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Useful Programs

A typical Linux distribution will consist of thousands of programs and will install most commonly used capabilities by default. This will likely include shells, editors, eMail programs and system utilities.

The available programs and capabilities can be increased by installing additional programs. There are many versions and variants of almost every program and new programs are being added frequently.

This page lists a few programs that provide commonly used functions. Review the page on Linux Commands and Concepts as well as the Linux Manual Pages to learn more about available programs and how they work.



Spell is a command-line spell-checking program. It reads through a text input and prints each misspelled word on a line of its own. It is implemented as a wrapper for GNU aspell or ispell. (doc)


Aspell is a spell-checker which can be used either as a library or as a standalone program. Notable features of Aspell include its full support of documents written in the UTF-8 encoding and its ability to use multiple dictionaries, including personal ones. (doc)


A package providing two classic Unix commands, style and diction. Diction is used to identify wordy and commonly misused phrases in a body of text. Style instead analyzes surface aspects of a written work, such as sentence length and other readability measures. (doc)


GNU Emacs is an extensible and highly customizable text editor. It is based on an Emacs Lisp interpreter with extensions for text editing. Emacs has been extended in essentially all areas of computing, giving rise to a vast array of packages supporting, e.g., email, IRC and XMPP messaging, spreadsheets, remote server editing, and much more. Emacs includes extensive documentation on all aspects of the system, from basic editing to writing large Lisp programs. It has full Unicode support for nearly all human languages. (doc)



GCC is the GNU Compiler Collection. It provides compiler front-ends for several languages, including C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran, Java, Ada, and Go. It also includes runtime support libraries for these languages. (doc)


GDB is the GNU debugger. With it, you can monitor what a program is doing while it runs or what it was doing just before a crash. It allows you to specify the runtime conditions, to define breakpoints, and to change how the program is running to try to fix bugs. It can be used to debug programs written in C, C++, Ada, Objective-C, Pascal and more. (doc)


GDBM is a library for manipulating hashed databases. It is used to store key/value pairs in a file in a manner similar to the Unix dbm library and provides interfaces to the traditional file format. (doc)


Make is a program that is used to control the production of executables or other files from their source files. The process is controlled from a Makefile, in which the developer specifies how each file is generated from its source. It has powerful dependency resolution and the ability to determine when files have to be regenerated after their sources change. GNU make offers many powerful extensions over the standard utility. (doc)


GNU DDD, the Data Display Debugger, is a graphical front-end for command-line debuggers. Many back-end debuggers are supported, notably the GNU debugger, GDB. In addition to usual debugging features such as viewing the source files, DDD has additional graphical, interactive features to aid in debugging. (doc)



The GNU Image-Finding Tool (GIFT) is a Content Based Image Retrieval System. It uses the content of images to perform queries on a collection, enabling you to query by example. Also, a tool to index whole directory trees is included. (doc)


GIMP is an application for image manipulation tasks such as photo retouching, composition and authoring. It supports all common image formats as well as specialized ones. It features a highly customizable interface that is extensible via a plugin system. (doc)



GNU Chess is a chess engine. It allows you to compete against the computer in a game of chess, either through the default terminal interface or via an external visual interface such as GNU XBoard. (doc)


GNU Robots is a game in which you program a robot to explore a world full of enemies that can hurt it, obstacles and food to be eaten. The goal of the game is to stay alive and collect prizes. The robot program conveniently may be written in a plain text file in the Scheme programming language. (doc)



GNU less is a pager, a program that allows you to view large amounts of text in page-sized chunks. Unlike traditional pagers, it allows both backwards and forwards movement through the document. It also does not have to read the entire input file before starting, so it starts faster than most text editors. (doc)


Sed is a non-interactive, text stream editor. It receives a text input from a file or from standard input and it then applies a series of text editing commands to the stream and prints its output to standard output. It is often used for substituting text patterns in a stream. The GNU implementation offers several extensions over the standard utility. (doc)


grep is a tool for finding text inside files. Text is found by matching a pattern provided by the user in one or many files. The pattern may be provided as a basic or extended regular expression, or as fixed strings. By default, the matching text is simply printed to the screen, however the output can be greatly customized to include, for example, line numbers. GNU grep offers many extensions over the standard utility, including, for example, recursive directory searching. (doc)


Findutils supplies the basic file directory searching utilities of the GNU system. It consists of two primary searching utilities: find recursively searches for files in a directory according to given criteria and locate lists files in a database that match a query. Two auxiliary tools are included: updatedb updates the file name database and xargs may be used to apply commands with arbitrarily long arguments. (doc)



GNU Wget is a non-interactive tool for fetching files using the HTTP, HTTPS and FTP protocols. It can resume interrupted downloads, use filename wild cards, supports proxies and cookies, and it can convert absolute links in downloaded documents to relative links. (doc)


GNU httptunnel creates a bidirectional data path tunneled in HTTP requests. This allows users behind firewalls to send and receive data that would otherwise be blocked, such as telnet or ssh connections. (doc)



GNU Gzip provides data compression and decompression utilities; the typical extension is .gz. Unlike the zip format, it compresses a single file; as a result, it is often used in conjunction with tar, resulting in .tar.gz or .tgz, etc. (doc)


Tar provides the ability to create tar archives, as well as the ability to extract, update or list files in an existing archive. It is useful for combining many files into one larger file, while maintaining directory structure and file information such as permissions and creation/modification dates. GNU tar offers many extensions over the standard utility. (doc)


RCS is the original Revision Control System. It works on a file-by-file basis, in contrast to subsequent version control systems such as CVS, Subversion, and Git. This can make it suitable for system administration files, for example, which are often inherently local to one machine. (doc)



GNUschool is a web application for students, teachers and school administrators. With it, teachers can create tests for the students to take online, give feedback and assign grades. School administrators can use it to monitor student attendance and edit student information. (doc)



Bash is the shell, or command-line interpreter, of the GNU system. It is compatible with the Bourne Shell, but it also integrates useful features from the Korn Shell and the C Shell and new improvements of its own. It allows command-line editing, unlimited command history, shell functions and aliases, and job control while still allowing most sh scripts to be run without modification. (doc)


The King James Bible (kjv), World English Bible (web) and Bible in Basic English (bbe) are all examples of public domains books. The King James Bible (kjv) online uses the content from these books and open source software to enhance Bible study capabilities. The site includes the verse of the day, search tools, christian literature and links to related content. It demonstrates the use of open source to create a valuable service.

Learn and leverage open source to bring your passion to life.

Financial Opportunity


Learn why free software provides the greatest opportunity on the planet today. Leverage the billions of dollars in resources and capabilities to build a career, establish a business or change the world. Learn ot use this opportunity and the potential is endless.

Study at Harvard, Stanford or MIT


Open edX provides free online courses from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, UC Berkeley and other top Universities. Hundreds of courses for almost all major subjects and course levels. Open edx also offers some paid courses and selected certifications.

Free Office Software


The Libre Office suite provides top desktop productivity tools for free. This includes, a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation engine, drawing and flowcharting, database and math applications. Libre Office is available for Linux or Windows.

What is Linux


Linux is an open source computer operating system (OS) used on laptops, games, watches and super computers. The software and the source code used for Linux are both available to you at no cost. Use this powerful resource to your advantage.

U.S. Government


On January 20 2009, President Obama's first day in office, the Open Government initiative was issued to provide transparency and access to Government data. Learn how our Government is using open source and the opportunities this provides for you.

Wall Street

bible genesis

Goldman Sachs, IBM and countless large corporations are leveraging open source to reduce costs, develop products and increase their bottom lines. Learn what these companies know about open source and how open source can give you the advantage.

The Library of History


The The Library of History by Diodorus the Sicilian is one of the most highly regarded universal histories in antiquities. His work includes the history of Egypt, Asia, Africa, Greece and Europe. His book is a must read for research of ancient history.



The Histories of Herodotus written in 440 BC is considered to be the founding work of history in Western literature. His history included stories and fables but he claimed to have traveled extensively and learned about many countries through direct observation.

King James Bible


The Bible study website was developed using open source software. The King James Bible online provides search tools for Bible verses, people, keywords and concepts. It demonstrates the use of open source to create a functional application and service.

Source Code

source code

Want to change a program or know how it works? Open Source provides the source code for its programs so that anyone can use, modify or learn how to write those programs themselves. Visit the GNU source code repositories to download the source.

Free Books Online

free books

The Free Books Library is a collection of thousands of the most popular public domain books. The collection includes the world's great classical literature and more recent works where the U.S. copyright has expired. These books are free of restrictions.

Linux Manual Pages

linux manpages

A man or manual page is a form of software documentation found on Linux/Unix operating systems. Topics covered include computer programs (including library and system calls), formal standards and conventions, and even abstract concepts.


The thesis of Stolen Legacy is that the Egyptians created what is wrongly called Greek philosophy. Dr. James argues that the African origin of Greek Philosophy is well known but rarely discussed. Ancient Greek historians such as Herodotus and Diodorus the Sicilian wrote in significant detail about the contributions of Egypt. Egyptian technology and libraries were unmatched and Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras and Plato studied there. The contribution of Africa to the intellectual foundation of modern knowledge is tremendous but unacknowledged.