Here’s a list of software that I recommend for both normies and power users! Of course this list doesn’t comprehend proprietary software, software that I don’t use, software that I don’t know or software that I don’t recommend. I gotta remember to periodically update this page. Don’t take my word for all of this stuff, do your own research too! Feel free to make interjections and suggestions down in the comments. All the logos and wordmarks shown in this article are property of their respective owners.
These recommendations are organized in these categories and don’t have any particular order (CTRL+F to quickly search):
- Linux distros
- Android ROMs
- Desktop environments/window managers
- Decentralized socials (fediverse)
- Messagging and VoIP
- Cloud, syncing and phone companions
- Privacy and security tools
- Creative software
- Multimedia software
- Torrenting and P2P software
Everybody’s favorite distro. If you’re looking for a minimal, customizable, rolling release distribution, Arch is the perfect choice. Don’t understand something? Just go to the Arch Wiki! Need software? It’s got quite literally everything, either in its repos or in the AUR. Don’t forget to let others know that you use it by saying “I use Arch btw.” I recommend it only to power users or people who want to learn a lot about how a Linux system works.
It’s like Manjaro, but done right: it’s basically Arch with a graphical installer (Calamares) and some extra graphical tools and themes preinstalled. It gets rid of the burden of having to do a manual install if you don’t really care about having a precise set of software that you want to install with particular configurations, however I still wouldn’t recommend it for absolute noobs since it’s a rolling release and this means that you need to do regular maintenance and occasionally touch the command line.
The distro for zoomers and grandmas alike that just works. It’s based on Ubuntu, but it does not have any of the garbage that Canonical is forcing down their users’ throats (e.g. Snaps, removing preinstalled Flatpak support, forced telemetry). The Cinnamon desktop imitates the Windows layout and it runs well even on a ten year old computer, there’s also an XFCE edition that’s good too, but I wish it still had a KDE edition. In case anything goes nuts with Canonical and Ubuntu, the Linux Mint team has a plan B called Linux Mint Debian Edition that you can install and use right now, it has virtually no differences with the standard editions as far as I can tell.
The shiny new (not really, it’s as old as me) thing everyone is talking about. It’s a distro that is configurable entirely with a file written in the Nix language, and its package manager, also called Nix, separates packages in hashed folders, which allows for easy rollbacks and pinning of specific package versions. Software is built in isolation in order to avoid dependency version problems (which means it’s immune from the “works on my machine” syndrome). It’s got a steep learning curve and it might be a pain to manage if you change system files a lot since it doesn’t follow the usual Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, but if you want extreme stability and reproducibility, especially in a server environment, NixOS is great for that.
It’s the most secure Android ROM in the world. It takes AOSP and does a lot of hardening (e.g. secure app spawning, hardened libc and malloc, verified boot support, hardware attestation, etc.) in a pretty minimal but functional package. If you need to use apps that require Google Play Services (GMS) in order to run, GrapheneOS comes with (optional) sandboxed Play Services, so the official GMS without the elevated privileges that they usually have on stock Android and default manufacturer ROMs, which ensures great app compatibilty without big privacy compromises. This ROM is only available on Google Pixel phones (these devices fit their strong security model) and it’s stingy when it comes to supporting older devices, but it works great nonetheless.
A user friendly degoogled Android ROM that’s very similar to LineageOS, but with all remaining connections to Google removed. It also comes with extra privacy features like a firewall app, preinstalled privacy apps (e.g. Scrambled Exif, Orbot, Tor Browser) and microG support. Overall it’s very clean and comes with freedom respecting apps, mostly taken from LineageOS, and also their own CalyxVPN and F-Droid. It does support Pixels (verified boot) but also other phones, such as the Fairphone 4 and SHIFT6mq. It used to also support the Xiaomi Mi A2 but I guess it’s way too old now; support for the new Fairphone 5 is planned, so I heavily suggest you install it there when it goes stable.
Desktop environments/window managers
KDE Plasma (X11, Wayland)
Probably the most powerful and customizable desktop out there. You can theme and change anything that you can think of (e.g. cursors, icons, panels, widgets, window decorations, animations and effects, tiling spots, sounds, etc.) or keep the default Windows-like layout. Being the second most popular desktop on Linux after GNOME, it has prime support for Wayland with minor issues overall. The KDE Gear (meaning their applications) is a very extensive and complete collection of software built on the Qt toolkit that fits lots of needs, notable examples are Dolphin, Kate, Krita, digiKam, Kdenlive, Okular and many more (they really like the letter K) that are also available on Windows and macOS. Their stuff is a bit buggy and inconsistent at times, but if you like mostly traditional desktop UX’s or if you want to go crazy with personalizing your desktop, Plasma is probably your best bet.
I already mentioned this when talking about Linux Mint, it’s their flagship GTK-based desktop with a default layout similar to Windows and overall very simple to use and fairly customizable. I’m not sure how well it works on other distros, but it’s very polished so it probably isn’t that bad on anything that’s not Mint. Wayland support is still experimental but development is ongoing.
A very fancy tiling Wayland compositor. All kinds of quirky animations are configurable in its config file alongside the usual standalone window manager stuff like startup scripts, keybindings and window gaps. It’s comparable to other more popular tiling window managers for X11 in terms of features but with added eyecandy and good support for the wlroots library. If you’re into writing config files, Hyprland or even its X counterpart, Hypr, may be the compositor for you. Try it out with nwg-shell if you want a preconfigured status bar with some graphical tools that let you easily change settings, this way it feels more like a lightweight desktop environment.
I used to have my fancy rice of this. It’s a tiling window manager for X11 that you configure through shell commands that you put in the right configuration file (
~/.config/bspwm/bspwmrc) that make use of the
bspc binary to send instructions to the window manager. It also relies a lot on another program called
sxhkd for keybindings, which makes it easy to reuse your keybindings on other X window managers or desktop environments.
LibreWolf (Windows, macOS, Linux)
A fork of Firefox with extra hardening and privacy friendly defaults. It’s equivalent to using something like the arkenfox user.js, but it’s already configured out of the box, alongside some security improvements, removal of FF Sync, Pocket, telemetry and DRM, preinstalled uBlock Origin and all of this with minimal breakage of sites. It’s a great daily driver for everyone, unless you want to harden Firefox yourself or unless you need to use sites that rely on DRM or other weird stuff in order to function properly.
Mozilla Firefox (Windows, macOS, Linux, *BSD, Android, iOS)
Our good old Firefox, with all the goods and bads, it’s still an infinitely better choice than Google Chrome. Yes, it has annoyances like Google being the default search engine because Mozilla can’t make a living without them, Pocket and what not, but there are guides online that show you how to strip this crap out and also the aforementioned arkenfox user.js to harden it more or less up to LibreWolf’s standards, of course other user.js projects are out there. Overall it’s a pretty good browser for all uses with the potential of becoming even better with the right settings and extensions. I use it as my secondary browser for accounts on spyware platforms like YouTube, Discord and Reddit. You use multiple browsers, right???
Tor Browser (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
The leet hacker browser to access the dark web. It’s the defacto browser for accessing the onion network and also for accessing the normal internet anonymously (as long as you don’t fuck up your opsec) which makes it a good choice for casual browsing without needing an identity. The only problem is that the Tor network is a bit slow due to its three node design and sites often block access through the Tor browser because they’re afraid you’re a bot (or probably because they don’t want you to access their stuff without tracking you). A little tip: don’t change any major browser settings or install any extensions (uBlock may be excusable in this day and age), because it could change the default Tor Browser fingerprint, which is supposed to look the same as any other Tor Browser user, and make you “stick out” more.
Ungoogled Chromium (Windows, macOS, Linux)
Y’all know I don’t like Chromium based browsers for several reasons, but if I really needed to use one (personally I do very rarely) my choice would be Ungoogled Chromium. It’s Chromium but with all the remaining Google bits removed, so much ungoogled that it has no search engines and no support for the Chrome Web Store, which means that you need to add a search engine manually and that you have to manually download and install extension packages (unless the AUR has some cool PKGBUILDs for you). Overall it looks and functions just like regular Chromium, so it’s also going to give you a very similar experience to Google Chrome, minus the Google part.
Firefox but slightly less bloaty, with extra useful features and built-in ad blocking. This is a great choice for browsing on the go, especially if you install good extensions. It still retains Firefox account integration if you need it. I recommend you install it through FFUpdater, which also manages updates for other browsers and even Orbot.
This is a fork of the now unmaintained Bromite browser, based on Chromium obviously, and has all the good stuff that Bromite had, like built-in ad blocking, the absence of any Google dependencies or blobs, privacy enhancements from other projects (such as GrapheneOS, Ungoogled Chromium and Brave), etc. This is also supported by FFUpdater.
Decentralized socials (fediverse)
Mastodon (Web, Android, iOS)
The big juggernaut of the fediverse, the one who had huge spikes in users when Elon Musk bought Twitter. Mastodon’s UI is very similar to Twitter’s, but of course it doesn’t have all the algorithmic garbage, advertising and spyware that the bird has. It’s fairly easy to use and it’s the most popular fediverse software, so it’s got all kinds of servers that you can join. It’s got an official app for mobile systems, but there are also forks and other amenities such as Fedilab (Android only) which readapts its interface based on what fediverse platform you’re using. There are forks of Mastodon like for instance glitch-soc and Hometown that add extra functionality.
Pixelfed (Web, Android, iOS)
Basically Instagram in its early days, it’s only about posting photos (but it has stories that you can disable anyways) without algos and Reels. However the UI is very similar to the modern Instagram which is nice for people who are used to that, with the only difference that the web UI is actually usable unlike Instagram’s. The mobile app is still in beta, but development goes pretty quick so we may be closer to a stable release than we think. It’s compatibile with Fedilab too.
Basically YouTube without Shorts and other garbage. It has many of YouTube’s long standing features but also extra plugins that the server administrator can install and enable to enchance functionality. Making multiple channels under one account is much easier to do than YouTube, livestreams are a bit flakey but I guess you can use Owncast for that and it has peer-to-peer functionality so that other users and servers can contribute to “seeding” the video for others, saving your bandwidth and allowing for video redundancy. It’s compatible with Fedilab, although it’s a bit buggy there if you have 2FA enabled. Using the web frontend as a “installed web app” on your phone may be enough.
Microblogging like Mastodon, but with more of a retro-style UI with extra customizations and features. It’s got themes with all kinds of parameters, emoji reactions, extra info pages to the admin’s liking and also extra forks and frontends like Akkoma, glitch-lily and Soapbox which changes things up a bit. It’s compatible with Fedilab, but there’s also an app specifically made for it called Husky. I believe there are iOS clients out there.
Content divided in threads and groups, just like Reddit with its subreddits. You join communities from either your server or others, you post there, you get upvotes or downvotes, you get comments, but you don’t get awards and stupid ass avatars which is good. On Android I use an app called Eternity which is forked from Infinity, the Reddit client that’s now paid due to the API changes, so it has a great set of features and polish.
Messagging and VoIP
Element (Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
The official client for the decentralized Matrix protocol. It has pretty much all the features that the protocol supports and is very comparable to stuff like Slack or Discord (minus the voice channels). It supports virtually every platform (the desktop apps are Electron based, ew) and it’s truly end-to-end encrypted, so getting your normie friends on it shouldn’t be super hard (unless they like to have stickers and GIFs built-in), just make sure not to sign up on the official server, since it defeats the purpose of the decentralization of Matrix and it’s known to have lots of downtimes. Also due to a multitude of reasons, Element and Matrix servers usually have speed problems (mainly because the defacto server implementation, Synapse, is written in Python), however this may change in the future with stuff like Matrix 2.0, Dendrite and Element X. Matrix also has a bit of a metadata leaking problem, but allegedly they’ve been working on fixing that too.
ShildiChat (Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
This is a fork of Element with some extra customization features and a few UI differences. Nothing major, just tought you might like it if you have some problem with Element but you still want all of its features.
If you’re into XMPP, a much lighter and more extensible protocol than Matrix, Conversations for Android is a great choice as it is the best XMPP client out there. It’s minimal but it has all the basic features of a chat app (except deleting and editing anything that’s not the very last message) with an easy to use interface. It may be a bit harder to get normies to use it, but it’s not that bad as long as you can make them sign up to a server. There are also a bunch of forks like Cheogram, monocles chat and Quicksy which add their own extra features.
Gajim (Windows, macOS, Linux)
A complete GTK 3-based XMPP client for desktops. Has most of the features that an XMPP client needs and it’s extensible through extensions. Syncing chats from the server is a bit flakey, but overall I could not find a better desktop client (still sad as I wish it was more comparable to Conversations). I’m still waiting for NeoChat and Quaternion to get end-to-end encryption support.
qTox (Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD)
If you need some kind of quick decnetralized end-to-end encrypted chat app with no regard to functionality or multi device syncing, the Tox protocol and qTox are your friend. I treat it as an emergency failsafe, kinda like why you would use stuff like Briar.
Warning: qTox is unmaintained since February of 2023, so it’s not going to recieve updates anymore, check if there are any good forks or alternatives, I didn’t because I never use Tox for the reason I explained up in the other paragraph.
The same thing as qTox but for Android devices, works just as well but it’s actually maintained.
Mumble (Windows, macOS, Linux)
Miss the good old days of TeamSpeak? I’ve got the thing for you: join a server and voice/text chat in channels of your choice! Mumble’s UI is very similar to the old TeamSpeak’s, so it’s very minimalistic. Make sure to disable the default UI theme in the settings since it’s horrible. Text chats are as basic as they can get: text, paste images or PDFs, no permanent history, that’s it. If you plan to text chat extensively, consider using it alongside a proper chat app. The biggest drawback is probably the absence of any video functionality, just like the old TeamSpeak, but for voice only it’s really good. There’s third party clients on Android and iOS such as Mumla and Mumble (not sure how official this last one is).
Jitsi Meet (Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
The most used free (as in freedom) video conferencing software. Has pretty much all the features that stuff like Google Meet and Zoom have, minus the spying and AI training. The official server recently had to block users from making rooms behind a social login, which is annoying and a privacy threat, but they say they did it to combat spam and abuses, which is understandable. There are other Jitsi server out there anyways.
Thunderbird (Windows, macOS, Linux)
I guess this qualifies as messagging software. In recent years Thunderbird has gotten a lot of funding which meant that it got lots of updates that made it better than ever, proably the best email client in existence. Obviously it has other PIM features like a calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. They’re also collaborating with the developers of K-9 Mail, an excellent email client for Android, to make it into the new Thunderbird for Android which is really cool.
Cloud, syncing and phone companions
Nextcloud (Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
A complete selfhostable cloud suite, extensible with many first and third party applications that put stuff like Google Drive and G Suite to shame. Browser files, sync photos, check your calendar, take notes, make forms, collaborate with others, federate with other servers and much more. You can sync stuff with the official apps (especially on Android, there’s lots of apps) or with WebDAV/CalDAV integration with your favorite file browser or PIM software.
Syncthing (Windows, macOS, Linux, *BSD, Illumos, Solaris, Android)
If you need to sync files between multiple devices (like computers, phones, etc.) in a peer-to-peer fashion, so without a central server, Syncthing is the best tool for the job. No need to set up complicated scripts or some privacy invasive cloud service. It’s easy to use, you set up the folders you want to sync and pair the devices right from your browser or mobile app, that’s it. You can also set up specific rules for each folder or device and its compatibility with all kinds of platforms makes it really useful.
KDE Connect (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
Free yourself from Apple’s walled garden, integrate your computers and phones with this great toy. KDE Connect can sync clipboards, notifications, send and browse files, control a presentation or playing media, remote control your mouse and more. You don’t even need a Linux computer with KDE Plasma to enjoy it, it works on any major platform. It’s only a bit buggy sometimes.
LocalSend (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
If you need to quickly send a file to a friend of yours or to multiple devices all at once, as long as you are all connected to the same network, LocalSend does the job perfectly. The UI, written in Flutter, is very simple to understand and sending something is just a matter of seconds. By default when you recieve something it asks you if you want to accept the file, just like AirDrop, as an extra security measure.
Privacy and security tools
uBlock Origin (Firefox, Chromium)
This is a must among browser extensions, the absolute best ad and tracker blocker, don’t use anything else. You cannot live on a browser without this nowadays (no wonder why LibreWolf comes with it preinstalled) and with extra filter lists it gets even stronger. If you’re on a mobile browser that does not support extensions or if you’ll stick to your beloved Chromium based browser that will make it harder for ad blockers to work thanks to Manifest v3, I feel pity for you.
Consent-O-Matic (Firefox, Chromium, Safari)
You don’t have to deal with those annoying cookie notices and long lists of switches, this extension does the job for you. Europeans’ best friend against privacy dark patterns. Just found out uBlock can do what this extension does but better by enabling the “annoyances” filter lists in its settings.
ClearURLs (Firefox, Chromium)
A simple extension that takes URLs you open up and strips them of any tracking parameters that it can detect, like when your friend sends you a funny meme link with a string like this attached to it:
shid=y7f3jrf8f9u3rt. That’s pure evil!
LibRedirect (Firefox, Chromium)
This extension automatically redirects any big privacy invasive platform (e.g. YouTube, Twitter/X, Reddit, etc.) you try to visit to a private frontend (e.g. Piped or Invidious, Nitter, Libreddit, etc.) of your choice, or even multiple choices measured by their ping and availability.
KeePassXC (Windows, macOS, Linux)
The best offline desktop password manager. All your credentials are secured in an encrypted database file that you can copy over to other devices (I do it with Syncthing for example) and access everything through a master password and other optional factors with hardware security keys or a key file. It can also integrate with your browser through an extension and with FreeDesktop’s Secret Service API if you’re on Linux, which means that it can become your system keyring.
Basically all of the above but on your Android device, it also integrates with apps that require passwords and what not. Hardware security keys support may require additional setup, in my case I had to use the Kunzisoft Hardware Key Driver.
This is a local VPN that routes all apps’ network traffic through itself so that it can filter out connections to trackers, analytics and other unwanted places based on a filter list that you can change. It also detects tracker libraries that are built into any of the apps that use them. A version of this app for iOS is in development, although they say it’s not going to be as strong and effective as the Android version, I suppose because of Apple’s weird restrictions.
Strip EXIF metadata off of your photos before uploading them to some cloud service, a chat or a social platform as that metadata can be used to identify you (e.g. phone model, location, date of shooting, etc.). Imagepipe will simply ask you to choose a picture to clean, then it automatically saves it in its own folder and brings up the sharing dialog.
A VPN app that, when enabled, routes all of your traffic through the Tor network. Useful when you’re in a country that has weird restrictions or if you’re using some kind of burner phone for anonymous online activities only (these are the best case scenarios that I could think of).
This app holds and manages PGP keys on your phone. It can encrypt and decrypt text or files, integrate with supported applications, collect public keys from your friends, uploading your public keys to a public keyserver, etc.
Basically the same thing as OpenKeychain, but for desktops. In addition it supports searching public keys online, integrating with smartcards and hardware security keys and has special integration with KDE’s PIM applications (e.g. Kontact, KMail).
OpenSnitch is a firewall application, based on nftables, that does logging, app rules and also comes up with dialogs asking if you want to allow specific apps and processes from accessing the network. It’s useful for blocking ads and trackers that connect to your browsers or other applications, for instance it helped me block Telegram Desktop’s Google analytics). It has a few annoyances like it being a bit hard to use, having excessive permission dialogs, especially when you install it for the first time or when you use command line programs, and the fact that I often get at login some notifications about missing libraries or something (maybe just an Arch issue, I should do more testing on other distros as well).
Krita (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android)
The best free drawing and painting application and also the most bug free application ever developed by KDE (except for the Mac version, but I haven’t used it on there for a long time, so don’t quote me on that). It’s very comparable to Photoshop and a lot of people even prefer it over GIMP for image editing. There’s no words I can ever write that can describe how powerful Krita is, just try it for yourself. The Android version is still experimental (it’s a complete port of the desktop UI, which is kinda cool).
GIMP (Windows, macOS, Linux)
It’s slammed a lot, but I think that GIMP is mostly misunderstood. It’s a long standing project that still holds up really well today. For people who are not Adobe-dependent professionals, GIMP is a very advanced and powerful tool that could be improved UX wise, but it’s still really good and it’s mostly a matter of getting used to it.
Inkscape (Windows, macOS, Linux)
An overall great vector art software that always comes in handy for making quick but also elaborate logos, graphics and more. All of the branding assets you see on my website and even this article’s thumbnail are made with Inkscape! Kinda like GIMP, this is an extremely powerful tool for people who aren’t forced to use specific proprietary software. It’s biggest drawbacks are probably the frequent lags, glitches and crashes, but it’s not too bad.
Pixelorama (Windows, macOS, Linux)
Like doing pixel art illustrations, sprites and animations? Pixelorama might be the thing for you! It’s made with Godot (what a peculiar choice) and it’s got a simple but powerful interface with stuff like keyframes, layers, color dithering, palettes and more. My only complaint is that it tries to take over any XDG file entry that it can find, but this could be an issue with the AUR package, I have yet to investigate.
LibreSprite (Windows, macOS, Linux)
This is a fork of Aseprite with an actually free (as in freedom) license (from a custom “source available” EULA to the GPLv2). It’s a cute pixel art, sprite and animation software with a very pixelated UI and tools for multiple sprite editing, patterns, textures, palettes and more. If you’ve used Aseprite before, this won’t feel any different, it’s literally the same application.
VLC media player (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
The first piece of software that every Windows user downloads, no one could stand the old Windows Media Player and no one can stand the modern Movies and TV app. It does all kinds of things besides playing media and streams: it can transcode, record from capture cards, stream on the network, be your animated wallpaper… The best all in one media package.
mpv (Windows, macOS, Linux, *BSD, Android)
Every Linux user’s favorite media player. Not as advanced as VLC, but for many people it’s enough. It’s minimalistic, it’s mainly keyboard driven with a lot of cool options and controls, it can be extended with Lua scripts, it’s got a library written in C that can be integrated in other software and supports hardware decoding pretty well. Goes well with rice.
NewPipe x SponsorBlock (Android)
This is a fork of NewPipe that adds SponsorBlock functionality. It’s an alternative app for watching YouTube (but also for PeerTube, SoundCloud and Bandcamp), with every imaginable feature that you would have to pay Google for in order to get them on the official app, but here not only they’re free of charge, they’re also better! You can subscribe to channels through RSS feeds that you can easily import and export.
Another alternative app for YouTube, but this one is designed to integrate with a Piped instance where you can also login to get your subscriptions synced. It also has SponsorBlock functionality, but within the original app unlike NewPipe. It’s quite a bit buggier than NewPipe, but nothing major.
OBS Studio (Windows, macOS, Linux)
The defacto software for recording and streaming, even the richest and cringiest of streamers use it (or they use the Streamlabs fork, ew) and it’s sponsored by the likes of YouTube, Twitch and our beloved Nvidia. Scenes, capture cards, screen recording, overlays, transitions, multiple audio channels, studio mode, you name it! Nothing comes close to it.
Kdenlive (Windows, macOS, Linux)
This is also slammed a lot, but apart from the occasional crashes and the limited GPU acceleration support, Kdenlive is a great video editor that can be easily compared to Vegas Pro, so it’s very good for the average YouTuber that doesn’t have money to spend on some scary proprietary editor. With the recent funding campaign that it got, the future for this software seems much brighter anyways.
Tenacity (Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD)
A fork of Audacity with less bugs and the MuseGroup telemetry removed. If you’ve used Audacity before, this isn’t going to be all that much different. Pure audio editing with tracks, effects and plugins, not at the level of a DAW (for that you may prefer Ardour or something), but for normal editing and voice recording it’s more than enough.
Clementine (Windows, macOS, Linux)
An advanced music player made with Qt. Not only it takes care of your local music library, it can also search and stream off the internet, look for missing ID3 tags and cover arts, integrate with portable media players, fetch lyrics, be controlled with an Android phone or even a Wii Remote, transcode audio and much more. As I’m writing this paragraph, I’m listening to my music with it!
Jellyfin (Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, tvOS, webOS)
The selfhosted movie, shows, music and book streaming software. You put it on a server, upload your library there and then you can stream to any computer, mobile device or smart TV appliance. It automatically gets metadata about your media from the internet (e.g. movie titles, episode titles, images, reviews, cast with photos, etc.) so that you don’t have to do anything more than putting the files on the server. It can also transcode stuff on the fly for you or let the client do the transcoding job (unless you’re using a slightly older iPad that Apple doesn’t care about anymore) for different streaming qualities, you can also download the stuff to use it offline directly from the frontend. On Android and iOS I recommend you at least check out two alternative clients called Findroid and Swiftfin as they are native apps and not just a browser for the web frontend of Jellyfin. On desktop there’s the Jellyfin Media Player that can also integrate with a standalone mpv player through Jellyfin MPV Shim.
Mixxx (Windows, macOS, Linux)
DJ with your favorite music tracks from your library, play around with filters, loops, cues and supported physical DJ equipment and turntables. It supports OSS, ALSA and JACK (which means also PipeWire retroactively) and it’s really fun to play around with.
A graph and patchbay tool for PipeWire. It lets you route audio outputs, apply filters, access MIDI sources, work with ALSA and JACK, etc. If you use PipeWire (and if you don’t you should) this tool is always a nice to have.
FF Multi Converter (Linux)
This is a very easy to use Qt frontend for ffmpeg and other file conversion backends, it allows you to convert several kinds of media and documents also through a series of customizable presets.
Torrenting and P2P software
qBittorrent (Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD)
One of the best torrenting software out there, based on Qt and comes with any feature that you can think of with relative ease of use. It’s also got support for RSS feeds, a web UI to control the program and more. If you prefer GTK apps, Transmission may be more to your liking.
If you need to quickly download (or even seed) something on the go, LibreTorrent is a fast and easy to use torrent client for Android devices. It also has RSS feed support and can even create torrents right from your phone.
Nicotine+ (Windows, macOS, Linux, *BSD, Solaris)
Nicotine+ is a GTK 3 client for Soulseek, a peer-to-peer file sharing network. You can browse other people’s files (usually legally obtained and distributed music) and share your own through your customized profile, you can send private messages to users, add friends, join public chatrooms and set your interests for others to see, basically anything that the official proprietary Soulseek client can do (AFAIK).
A Qt note taking application designed to integrate directly with your Nextcloud instance. It supports anything that Nextcloud Notes supports and more: Markdown, trash folder, scripting, to-do list, distraction-free mode, version control, encryption, etc.
Prism Launcher (Windows, macOS, Linux)
The best and cleanest Minecraft launcher in existence, forked from the PolyMC project, it’s made with Qt and it has a very nice UI to manage all of your game versions, settings, shaders, resource packs and mods with built-in search for Modrinth and CurseForge.
RSSGuard (Windows, macOS, Linux)
An advanced Qt based (you can tell I really like Qt apps) RSS feed reader with a built-in ad blocking browser engine (there’s the Lite version if you don’t want that), customizable theme and notifications, Nextcloud News integration and more.
yt-dlp (Windows, macOS, Linux, *BSD)
The best (command line) tool for downloading videos from YouTube and other video streaming platforms. It’s a fork of the now unmaintained(?) youtube-dl project, it allows for downloading in different formats and qualities, getting entire playlists or channels with descriptions and comments too, etc.
Organic Maps (Android, iOS)
This is an OpenStreetMap application with great performance and features for path finding, places discovery, search, offline maps, train lines view, speed limits, 3D buildings, OSM profile integration and more.
Contribute to OpenStreetMap when you’re outside by completing surveys and tasks like specifying what kind of road or sidewalk you’re walking on, if there’s lighting, bus stations, trash cans, parking spots, etc. All you need to contribute is an OpenStreetMap profile to log into via this app.
Simple Mobile Tools (Android)
This is a collection of basic applications for Android that are, of course, free software and quite polished. For example they have a music player, a calendar, a contacts app, a file manager, a voice recording app, a dialer app, a camera app, a gallery app, etc.
SMT was recently sold to ZipoApps, a company known to make proprietary mobile apps that contain deceptive advertisements for overpriced subscriptions. A fork of all the apps is currently being developed, it’s called Fossify.