Recommended applications

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This page lists applications recommended for use in a graphical environment (X11, Wayland), with suggestions for reliable and easy to install software for common Gentoo Linux needs.

Most of these packages are in the stable branch, but some useful and otherwise high quality software is still in the testing branch. Testing branch packages may be made available for installation by accepting a keyword for a single package, however packages from the testing branch should only be used after taking note of any risks.

In most cases, software designed for one desktop environment will work just as well with another desktop environment, though sometimes with slightly less integration. Installing software from a different desktop environment may pull in more dependencies than an equivalent native application; there is usually no issue at all with this.

To reference a new piece of software here, please read the adding to this page section.

This is a "best of kind" list, much more software is available on Gentoo. Use eix or browse packages.gentoo.org to find all applications available on Gentoo.

Note
See recommended tools for command-line software.

Desktop environment

A desktop environment is a complete ecosystem of software and resources providing a homogenous graphical user experience. Generally based on specific widgets, configuration system, root window with desktop background, taskbar with window list and menu, icons, window manager etc. It provides a coherent visual metaphor for a user to interact with the computer.

A desktop environment can be a great convenience to most users, though a custom graphical environment can be assembled if preferred, i.e. Xorg could be used with a window manager and select desktop utilities. Gentoo does not have separate releases or "flavors" for different desktop environments, as some other distributions do - a desktop environment is simply installed on the base system. Gentoo's flexibility means that many desktop environments are available, and more than one can generally be installed in parallel. Gentoo can of course be used exclusively in text mode, as a server platform for example.

Name Package Description
Cinnamon gnome-extra/cinnamon Contemporary desktop environment with a traditional graphical interface, forked from GNOME 3's GNOME Shell, and developed for Linux Mint.
Enlightenment x11-wm/enlightenment Eye-candy, compositing and stacking window manager, released under the permissive BSD License.
FVWM-Crystal x11-themes/fvwm-crystal Easy to use, powerful, and pretty desktop environment.
GNOME gnome-base/gnome
gnome-base/gnome-light
Feature-rich desktop environment, provided by the GNOME project.
KDE kde-plasma/plasma-meta
kde-plasma/plasma-desktop
A free software community, producing a wide range of applications including the popular Plasma desktop environment.
Lumina x11-wm/lumina Lightweight desktop environment, free of D-Bus and *kit, designed to have as few system dependencies and requirements as possible.
LXDE lxde-base/lxde-meta Free desktop environment with comparatively low resource requirements.
LXQt lxqt-base/lxqt-meta Lightweight desktop environment based on the [Qt] toolkit.
MATE mate-base/mate Fork of the GNOME 2 desktop environment.
Xfce xfce-base/xfce4-meta Lightweight desktop environment for Unix-like operating systems.

Application launchers

Name Package Description
dmenu x11-misc/dmenu Generic, highly customizable, and efficient menu for X11.
Rofi x11-misc/rofi Window switcher, run dialog, and dmenu replacement.

Clipboard managers

The X11 clipboard supports multiple selections which may be filled by simply selecting text on the screen or by specifically using a copy function. X11 selections have a coherent operation and applications implement their use by convention, though the conventions are not always fully respected. Clipboard managers generally manage a history of the X11 selections and sometimes modify their behavior.

Name Package Description
CopyQ x11-misc/copyq Advanced clipboard manager with editing and scripting features.
Parcellite x11-misc/parcellite Lightweight GTK based clipboard manager.
Qlipper x11-misc/qlipper Lightweight and cross-platform clipboard history applet.
Clipman xfce-extra/xfce4-clipman-plugin Clipboard manager for Xfce called Clipman.

Configuration

Name Package Description
MenuLibre x11-misc/menulibre Application menu editor.
QtCurve x11-themes/qtcurve Toolkit theme to provide a common style to GNOME/GTK and KDE/Qt applications. See GTK themes in Qt applications for more information.

Taskbars / Panels

A taskbar is generally a strip on one edge of the screen with a menu, a representation of open windows, shortcuts to launch apps, widgets to display information etc. Desktop environments usually provide a taskbar but the default can often be replaced or complemented according to user preference. A taskbar associated with a window manager can form the basis of a custom desktop environment.

Name Package Description
fbpanel x11-misc/fbpanel Lightweight panel that works with any NETWM compliant window manager (e.g. xfwm4, sawfish, openbox, KDE window manager).
LXPanel lxde-base/lxpanel Lightweight X11 desktop panel for LXDE, also works with other window managers.
Polybar x11-misc/polybar Tool for creating highly customizable status bars for the desktop environment.
Tint2 x11-misc/tint2 Lightweight panel/taskbar specifically made for Openbox, but it can also work with other window managers.
wbar x11-misc/wbar Fast, lightweight, quick-launch bar.

Window managers

A window manager manages the creation, manipulation, and destruction of on-screen windows and window decorations in X11. If a desktop environment is used, a window manager will generally be provided. This it the list of the currently most used window managers, for a more complete list of packages available on Gentoo, see this list.

Name Package Description
Awesome x11-wm/awesome Highly configurable, next generation, dynamic window manager for X11.
Bspwm x11-wm/bspwm Lightweight, tiling, minimalist, window manager that is written in C and represents its windows as leaves on a binary tree.
Dwm x11-wm/dwm Dynamic window manager for X11.
Fluxbox x11-wm/fluxbox Open-source stacking window manager for X11 that was originally forked from Blackbox.
FVWM x11-wm/fvwm Stacking window manager for X11.
I3 x11-wm/i3 Minimalist tiling window manager, completely written from scratch.
Openbox x11-wm/openbox Highly configurable, next generation, stacking window manager for X11 with extensive standards support.
Sawfish x11-wm/sawfish Extensible window manager using a Lisp-based scripting language.
Sway gui-wm/sway Open-source Wayland compositor that is designed to be compatible with the i3 window manager.

Desktop utilities

Archive managers

Theses graphical file archivers support multiple archive formats and should work with any desktop environment. See data compression for more information on archivers in general.

Name Package Description
Engrampa app-arch/engrampa Official archive manager for the MATE Desktop Environment.
File Roller app-arch/file-roller Archive manager for the GNOME desktop environment.
LXQt Archiver app-arch/lxqt-archiver Simple & lightweight Qt-based but desktop-agnostic file archiver.
Xarchiver app-arch/xarchiver Desktop environment-independent archiver front end based on GTK.

File managers

See file managers for more information.

Name Package Description
Dolphin kde-apps/dolphin KDE file manager focusing on usability.
Konqueror kde-apps/konqueror Web browser and file manager based on KDE Frameworks.
Krusader kde-misc/krusader Advanced twin-panel (commander-style) file-manager with many extras.
PCManFM x11-misc/pcmanfm Powerful yet lightweight file manager application, default file manager of LXDE.
PCManFM-Qt x11-misc/pcmanfm-qt Qt GUI File manager, default file manager of LXQt.
SpaceFM x11-misc/spacefm Multi-panel, tabbed file manager.
Thunar xfce-base/thunar Modern file manager for the Xfce desktop environment.
Xfe x11-misc/xfe MS-Explorer-like minimalist file manager for X11.

Optical disk burners

Name Package Description
Brasero app-cdr/brasero CD/DVD burning application for the GNOME desktop.
K3b kde-apps/k3b Fully-featured CD/DVD burner for KDE.
Xfburn app-cdr/xfburn GTK disc burner from Xfce.

Documents

E-book readers

Name Package Description
Calibre app-text/calibre Electronic book management tool.
CoolReader app-text/coolreader E-book reader with a Qt interface.
Foliate app-text/foliate Simple, modern, open-source GTK eBook viewer. Supports EPUB, Mobipocket, Kindle, FictionBook, and comic book archive formats.
FBReader app-text/fbreader E-book reader supporting many formats.

General document viewers

Name Package Description
apvlv app-text/apvlv PDF/EPUB viewer with vim like bindings.
Evince app-text/evince Simple document viewer for GNOME.
llpp app-text/llpp Graphical PDF viewer which aims to superficially resemble less.
MuPDF app-text/mupdf Free and open-source software framework written in C that implements a PDF, XPS, and EPUB parsing and rendering engine.
Okular kde-apps/okular KDE universal document viewer.
qpdfview app-text/qpdfview Lightweight tabbed PDF viewer with a Qt5 interface.
Zathura app-text/zathura
app-text/zathura-meta
Free, plugin-based document viewer.

Note taking

Name Package Description
GNote app-misc/gnote Note-taking application for GNOME. (Not to be confused with "GNotes".)
Knotes kde-apps/knotes KDE sticky notes.
Notes xfce-extra/xfce4-notes-plugin Xfce panel sticky notes plugin.
Xournal app-text/xournal Handwritten note-taking, sketching, and keeping a journal using a stylus.
Xournal++ app-text/xournalpp Handwriting note-taking software with PDF annotation support.
Zim x11-misc/zim Desktop wiki as a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages.

Prodctivity software

Name Package Description
Abiword app-office/abiword Light and fast cross-platform word processor.
Calligra app-office/calligra The KDE office suite.
LibreOffice app-office/libreoffice
app-office/libreoffice-bin
Full office productivity suite, a successor of the OpenOffice.org that strives to be a better and less bloated office suite.
LyX app-office/lyx WYSIWYM frontend for LaTeX, DocBook, etc.
Scribus app-office/scribus Desktop publishing (DTP) and layout program.
Sigil app-text/sigil Multi-platform WYSIWYG ebook editor for ePub format.

Text editors

See also the text editor article.

Name Package Description
gedit app-editors/gedit Text editor for the GNOME desktop.
Mousepad app-editors/mousepad Bare-bones text editor for Xfce that starts up extremely quickly.
pluma app-editors/pluma Small and lightweight UTF-8 text editor for the MATE environment.

Internet

Chat clients / video conferencing

Name Package Description
Discord net-im/discord-bin All-in-one voice and text chat, much used by gamers.
HexChat net-irc/hexchat Graphical IRC client based on XChat.
Pidgin net-im/pidgin Easy to use and free chat client that supports AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, XMPP, and more chat networks all at once.
Psi net-im/psi Qt Jabber client.
qTox net-im/qtox Qt5-based Tox client.
Quassel Core net-irc/quassel Daemon/headless IRC client, part of Quassel, that supports 24/7 connectivity.
Signal Desktop net-im/signal-desktop-bin Messaging application geared towards privacy.
Skype net-im/skypeforlinux Instant messaging client, with support for audio and video.
Telegram net-im/telegram-desktop
net-im/telegram-desktop-bin
Freeware, cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging software and application service with optional encryption and open source clients.
WebRTC[1][2] www-client/firefox-bin Implemented in Firefox.

Some other popular messaging services can be used on Gentoo using their web interface, such as with WhatsApp.

Email clients

Name Package Description
Claws Mail mail-client/claws-mail Mail client forked from Sylpheed.
Evolution mail-client/evolution Integrated e-mail and calendar client, particularly useful for connecting to Microsoft Office365 and Exchange servers.
Thunderbird mail-client/thunderbird
mail-client/thunderbird-bin
Mozilla's solution to the e-mail client.
Trojitá mail-client/trojita Fast Qt IMAP e-mail client.

P2P

Name Package Description
Deluge net-p2p/deluge Open-source, cross platform BitTorrent client.
qBittorrent net-p2p/qbittorrent Qt BitTorrent client.
RTorrent net-p2p/rtorrent Highly configurable torrent client based on libtorrent and ncurses.
Transmission net-p2p/transmission BitTorrent client with GTK, Qt, CLI, and web front-ends.

Web browsers

Name Package Description
Chromium www-client/chromium Open source version of Google's Chrome web browser.
Dillo www-client/dillo Lean, minimalist, web browser for resource-starved systems.
Falkon www-client/falkon Lightweight web browser based on QtWebEngine.
Firefox www-client/firefox
www-client/firefox-bin
Mozilla's web browser.
Qutebrowser www-client/qutebrowser Web browser with vim-style key bindings based off the QtWebKit (or the QtWebEngine in its latest release).

Multimedia

Acquisition

Audio

Name Package Description
Audacity media-sound/audacity Free cross-platform audio recorder and editor.
SoundRecorder media-sound/gnome-sound-recorder Simple sound recorder.

Scanning

Name Package Description
gscan2pdf media-gfx/gscan2pdf Scan documents, perform OCR, produce PDFs and DjVus, gtk based.
Paperwork app-text/paperwork Personal document manager, scan or import your documents and find them back in a snap with full text search !
Document Scanner media-gfx/simple-scan Simple document scanning utility for GNOME.
Skanlite kde-misc/skanlite Simple image scanning application based on libksane and KDE Frameworks.
XSane media-gfx/xsane Tried and tested graphical scanning frontend.

See the wiki page on SANE for more information on scanning in Gentoo.

Video

Name Package Description
Cheese media-video/cheese GTK program to take pictures and videos from your webcam, GNOME oriented.
Guvcview media-video/guvcview Simple Qt5 or GTK 3 interface for capturing and viewing video from v4l2 devices.
OBS Studio media-video/obs-studio Free software for video recording and live streaming.
SimpleScreenRecorder media-video/simplescreenrecorder Just as the name implies.

Audio players

Name Package Description
Audacious media-sound/audacious
media-plugins/audacious-plugins
Media player similar to XMMS, and Winamp.
Clementine media-sound/clementine Music player and library organizer based on Amarok and Qt.
gmusicbrowser media-sound/gmusicbrowser Open-source jukebox for large collections of MP3/Ogg/FLAC files.
Guayadeque media-sound/guayadeque Music management program designed for all music enthusiasts.
MOC (music on console) media-sound/moc ncurses interface for playing audio files, Music On Console.
MPD media-sound/mpd Flexible, server-side application for playing music with X11 clients.
Qmmp media-sound/qmmp Qt-based audio player with Winamp/XMMS skins support.
Rhythmbox media-sound/rhythmbox Music playing application for GNOME framework.

Image viewers

Name Package Description
ImageMagick display command media-gfx/imagemagick A collection of tools and libraries for many image formats, including an image viewer.
Eye of GNOME (eog) media-gfx/eog Image viewer and browser for GNOME.
fbida media-gfx/fbida Image viewers for the framebuffer console (fbi) and X11 (ida).
Feh media-gfx/feh Open-source image viewer mainly aimed at command-line users but works as a very lightweight minimal viewer for X11.
Geeqie media-gfx/geeqie Lightweight GTK image viewer.
GPicView media-gfx/gpicview GTK LXDE lightweight image viewer.
gThumb media-gfx/gthumb Image viewer and browser for GNOME.
Gwenview kde-apps/gwenview Fast and easy to use image viewer for browsing and displaying a collection of images in KDE.
nomacs media-gfx/nomacs Lightweight Qt image viewer.
Viewnior media-gfx/viewnior Fast, simple, elegant, minimalist image viewer for X11. Written in C with GTK.

Graphics

Name Package Description
Converseen media-gfx/converseen Batch image converter and resizer based on ImageMagick.
GIMP media-gfx/gimp The GNU Image Manipulation Program. It can be used as a simple paint tool, photo retouching and general image manipulation.
G'MIC media-gfx/gmic Framework and script language that allows the creation of complex macros, with GIMP and Krita plugins (enable appropriate use flags).
Inkscape media-gfx/inkscape Powerful, free vector graphics design workshop.
KolourPaint kde-apps/kolourpaint Simple KDE-based painting program, like the traditional MS Paint.
Krita media-gfx/krita Professional open source painting program made by artists.
MyPaint media-gfx/mypaint Fast and easy graphics application for digital painters.
XPaint media-gfx/xpaint Ultra light, bare X11 image editing tool.

Photography

Name Package Description
Darktable media-gfx/darktable Photography workflow application and RAW developer.
digiKam media-gfx/digikam Powerful, feature-rich KDE digital photo management application.
Hugin media-gfx/hugin Graphical user interface for the creation & processing of panoramic images.
Luminance HDR media-gfx/luminance-hdr Graphical user interface for high dynamic range image composition and processing.
RawTherapee media-gfx/rawtherapee Powerful, free, cross-platform raw photo processing system.
Shotwell media-gfx/shotwell Photo manager for GNOME.

Video players

Name Package Description
Mpv media-video/mpv Open source media player with a minimal interface. Supports a wide variety of media formats, has powerful scripting capabilities, and high quality video output.
SMPlayer media-video/smplayer Fully-featured Qt front-end for media-video/mplayer.
VLC media-video/vlc Wildly popular, cross platform video player and streamer.

Video editors

Name Package Description
OpenShot media-video/openshot Award winning free and open-source non-linear video editor.
Avidemux media-video/avidemux Free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks.
Pitivi media-video/pitivi Stable and effective non-linear video editor for low-end systems.

3D

Name Package Description
Blender media-gfx/blender Free and open-source 3D creation suite.

Network

File Sharing

Name Package Description
Nfs-utils net-fs/nfs-utils File system protocol that allows client machines to access network attached filesystems (called exports) from a host system.
Samba net-fs/samba Re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol, a Microsoft Windows alternative to Network File System (NFS).

Network Management

Name Package Description
Dhcpcd-ui net-misc/dhcpcd-ui Qt and GTK monitor and configuration graphical user interface for dhcpcd.
Iwd net-wireless/iwd Up-and-coming wireless daemon for Linux.
Netifrc net-misc/netifrc Gentoo's default framework for configuring and managing network interfaces on systems running OpenRC.
systemd-networkd sys-apps/systemd Part of systemd useful for simple configuration of wired network interfaces. Follow article for installation method.
Wpa_supplicant net-wireless/wpa_supplicant Wifi supplicant to handle network authentication.

Science

Astronomy

Name Package Description
Celestia sci-astronomy/celestia Space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions with a real-time 3D visualization of space.
Stellarium sci-astronomy/stellarium Open source planetarium for your computer with a realistic sky in relaitme 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

Nanoscience

Name Package Description
Gwyddion sci-visualization/gwyddion View, convert, and analyze scanning microscopy data (e.g. atomic force microscopy).
KLayout sci-electronics/klayout View, edit, and convert electron beam lithography files.

Software development

Diff/Merge tools

Name Package Description
KDiff3 kde-misc/kdiff3 Qt frontend to diff3.
Kompare kde-apps/kompare KDE tool for viewing the differences between files.
Meld dev-util/meld Visual diff and merge tool targeted at developers, under GNOME.
Quilt dev-util/quilt Patch manager to easily manage large numbers of patches by keeping track of the changes each patch makes.

IDEs

Name Package Description
Bluefish app-editors/bluefish GTK HTML editor for the experienced web designer or programmer.
Code::Blocks dev-util/codeblocks Open source, cross platform, free C++ IDE.
Eclipse dev-util/eclipse-sdk-bin from eclipse repository Java based IDE that can be used for other languages via plugins. Not in the Gentoo repository but can be installed from an overlay according to the the instructions.
Geany dev-util/geany GTK based fast and lightweight IDE supporting many different languages.
KDevelop dev-util/kdevelop Supporting KF5/Qt, C/C++ and much more.
Qt Creator dev-qt/qt-creator Lightweight C++/Qt IDE from the Qt Project.

Programming text editors

See also the text editor article.

Name Package Description
GVim app-editors/vim Text editor based on the vi text editor.
Emacs app-editors/emacs Class of powerful, extensible, self-documenting text editors.
Kate kde-apps/kate KDE text editor.
Neovim app-editors/neovim Vim fork focused on extensibility and agility.
scite app-editors/scite Very powerful editor for programmers.
Vim app-editors/vim Text editor based on the vi text editor.

System

Hardware management

Name Package Description
Solaar app-misc/solaar Device Manager for Logitech Unifying devices.
USBView app-admin/usbview Display the topology of devices on the USB bus.

Terminal emulators

A terminal emulator enables interaction with the system through a powerful text based interface. See the terminal emulator article for more information and even more package choices.

Name Package Description
alacritty x11-terms/alacritty Terminal emulator focused on simplicity and performance.
GNOME Terminal x11-terms/gnome-terminal Terminal emulator for GNOME.
Kitty x11-terms/kitty Modern, hackable, featureful, OpenGL-based terminal emulator written in Python and C.
Konsole kde-apps/konsole Terminal emulator for KDE.
LXTerminal lxde-base/lxterminal Lightweight, vte-based, tabbed terminal emulator for LXDE and other WMs.
rxvt-unicode x11-terms/rxvt-unicode Fast and lightweight terminal emulator with Xft and Unicode support.
Terminator x11-terms/terminator Terminal emulator arranging multiple terminals in one window, Python based, for GNOME. Not to be confused with the other terminal emulator of the same name[3].
Terminology x11-terms/terminology Feature rich terminal emulator using the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries.
Xfce Terminal x11-terms/xfce4-terminal Terminal emulator for the Xfce desktop environment.
XTerm x11-terms/xterm The default terminal emulator for X.org.

Utilities

Name Package Description
Baobab sys-apps/baobab GTK disk usage analyzer.
GParted sys-block/gparted GTK disk partition editor GUI.

Virtualization

Gentoo provides GUI software to easily use virtual machines. See virtualization article for more software.

Name Package Description
GNOME Boxes gnome-extra/gnome-boxes Simple GNOME application to access remote or virtual systems.
virt-manager app-emulation/virt-manager Graphical tool for administering virtual machines.
VirtualBox app-emulation/virtualbox Cross-platform virtualization software that allows users to run guest operating systems inside a host operating system.

Adding to this page

The applications listed here should be widely useful, and of sufficient quality, to merit inclusion. This page is a work in progress.

If you regularly use a desktop software package from the Gentoo repository and can confirm it is of excellent quality, stable and of broad appeal for common tasks, please add it to the list ! The software should at least be maintained (i.e. relatively recent commits to the source; have periodic releases; not have too many reported bugs; most bugs should be getting fixed rather than accumulating, etc.), and preferably be well documented and from the stable branch. Please don't use this page just to promote a package because you like it, are an author or have other interest etc.

See also

  • Recommended tools — lists system-administration related tools recommended for use in a shell environment (terminal/console)
  • Games — a landing page for many of the games (especially open source variants) available in Gentoo's main ebuild repository.
  • Qt Desktop applications — a list of recommendations for a light-weight, non-KDE, Qt-only desktop environment.

External resources

  • linuxlinks software directory - large, well organized catalogue of software with good descriptions. Software that is not in Portage can sometimes be installed by other means, such as being downloaded and complied after installing the appropriate dependencies.

References