20 killer apps for ubuntu linux.

Ubuntu Linux — you have to love it. After using windows since windows 95 (over 10 years), and trying various flavors of Linux, Ubuntu was the one that brought me back from the dark side.  It’s all about open source, no EULAs, and freedom — “Free as in Freedom“.

As you probably know, a operating system is only as good as the application that it can run. Lack of options is definitely not a problem with Ubuntu (or most flavors of Linux for that matter). The problem you are faced with is what to use — looking at my Ubuntu software repositories, I see over 24,000 packages. That’s a lot to choose from.

I am always searching for better applications to get the job done.

One of my recent searches on ubuntu forums revealed a great thread called “Cool applications you use that others might not know of“. I literally spent a few days reading the thread — it was at 98 pages and included almost 1000 posts at the time I read it. Great stuff — but was time consuming to wade through.

Here’s a list of applications that I found & would recommend:

  1. avidemux
    Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities.
  2. mpgtx
    splits, joins, and get info from mpg files (eg. mp3) without reencoding.
  3. geany
    Geany is a small and lightweight integrated development environment. It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE. This sucker is fast….
  4. komodo edit (not in repositories)
    “Komodo Edit is a free, open source editor from dynamic language experts. It’s absolutely fantastic to work with. It does everything a good editor should do, but it also adds a bunch of other little awesome things.”
  5. terminator
    Terminator is a little project to produce an efficient way of filling a large area of screen space with terminals.
  6. meld
    Meld is a tool which allows the user to see the changes in, and merge between, either two files, two directories, or two files with a common ancestor. Basically, a very good graphical diff utility.
  7. virtualbox
    a free x86 virtualization solution allowing a wide range of x86 operating systems such as Windows, DOS, BSD or Linux to run on a Linux system. In other words, it allows you to emulate a OS from within linux . I used to use VMware — but no longer. Virtualbox has some cool features, and is way faster.
  8. Xaos
    Very cool……
    Play around with fractils — zoom into them, zoom out, etc.  Check out the “autopilot” feature, sit back, and let your mind be blown!
  9. Hydrogen
    This application can be used to create drum and other percussion patterns. It’s very easy to use (I figured it out instantly, with 0 experience in the field), and can be fun for those who have never played an instrument or done any work with sound.
  10. Stellarium is planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the stars. It’s easy to use, and free.
  11. Ex Falso
    This is an ID3 tag editor that let’s you generator the tags on the fly. Do clusters, directories, albums, by filename, etc. It also allows you to set your preferred tagging method and file renaming. So if you get a bunch of new music off of a CD you just put on your drive, and want to tag and move them easily, Ex Falso will move and rename the files tagging them for you. It takes a bit to really see the power the application has… but it’s well worth the curve if you have a decent size music directory.
  12. DVDisaster
    It will salvage all readable data off a scratched or corrupted dvd/cd and make an iso file so you can put the salvaged data on a good dvd. Also if you use it on a dvd/cd that isn’t scratched, it will make a small reference file for that dvd so that if it gets scratched in the future, it can read the readable material, and fix the rest with the reference.
  13. vym (view your mind)
    VYM (View Your Mind) is a tool to generate and manipulate maps which show your thoughts. Such maps can help you to improve your creativity and effectivity. You can use them for time management, to organize tasks, to get an overview over complex contexts, to sort your ideas etc. Maps can be drawn by hand on paper or a flip chart and help to structure your thoughs. While a tree like structure like shown on this page can be drawn by hand or any drawing software vym offers much more features to work with such maps.
  14. grip
    Grip is a cd-player and cd-ripper for the Gnome desktop. It has the ripping capabilities of cdparanoia builtin, but can also use external rippers (such as cdda2wav). It also provides an automated frontend for MP3 (and other audio format) encoders, letting you take a disc and transform it easily straight into MP3s. Internet disc lookups are supported for retrieving track information from disc database servers.Grip works with DigitalDJ to provide a unified “computerized” version of your music collection.
  15. pyrenamer
    You can rename files using patterns, search and replace, substitutions, insert or delete text, or even rename files manually. You can also rename images using their EXIF tags and music using their internal tags.
  16. keyjnote
    KeyJnote is a program that displays presentation slides using OpenGL. Smooth alpha-blended slide transitions are provided for the sake of eye candy, but in addition to this, KeyJnote offers some unique tools that are really useful for presentations. Some of them are:
  17. iftop
    command line utility –  iftop does for network usage what top(1) does for CPU usage. It listens to network traffic on a named interface and displays a table of current bandwidth usage by pairs of hosts. Handy for answering the question “Why is my Internet link so slow?”.
  18. avant-window-navigator (avant window navigator)
    The avant-window-navigator is a MacOS X like panel for the GNOME Desktop written in C. Besides launchers that can be dragged onto the bar, it features a task bar that behaves similar to the MacOS X dock. The window navigator uses the composite extension for transparency and other effects.
  19. agave
    Agave is a very simple application for the GNOME desktop that allows you to generate a variety of colorschemes from a single starting color.
  20. gftp
    A multithreaded FTP client. It’s decent — but I wish I had something better.  In windows, I used filezilla and flashfxp — both had features that gftp simply lacks as a ftp client. Its a start though.
    [EDIT: I installed filezilla about 6 months ago & was very unhappy with it — not stable & seemed sluggish…. ]
    [EDIT: OK — this is not a killer app, but 20 is a nice rounded number. Any suggestions for a killer app #20?]

The beauty of these apps is that they are (almost) all listed as packages in the standard Ubuntu repositories. Oh yeah, and they are all free. So, you should be able to install them by simply launching synaptic package manager, searching for the app name, and checking the install option.

If you are a command-line kinda person, then you can install the app by issuing the following command:

sudo apt-get install [app_name] —

for example:
sudo apt-get install xaos

Have fun!