In an effort to post helpful information to this community I decided that I should post on something that has been an issue to myself when I first switched over to Linux. There are probably a lot more resources on something like this than when I began to familiarize myself with Linux. Regardless, when switching to a new operating system there are a lot of things that can be overwhelming. One of those things being the need to complete a task that you once did in the previous operating system. Linux does not have the ability to run all of the software that was once used in Windows, therefore replacements must be found. This thread was written with the purpose of helping the user to find software in Linux to replace the software they once used in Windows. The following programs are programs that will not only replace previously used Windows programs, but will also allow continued use of files already created in Windows (unless otherwise stated). Lastly, most, if not all, of the software listed here is free.

One of the most important software suites used in Windows is Microsoft Office. When in Linux, Microsoft Office, naturally, will be unavailable. However, Open Office is a wonderful replacement that works in a very similar fashion to Microsoft Office. It replaces Word, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint.

If you use Roxio Easy CD Creator to burn CDs, K3b is a similarly designed program for burning disks, and is specifically designed for the KDE desktop environment. Nero is available for Linux, but I don't recommend use of it, even in Windows for that matter .

Adding and removing software in Linux is just as easy as in Windows. Different versions of Linux use different software management, but common ones are Synaptic Package Manager, apt-get, and yum.

Zip files can usually just be opened as you would a folder in Windows, but can also be manipulated via command line using the 'zip' command. There is also graphical zip managing software. Karchiver is an example of an archiver that comes with the KDE desktop environment.

Firefox, Google Chrome, and other well known internet browsers are available in Linux, and can be installed using your software manager.

If you like to use photoshop, GIMP is an image manipulation program available for linux. GIMP isn't very similar to photoshop in the way that it looks, but can do most of the things that photoshop can. If you use 3DSMax in Windows, Blender is an alternative that can be used to create environments, character rendering, and animations, all in three dimensions.

If you are an engineer or scientist and use Matlab to do calculations, Octave is a good replacement. Octave does not have many of the built in functions that Matlab has, and is a bit less user friendly, but many of the missing functions have been written by users, and many can easily be written by yourself. The syntax is similar to that of Matlab, but not the same. Therefore, most programs will probably have to be rewritten or at least modified when moving from Matlab to Octave.

If you plan on creating a Linux server, Apache is the most well known web server software. It is not the easiest software to use, but once you are familiar with it, you have a lot of control. To host databases, MySQL will replace MSSQL, and uses syntax almost exactly the same as that of MSSQL, with the exception of the newest MSSQL commands. vsftpd is FTP server software that will use current usernames to allow remote access of files.

If you use virtualization software in Windows, such as VMware, you can install VMware in linux. There is also other available virtualization software including Sun Virtualbox and qemu. I can't remember which worked best for me, I'll have to play around and post an update for that.

I've probably forgotten some commonly used applications that someone moving to Linux would need, so feel free to make additions. Also, I don't really use antivirus software in Linux, so I don't feel as though I'm in a position to make a recommendation.