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My Top 10 Favourite Must Have Linux Apps

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I love the Linux operating system. It is the best and I have tried so many distributions and I have finally settled on one I like, Ubuntu 12.04. I was never a huge fan of linux and I disliked the look and feel. I was comfortable with using windows and I wasn’t interested using another OS. However, it sounded cool to be a linux user and so I partitioned my drive and installed linux on it. I never really used it and brought it up during geeky conversations to sound cool :), don’t judge me! I am a huge fan of Linux now, it makes almost everything easier for me as a programmer. Without further chit chatting, here are my top 10 Favourite must have linux (Ubuntu) apps ;

1. Cairo Dock

Cairo-Dock is an animated application launch bar for the desktop, comparable to the dock in Mac OS X or Rocket Dock (for Windows). I love cairo dock so much and it has increased my productivity by 20% . I do not like the unity launcher, it is so slow and difficult to show when it is hidden. It sucks! Cairo dock however is faster and very responsive even though I have experienced one or two hitches along the way. Screenshot-from-2013-05-14-191257

How to install :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cairo-dock-team/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

2. Banshee

ku-xlarge There are so many music players for Linux, but Banshee stands out from the lot. It is highly customizable and easy to use. Some of the features I love include;

  • Store and play your music, videos, podcasts, and audiobooks all in one libraryP
  • Create and manage playlists and smart playlists that update based on custom filtersP
  • Enqueue songs into a “Now Playing” pane for on-the-go playlist creation.P
  • Watch folders on your hard drive for changes and automatically adjust your library accordinglyP
  • Import libraries from Amarok, Rhythmbox, and iTunesP
  • Sync iPod, iPhone, Android, and many other portable music devices with your libraryP
  • Listen to and rip audio CDsP
  • Set a bookmark on any song, video, or podcast and return to that point laterP
  • Fix broken and missing metadata using bulk operationsP
  • Mini-player from which you can control Banshee through a small windowP
  • Wikipedia context pane that provides information about the currently playing artistP
  • Integration with internet radio, DAAP, Miro, Last.fm, and the Amazon MP3 store

– features from LifeHacker.

How to install :

You can install Banshee from Ubuntu Software center or enter this command in the command line :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:banshee-team/ppa

Then update or install banshee.



3. Synaptic Package Manager

Synaptic is a graphical package management program for apt. It provides the same features as the apt-get command line utility with a GUI front-end based on Gtk+ and was one of the first 5 apps I installed after reinstalling Ubuntu. Ubuntu Software center is not bad at all, but there are certain repositories and applications you can’t find using the software center. Synaptic offers direct installation of almost all Linux software and makes it easier to install and configure software even if you are a terminal junkie like me. Some of it’s awesome features include :


  • Install, remove, upgrade and downgrade single and multiple packages.
  • Upgrade your whole system.
  • Manage package repositories (sources.list).
  • Find packages by name, description and several other attributes.
  • Select packages by status, section, name or a custom filter.
  • Sort packages by name, status, size or version.
  • Browse all available online documentation related to a package.
  • Download the latest changelog of a package.
  • Lock packages to the current version.
  • Force the installation of a specifc package version.
  • Undo/Redo of selections.
  • Built-in terminal emulator for the package manager.
  • Debian/Ubuntu only: Configure packages through the debconf system.
  • Debian/Ubuntu only: Xapain based fast search (thanks to Enrico Zini)
  • Debian/Ubuntu only: Get screenshots from screenshots.debian.net

– features list from http://www.nongnu.org/synaptic

How to install :

You can search for and install Synaptic Package Manager from Ubuntu Software Center ( or visit this link to open it in https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/synaptic )or enter the following command in the command line;

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synaptic

4. Terminator (Linux Terminal)

I have tried several Linux terminal and so far I will vote ‘terminator’ at top spot. I love the terminal linux comes with, it’s awesome, but it doesn’t have as much features as Terminator. I usually use the native ubuntu terminal and terminator at the same time. Terminator is a cross-platform GPL terminal emulator with advanced features not yet found elsewhere. ku-xlarge Some of it’s features I like include : (from lifehacker)

  • Provides a fully-functional command line interface (CLI) for LinuxP
  • Arrange terminals in a gridP
  • Open multiple sessions in tabsP
  • Drag and drop re-ordering of terminalsP
  • Lots of configurable keyboard shortcutsP
  • Save multiple layouts and profiles in the preferencesP
  • Simultaneous typing to arbitrary groups of terminalsP
  • Customizable visual style

How to install :

Terminator can be installed from the Ubuntu Software Center or via the terminal :

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome-terminator

$ sudo apt-get update

$ sudo apt-get install terminator


5. Transmission (BitTorrent client)

I have used a lot of torrent applications on Windows and Linux, but so the best out there is Transmission. It’s quiet sad there isn’t transmission for windows but I think BitComet, BitTorent and Utorrent are quiet impressive and replaces the Transmission I love so much when I am using windows. Transmission is a BitTorrent client which features a simple interface on top of a cross-platform back-end. Transmission allows users to download files from the Internet and upload their own files or torrents. By grabbing items and adding them to the interface, users can create queues of files to be downloaded and uploaded. Within the file selection menus, users can customise their downloads down to components of individual files. Transmission also seeds—that is, it can re-upload downloaded content. GTK-Large

How to install :

Transmission can be installed from the Ubuntu Software or http://www.transmissionbt.com/download/ and it comes pre-installed, but in case yours is somehow missing, you can also download install via the terminal ;

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:transmissionbt/ppa sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get install transmission

6. Sublime Text 2

I love love love sublime text, it is a text editor you will truly fall in love with, unless you are using the current sublime text 3 which is currently in beta and has the tendency to shut-down while you are using it and cannot undo or redo your work when restarted. Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, mark-up and prose. You’ll love the slick user interface, extraordinary features and amazing performance.   I know I am being biased right now since it is obviously a text editor for developers, but honestly, anyone will love it. You can use it to edit text, take notes and it makes typing sleek and fast. I like how the characters just roll along when I am typing.


How to install :

You can download sublime text from the main website (http://www.sublimetext.com) or follow this awesome tutorial on OMGUbuntu on how to download and install Sublime Text (http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/06/installing-sublime-text-in-ubuntu)

7. Gimp

You know those moments you wish you could edit a picture like a pro without knowing how to and feel good doing it? I get that feeling often. I have tried learning how to edit pictures and design amazing stuff but I always get disinterested. I really really wish I could design with photoshop and illustrator but these programs just confuse me and doesn’t seem fun. If you are someone like me, you will love gimp.

GIMP is an advanced picture editor. You can use it to edit, enhance, and retouch photos and scans, create drawings, and make your own images. It has a large collection of professional-level editing tools and filters, similar to the ones you might find in Photoshop. Numerous fine-control settings and features like layers, paths, masks, and scripting give you total control over your images.

Many image file formats are supported, including JPEG, Photoshop (.psd), and Paint Shop Pro (.psp) files. It can also be used to scan and print photos.

I easily edit pictures, and create simple designs I can be proud of. GIMP has a user friendly interface and is well equipped with all the tools you will need.

How to install GIMP :

GIMP can be installed from the Ubuntu Software Center or via the terminal :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install gimp

8. Everpad (Evernote Client)

Everpad is undoubtedly the best Evernote client for Linux. Everpad is the closest thing to an official Evernote client for. It is fantastic and fits in perfectly with the Ubuntu desktop. One of the awesome features I love about Everpad is the ability to access view and access recent notebooks right in the system tray. This feature is unique to everpad and no other client offers this. I know most people will perfer to go with the evernote web application but this software is great for offline users and it saves and syncs your notes once you are connected to the internet. EverpadUnityLense  image credit – OMG Ubuntu The drop-down menu allows you to quickly create a new note, and shows your recently created notes, and is perfect for quick read and editing. everpad dropdown menu     How to install :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nvbn-rm/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install everpad

9. Google Chrome

It is not surprising that Chrome is on the list. It is the best browser for Linux hands down. I also use the latest version of Firefox, but of late it has been crashing and the experience is terrible. Chrome doesn’t crash often and I can count on it staying up throughout the night and not freezing my computer. Firefox is the default browser for Ubuntu and comes preintalled but Chrome doesnt. We have all used chrome before and I feel there isn’t much I can say that you already don’t know.


How to install :

Chrome is not available in the Ubuntu Software Center eventhough you can find Chromium there which is also a good browser. Chrome can be downloaded from the official site (https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/) or installed via the terminal ;

cd /tmp

for 32 bit

wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_i386.deb

for 64 bit

wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

After download is complete, run this command to install it;

sudo dpkg -i google-chrome* sudo apt-get -f install

10. Shutter

shutter linux screen capture   So a few weeks ago, I was looking for a screen capture tool similar to windows snipping tool. I knew there was a good one out there for Linux but I hadn’t found it yet. I kept searching till I came across Shutter, since then, my life has never been the same. Sounds quite exaggerative, but it was a relief to know I didn’t have to capture the entire screen and crop out the area I wanted. It was going to save me about a minute or two of  work. Shutter is a feature-rich screenshot program. You can take a screenshot of a specific area, window, your whole screen, or even of a website – apply different effects to it, draw on it to highlight points, and then upload to an image hosting site, all within one window.

How to install :

$ sudo apt-get install shutter


And that is it folks! There are so many other apps I wish I had included but I wanted to keep the list at 10. These are my personal thoughts and credit to lifehacker and OMG Ubuntu for some of the images used.

Some apps that should have been on the list include :

  • Thunderbird
  • Skype
  • VLC
  • Dropbox

Thanks a lot for reading and do not forget to share and leave a comment!


Featured image credit : DigitalTrends.com . Checkout their site for awesome articles.


No copyright infringement intended for non-personal images used in this post.

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  1. Hello Jeff, thanks for reading my post. I run windows as well. There are some programs you mentioned that do not run in linux. I switch to windows whenever I need to use those applications. I usually switch maybe once a week or two. I have everything I need in Linux aside my favorite games and the cool thing is, there are so many alternative programs for your favourites in linux :).

  2. Really cool apps. My favourites(which you did not include) are:
    1: Guake terminal –> Really awesome
    2: utorrent server which in my case I think is better than transmission

  3. Musah ibrahim Mark

    Rasheeda I really admire your effort. You a girl every girl should try to imitate.
    May Allah bless you

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