As I mentioned in an older post, I use FreeBSD as a desktop OS at home on one workstation. I also use Linux Mint at my main work system. As such I’m always in search of applications which are equivalent to those I’m used to or prefer. This page isn’t necessarily going to end up being FreeBSD specific. It’s more about free/open source replacements for tasks and functions that need to be performed. I happen to like FreeBSD as a whole more than any Linux distribution overall, but Linux tends to be more suited for general Desktop use on recent hardware.
As it stands, a great deal of the applications I use are already cross-platform and open source. Using those will be quite easy. There are sites full of crowdsourced alternative software suggestions and at least one large table of open source replacements out there, but those tend to be more Linux-centered and impersonal, and in some cases seem to prefer suggesting paid software over open source. Those lists tell you what you could use, but not if it’s a viable replacement or even if it will be usable.
I consider myself a “power user” but with a catch: I am extraordinarily lazy. Surely one could do almost anything with emacs, but I have no desire to learn it when I can click a few buttons in another program and accomplish the same tasks. That’s not to say I wouldn’t learn it, just that for my day-to-day usage I’d rather go the lazy route and point-and-click.
So here’s my personal list of applications that I use, or intend to replace.
I’ll also put this into a much more readable format as soon as I can whip one up.
I originally wrote this back in 2005 and updated it in 2012 and again in 2022.
- Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer
- Chromium, Mozilla Firefox, Opera
Chromium and Firefox both work well, I stopped trying to use Opera years ago.
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- Mozilla Thunderbird, Kmail, Evolution
Thunderbird rocks! I’ve not had any significant problem with it then or now.
- Microsoft Office, LibreOffice
- LibreOffice, Google Docs
I’ve only encountered minor glitches when loading Microsoft Office files in LibreOffice. It does a pretty good job. I do need to convert some older pre-office docs (Works, Works spreadsheet) from about 20 years ago inside of MS Office, but that should’ve been done a long time ago.
These days Google Docs gets the most use by far, LibreOffice is still good for offline docs.
Text Editor / HTML Editor / Programming Editor
- Kate, UEX
UEX is a version of UltraEdit that can work on FreeBSD and Linux, but it lags behind its Windows counterpart by several years worth of features so it’s hard to justify suggesting others pay for a license. But if you already own a mult-seat UltraEdit license, it is worth trying.
Kate is definitely the leader over time, and it has gained most of the features I missed.
Web Development Environment
- Macromedia Dreamweaver
- Jekyll, other CMS or static site generator
These days there isn’t much point to doing it all by hand for most people. Using a static site generator like Jekyll or a CMS like Wordpress or Joomla is much easier.
- Trillian Pro 3.1
Pidgin is good, though I have not used it much lately as things like Slack in a web browser have replaced it for work uses. For personal usage, text messaging or other messaging apps have taken over.
Gwenview has occasional bugs but does a fine job for browsing and organizing images.
- Gimp / Krita
I don’t do much image editing, Krita wins for small edits, Gimp is still the best choice for more complicated work.
SSH Client / Session Manager
- OpenSSH / PuTTY
There are some managers around such as PAC/Ásbrú that work on Linux but not so much on FreeBSD.
- Nero / Easy CD/DVD Creator
- K3B, command line utils
Aside from some initial setup quirks (devd changes to make sure users can access the CD devices), K3B works wonderfully. Of course the need for burning optical media is much, much less these days.
I don’t do much with Audio on my FreeBSD workstation but when I do listen to music, amaroK is still what I tend to use.
Gotta love cross-platform solutions!
Eclipse is still OK - though these days I mostly stick to text editors.