The advantages of lightweight applications are discussed on the home page. Linux has a myriad of powerful command line applications (such as rsync, mplayer, ffmpeg and remind) which, for their functionality, are as lightweight as you will ever find. Many of these applications also have graphical front ends - for example, rsync has Grsync - to make the application more user-friendly. This page simply recommends some additional lightweight applications of which you may be less aware. Many recommended applications which run on Linux are already listed under Recommended portable apps. Check the availability of the applications in your Linux distribution's software repositories; software packages should be available for most of them.
DeaDBeeF is an audio player for Linux, Android and other Unix-like systems. Has minimal dependencies, takes little memory, and uses its own extensive plugin system to handle a wide range of audio files and playlists. Has tabbed display of playlists and edits tags too. Optional GTK2 and GTK3 versions.
Goggles Music Manager is a music collection manager and player that uses an SQLite database to automatically categorize music by genre, artist, album, and song. It is incredibly fast and lean with a very clean interface. Can play radio streams too.
SpaceFM is a multi-panel tabbed file manager with its own built-in virtual filesystem, integration with Bash, and various plugins. Its unique Design Mode allows you to customize menu and toolbar items, icons and shortcut keys. Another notable feature is its integration with udevil, a udev-based device manager by the same author, which can be used in a wide variety of ways to mount and unmount devices as a user. Comes in GTK2 and GTK3 versions.
Worker is a dual-pane tabbed file manager for the X Window System, requiring only the X11 libraries. Although its operation is less graphical than equivalent GTK or Qt programs, it gains by being very fast and its functions can be customized to a high degree. Also supports various archive file formats, accesses ftp sites, un/mounts devices and defines its own sophisticated file associations.
Geany is a text editor plus a basic integrated development environment (IDE). It is small and fast with few dependencies. Features include: syntax highlighting, code folding, auto-closing of tags, support for many filetypes, plugins, etc. There is also Geany Portable for Windows though it is rather large.
Dmenu is a generic 'dynamic menu' program for the X Window System, reading and writing standard input and output, and locating items by substring search. Incredibly light, fast and deceptively simple but highly efficient with a multitude of uses. Supports horizontal and vertical menus, with patched versions also offering Xft fonts support, menu positioning and sizing, and mouse support.
Dunst is a minimalistic ("dmenu-ish") notification daemon for Linux, designed especially for use with light systems built around a window manager rather than a full desktop environment. Highly configurable, supporting Xft fonts and the customization of parameters such as screen position, colours, timeouts, and message format.
The scripts described below were developed in-house and are particularly aimed at the Arch Linux distribution, but should be readily adaptable to others. The scripts are open source software and are licensed primarily through the Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPL2). Note that the Arch User Repository is abbreviated to AUR.
Whippet is a Bash script which opens files and URLs with applications associated by name and/or mimetype. Applications and associations may be customized within an SQLite database, and may be weighted according to the importance you assign to them. If you prefer, Whippet can alternatively use the standard freedesktop.org mimetype associations. Whippet is able to serve as an 'xdg-open' replacement for those who wish to have total control over which applications are associated with which types of files. Aimed at more experienced users, but ideal for integrating with light desktop environments and extensible file managers. Can also be configured as a general-purpose program launcher. Whippet uses dmenu to manage its menus, and you will need a program such as DB Browser for SQLite for managing the SQLite database. Once installed, execute the command 'man whippet' and see the README file for more information.
Please note: Whippet was formerly known as Ease
Ayr is a Bash script which lets you manage menus of application launchers, which can be either executables or desktop files. It also opens files and URLs with launchers, desktop files, or applications associated by name or mimetype. Launchers can be grouped and/or made read-only with tags, and the menu of launchers can be ordered in various ways, including the frequency or recency of launcher usage. Desktop files and mimetype file associations are detected according to freedesktop.org's Base Directory Specification and Association between MIME types and applications standards, as far as is practical, and a wrapper is provided to let ayr function as an xdg-open replacement. Great for integrating with minimal desktop environments and file managers. Ayr uses dmenu to manage its menus. Once installed, execute the command 'ayr -h' for much more information.
SuperMenu is a dynamic and extendible menu-driven program launcher, written as a Bash script and utilizing the highly versatile Suckless dmenu program (available with Xft support as the dmenu-xft package from the AUR). Your configuration and choice of programs will determine any further dependencies.
SuperMenu has two configuration files, one user-specific and the other system-wide. The configuration files initialize useful $variables, define the content of the menu which will be displayed, and resolve keyphrases to commands which will be executed. By defining appropriate dialog commands, SuperMenu can also prompt you before launching the desired program. What you can launch is limited only by your own ingenuity with Bash and dmenu. The simplest way of running SuperMenu is to assign keyboard shortcuts to execute supermenu (ordinary users) or supermenu -x (expert users). See supermenu -h for further information and command line options.
Packaged in-house and maintained in the Arch User Repository (AUR):
ayr: Manages menus of application launchers, either executables or desktop files. Also opens files and URIs with launchers, desktop files, or applications associated by name or MIME-type.
cdck-bin: Command-line tool for verifying the quality of a written CD or DVD.
dmenu-xft-wxy-mouse: Dynamic X menu - with xft, width, x, y and mouse support.
portabase-bin: Manages one-table database files (binary from Debian package).
supermenu: A dynamic and extendible menu-driven program launcher, using dmenu.
treeline-unstable: Tree outliner and PIM which stores any kind of information within a tree structure; unstable development snapshot.
trowser: A browser for large line-oriented text files, implemented in Tcl/Tk.
vuescan-bin: A powerful proprietary scanning tool developed by Hamrick Software.
whippet: A launcher and xdg-open replacement for control freaks, utilizing dmenu. Opens file and URL objects with applications associated by name and/or mimetype. Applications and associations may be customized using an SQLite database.
Bash Hackers Wiki: Full of Bash scripting tips, hints and tutorials.
Handy self-made command line utilities: Huge forum thread with many utilities and scripting ideas, many useful not just for Arch Linux.