I am thinking about switching to Linux, coming from Windows 10. I am an illustrator, so currently I use Photoshop CC 2015 mostly, and sometimes also use Krita (3.0 is coming out, yay), Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Illustrator, Clip Studio Paint, Blender for 3D stuff, software for illustrators. I also need to use my Wacom Intuos Pro properly.

So my question here is: Is elementary OS a good OS for this kind of things? I mean, does it handle this types of activities well?

What made me find this OS was its simplicity and beauty. And I am looking for something like that, but that gives me (someone who doesn't know coding and wouldn't like to use Command Line Interface) a system able to handle my work. So another question comes: can I set the icons I want to show on the dock? I know there is no place for icons on the desktop area, but if I can set the icons of the softwares I install on the dock, there is no problem for me. Actually I find it more elegant.

I am looking for an OS that runs smoothly, that gives me a "beautiful light environment", like a blank and yet functional canvas, where I can put my artist's softwares and just DRAW, without interference. Is elementary OS the one to go?

I am currently switching my mind from elementary OS, Manjaro, and Mint, so any comments from you guys make here will help me a lot in my decision.

  • 1
    Closing this question because it can't really be "answered". Opinion-seeking questions aren't really appropriate for StackExchange. If you just want to have an open discussion, Google+ or Reddit are probably more appropriate forums Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 20:07
  • If you are using this sytem for paid work, then your options are either Windows or MacOS. Unless you know what you're doing, or can cope with the downtime, Linux is a very poor fit.
    – Mike Wild
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


Well... You cannot really run professional CAD and Adobe applications on Linux.

You should either use a Mac or if you want to use Linux you should be prepared for some work. There are various options:

1. There is Wine & PlayOnLinux that add a Windows compatibility layer to Linux but first you need to check how these applications run on Linux at the Wine App Database. Most of the apps you mentioned tend to have bugs that affect stability and usability.

2. You can run a virtual machine on your Linux installation using VirtualBox (free) or VmWare (paid). Basically you install Windows and the apps you need on the virtual machine and then use them like you would in Windows. Both VirtualBox and VmWare have a Seamless and Unity mode respectively, so that you can hide the Windows guest desktop while you run the apps on a Linux host. The caveat here is that you need lots of RAM to run things smoothly as the virtual machine will eat up about half of your computer resources.

3. You can dual boot. Keep a separate Windows installation on a different partition and then boot to Windows from the BIOS/GRUB when needed.

4. There are open source applications that are native to Linux and can more-or-less do the job of the apps you mentioned. For a comprehensive list of available applications visit the Fedora Design Suite Wiki: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Design_Suite

Please note though that Open Source software lacks certain features. For example Gimp (the open source Photoshop) has no native CMYK support (you need a plugin for that) and its user interface is kind of clunky.

On a final note, Elementary Os is very beautiful, shiny, fast and user-friendly. There is the odd quirk here and there but really if you want to get your hands on Linux this is one of the best distros to start with.

However you should be prepared to learn some basic commands to run from the terminal, since there are certain things you cannot do otherwise on Linux.

Also the Software Center in Freya is not really functioning since Ubuntu abandoned it. You need to install another software center like for example App Grid (if you don't mind that it's not open source) or the Gnome software center. If you are prepared to wait for the new Loki version of Elementary Os there will be a brand new native App Center.

Manjaro is also very nice but a bit more complicated than Elementary. Mint is not my cup of tea.

Good luck!


The problem with elementary is that all adobe and other design programs are not on Linux. So as far as I know, your best choice would be a Mac, as it is beautiful and has compatibility with all those programs.

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