The 5 Best Photoshop Alternatives for Linux

Yes, you can get image editing software on Linux

While many graphics professionals use Photoshop on Mac or Windows, it's not hard to find alternatives on the Linux platform. Here's a list of the best Photoshop alternatives for Linux.

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The GIMP interface.
What We Like
  • Great for photo editing.

  • Excellent all-around basic tool.

  • Familiar feel for Photoshop users

What We Don't Like
  • Some tools feel underdeveloped or limited.

  • Lacking in third-party support.

The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Project) is as powerful as Photoshop, with tons of tools, plenty of available brushes, and all the standard image editing features expected from such a powerful tool (such as layers, layer masks, selections and paths, color tools, automation, scripts, plugins, and more).

With The GIMP, you can create masterful works of art, design company logos, and touch up photographs using a customizable interface that allows you to dock tools into tabs or keep tools in stand-alone windows. You can work in single-window mode, which places open images in separate tabs and docks tool windows, just like the standard Photoshop interface.

An alternative interface, a holdover from The GIMP's earlier days, is multi-window mode. This mode breaks the docks and individual images away from the primary window. Those who are accustomed to Photoshop won't prefer this interface mode.

Although The GIMP is equal to Photoshop in power, it does lack the plethora of third-party tools that further extend its feature set. Although some tasks in The GIMP take a bit more work than in Photoshop, it's possible to do everything you need with this open-source image editing tool.

Anyone looking to do any level of image editing on Linux should start with The GIMP. Chances are, you won't need anything else to get the job done.

Install The GIMP

apt install gimp


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Creating abstract art on Inkscape.
What We Like
  • Made for vector graphics.

  • Simple to import images from The GIMP.

  • Produce high-resolution SVG graphics.

What We Don't Like
  • Steep learning curve.

  • Not great for general editing.

If you prefer to create images from scratch, using a digital pencil, pen, or brush, consider Inkscape. Inkscape is a vector graphics editor with similar capabilities to Adobe Illustrator, but includes enough Photoshop-like features to make it a viable solution within this realm. Although you’ll do more image creation than editing, Inkscape is a powerful tool that includes advanced SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) features such as markers, clones, and alpha blending.

Although the Inkscape interface may appear old-school Linux to some, don’t let it fool you. Inkscape is as modern a vector graphics tool as you’ll find. This tool includes features like node editing, node movement, node alignment and distribution, path simplification, path insetting and outsetting, bitmap tracing, object creation, bezier curves, and more.

Inkscape has a steeper learning curve than The GIMP. And because it focuses primarily on image creation, you should come at the tool with plenty of skill at the ready, as Inkscape does not hold your hand.

Install Inkscape

apt install inkscape


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Krita template selection.
What We Like
  • Professional digital art platform.

  • Tons of tools for artists and animators.

  • Specific tools and templates for various media.

What We Don't Like
  • Steep learning curve.

  • Mostly for artists only.

Krita is a full-featured digital art studio that is a perfect match for sketching, painting, creating concept art, comics, textures, and more. Krita offers artists all the tools they need for their creations in a single user-friendly interface. With Krita, you get templates for animation, comics, design, DSLR photos, and textures. Open the tool, select a template, and get to work on your next big project.

Krita's feature list includes an intuitive and customizable interface, brush stabilizers, a pop-up palette, brush engines, wrap-around mode, bush and texture import, and more.

Along the same line as Inkscape, Krita was created for freehand artists who need a professional-grade tool to create their work. Anyone who wants to take their digital artistry to the next level, without paying the high cost of Photoshop, would be hard-pressed to find a better tool for image creation than Krita.

Install Krita

apt install krita


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The Darktable interface.
What We Like
  • Designed for professional photographers.

  • Compatible with many high-resolution image formats.

  • Works with professional equipment and cameras.

  • Professional-grade image processing and effects.

What We Don't Like
  • Something of a learning curve.

  • Fairly exclusively for professional use.

If your medium of choice is photographs, install Darktable. With Darktable, you can non-destructively enhance digital photographs with professional color management, filters, and standard image operations such as contrast, brightness, saturation, shadows, highlights, crop and rotate, curves, exposure, and demosaic. You'll also find several tone image operations, color image operations, correction modules, and effects and artistic image postprocessing.

Darktable also includes DSLR camera support, as well as DNG files from compatible cameras. For a complete list of supported cameras, view the Darktable camera matrix.

Darktable is to photographers what Krita is to illustrators. Anyone serious about the quality of their photographs should consider this a must-have application for finished products.

Install Darktable

apt install darktable


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An image in Pinta.
What We Like
  • Simple to use.

  • Provides basic image editing.

  • Includes masks and filters.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacking some power and tools.

  • Not that widely supported.

If you've used Paint.NET (which is not available for Linux), then Pinta might be the perfect tool for you. Pinta is an image editing tool without the power and complexity of The GIMP, which makes it ideal for users who don't want to take the time to get up to speed with a professional interface or a challenging piece of software. Pinta enables users of any skill level to dive in and create an image from scratch or edit a pre-existing image. You can also take a pre-existing image and make it look as if it were a sketch.

Pinta includes a few effect categories (such as artistic, blurs, distorts, noise, photo, render, and stylize), adjustments (such as auto level, black and white, brightness and contrast, curves, and hue and saturation), as well as tools for layering, cropping, resizing, and selection. Want to dabble in image editing on Linux? Pinta might be the tool for you. 

Install Pinta

apt install pinta


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