Linux version of iMovie? Top 3 iMovie Alternatives to iMovie

iMovie is no doubt a great video editing application designed by Apple for beginners. However, iMovie is unavailable for Windows as well as Linux. For those who are using Linux distributions, the following questions are frequently asked:

Is it possible to run iMovie in Linux?
Is there the Linux equivalent to iMovie?

When asking about free video editors, Windows Movie Maker and iMovie are ever used by most people and would be recommended for PC users and Mac users. Unfortunately, both of them are unavailable for GNU/Linux. Here in this article, top 3 iMovie for Linux alternatives would be introduced, including features, pros, cons and instructions to install them.

Kdenlive - Free Video Editor like iMovie for Linux

Kdenlive (pronounced Kay-den-live) , short for KDE Non-Linear Video Editor, is the most popular free video editor for Linux. It works on GNU/Linux, Windows and BSD. As you could see below, Kdenlive has a simple user interface similar to iMovie.

Key Features of Kdenlive

  • Broad video and audio formats support.
  • Automatic project saving like iMovie.
  • Tons of effects, transitions and titles.
  • Multiple tracks editing.

imovie for linux

Instructions to Use Kdenlive

Kdenlive is compatible with most GNU/Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Click here to download Kdenlive to the Appimage format, which isn't an installer. You just need to make it executable (right click and in the permissions set “Allow executing file as program” or similar). You can then double-click on it to run it and edit video in Linux.

For Debian and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, you could also install Kdenlive by running the following command from the terminal:

sudo apt install kdenlive

Below is an instruction video for Kdenlive - the leading alternative to iMovie for Linux.


OpenShot - Free and Open source Video Editor like iMovie for Linux

OpenShot, as its name indicates, is an open source video editor. It has a wide range of support for operating systems like Linux, Windows and Mac. OpenShot is another iMovie equivalent for Linux. As you could see below, OpenShot comes with an even simpler interface than iMovie. If this is what you want, OpenShot is an ideal choice to edit video on Linux.

Key Features of OpenShot

  • Intuitive user interface.
  • An array of video and audio formats.
  • Unlimited tracks editing and real-time preview.
  • Lots of title templates and 2D and 3D title creation.
  • Transitions, speed change, keyframe animations, etc.
  • Audio mixing and editing.
  • Burning video to DVD or directly sharing on YouTube and Facebook.
  • Color adjustment, including brightness, gamma, hue, greyscale, green screen, etc.

How to Use OpenShot on Linux

Like Kdenlive, OpenShot could be saved to your computer as an .appimage format. No need to install. Just download, make it executable and run. The OpenShot official site also gives you a detailed user guide to start editing video on Linux immediately.

imovie for linux

DaVinci Resolve - Freemium Video Editor like iMovie for Linux

DaVinci Resolve is a professional video editing software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas. It's the Hollywood’s most popular solution for editing, color correction, motion graphics, visual effects and audio mixing. Frankly, it's not an equivalent to iMovie for Linux, but FCP for Linux substitute. However, at least you know that there is extremely professional video editor for Linux. Once you're family with DaVinci Resolve, you could easily upgrade to the paid version so you can stick to Linux for working or daily use.

Key Features of DaVinci Resolve

  • Professional non-linear video editing application.
  • Video and audio overlays, advanced trimming.
  • Non-linear video editing for VFX.
  • Clip resizing, scaling, snapping, rotating, and cutting.
  • All kinds of effects like transition, filter, speed, etc.
  • Editing footage from multiple cameras in real-time.

How to Download and Use DaVinci Resolve on Linux

DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic doesn't comes with a directly download link to get this Linux version of iMovie alternative. You need to go to its product page and click Download Now. In the popup page, fill in required information to register and download the software.

imovie for linux

Comparison of iMovie Substitutes for Linux

Programs OS Linux video editor like iMovie
Kdenlive Linux and Windows Pros: a wide range of media formats support and ease interface.
Cons: Bloated like other KDE applications.
Openshot Mac, Windows,
Pros: free and open-source video editor; video/audio filters; simple user interface; easy to share video.
Cons: not so easy to find desired features like iMovie's.
DaVinci Resolve Mac, Windows,
Pros: Cross platform; Comprehensive features.
Cons: Not a general video editor.


So what's your choice for iMovie for Linux alternative video creator? Generally, if you're family with movie making using iMovie, Kdenlive may be the first choice. But if you're just starting to learn video editing, OpenShot is easier to get started. DaVinci Resolve is for serious filmmakers, in my humble opinion.

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