March 25, 2017

53 Open Source Ways to Improve Your Desktop

Improving Everything

  • February 16, 2011
  • By Cynthia Harvey
The open source world has a feast of high-quality and useful applications for all platforms and all tasks. Cynthia Harvey collects 53 for your deployment and migration consideration.
With so many new devices -- with so many new interfaces -- coming out all the time, is your desktop starting to seem a little, well...boring? Are you frustrated by how slow and buggy Windows is? Are you tired of winter weather and wish that something � anything � would change?

If so, this list is for you.

We've collected 53 different open source projects that can make your desktop environment faster, prettier, easier to use or just a little different. They run the gamut from small utilities that do just one thing to open source operating systems that can replace Windows. We've included a number of tools for Linux users that can help you customize your desktop to meet your unique needs and tastes.

Have an open source suggestions? As always, if you'd like to suggest additional apps for an upcoming list, feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Application Launchers

1. KysrunReplaces other methods of launching Linux apps Much like Launchy (below), Kysrun starts your applications or opens bookmarks or documents with a couple of keystrokes. It also starts searches on Google, Wikipedia or IMDB and solves math problems. Operating System: Linux

2. Launchy Replaces the Windows start menu and other methods of launching apps

If you hate to use the mouse, Launchy is for you. It lets you open applications, documents, folders, bookmarks and more with just a few keystrokes. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

Desktop Search

3. Beagle Replaces the find command

If you don't know the name of the file you're looking for, Beagle can help you find it. It indexes and searches the text of your documents, emails, web history, IM/IRC conversations, contacts, calendar, and other files to find the keywords you're looking for. Operating System: Linux

4. DocFetcher Replaces the find command, Windows Search
Instead of wasting time searching every file on your system, DocFetcher searches only your documents for the keywords you enter. It supports plain text, html, Microsoft Office,, AbiWord, pdf and several other types of files. Operating System: Windows, Linux

5. Pinot Replaces the find command
Pinot combines both desktop search and Web search into a single app. It also allows advanced queries (probabilistic search, boolean filters, wildcards, date ranges, time and size) and supports Chinese, Japanese and Korean text searches. Operating System: Linux

6. Recoll Replaces the find command
Recoll can search the text of most document types, including e-mails, attachments and compressed files. It supports a variety of query types, and it provides a preview of searched documents. Operating System: Linux

7. Tracker Replaces the find command...Read the rest of Cynthia Harvey's open source applications story at

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