suggestions from a particular category.

Today's category is multimedia applications. This is a pretty broad one - photo organisers, audio and video editors, drum machines, podcatchers, synthesisers and most anything else related - so if you think it counts, it probably does!

Go ahead and let us know what your favourite multimedia applications are in the comments.

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Your comments

A few of my favourite things (sorry, I had to)

Banshee - Music, iPod syncing, Video and purchasing music
VLC - do I really need to explain this one
gPodder - Possibly the best podcatcher available for Linux
F-Spot - It's still a great photo manager with a decent set of editing tools and export functionallity
Shotwell - Not as good as f-spot in my opinion yet but it's catching up fast
Chromium - As most of the multimedia content we consume is online the browser has to be able to handle a lot of it
XBMC - If you want to play your multimedia content through your TV this is great

My favourites

I agree mostly with @dazfuller

VLC - The swiss army knife of media players.

XMBC - looks excellent, fully featured and behaves well.

Rhythmbox - excellent plugins - although in Fedora 15 upnp plugin is broken :-(.

gpodder - it is excellent but currently for me in Fedora 15 it isn't working due to issues with the first run setup. I really like gpodder and have it installed all over the place.

I know it isn't FLOSS but for pictures I like Picasa 3.0beta for Linux. I don't find F-Spot or Shotwell that inspiring.

Guayadeque Music Player

Need little media player with lots of features for me slightly better then Clementine.

Will die without this


Multimedia applications...

What? You mean like, VLC and programs like that? Oh, allright then.

There is... VLC, of course, and... well... we have... yeah.

So. There is VLC.

I might have used Boxee, once or twice. And checked gPodder out. But the only program I actually use, that is VLC.

Did anybody mention VLC? My

Did anybody mention VLC? My son, who is a gamer and hooked to the dark side swears by VLC for windows, (note swears by not at)

why, oh, why...

did no one mention VLC, i mean... c'mon. There is no need for anything else :D

Multimedia applicationns

VLC mediaplayer
OpenShot video editor to make HD films to play on my television.

Multimedia on linux

VLC player
Totem isn't all that bad either

Too much choice :)

I think Ardour is a brilliant project, even if the application is a little difficult to use.

Audacity, too, has become a standard application for me.

k3b, the KDE CD/DVD burning app, is brilliant at everything from creating DVDs to ripping music.

Does MythTV fall into this category?

For the ultimate in sound generating geekery, I love Pure Data.

And if we're allowed commercial stuff, the Renoise tracker is awesome and many of the Loomer synths and effects sound superb.

Multi Media

VLC gets my vote too - Its one of my must have programs. I always install it if it is not there by default in any distro I'm trying out at the time.

For audio editing Audacity

For Video editing Openshot


I know vlc is good w/ codecs, Does anyone use Ubuntu studio?

Short And Sweet

A really useful app for editing audio (I've created some great ringtones and reduced them to small files with it - esp useful on older phones) is Audacity.

There's also the unsung, little know hero of video players (that no-one else has mentioned, I don't think) VLC. In all seriousness, I've used it on Linux and _that other well-known OS_ for years now and it plays things when the default players fail.


I'd be lost without Audacity. As for media players I still like Songbird. (At least it doesn't bugger up your music files and directories like one I used.) I also find sorting and filtering files in Songbird so much easier.

If I'm just playing something (from the file manager) well MPlayer works okay. Then there is VLC for the rest.

For the rest, I just use what ever the distribution sets as standard.


o Banshee (sometimes Rhythmbox)
o ecasound (with Audacity)
o Hydrogen
o TuxGuitar

... And that's about it.

command line goodness

ncmpc as a frontend for mpd. Just that and sox turned a worn out old machine into a headless flac jukebox. I use it every week at our rollerdisco.

Just to be different


I also find that Geeqie (formerly known as GqView) is a good, flexible, general-purpose image viewer.
And if I'm using a Mac, Clementine instead of Amarok.


When installing any distro, one of the very first items of business is to get VLC up and running. To put it simply, VLC kicks ass and should be in every distro, all the time.

Audacity - as a musician and amateur movie maker, this is essential!

Openshot - I love the interface. It crashes a little too often for my liking, but if one saves one's work often enough, this is reduced to a minor annoyance.

Does Gnash work yet? I'd really like that to be one of my favorites.

It has to be Exaile

Exaile for all things audio - Neat interface and full of features
Gnome M Player for all things video - Looks good and rarely lets you down
G Thumb for photo's - Simple enough
If all else fails good old VLC!
PS3 Media Server to stream it all around the house. Really powerful and can convert MKV files on the fly.


As I said in my letter you printed a couple of months back in your magazine. Xbmc is a stunning example of open source winning.

People would pay hundreds of pounds for it if it was propriety code though it wouldn't be as good as it is now if it was. By far the best media player.

Still waiting for a full blown article on it ;)


I'm assuming because "photo album" was mentioned image/photo editing is included in this:

o ufraw
o Hugin
o Luminance HDR
o dvd-slideshow
o Audacity
o inkscape
o TeXLive (with PGF/TikZ vector graphics)
o blender
o ffmpeg
o ImageMagick
o (Calibration) Argyll

and a special shout out to the ogg/flac codec

. . . and maybe one day Knuth will finish iTeX, which sounds like the ultimate piece of multimedia software ever hehe.


Avidemux - the greatest video editor- simple and intuitive to use, handles just about every format I can throw at it. Can also save output in a huge array of formats, re-encoding as necessary. Oh and did I mention easy to use?

VLC and Clementine also deserve honourable mentions in the video player and Audio players categories.

My picks

Totem (aka Movie Player) as default, VLC plays everything Totem fails on.

XBMC is a fantastic front end for Mediatomb & MythTV....or it was until MythTV version 0.24 broke it. Why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mediatomb streams to all my machines, plus the Freecom Musicpal & LG BD390.

FSpot would be better than Shotwell if it wasn't so unstable, particularly when importing large collections. I use Shotwell for stability.

Gimp with UFRaw plugin for serious editing.

PiTiVi or LiVES for video editing, depends what I am doing.

Other miscellaneous goodies include Easytag & Desktop Recorder.


As a command-line fan I use these commands.

some cool gui.programs are:

DigiKam, VLC and Co


My picks :)

1.Ardour3 (DAW)

2.Renoise (mod-tracker/DAW)

3.AutoDesk Maya (3d animation)

4.FST/Festige (allows windows VSTs to run in linux)

FST is great because it allows many commercial pro-audio applications to work with linux/Jack.



7.Mypaint (best 'painting' program for linux

8.Cinepaint 0.25 - supports higher end formats (including IEEE 32bit) than Gimp or any other photo-editing application for linux.

9.Ardesia - desktop sketchpad, good for whiteboarding, demo'ing, etc.

10.Processing - interactive Design and programming.

Lots of great stuff ...

As the obvious ones have been mentioned (VLC, Gimp, Audacity, and Inkscape), there are a few I use regularly that I find indispensable:

I know it is unfashionable, but I love Xsane. I am a photographer, and learned all the scanning tricks in the 90's when we were making the transition to digital from film, and I love the power and control of Xsane.

I also rip movies for my laptop with Thoggen, and it is about as easy as it gets.

I use Raw Studio to convert all my weddings/portraits to jpegs, and I find it every bit as good as lightroom, though "darkroom" has some promise as well, though it is a bit buggy still. Pinta is also coming along nicely as a photo editor, as is PhotoFiltre, and though is is only available as source, it is fantastic!

And being old school, I still use rhythmbox... ;)

Just a few

Digikam for photo management - excellent all-rounder with some advanced features that are really handy.

Banshee for music management. I'm a KDE fan, but not of Amarok any more. Banshee does it so easily.
Exaile does a nice job on my netbook instead.

Gimp is quite difficult to use - but I bought a manual, and this really helps me to do things with it.

K3B for disk burning and CD-ripping (when banshee's metadata findery-thing (musicbrainz?) doesn't work). K3B still uses CDDB for metadata and this always works!

dvd:rip for DVD copying

kdenlive for video editing - it's quite advanced in some areas. Nothing quite compares on Linux to Pinnacle Studio (on Windows) but I've switched fully to this app now, and for the most part, it's a good replacement.

openoffice/libreoffice draw - makes svg's and pdf graphics for simple use, er, simple.

And finally, since text is also a media, the Kjots program (available to plugin to Kontact) is awesome for organising my work, and Okular's pdf annotation features means I can mark-up, highlight and add-notes to pdf files with ease. These last two are probably the most used of the lot!

My List

Most people have beaten me to the punch with:

But one notable exception is, I think, Podracer.

gPodder is, I'm sure, a very good GUI podcatcher, but for itt simplicity and flexibility I like Podracer. It is a command-line application; you just set it up, run it from a regular cron job and forget it - job done.

Mplayer Vlc Foobnix

Mplayer 4 Audio

Vlc for Movies

Foobnix Audio

And Gpodder means I never miss an episode of the TuxRadar podcast ;-)


For photo viewing I found Viewnoir to be very lightweight and better than Ristretto.


After I found out that Umplayer - a further development of Smplayer - will play Youtube videos without Flash installed, I have almost entirely used that.
I use Deadbeef for audio, though, because Umplayer doesn't do well with audio ID tags.

Other Stuff

Oh yes - I forgot to mention Handbrake, ffmpeg and a couple of other video transoding tools I sometimes use.

Also (in the UK) get_iplayer is brilliant for downloading BBC content from iPlayer.

Time to contribute my list

Simple Scan




And I couldn't live without K9Copy

K9Copy is simply brilliant.
for a mostly Gnome based Distro I run a lot of things with "K" in front of there name.

Has no one said VLC yet? Oh

Has no one said VLC yet?

Oh and audacity, mixxx, & PiTiVi

And MythTV is that counts


Banshee seems to give slightly better sound quality than rhythmbox, at least in Ubuntu 11.04, otherwise they are both nice apps.
Totem used to give you the choice of a Gstreamer or Xine backend, Xine was noticeably better.
K9copy usually works (as long as you don't try to name the file or choose a location to save to..strange bug)
Sound Converter is easy and handy
recordmydesktop for making tutorials has improved a lot and now handles compiz effects no problem.
Pretty much everything is better than it was 18 months ago.

chrome officaly confirmed as Gay software

while watching Earl on freeview an advert for chrome web browser was shown 6.40pm (Dan Savage - It Gets Better).

are google chrome taking the Pi**,
im not having Gay software on my machine sod off Chrome!..


gThumb: It does just what I need from a photo organiser.
Gimp: good photo editor.

Umplayer, VLC, Amarok

Umplayer, VLC, Amarok

Not adding much

I'm going to be boring and agree with most of the folks here. VLC, MPlayer, Audacity, Inkscape and GIMP are the top 5 as far as I'm concerned. For music playing I tend to flip-flop between Rhythmbox and Banshee.

Image viewing is difficult, I like GQview, but that project's dead, and the replacement (Geeqie) is dire on my Ubuntu 10.04 64bit install - it's slow, buggy and eats memory like it's got shares in the RAM producers. It was so bad that I force-deinstalled and put GQview back. GQview is the only viewer that I've found that can handle a directory with a large number of images.

And I forgot

gPodder for podcasts - works pretty acceptably on Windows too.

ffmpeg I couldn't do without for all those annoying audio conversion jobs. Handbrake's pretty slick too for video.

get_iplayer, because it's really nice to be able to listen to some of the weekend's radio programs during the week.

Well theres V... yeah.

For any multimedia streaming theres only one client I need VLC.

MPD works as my personal streaming radio station in my local LAN and across Internet as well. I can remote control the stream with GMPC or via my Android phone with Droid MPD Client.

VDR is great for recording DVB-television broadcasts. New version now records as .TS so I can watch the recordings from a Samba share over the network via VLC or other clients.

Gimp for editing photos and other graphics related stuff.

Audacity for working with sound.

I use the command line

For playing - mplayer, self compiled with every possible plugin and fully optimised for my video card.

For creating DVDs - tovid, simple to drive yet very flexible. You can use the easy gui option or really go to town and use vi or other editor to create your disk.

For converting between formats - transcode, nothing comes close to the flexibility.

media madness

VLC media Player great for all media format {Video, Music, Podcast}.

Audacity - Audio editor

Ffmepg - Commandline madia conversion.

Emacs Multimedia System,

Emacs Multimedia System, with a VLC backend.

The stuff I use

Listening to audio - Amarok It's still kinda buggy but it is still the one that has the feature set,looks and works closest to what I want. Audacious is my go to player for quick one off listens to stuff.

Gpodder and GTKpod for when Amarok craps out.

Recording audio - Audacity for the basics Rezound is ok too. Ardour for the more involved stuff. I do like LMMS, Zynaddsubfx, and Hydrogen as well. I might like Bristol if I could get it to work.

Video - Kaffeine always works ok for me.

Images - Gwenview for viewing. Kolourpaint and Krita for editing.

This is a random title

VLC - for videos
Amarok - for all my audio
Gwenview - for viewing/printing pictures
Digikam - for mass uploading photos to Picasa Web Albums
Gimp - for... well, picture editing!
Inkscape - for pretending that I have an artistic flair
K3B - for burning audio CDs
lame - for transcoding church messages to put on the web
ffmpeg - for transcoding videos

VLC Smplayer TuxGuitar Audaci


Off topic?

this maybe a bit off topic because it is cross platform as it is a Firefox plugin:
Cooliris for browsing through mountains of JPGs easily.

Got that wall effect ya know . . . .

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