While most of you probably know of Flatpaks and Snaps, you may not have heard much about AppImage. It might even surprise you to know that it’s been around quite a bit longer than the other Linux universal package formats.
When apps are released as Snaps or Flatpaks, there’s usually accompanying articles, videos, and social media posts, whereas when apps release as AppImage, there seems to be little to no fanfare.
This article’s going to rectify that, and give a shout-out to some of the best Linux applications officially offered as AppImage packages.
Audacity is an incredibly popular multi-track audio editor. It’s a free, open source, and cross-platform alternative to paid proprietary apps such as Avid Pro Tools and Apple Logic Pro. Features include recording, editing, mixing, and support for a multitude of file formats.
Audacity is available on all major desktop platforms and features AppImage as the only official Linux download.
Download: Audacity (Free)
Bitwarden is probably the most popular application on our list. Not only is it one of the best open source password managers, it’s likely the best synced password manager, period.
Unlike most synced password managers that use a traditional user account system, Bitwarden uses the blockchain to secure your passwords. The downside to this added security is that forgetting your master password means you’re locked out, as Bitwarden has no way to reset it remotely.
Bitwarden is available on all major platforms and there are several installation methods for Linux besides the default AppImage. What’s more, the app offers plug-ins for all major web browsers for convenient password management.
Download: Bitwarden (Free)
Honorable Mention: KeePassXC
Bitwarden isn’t the only popular password manager that releases as an AppImage. KeePassXC differs from Bitwarden as it’s a local application with no online component. The upside to this is increased security, as your passwords never leave your system. The downside means no syncing features, although you always can place your password database on any cloud storage folder.
KeePassXC is available for all major desktop platforms and features AppImage as the official package.
Download: KeePassXC (Free)
3. diagrams.net (AKA draw.io)
Also known as draw.io, diagrams.net is a feature-rich, yet simple-to-use diagramming application. Its functionality, simple interface, and ease-of-use put it on-par with premium diagramming apps such as LucidChart, Microsoft Visio, and Gliffy. In fact, it’s able to import files from those apps.
The app includes assortment of pre-made templates for specific diagrams, such as flowcharts, org charts, network maps, Venn diagrams, wireframes, and more. Third-party integrations are also plentiful, including Google Workplace and Drive, Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive, Atlassian Confluence and Jira, GitHub, GitLab, and even a VSCode version.
While primarily available as an online application (diagrams.net), the desktop version (draw.io) is available for all major desktop platforms. AppImage is one of several Linux package formats available.
Download: Diagrams.net (Free)
This app does one thing, and one thing only: it creates bootable USB and SD cards from ISO and IMG files. While Ventoy is the best way to create bootable thumbdrives nowadays, balena’s Etcher remains the simplest tool for single-use bootable thumbdrive creation.
With versions for all major desktop platforms, Etcher’s super-simple user interface makes it a great recommendation for novice users.
Download: Etcher (Free)
FreeCAD is a free and open source alternative to other CAD (Computer Assisted Design) applications such as AutoDesk AutoCAD.
It’s able to create 3D designs using real-world measurements and export them for CNC machines, 3D printing, or 2D schematics. Standout features include support for a wide array of file formats, specialized presets for different purposes, and tools that can be completely customized with Python.
FreeCAD is available on all major desktop platforms and features AppImage as the only Linux download.
Download: FreeCAD (Free)
Honorable Mention: OpenSCAD
There is also OpenSCAD, which is a simpler CAD application that mostly focuses on 3D modeling. OpenSCAD is available on all major desktop platforms and offers an AppImage among other Linux packaging formats.
Download: OpenSCAD (Free)
Inkscape is a feature-packed free and open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. The vector graphics editor is perfect for creative artists and logo designers, or those simply needing to open SVG files.
While the app dates back to the days of Windows XP, it received a ton of new features, updates, and bug fixes in recent years, having only reached the big version 1.0 milestone in 2020.
Inkscape is available for all major desktop platforms and features AppImage as the only official universal Linux package format.
Download: Inkscape (Free)
Honorable Mention: Krita
Krita is another popular vector graphics editor that offers an AppImage package. While Krita is a KDE application, it’s available for all major desktop platforms.
Download: Krita (Free)
OnlyOffice is a free office suite with word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation functionality. One of the best features of OnlyOffice is a condensed user interface. The app features Ribbon-like toolbars and opens new documents in tabs rather than separate windows, much like web pages in a browser.
Unlike free and open source staple LibreOffice, OnlyOffice natively uses Microsoft Office-compatible DOCX, XLSX and PPTX formats. Feature-wise, OnlyOffice is similar to a local version of the free Microsoft Office 365 apps or Google Docs, but it lacks compared to full-blown office suites like Microsoft Office and LibreOffice.
OnlyOffice is available on all major platforms and officially offers nearly every Linux package format alongside AppImage.
Download: OnlyOffice (Free)
Shotcut is a popular free, open source, and cross-platform multi-track video editor. It’s similar to proprietary applications such as Adobe Premier, DaVinci Resolve, and Lightworks.
Features include a wide array of format and resolution support, audio and video editing, masks, effects, transitions, and more.
Shotcut is available on all major desktop platforms and features AppImage among other Linux packaging formats.
Download: Shotcut (Free)
Honorable Mention: Kdenlive
Kdenlive is another feature-rich free and open source video editor with similar features to Shotcut. Despite being another KDE app, it is available on all major desktop platforms, and features AppImage among other Linux packaging formats.
Download: Kdenlive (Free)
Honorable Mention: OpenShot
If you want a simpler video editing solution, OpenShot is a great user-friendly alternative to Shotcut, available on all major desktop platforms and features AppImage as the only Linux download option.
Download: OpenShot (Free)
x-As its name implies, Simplenote is an alternative to simple note-taking applications such as Apple Notes and Google Keep. Functionality includes the ability to pin notes, tagging, checklists, syncing, and a handful of other useful features.
From Automattic, the makers of WordPress, Simplenote is available on all major platforms and offers several Linux packages alongside AppImage.
Download: Simplenote (Free)
Honorable Mention: Standard Notes
Comparable to Simplenote, Standard Notes mainly differentiates itself with end-to-end encryption. The app is also available as a paid subscription, which introduces additional features, putting it on-par with more robust note apps such as Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. Paid features include nested folders, rich text and markdown support, user interface customization, login security, and more.
Standard Notes is available on all major platforms and features AppImage as the only official Linux download.
Download: Standard Notes (Free)
Honorable Mention: Joplin
Joplin is a powerful open-source alternative to Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. Features include tagging, sharing, collaboration, and the ability to store multimedia files and web pages within notes. Even more functionality can be added with extensions. While syncing is not included, Joplin Cloud is available for a monthly fee. However, the app can be used with other cloud services such as DropBox and Microsoft OneDrive.
Joplin is available on all major platforms and features AppImage as the only official Linux package.
Download: Joplin (Free)
VSCodium is a fully open source, community-maintained version of Microsoft’s popular code editor Visual Studio Code (VSCode) – much like the similarly named Chromium is to Google’s Chrome web browser.
Features include support for nearly every major programming language, almost limitless customization, and a thriving marketplace of extensions. Like any good code editor, its looks can be completely altered using a wide array of available themes.
VSCodium is available on all major desktop platforms and offers AppImage alongside other official Linux packages.
Download: VSCodium (Free)
AppImage Is Thriving
While AppImage may not have the vocal following of Flatpak or corporate support of Snap, that hasn’t stopped the format from attracting top-notch apps.It arguably has the top two password managers in existence, the best notes apps on Linux, the best free vector graphics editor there is, and fantastic options for diagrams, office work, and coding.
And that’s just the popular apps offering official AppImage packages. There are many lesser-known, niche-purpose apps that favor this format, such as crypto wallets and Linus Torvalds’ own scuba diving app Subsurface.
The best thing about AppImage is that you don’t technically install them, they just run. So feel free to test drive all the AppImage software you want, and never worry about having to uninstall when you’re done.