3 Best Free Photoshop Alternatives for Ubuntu and other Linux

3 min


We present three best Photoshop alternatives for Linux systems that are free and open-source.

Photoshop is a raster graphics image editor and manipulator developed by Adobe. This decade-old software is a de facto standard for the photographic industry. However, it is a paid product and doesn’t run on Linux. For many users in this industry, Photoshop is still costly and comes with a hefty subscription fee. Since it does not run on Linux, you must use Windows or macOS with additional free operating systems and hardware.

As you can see, to use Photoshop, you end up paying additional fees, which are not even related to Photoshop.

Though nothing technically replaces software, below are some free and open-source apps that come close to Photoshop in terms of its functionality.

Also, all these three apps are available as Flatpak and Snap. So you can install it in any Linux distribution.

Best Photoshop Alternatives for Linux

1. GIMP

GIMP, aka GNU Image Manipulation Program, is the default and best image editor program available as free in Linux, Windows and Mac. GIMP is also as old as Photoshop regarding how long the software has been in the industry.

GIMP is very active in the development, and each new release delivers the next set of improvements, keeping in line with the industry.

GIMP is one of the best Photoshop Alternative available for free
GIMP is one of the best Photoshop Alternative available for free

Though some very advanced Photoshop features are not available in GIMP, GIMP can still match its features as closely as Photoshop. GIMP also supports scripting, which is a powerful feature of this application. GIMP is supported by a huge list of free plugins, such as GMIC for filters, which you can use to extend its features to a great extent.

Key features of GIMP

  • 8-bit and 16-bit CMYK(A) TILL files support
  • WebP image support
  • JPEG XL, and BIGTIFF file support
  • Configurable user interfaces with light/dark/system theme.
  • Extensible layer options
  • External add-on support
  • Localized glyphs in the text tool

How To Install

GIMP is available as both Flatpak and Snap, which you can run in any Linux distribution. Download from the below links. I would recommend using Flatpak since it gets you the latest version of this app as soon as it releases.

For Flatpak, set up your system, and then run the below to install from the terminal.

flatpak install flathub org.gimp.GIMP

Also, for Snap installation, visit this page.

For those who prefer the native apt package, you can run the following from the terminal to install it.

sudo apt install gimp

For Windows and Mac, visit this page for download options.

2. Inkscape

Inkscape is a vector graphics editor for editing illustrations, logos and complex paintings. Though this app is mainly used to manipulate SVG diagrams, it can also be used for editing images and helping with certain functionalities of Photoshop. This can act as a lightweight alternative to Photoshop.

Key features of Inkscape

  • Object creation and manipulation
  • Freehand drawing, simple path, calligraphy support
  • Wide variety of shape tools
  • Text tools (multi-line text, full-on canvas)
  • RGB, HSL, CYMK, CMS colour selector
  • Gradient editor
  • Nodes and paths
  • Boolean operations
  • Command line options

How to Install

Inkscape is available in Flatpak, Snap and native deb/RPM formats. For Flatpak installation, set up your system to use Flatpak and use the following command to install it. This is recommended way.

flatpak install flathub org.inkscape.Inkscape

For the Snap package, visit this page.

If you prefer the native deb/rpm package, use the following commands to install it in Fedora and Ubuntu.

sudo apt install inkscape
sudo dnf install inkscape 

3. Darktable

Darktable is a photo editing and photo workflow application designed to handle raw photos. It can manage photos in a non-destructive way for post-production.

Like Photoshop, it can also handle/edit raster graphics, and this app is beneficial to photographers who handle many photos for their workflow.

You can find more darktable features here.

How to Install

Darktable is also available as both Flatpak and Snap. The recommended way is to use the Flatpak version. To do that, first set up your system to use Flatpak. Then run the following command.

flatpak install flathub org.darktable.Darktable

For Snap, visit this page.

If you prefer the legacy way of installation, then follow the below commands via the terminal. You can also use the respective distro’s Software repo to install.

sudo apt install darktable
sudo dnf install darktable

Summary

Photoshop is an amazing application and has become a standard today. However, I feel the above three free apps can somewhat be close to photoshop and act as the best photoshop alternatives for Linux systems.


Arindam

Creator of debugpoint.com. All time Linux user and open-source supporter. Connect with me via Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or send us an email.
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