Basic Software For Ubuntu-based Linux OS

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Post Written by Olive Dove

One of the best things about Linux OS is availability of free software in the vast depository for customized user experience.  However, searching for the right software is a daunting task for most Ubuntu-based Linux OS novices.  Based on my experience in salvaging old computers for family and friends, user’s needs, software functionality, hardware limitations, processor capability and hard drive capacity must be part of the consideration in choosing the right Linux OS distro and software.  Older computer is best loaded with lightweight distro like Lubuntu and software e.g. AbiWord.

To download free software for Ubuntu-based Linux OS , access either one of the following (Internet connection is required):

  • Ubuntu Software Center:  Very user-friendly graphical interface for Linux novice.
  • Synaptic Package Manager:  Software are listed based on category.  Use ‘Search’ function to look for software.  

Based on my experience, here are the basic software for optimum functionality:

  • Internet browser:  My considerations are software stability and cloud computing capacity.  The best lightweight stable browser is Opera with Opera Link function that synchronizes bookmarks across platforms (Opera Mobile and Opera Mini on mobile devices).   The sleek Google Chrome or Chromium (unbranded version of Chrome) browser provides seamless supports for Google-based cloud computing e.g. Google Docs.
  • Office productivity suite: Look for OpenOffice or LibreOffice complete set or individual text document, spreadsheet or presentation package.  For lightweight distro like Lubuntu and Peppermint OS, I would install AbiWord (word processor) and Gnumeric (spreadsheet), especially on older computers and netbook.
  • E-mail client:  With add-ons, Evolution or Thunderbird works almost like MS Outlook.  The lightweight alternative is Sylpheed.
  • Graphics:  GIMP is the best option for professional graphical editing.  GIMP’s lightweight alternative is mtPaint.  GNU Paint works quite well for basic editing.
  • Sound & video: The best all-in-one player is VLC Media Player that plays almost every media format.  With its extended functions via plug-ins, VLC is the must-have media player.  The simple Totem Movie Player is suffice as everyday media player.  My favorite is lightweight Aqualung music player that plays MP3 and equivalents as well as MP4 (minus the visual).  For easy file format conversions e.g. from MP4 to MP3, SoundConverter converts file format with just a few clicks.
  • Games: Search for Gnome Games for timeless basic games e.g. AisleRiot Solitaire, Mahjongg and Suduko. For children, I would install Pingus.  Classic arcade shooting games like Frozen-Bubble and Zaz are quite addictive for adults and children alike.  The best educational game is Childsplay.
  • Webcam:  Cheese takes pictures and video clips with webcam.  
  • VoIP:  For cheap or free calls over Internet, Skype is the best choice.
  • Cloud storage:  Ubuntu One is the essential software for auto sync-enabled cloud storage.  Once filed are uploaded and stored in the cloud, they are accessisable from any computers or mobile device.  The basic account is free with 5 GB of free storage.  Additional storage and music streaming are available for some fees.

Picture: By Canonical Ltd (Ubuntu Visual Identity) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  1. olivedove posted this
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