Best Linux Downloads for Any New Linux Computer

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.

Productivity

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.

Internet

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.

Media

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.

Utilities

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.

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  • devlab

    Half of those are built in ubuntu, but still, nice article, thank you:)

    • Craighton

      In some instances of Ubuntu installation all those software features aren’t installed unless you click a button during the setup procedures. 

      It’s both a refresher and did you know for Linux users. There’s a small part of our audience that comes from Linux, so for those wanting to get into it, it’s here for them to know what to use. 

      I know when I first got started with Debian and even Ubuntu back in the dar I didn’t know what the heck to use.  

      • asingh

        If you are just starting and coming from Windows then Linux Mint is better choice in Linux world.

    • wingnut4427

      Have You tried Zorin ? This is the easiest distro I have ever used. Nothing & I mean nothing has a smaller learning curve to windows than this one.

  • Benjamín Orozco

    Errata: LibraOffice should be LibreOffice

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for that, it has been edited.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdrich1 Joseph Rich

    you have forgotten spotify for linux truth http://www.spotify.com/uk/download/previews/ and if you are a dj and you might think a different os eg (linux ubuntu) then mixxx is a good program as well? and i tell you the different types of wine’s (playonlinux 4qwine crossover winetricks) and many more?

  • Miggs

    Yes but there’s also Chrome available from the official site. Windows guys are used to download and install.

  • Benjamin Gwynn

    Ahhhh! Wine doesn’t emulate windows apps! It stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator …

    • wingnut4427

      true ! I have tried running several applications in it & it doesn’t run everything. Maybe there is a way .. but if it’s out there, I can’t find it. :( Photosuite 7 platinum, Camtasia, windows movie maker. are just a few that I cannot get to work on it.  

  • Morgan Hill

    open shot and blender should be on their for media editing as they are great video tools.

  • matthartley

    Decent list. :) A GnomeDo alternative (a bit more powerful) would be Synapse. Use this, you will never misplace a file or forget the name of a program again. ;) 

    http://www.webupd8.org/2011/09/synapse-launcher-028-released-with-new.html

  • Anonymous

    If you are new to Linux, just install Pinguy, Linux Mint, or Ubuntu.

  • Anonymous

    If you are new to Linux, just install Pinguy, Linux Mint, or Ubuntu.

  • Anonymous

    Great list. If you’re using Gnome 3, Rhythmbox has excellent integration.

  • Anonymous

    With Gnome 3, you really don’t need GnomeDo.  Also, the best dock out there is Cairo-Dock, which in my humble opinion, is an absolute must.  Ubuntu One offers more cloud space than Drop Box and is pretty seamless.  

  • Anonymous

    For those researchers out there, Mendeley is the best!

  • Anonymous

    I’d suggest kdenlive for video editing.

  • http://twitter.com/madhi19 John G

    For light video editing like removing advert from a recording Avidemux is perfect. It also not a bad idea to purge the pre-installed FFmpeg from a new install and compile your own.

  • Curtis Coburn

    Wine might be good for me. There is a software that I use on Windows (Pinnacle Studio 15). It would be cool if I would run on Linux and use that without switching to Windows by restarting my computer and booting on Windows.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ MHazell

    What happened to OpenOffice.org?

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ MHazell

    While it all comes down to personal opinion, I just switched my computer to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu. I tried Ubuntu off of the live CD and it looked like I knew what I was doing, which I was. Part of that very small learning curve is my natural ability to work with technology.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbumaat Julius Ybañez Buma-at

    I’m a happy Ubuntu Linux user since version 8.04LTS.  I learn how to edit videos using Ubuntu Linux native softwares like Openshot, Avidemux.  It’s much safe to browse the web, especially on doing some bank transactions.  It lengthens the life of my PC now 4 years old and still is running smoothlly as the day I assemble this machine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbumaat Julius Ybañez Buma-at

    I’m a happy Ubuntu Linux user since version 8.04LTS.  I learn how to edit videos using Ubuntu Linux native softwares like Openshot, Avidemux.  It’s much safe to browse the web, especially on doing some bank transactions.  It lengthens the life of my PC now 4 years old and still is running smoothlly as the day I assemble this machine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devon-Day/1849647205 Devon Day

    Anyone looking for a replacement for Spotify, in their migration to Linux, should check out Grooveshark. Really good for playing music, and it works right in the web browser. So it’s also good for Windows and OS X users.

    Docky is another program I use so I can get an OS X like dock on my Linux Mint Debian setup. Might be helpful for those who wish to move from OS X, but customize Linux to look similar to OS X.

  • Uaf

    and vim :)