Linux File Formats

What formats are supported by Linux? There aren’t many, so let’s discover them together.

The Linux operating system kernel was introduced in 1991 and gave birth to a family of Unix-like operating systems based on it. Linux is an open-source operating system which means that Linux OS is free of cost, its source code is available to see and edit for everyone and allows full freedom of customizing.

Linux OS might not be the most popular or even the second most popular (those places are taken by Windows and macOS) but it sure is underestimated. If you come to this page deciding whether or not use Linux OS there is a brief Linux’s advantages list:

  1. It’s free. While Windows and macOS are paid, Linux is accessible for everyone to download and install;
  2. It’s open-sourced. No one can see Windows’ or Macs code, but Linux OS has nothing to hide. Every user is free to look, modify and even sell successful builds of the system;
  3. It’s secure. There are a humongous lot of viruses written for Windows, fewer written for Mac and even fewer that run under Linux configuration. This saves you a penny, since you won’t need to buy an antivirus program.
  4. It works for a majority of computers. Linux OS is undemanding in terms of computer requirements. You don’t need to have latest device to install Linux;
  5. Software updates are easy and do not require rebooting while you’re in a middle of something else;
  6. It’s reliable and private. Microsoft software has to be re-installed from time to time to run properly and is rumored to collect users personal data. Linux does not need any of that.

The downside of this operating system is its format limitations. There is a little variety of programs that run under Linux and while community support is nice, it’s nice to have a support team that is paid for its advice and therefore more eager to solve your problem.

To solve compatibility problems, check the list below.

Text formats supported by Linux

If you need to make quick notes without complex formatting, use TXT file. TXT is supported by every OS there is and Linux is no exception. There are multiple solutions that are built-in or easy to install and use. More than that: did you know that you can create Linux text files using nothing but a command line?

To do so, press Ctrl+Alt+T. Then type ls and press enter. Them type sd directory (replace “directory” with directory (like “desktop” that you want your file in). Then press enter and type “filename.txt”. When you press enter, a new TXT file called “filename” will appear in the directory you’ve chosen.

Still, to open and edit text files you need an editor. The most popular Linux text file editor is Vim. It can be installed by typing “sudo apt-get install vim”. If you want to use something more like Notepad++, there is Geany text editor that is very similar to it in interface and features.

If TXT format is too limited for your needs, there are plenty of solutions that are more familiar to a user.

ODT format is recognized by LibreOffice and LibreOffice runs under Linux, unlike Microsoft Office which is problematic to install and use in Linux. ODT format is the closest free alternative to DOCX format so why not use it while capabilities are almost the same?

Audio and Video formats supported by Linux

When you switch to Linux, you might as well throw away all your MP3 tracks – without a certain codec that won’t play in every build of Linux. But don’t fret: newer configurations, like Fedora, have those codecs pre-installed so there is a chance that you won’t need to convert your whole audio to another format on condition that you would install a new version of Linux.

OGG format is good too – it’s free and easy to get and Linux supports it. The quality is also at the MP3 level and a lot of video-makers and game developers like to use OGG in their creations. Out of lossless formats, the only good option is FLAC.

As for video, to view those media files (that are usually MP4 and licensed) you will need a third-party player that is Linux-supported and plays MP4 (which is rare). VLC Media Player is up to the task, but there are no pre-installed video players in Linux.

Graphic formats supported by Linux

Default system viewer supports all the most popular image formats: PNG, PDF, JPEG, GIF and others. To open more peculiar ones, you will need software – there are plenty of open-source solutions that would allow you to view files that a standard viewer cannot. Use Gwenview or Mirage or something like this.

Other formats supported by Linux

Linux supports almost every file system that is compatible with Windows. Flash drives are usually FAT32 or NTFS, and those are enlisted as supported by Linux, so you can use your usb flash drive without changing its file system.

To edit a file in Linux, you will need either a proper editor or (for program files) to have a grip of a Terminal that is responsible for a majority of processes. Luckily, you can easily find almost every Linux file editor you might need online.

RAR and ZIP files are unpacked by Linux using special commands. EXE and APP are not for Linux, so those won’t run here.

Common Linux File Extensions

To sum it all up, here’s a little list of most widely known Linux (Ubuntu and Unix) file extensions: AU (audio file), BIN (binary file), GIF (graphical file), ISO (a copy of a CD-ROM or DVD), HTML, JPG, PDF, PNG, PY (a Python script), TXT, ZIP, WAV. If your extension is on the list, Linux will open this file without a problem.