Most people don’t think of Ubuntu when they think of web design! It can’t run the latest versions of Photoshop or Illustrator, and it can’t run Mac web design and development apps, like BBEdit and Coda.
Ubuntu is arguably the best-designed Linux distro, though, with a lot of emphasis on usability and simplicity. And let’s face it; not all of us have thousands of dollars to spend on expensive software packages, or want to risk Windows viruses from pirated versions. These Ubuntu apps are all free, and most of them are open-source “organic software” as well.
Click here to check out Ubuntu, or read on to see the best Ubuntu apps for web design and development! To try out each app, search for its name in the Software Centre.
The GIMP is the Ubuntu equivalent of Adobe Photoshop, while Inkscape is the Ubuntu equivalent of Adobe Illustrator. The GIMP has been much-maligned by Photoshop fans for having a clumsy interface, but the upcoming version is going to consolidate all of GIMP’s free-floating controls into a single window, Photoshop-style. Inkscape, meanwhile, is arguably better than Illustrator at certain vector graphics tasks.
For color profiling, try Agave. This simple app lets you pick out a color you can see on-screen, then helps you build a color scheme around it.
Ubuntu being a Linux distro, it’d be sacrilege not to mention the Vi and Emacs code editors, ancient and venerable programmers’ mainstays. Their learning curves are vertical walls, though, and their console-mode graphics are decidedly retro.
Hobbyists or casual web developers might be better served by KompoZer. It lets you edit web pages based on what they actually look like, although you can still dig into the code if you want. It’s not much good for anything beyond basic HTML web pages, but if you don’t know what that means you’re probably best off with KompoZer.
Somewhere in between is gedit, the “Text Editor” that comes with Ubuntu by default. Don’t let its Notepad looks fool you; with the right plugins, it’s more like Notepad++, or Textmate for Macs. Its line numbers and code highlighting make editing CSS and PHP files a breeze, while its lightweight interface makes it a lot less intimidating than an actual IDE. Take a look at how one web developer customized gedit!
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser doesn’t work in Ubuntu, and neither does Apple’s Safari. Mozilla Firefox does, though, and so does Google’s Chromium — the open-source version of Chrome. Chromium is based on Webkit, the same engine that powers Safari, and both Firefox and Chromium have Web Inspector-like plugins that let you examine and debug your web pages.
Opera is also available for Ubuntu, although it’s not in the Software Centre. To install Opera for Ubuntu, click here.
Other Ubuntu Apps
Tomboy is the best lightweight notetaking app I’ve ever used. BasKet is more like Microsoft OneNote, as it lets you type anywhere and take screen captures. Getting Things GNOME! is a handy way to keep track of to-do items, while Time Tracker lets you see how long you spend on-task.
If you’re a web designer or developer who uses Ubuntu, check out some of these free apps and see if they help! And if you aren’t, you can check out Ubuntu at ubuntu.com. Either way, good luck and have fun creating websites!