Basic Software For Ubuntu-based Linux OS


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

The Best Olive Dove Posts of 2011

Firework photomontage

Post Written by Olive Dove

These posts reflect how much I have gained and evolved in my knowledge and worldviews in 2011.  I’m glad to be part of the community to share and grow with like-minded community members.  

The following are the best Olive Dove posts of 2011 (in no specific order):

  1. Quick Guide to Linux
  2. Bodhi Linux: First Impressions (the most read and shared post in 2011)
  3. The Facebook-exclusive Snaptu
  4. Snaptu - Alternative Software for Mobile Internet
  5. Contented Life
  6. Needs and Wants
  7. Our Pride and Values
  8. Alternative Routes in Life
  9. Freedom to Live A Desired Lifestyle
  10. Downsides of Minimalism (via mnmlist)

Have a blessed and fruitful 2012!  

Photo:  By Billy Hicks (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Sooooooo True!“Be smart, be Open Source; leave Windows and OS X and go Linux!” - King Damian

Linux OS is by the community and for the community.


Sooooooo True!

“Be smart, be Open Source; leave Windows and OS X and go Linux!” - King Damian

Linux OS is by the community and for the community.

(via officialkingdamian)

Bodhi Linux: First Impressions

Post written by Olive Dove

As a netbook and loyal Ubuntu Linux OS user, I’m on constant look out for a lightweight version of Ubuntu spin distribution that is less resource- and energy-intensive.  I have used Lubuntu, Linux Mint LXDE and Peppermint Linux OS for the past two years.  What I like the most are the alternative lightweight applications that came with each distro.

There’s a limit how light a lightweight Ubuntu spin distro can be as each package is pre-loaded with complete set of open-source productivity, graphics, and sound and video software just like fast food restaurant set menu.  As a cloud computing fan, I have never used mail clients like Sylpheed and Evolution.  I hate Rhythmbox.  Most lightweight Ubuntu spin distro ranged from 500MB - 700MB in size.  

I chance upon Bodhi Linux when my newly installed Linux Mint LXDE 11 could not connect high speed broadband device though I have repeatedly installed and re-installed Broadcom wireless drivers.  Referring to Wikipedia that listed Bodhi Linux as part of lightweight Linux distribution, I downloaded the minimalist Bodhi Linux that is only 382MB in size.   After 15 minutes of download, installation and preliminary customization, my netbook was up and running with the super lightweight Bodhi Linux that is pre-loaded with functional Broadcom wireless driver.

I was pleasantly surprised by the minimalist aesthetic interface.  Though Enlightenment Desktop came with very few pre-installed applications, Bodhi Linux has listed some basic software in user-friendly Bodhi Linux Add Software Home as one-stop download center.  I have installed Adobe Flash, Chromium (pre-installed web browser is lightweight Midori), AbiWord and Gnumeric for office productivity, EPDFViewer, GCalctool, GPicView, Pinta and Inkscape for graphical editing, and Aqualung and VLC for sound and video.  These software are more than enough for offline use as I rely more on Google cloud applications.  Avid Linux users can dig deeper into Synaptic Package Manager for more customization. 

Bondi Linux lives up to its promise as a super lightweight Linux OS as I still have 15% battery power reserve left after 3 hours of cloud computing, surfing and downloading applications in multiple tabs on Chromium and Midori browsers.  Logging in and shutting down the OS are completed within seconds.  

What I like the most about Bodhi Linux are freedom of choice for applications and profiles (Bare, Desktop, Laptop and Tablet/Netbook) that I truly need, the familiar Synaptic Package Manager and vast choices of themes and icons for customization.  It’s a great surprise for such a minimalist OS with such highly customizable aesthetic interface!  There are more to learn about the lightweight Enlightenment Desktop and other configurations, though.

Photo credit: By The Bodhi Team (, via Wikimedia Commons