Adobe Illustrator is considered to be the best when it comes to illustration and design on Windows and Mac, but the app isn’t available on Linux. So, if you’ve recently switched to an open source, Linux operating system, you’ll need to find a suitable alternative to use. Here are the best Adobe Illustrator alternatives for Linux.
Inkscape is an open-source vector drawing application on par with Adobe Illustrator, in terms of features and options. With it, users can quickly draw freehand, shapes, and design complex illustrations.
Designers might not be fully satisfied with Inkscape, as it doesn’t have the scale of development that Adobe can deliver. However, if you’re using Linux and you have no way to use Illustrator, do check this app out.
- Inkscape supports several types of image manipulation styles, which is handy for designers. These styles include moving, scaling, rotating, and skewing. These manipulations can be done with exact number values, or with a scale slider.
- Inkscape can clone a “live” drawing, and link them together, allowing designers to create identical images.
- Inkscape has support for multi-line text, including sending texts along a path.
- Compliant with the SVG file format standards, but can also export to other file formats, including PNG, OpenDocument Drawing, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS, and PostScript.
- Inkscape has an excellent user-interface that while not similar to Illustrator, is easy to pick up and use.
Download – Inkscape
Inkscape is an open source project, so it is readily available on all prominent Linux distributions, and even Snap and Flatpak. If you’d like to get it working on your system, open up a terminal window, search for “Inkscape” and install it. Alternatively, check out our in-depth tutorial on how to install Inkscape on Linux!
Karbon, the illustration app that comes as a part of the Calligra office suite. Much like Adobe Illustrator, it offers up a great vector-style design application, complete with support for adding shapes, scaling, a complex layering system, and other drawing features users come to expect.
As Karbon is part of Calligra, the design of the app is more focused on the KDE desktop environment. That said, it’s an excellent drop-in replacement if you’re looking for a solid alternative to Adobe’s Illustrator app on Linux.
- Can handle several different types of file formats (ODG, SVG, WPG, WMF, EPS/PS.)
- The Karbon user interface is entirely customizable, and users can modify the app to suit their needs and sense of style better.
- Complex drawing path operation support is supported, along with path flattening, rounding, as well as whirl/pinch effects.
- Karbon users have access to a wide variety of plugins to add features they need.
Download – Karbon
Karbon is one of the many applications included in the Calligra Suite. So, installing the app on Linux involves installing the entire suite. Luckily, Calligra is well supported on all major Linux distributions. To install it, search for “Calligra Suite” through your terminal’s package manager, or follow our guide on how to install the full Calligra Suite on Linux!
3. Vector Paint
Vector Paint is a freemium drawing program for the web that purports to have a “simple, yet powerful interface.” It works in any browser and is a perfect replacement for Adobe Illustrator if you don’t have to do heavy work.
Don’t let the fact that Vector Paint is in a web browser fool you, it has some serious power, such as text styling, image exporting via the SVG format, as well as layering and grid features on par with the likes of apps like Inkscape.
- Vector Paint doesn’t need to be installed on any Linux distribution, and doesn’t use Flash so it’ll work on any open source browser users can get their hands on.
- Users can freely import and export SVG files into the editor, like any other vector editing tool, despite being a browser app.
- Vector Paint has a great selection of font and text styling options available.
Download – Vector Paint
Vector Paint isn’t a program that users need to install. Instead, point your favorite web browser to this link and start designing!
It should be noted that as Vector Paint is web-based, it can easily be added to Nativefier and made into a “web app” for the Linux desktop. For more information on how to use Nativefier, check out our guide here!
4. Adobe Creative Cloud (PlayOnLinux)
While a lot of open source applications on Linux can fill the void that Adobe Illustrator can’t fill on Linux, they’re not going to deliver 100% of what Adobe can offer. If you’re new to Linux and need Illustrator, another option is to run Adobe Creative Cloud via PlayOnLinux.
Creative Cloud cloud through PlayOnLinux isn’t perfect, but it will allow you to get roughly the same Illustrator experience on Linux that you are accustomed to on Windows.
- Despite running through PlayOnLinux and Wine, users get access to the full suite of Adobe Illustrator features.
- Creative Cloud is an online application, so the user’s work can sync between computers pretty well.
- PlayOnLinux’s ability to download multiple releases of Wine ensures that Creative Cloud works on a good amount of distributions with little fuss.
Download – Adobe Creative Cloud
Installing Adobe Illustrator via Creative Cloud on Linux isn’t an easy process. Users can’t simply head to the Adobe website, download an installer, and get going. Lucky for you, we’ve taken all of the hard parts of getting Adobe Creative Cloud working on Linux via an in-depth tutorial that you can follow here.
Perhaps in the future Adobe will take Linux seriously as a platform and bring their software to fans of the open source platform. Until then, designers using Linux will have to rely on alternatives like the ones we talked about in this list.
What’s your favorite alternative to Adobe Illustrator for Linux? Tell us in the comment section down below!