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.
A desktop environment is a complete ecosystem of software and resources providing a homogeneous 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.
||Contemporary desktop environment with a traditional graphical interface, forked from GNOME 3's GNOME Shell, and developed for Linux Mint.
||Eye-candy, compositing and stacking window manager, released under the permissive BSD License.
||Easy to use, powerful, and pretty desktop environment.
|Feature-rich desktop environment, provided by the GNOME project.
|Free software community producing a wide range of applications, including the popular Plasma desktop environment.
||Lightweight desktop environment, free of D-Bus and *kit, designed to have as few system dependencies and requirements as possible.
||Free desktop environment with comparatively low resource requirements.
||Lightweight desktop environment based on the [Qt] toolkit.
||Fork of the GNOME 2 desktop environment.
||Lightweight desktop environment for Unix-like operating systems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See file managers for more information.
Optical disk burners
General document viewers
See also the text editor article.
||Text editor for the GNOME desktop.
||GUI version of the Vim text editor.
||Powerful text editor by KDE, with features such as syntax highlighting, plugins, tabs, and more.
||Bare-bones text editor for Xfce that starts up extremely quickly.
||Small and lightweight UTF-8 text editor for the MATE environment.
Chat clients / video conferencing
Some popular proprietary messaging services can be found in the Gentoo ebuild repository if needed, such as Discord, Skype, or Telegram (open source desktop client with closed source server backend). Some other services can be accessed on Gentoo using their web interface, such as WhatsApp.
See also music production.
||Simple document scanning utility for GNOME.
||Scan documents, perform OCR, produce PDFs and DjVus, gtk based.
||Personal document manager: scan or import documents and find them back in a snap with full text search!
||Simple image scanning application based on libksane and KDE Frameworks.
||Tried and tested graphical scanning frontend.
See the wiki page on SANE for more information on scanning in Gentoo.
|ImageMagick display command
||Collection of tools and libraries for many image formats, including an image viewer.
|Eye of GNOME (eog)
||Image viewer and browser for GNOME.
||Image viewers for the framebuffer console (fbi) and X11 (ida).
||Open-source image viewer mainly aimed at command-line users but works as a very lightweight minimal viewer for X11.
||Lightweight GTK image viewer.
||GTK LXDE lightweight image viewer.
||Image viewer and browser for GNOME.
||Fast and easy to use image viewer for browsing and displaying a collection of images in KDE.
||Lightweight Qt image viewer.
||Lightweight, simple image viewer with multiple features. Written in C.
||Fast, simple, elegant, minimalist image viewer for X11. Written in C with GTK.
||Batik — Java-based toolkit for applications or applets that want to use images in the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format
||Batch image converter and resizer based on ImageMagick.
||The GNU Image Manipulation Program. It can be used as a simple paint tool, photo retouching and general image manipulation.
||Framework and script language that allows the creation of complex macros, with GIMP and Krita plugins (enable appropriate use flags).
||Powerful, free vector graphics design workshop.
||Simple KDE-based painting program, like the traditional MS Paint.
||Professional open source painting program made by artists.
||Fast and easy graphics application for digital painters.
||Ultra light, bare X11 image editing tool.
||Free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks.
||Award winning free and open-source non-linear video editor.
||Stable and effective non-linear video editor for low-end systems.
||File system protocol that allows client machines to access network attached filesystems (called exports) from a host system.
||Re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol, a Microsoft Windows alternative to Network File System (NFS).
||Space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions with a real-time 3D visualization of space.
||Open source planetarium for your computer with a realistic sky in real-time 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
||Qt frontend to diff3.
||KDE tool for viewing the differences between files.
||Visual diff and merge tool targeted at developers, under GNOME.
||Patch manager to easily manage large numbers of patches by keeping track of the changes each patch makes.
||GTK HTML editor for the experienced web designer or programmer.
||Open source, cross platform, free C++ IDE.
||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.
||GTK based fast and lightweight IDE supporting many different languages.
||Supporting KF5/Qt, C/C++ and much more.
||Lightweight C++/Qt IDE from the Qt Project.
||Visual Studio Code is a lightweight but powerful source code editor. Requires accepting the Microsoft-vscode software license before installation.
||Free/Libre Open Source Software Binaries of Microsoft's VSCode.
Programming text editors
See also the text editor article. See also CLI text editors.
||Device Manager for Logitech Unifying devices.
||Display the topology of devices on the USB bus.
See also the article on hardware detection software.
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.
Gentoo provides GUI software to easily use virtual machines. See virtualization article for more software.
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.
For software titles that are of more interest to users of a specific desktop environment, please use or create the meta page (blueprint) for that desktop environment (e.g. Xfce).
It is good practice to create a stub article for any package added here that does not have a page already, as anything notable enough to be listed here will also be notable enough to have a dedicated page.
- 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.
- 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.