Apps for Raspberry Pi Pixel Desktop

Best Apps for Raspberry Pi Desktop To Install (Raspbian)

[Last modified: May 31, 2018]

The Raspberry Pi is a wonderful computer for Retrogames, Robotics, DIY Projects, and so much more Including LXDE Pixel Desktop.
With the ability to have a desktop, the need for applications is the main thing you need to be productive!  So with the list, I put together this is a great start to be productive on your Pi.

If you are running other OS systems like Raspbian, Jessie or any other Linux operating systems, these programs should still be handy to use for your needs.
I left a few out like VLC, Chromium, and Leafpad because these are already installed with the Pixel Desktop.
You can navigate to your installed applications here:

/usr/share/applications

How To Uninstall

With all these programs you’re bowned not to like one of them.   So to uninstall there is a couple of ways to do it.

 

Open the terminal and type in one of these: Remove the name “placenamehere” with the application you are going to remove.   Most of the time you can get away with just purge but some will need to be autoremove –purge

sudo apt-get --purge remove placenamehere*
sudo apt-get autoremove --purge placenamehere*
Use * at end of name

Browsers

Vivaldi

Vivaldi has released an experimental build of its web browser for Raspberry Pi.
The new web browsers offer a range of quirky and interesting features, such as tab grouping and screenshot capturing.

More helpful, for Raspberry Pi users, is the ability to fine-tune performance by turning off support for features such as animated gifs; or by forcing pages to load in a clutter-free ‘reader’ environment.

This browser is so great I stopped using Google Chrome all together even on my main computer.  It still runs the Chromium Engine so you can still get the extensions you want from the Chrome Web Store.

  1. Download the .deb package from here: https://vivaldi.com/blog/vivaldi-for-raspberry-pi/
  2. You will need to install it.  You can use GDebi Package Installer below
  3. Right-click on the .deb package and install with GDebi Package Installer or if you have Gnome installed you will see Package Install
  4. Enjoy a more up to date browser.

If you want something similar to Google’s browser to sign in to share extensions, passwords, dials and more on another browser you can enable sync experimental feature by typing in
vivaldi://experiments/ in the address bar and checking Sync.  You will now be able to see Sync in the settings.

If you don’t type in:

sudo apt-get update

This will update the browser so you can now see Sync in experiments.


CD Based

Brasero

Brasero is a free discburning program for Unix-like systems, which serves as a graphical front-end (using GTK+) to cdrtoolscdrskingrowisofs, and (optionally) libburn. Licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Brasero is free software.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install brasero

 


Core Services

Bluetooth Manager

Blueman is a GTK+ Bluetooth Manager. Blueman is designed to provide a simple yet effective means for controlling BlueZ API and simplifying Bluetooth tasks.

If it wasn’t for this application there would be no way I could’ve run the PS3 controller wirelessly.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install pi-bluetooth blueman

then type in:

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio pavucontrol pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

 

GDebi Package Installer

Gdebi is a free open source application that allows installing DEB files in a simple way.
The program stands out from the rest thanks to its easiness of use and the high quantity of information featured in the interface.

It can solve the dependencies needed by a DEB packet, no matter if it has an internet connection or if it’s offline. Of course, if your offline, those dependencies have to be stored in the computer.
By this way, Gdebi becomes one of the easiest and most effective DEB installers out there.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install gdebi

You will need to make a password so you can install Deb packages.  Please note that these packages need to be compatible with the processor or they just won’t load or install.
Make Admin Password The original was (raspberry)

sudo passwd root
enter password twice

 

LXTask Task Manager

LXTask is the standard task manager and system monitor of LXDE. It starts via Ctrl+Alt+Del and is extremely lightweight.
To remove an unresponsive application, you may use Term or Kill. It is recommended to first try Term, to see if the application can respond.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install LXTask

 

Onscreen Keyboard

This onscreen keyboard is useful for touchscreens like the Raspberry Pi LCD – 7″ Touchscreen.    It’s glitchy but works when you need to use it.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install matchbox-keyboard

Located in: Menu >> Accessories >> Keyboard

 

Screensavers

This is a must-have on the Pi.  This beats having a black screen.

On the Desktop (PIXEL)

If you want to change the screensaver you need to install xscreensaver.
In xscreensaver you can change or disable the screensaver if you like.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver

Once this has been installed, you can find the screensaver application under the Preferences option on the main desktop menu. This provides many options for setting up the screensaver, or disabling it completely.

If you want to have more screensavers type in Terminal

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra

Please Note: Some run like crap on the Pi, but you have a larger list to choose from.
The reason why some run like crap is the graphical demand to run them is lacking on the Pi. Maybe they will run better on the Raspberry Pi 4 when it get’s released. Still worth having a larger selection to choose from.

Some I found that work great and look good from the list
Note: the frame rates differ but this is my average on the Raspberry 3B
You can change the settings on a few of them to make them more smooth.

Sweet means I like them
Epic is a must use screensaver!

Retro Game ScreenSavers

Pacman 65fps sweet
Penetrate 85fps
XFlame 23fps (Doom Face)

All The Rest

Abstractile 60fps
Blaster 51fps
Bouboule 40fps
Bumps 20fps
CubicGrid 8fps
Deluxe 27fps
Epicycle 47fps
Euler2D 44fps
FadePlot 29fps
Flow 19fps
FuzzyFlakes 17fps
Galaxy 25fps
Grav 85fps
Hopalong 70fps Sweet
IFS 30fps
Interaggregate 30fps
Interference 17fps
Julia 50fps Sweet
Kaleidescope 18fps Sweet
Loop 10fps
Munch 56fps Sweet
NerveRot 31fps
NoseGuy 15fps
Piecewise 28fps Epic
PopSquares 22fps Settings Light red & Dark blue
Pyro 50fps (Fireworks)
QiX 70fps Sweet
Rocks 18fps
ShadeBobs 70fps Sweet
SpeedMine 7fps
Squiral 75fps Sweet
Starfish 45fps Sweet
Strange 25fps
Thombird 70fps Sweet
Vermiculate 70fps Sweet
Wander 45fps Sweet
WhirlWindWarp 70fps Epic
Wormhole 29fps Epic
XRaySwarm 30fps

 

Website from screensavers
https://www.jwz.org/xscreensaver/

 

Synaptic Package Manager

t’s easy enough to install software via the command line, and Raspbian has its own mouse-driven Add/Remove Software tool… but what if you’re looking for something more expansive?

Unlike the native tool, Synaptic has software grouped into more specific categories, helping you to find the tools you need. In addition, Synaptic (which is one of several Linux package managers) can also ensure that the apps installed on your Pi are the most up-to-date versions. All you need to do is click Reload and then Apply to run the updates.

Source Information Here: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/top-apps-install-raspberry-pi/
Source of Synaptic Package Manager Here: https://www.nongnu.org/synaptic/

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

 


Gaming

Minecraft Pi Edition

This is one thing that needs to be added to this list for sure.    Minecraft.  Yes, Minecraft!   This version is the old Mobile Minecraft engine that was created for low-performance hardware.
Still impressing that Minecraft is added to the Pi and even that this is a basic version it’s still enjoyable.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install minecraft-pi

 


Image Editors

GIMP

GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows and more operating systems. It is free software, you can change its source code and distribute your changes.
Whether you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, or scientist, GIMP provides you with sophisticated tools to get your job done. You can further enhance your productivity with GIMP thanks to many customization options and 3rd party plugins.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install gimp

 

 

 

 


Media Players

Kodi

Kodi spawned from the love of media. It is an entertainment hub that brings all your digital media together into a beautiful and user-friendly package. It is 100% free and open source, very customizable and runs on a wide variety of devices. It is supported by a dedicated team of volunteers and a huge community.

If you use RetroPi just install it as a Port.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install kodi

 

SMPlayer

SMPlayer is a free, open source media player that uses the playback engine of MPlayer. With this player, you don’t need any additional external codecs. There is an extensive list of features, and the number is going up with each new release. To mention a few of them: it can remember the settings (subtitle, volume, equalizer, playback position) of the files you played (open at the same point you left it), create playlists with your video files, automated subtitles search on opensubtitles.org and much more.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install smplayer

 


MusicEditors

Ardour Digital Audio Workstation

Ardour is a hard disk recorder and digital audio workstation application.

Ardour’s core user group: people who want to record, edit, mix and master audio and MIDI projects. When you need complete control over your tools, when the limitations of other designs get in the way, when you plan to spend hours or days working on a session, Ardour is there to make things work the way you want them to.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install ardour

 

Audacity

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.

Because Audacity was originally written when computers were less powerful, you may be able to run it on much less powerful hardware too. Simple recording is possible on 700 MHz Raspberry Pi, using a USB Microphone. However, Pi operating systems are not officially supported and Audacity may be less stable on them than on desktop operating systems.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install audacity

 

LMMS

LMMS (formerly Linux MultiMedia Studio) is a digital audio workstation application program. When LMMS is executed on a computer with appropriate hardware, it allows music to be produced by arranging samples, synthesizing sounds, playing on a MIDI keyboard and combining the features of trackers and sequencers. It supports the Linux Audio Developer’s Simple Plugin API (LADSPA), and Virtual Studio Technology (VST) plug-ins.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install LMMS

 

Qtractor

Qtractor is an Audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer application written in C++ with the Qt framework. Target platform is Linux, where the Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK) for audio, and the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) for MIDI, are the main infrastructures to evolve as a fairly-featured Linux desktop audio workstation GUI, specially dedicated to the personal home-studio.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install qtractor

 


Music Players

Audacious

Audacious is an open source audio player. A descendant of XMMS, Audacious plays your music how you want it, without stealing away your computer’s resources from other tasks. Drag and drop folders and individual song files, search for artists and albums in your entire music library or create and edit your own custom playlists. Listen to CDs or stream music from the Internet. Tweak the sound with the graphical equalizer or experiment with LADSPA effects. Enjoy the modern GTK-themed interface or change things up with Winamp Classic skins. Use the plugins included with Audacious to fetch lyrics for your music, to set an alarm in the morning, and more.

This is by far the best Music player for the Raspberry Pi and I highly recommend using it.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install audacious

 

Clementine Music Player

Clementine is a multiplatform music player. It is inspired by Amarok 1.4, focusing on a fast and easy-to-use interface for searching and playing your music.

Don’t expect to get all the players to work since this version is old.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install clementine

 

QjackCtl

QjackCtl is a simple Qt application to control the JACK sound server daemon, specific for the Linux Audio Desktop infrastructure.
Written in C++ around the Qt framework for X11, most exclusively using Qt Designer.

Provides a simple GUI dialog for setting several JACK daemon parameters, which are properly saved between sessions, and a way control of the status of the audio server daemon. With time, this primordial interface has become richer by including a enhanced patchbay and connection control features.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install QjackCtl

 


Office and Notepad++ alternatives Editors

Geany

Geany is a text editor using the GTK+ toolkit with basic features of an integrated development environment. It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies from other packages. It supports many filetypes and has some nice features.

Personally.  I find this the best editor similar to Notepad++

You will see a really anoying line almost centered of the editor.  It’s called Long Line Marker.  To disable it.  This is how.

  • Click Edit / Preferences / Editor / Display /”Untick” the option “Long Line Marker” Click Apply.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install Geany

 

Gedit Text Editor

gedit is the default text editor of the GNOME desktop environment and part of the GNOME Core Applications. Designed as a general-purpose text editor, gedit emphasizes simplicity and ease of use, with a clean and simple GUI, according to the philosophy of the GNOME project.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install Gedit

 

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a community-driven suite of programs meaning the features are driven by what people want to use it for and free to use. It is a good choice for students, small businesses and occasional users as is should cover all their needs. LibreOffice is able to load and save documents from other office programs such as Microsoft Office so you can edit homework and documents sent to you without any issues.




Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install libreoffice

 

SciTE Text Editor

SciTE or SCIntilla based Text Editor is a cross-platform text editor written by Neil Hodgson using the Scintilla editing component. It is licensed under a minimal version of the Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer. Lightweight and built for speed, it is designed mainly for source editing, and performs syntax highlighting.

I like the layout of this but it will not save the settings you set.   Example: Click View / Check-Mark Line Numbers.  When you exit it won’t save.   It’s really annoying.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install Scite

 

 

 

 

 

 


Remote Tool

VNC Viewer

Do you want to remote your Pi with your computer?  This is the best way of doing it.
To follow a better tutorial on this you should check out this page: http://www.circuitbasics.com/access-raspberry-pi-desktop-remote-connection/

Some information will be taken from that page to give you the tutorial on this page.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo raspi-config
  • Then select “Interfacing Options” from the menu:
  • Then select “VNC”, to enable VNC:
  • Now reboot the Pi with sudo reboot.

Next, install RealVNC Viewer on the computer you want to access the Pi from.
Download RealVNC Viewer here and open your version.  Mine is windows so I’ll use the .exe file and install it.

You will need to know what your local device IP is so open the terminal and type in:

ifconfig -a

Under (wlan0) you will see your local IP as you can see mine is: 192.168.1.69

Keep your local IP in your mind.  Next, you need to make a password so you can log into your Pi from the remote window.
Make Admin Password The original was (raspberry)
Open the terminal and type in:  (NOTE if you already have one you made use that.)

sudo passwd root
enter password twice
  • Open the VNC Viewer
  • Type in your local IP
  • Username should be: pi
  • The password is what you just created.

Now you should see your Raspberry Pi on your computer.

 

 

 


Torrent Clients

Deluge

Deluge is a lightweight, Free Software, cross-platform BitTorrent client.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install deluge

 

 

 


UI Looks

Cairo-Dock

Cairo-Dock is a pretty, light and convenient interface to your desktop, able to replace advantageously your system panel! It features multi-docks, taskbar, launchers and a lot of useful applets. Applets can be detached from the dock to act as desktop widgets. Numerous ready-to-use themes are available in 1 click and can be easily customized at your convenience. It can use hardware acceleration to be very fast and low on CPU.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock

 

Conky (Sidebar)

Conky is a free software desktop infotainment system monitor for the X Window System. It is available for LinuxFreeBSD, and OpenBSD

Conky is highly configurable and is able to monitor many system variables including the status of the CPUmemoryswap spacedisk storage, temperatures, processesnetwork interfaces, battery power, system messages, e-mail inboxes, Arch Linux updates, many popular music players (MPDXMMS2BMPxAudacious, etc.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install conky

Next, you need to add the configuration file.  You can choose Original or my version of the image above.
The original looks like the one from this site: https://www.novaspirit.com/2017/02/23/desktop-widget-raspberry-pi-using-conky/
You can tweak the settings later if you wish.

Original
wget -O /home/pi/.conkyrc https://raw.githubusercontent.com/novaspirit/rpi_conky/master/rpi3_conkyrc

My Version If this won't work.  Thats ok because you can enter it later.  Just use the (Original for now.)
wget -O /home/pi/.conkyrc http://www.destructiveburn.com/pi/conky/rpi3_conkyrc

Now type in:
sudo nano /usr/bin/conky.sh

The settings file is located in: sudo nano /home/pi/.conkyrc
If you cannot see it make sure you can see hidden files by right-clicking in the file manager and checking (Show Hidden)

Now type in (if you want it to run at startup)

sudo nano /etc/xdg/autostart/conky.desktop

Now paste this in and save it. CTRL+O to save

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Conky
Type=Application
Exec=/usr/bin/conky.sh
Icon=/usr/share/pixmaps/wbar/wbar.png
Comment=A light and fast launch bar.
Categories=Utility;

Now if you want to use my custom config colors just go here:

  • /home/pi/.conkyrc
    Make a backup if you don’t like my settings
  • Open in Text Editor (leafpad)
  • Overwrite everything on there with what’s in this link: http://www.destructiveburn.com/pi/conky/rpi3_conkyrc
  • Save.   Now it should look like the image.

 

It’s best to watch this video

 

 


Video Edit / Screen Record / Video Convert

HandBrake Video Converter

HandBrake is a free and open-source transcoder for digital video files.

This is one of my favorite programs for the Raspberry Pi.    HandBrake is actually really useful for other operating systems as well.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install gdebi-core
wget http://steinerdatenbank.de/software/ghb_0.10.5-1_armhf.deb
sudo gdebi ghb_0.10.5-1_armhf.deb

 

Openshot Video Editor

OpenShot is an award-winning free and open-source video editor for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Create videos with exciting video effects, titles, audio tracks, and animations.

Personally this is cool to have on the Pi but the Pi cannot run it right.   Maybe overclocking but by default.  Good luck!

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install openshot

 

Vokoscreen

Vokoscreen is an easy to use screencast creator to record educational videos, live recordings of the browser, installation, videoconferences, camera inputs, desktop, etc.

Open the terminal and type in:

sudo apt-get install vokoscreen

 

 

 


What do you think should be added to this list?

I’m sure there are many more and I’ll find them and continue to make this list grow.  Meantime enjoy whats above.

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