Admittedly, Linux is a little talked-about subject on LockerGnome, but we admire all operating systems and try to cover them as best as we can. In response to my recent Windows and OS X based articles that went over the best downloads for any new computer (PC or Mac), I thought it’d be appropriate to give Linux users some love and list off our top downloads for the vast Linux system. I must warn you now that there are a vast array of Linux distributions; on the upside, this allows for open development, but on the downside, it’s hard to hit a majority of the users because of the many distributions.
Today we’re going to focus on software that works with Ubuntu, which is the most common desktop iteration of Linux, but you can most likely find what you’re looking for on the other systems with the help of a search engine. Most, if not all, of these items are going to be available for free and are going to be inside of the Ubuntu store. We will hit a variety of products and software types; if you don’t see yours, let us know in the comments to let our readers know that there might be something else to look into.
GnomeDo: This service is just like Alfred for Mac; it replaces the default search on your Linux computer and lets you easily access a search box to get to your folders or even the Web. I consider it an essential application that lives in the background and is robust but lightweight enough to power your searches for applications on your computer for easy launching.
LibreOffice: It seems we just can’t escape LibreOffice. Available on all platforms, it is free and a great replacement for paid office suites like Microsoft Office. The software suite comes with a variety of applications to replace the expensive document creation software and do the same job.
gedit: gedit is the official text editor of the GNOME desktop environment. It’s highly configurable and includes syntax highlighting for easy coding on your Linux computer. The text editing application is expandable with plugins to suit your typing needs; it also has an amazing and easy-to-use interface that is pleasing to navigate for any user.
Chromium: As the base of Google Chrome, Chromium is a lightweight browser like Google Chrome and just as functional. It has a Web store that ties in with your Google Account, so if you have Google Chrome on your desktop, you can sync bookmarks and apps on to Chromium.
Thunderbird: Hands down, the best mail application for Linux is Thunderbird. It’s free and made by Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, and has by far the best interface of all free mail software. You can use Thunderbird to manage multiple email addresses with a high level of customizability.
Pidgin: Let’s face it, you probably have multiple instant messenger accounts. An easy way to manage all of them is Pidgin, a great IM tool that lets you connect multiple accounts — even IRC — and manage your instant messaging life. With access to a wide array of extensions, you can turn Pidgin into the ultimate IM machine and use it with Facebook Chat and integrate notifications and styles to fit your needs.
Transmission: If you’re a Linux user, which you probably are if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably messed around with torrent files. As a side note, not all torrents are bad or illegal — it is a valid way of sharing perfectly legitimate files. For example, all of the Linux distributions are available as torrent files so they can be downloaded faster. Transmission is a great application for managing and downloading legal torrent files fast.
VLC: One of the most popular media players out there is VLC because, let’s face it, everything else sucks. It comes packed with all the codecs you could ever need to play any video or audio file out there. VLC also leaves a lighter footprint on your computer and won’t cause it to crash as much.
GIMP: This multi-platform application is possibly one of the better image editors and graphic design utilities out there. Its modular design gives you access to create anything at your heart’s will. In my experience, GIMP is the leader in image processing and can export to many different formats.
Banshee: Banshee is up there with VLC for being a top media player. Currently, Banshee is native on Ubuntu and comes pre-installed on some installations. It’s built for Ubuntu and systems like it. The media player is lightweight and very powerful to use for any video or audio files.
Dropbox: One of my very favorite applications for sharing documents and other files between multiple places is Dropbox. You start out with a massive 2 GB of space that’s enough for pictures and videos to be stored with documents and other data. Not only for Linux, but all desktop and mobile platforms, Dropbox can sync and view almost every document from any location where it can be accessed.
Wine: No, not the drink, but the application that runs Windows applications. Unfortunately, no matter how far we run, we can’t get away from Windows applications and often need them for daily tasks. That’s where Wine comes in. It basically emulates Windows and allows you to install Windows applications like you would on a Windows-based computer. It can be used to run a variety of applications and is compatible with almost everything.
Virtualbox: If you want to play around with a Linux distro or even run Windows inside of Linux, there’s a free program called Virtualbox that can emulate another computer within your computer to run your operating system of choice. This is great for anyone who wants to try out different operating systems to see what they like. They can even use it as a sandbox utility to test out their applications or programs in different systems.