22 open source tools for creatives

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Ray Smith

Whether it's visuals, audio, writing, or design, there's an open source tool out there to help get the job done.

"It's absolutely possible to go from concept to finished, polished products, using free and open source software," said Jason.

In this lightning talk, Opensource.com community moderator Jason van Gumster shares 22 open source tools for creatives:

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Opensource.com publishes stories about creating, adopting, and sharing open source solutions. Follow us on Twitter @opensourceway.


I've actually never played with Non before. Definitely something worth looking at. Thanks for sharing!

In reply to by Walter (not verified)

Non is great for anyone who loves working with audio in a modular environment. Small, simple applications that do their jobs well, are easy to learn, interact well with other applications, and don't have massive menu systems to navigate.

Of course there's room for all different types of application in open source - modular UIs, monolithic UI, and so on. But for some folks, Non is close to what *NIX graphical user interfaces should have looked like from the beginning: an attempt to follow the "pipe-and-reuse" spirit of the small, simple early *NIX commands..

Thanks for the list! Along with all the suggestions in comments, there's a lot of new-ish, interesting tools to check out.

(All the newly opened tabs will likely induce the usual spiralling memory leaks in my browser. Maybe a list of lightweight and well-tested-and-maintained open source browsers in a future article...?)

Thanks & cheers,


In reply to by Walter (not verified)

What about DarkTable, Hugin and LMMS they are also very good tools for things they are designed

Absolutely! I've come to love working in Darktable quite a bit in the last few months, in fact... and Hugin is certainly an old favorite for me. And thanks for reminding me of LMMS. I always seem to forget that one when I make these lists.

In reply to by Dominik (not verified)

While some creative content categories here have double entries, some categories IMO are missing with their open source tools:
Technical 3D content: FreeCAD, OpenSCAD, Sverchok (a Blender plugin)
Electronics design tools: KiCad, Fritzing
Programming: GCC, Arduino IDE and much more

On the other side I dont think, a video player like VLC is very "creative".

As mentioned in the actual lightning talk, there are a *lot* more tools available, depending on the specific task you're doing. Unfortunately, in a lightning talk I only had so much time to cover things... so I covered as wide a net as I could.

Regarding VLC in particular, it's absolutely a day-to-day workhorse when working with video content. Not only is it a great general-purpose player, but it's handy for all manner of other tasks (conversions, connecting to live media, even simple video editing). There's more to that little program than you might think at first blush.

In reply to by Bernhard Rietzl (not verified)

You forgot OpenToonz. Animation software.

oh yeah, this post really caught my attention as its definitely something worth looking at. i agree that there are lot more tools availaible but these are the main and most popular ones, those are the only one which really counts, otherwise lots of tools come and go , iam also researching on this idea and i will be curating a list of 100 such tools myself for my blog.
Thanks for sharing!

I won't install any application that isn't in the repository. Trelby, for example, is a non starter as far as I'm concerned, because it's not available in the Debian/Ubuntu/LinuxMint repositories, nor is it avilable as a PPA.

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