Open source is well established in cloud infrastructure, web hosting, embedded devices, and many other areas. Fewer people know that open source is a great option for producing professional-level audio-visual materials.

As a product owner and sometimes marketing support person, I produce a lot of content for end users: documentation, web articles, video tutorials, event booth materials, white papers, interviews, and more. I have found plenty of great open source software that helps me do my job producing audio, video, print, and screen graphics. There are a lot of reasons[1] that people choose open source over proprietary options, and I've compiled this list of open source audio and video tools for people who:

  • want to switch to GNU/Linux, but need to start slowly with cross-platform software on their regular operating system;
  • are already open source enthusiasts, but are new to open source A/V software and want to know which options to trust;
  • want to discover new tools to fuel their creativity and don't want to use the same approaches or software everyone else uses; or
  • have some other reason to use open source A/V solutions (if this is you, share your reason in the comments).

Fortunately, there is a lot of open source software available for A/V creators, as well as hardware that supports those applications. All of the software on this list meets the following criteria:

  • cross-platform
  • open source (for software and drivers)
  • stable
  • actively maintained
  • well documented and supported

I've divided this list into graphics, audio, video, and animation solutions. Note that the software applications in this article are not exact equivalents of well-known proprietary software, they'll require you to learn new applications, and you may need to modify your workflow, but learning new tools enables you

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