Academic Lifehacker


Tools and ideas to improve academic efficiency

Academic Software Roundup for Linux

The open-source spirit (not to mention non-existent pricetag) of the Linux OS is appealing to many academics, I daresay, but they (myself included) may be hesitant to switch over to an entirely new operating system, devoid of their favourite programs. Mac users have an array of delightful programs for academic work (DEVONthink, I’m looking at you), but even us Windows users have some favourite standbys. Why make the switch over to a new system if we can’t find programs to handle our academic tasks?

I did some prowling through a very useful list of Linux apps to see if the functionality of the most important academic programs could be duplicated in Linux.

PDF Manager, Citation/Bibliography Manager
Replacement for: Yep, Papers, EndNote


PDF Manager, Citation/Bibliography Manager
Replacement for: iPapers, Papers


Note-taking software
Replacement for: EverNote, OneNote


Note-taking software
Replacement for: EverNote, OneNote, UltraRecall


Book-cataloguing software
Replacement for: Delicious Library, Books, Book Collector


A couple of cross-platform programs to remember if you’re considering making the switch: Zotero works on Linux, as does Mendeley.

Addendum: Some bonus Linux software links from helpful commenter Xonan!

A desktop wiki under constant development

PDF reader with highlight and commentary features

Extracts bibtex data from the clipboard, PDFs, etc

Mindmapping software

Java software for building argumentation maps

Integrate Zotero with gedit
Plugin for gedit text editor that allows to add citations from the Zotero bibliography manager to LaTeX documents

Thanks, Xonan!


Filed under: Academia, Bibliographies, Bibliography, Books, Computer, Gnome, Linux, Open-Source, Organization, PDF, Software, Tools, Ubuntu

5 Responses

  1. xoxan says:

    Great list, thanks!
    I wanted to mention

    -Zim, a desktop wiki under constant development (

    -okular, the only pdf reader for linux with decent highlight and commentary features (

    -cb2bib, a neat little app that extracts bibtex data from the clipboard and pdfs and so on (

    -kdissert/semantik, a mindmap tool which also can transform mindmaps to documents, presentations, latex etc. (

    -Argunet, a java tool that helps you build argumentation maps (interesting for i.e. philosophers) (

    -and btw zotero: there are plugins for openoffice and gedit (the gnome text editor) for zotero (

  2. Thanks for the great list of extra programs, Xonan! I’m going to link to them in the main post, as well, so they don’t get overlooked.

  3. howdy says:

    Check out I, Librarian:
    (Cross-platform PDF organizer)

  4. Bibus is a great option for managing and editing references in Linux. And also useful for importing references from Pubmed.

  5. […] two years after my original post on Linux software for academics, I’ve officially made the switch to Linux. To be specific, I installed Linux Mint 10 as my […]

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