Depending on whether you do a custom or a default install you may or may not have the following programs. After using Ubuntu for the last 6 months I recommend the following programs. Remember, these are all FREE so if you don’t use them you can just uninstall them and it hasn’t cost you anything. I actually think a lot of these are better than the programs you pay for. Especially Video LAN Player. I haven’t yet found a single video file type it can’t open.
To install these programs I usually use Synaptic Package Manager. If you prefer to use the Terminal or the Ubuntu Software Centre that’s fine too. I like using Synaptic Package Manager because it recommends you all the extra bits you might need for compatibility and such. However, the Terminal is the quickest way so I will give the Terminal command for each one, and a detailed Ubuntu Software Centre/Synaptic Package Manager example at the end.
NOTE: To install a program using the Terminal, open a Terminal window, copy and paste the command line into your window and hit enter. Enter your Administrator password when asked and it should install it for you.
- Firefox – a really good web browser and far more secure than IE (and apparently Safari at the moment). To install using the Terminal use the command
sudo apt-get install firefox
- Open Office – similar to Microsoft Office except it’s completely FREE! This should be included by default but if it isn’t install it using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.
- VLC Player – a really good multimedia player which can handle most file formats. AVI, WMV, DIVX, OGM, FLV, etc. To install using the Terminal use the command
sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse mozilla-plugin-vlc
After that there are several optional odds and ends I recommend:
- Audacity – a good sound file recorder and editor. To install using the Terminal use the command
sudo apt-get install audacity
- GIMP – the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Similar to Adobe Photoshop… WAIT! No… GIMP is FREE not £650 which is the current price of Photoshop! Seriously, who would pay that? There are probably a few things it can’t do that Photoshop can but it’s a decent program that can do most things, and yes, it does them for free. To install using the Terminal use the command
sudo apt-get install gimp
(if you like GIMP you can install some extras for it using sudo apt-get install gimp-data-extras)
- Five or More – this used to be called Glines and is a bit like connect 4 but oh so much better. Install this game at your peril, it is very addictive. Install this using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.
- Inkscape – a vector graphics editor. It’s good for people who would like to play around with Adobe Illustrator but refuse to pay the price tag. To install using the Terminal use the command
sudo apt-get install inkscape
- SM Player – another media player. I find this player gets on better with some DVDs than VLC. It’s a good alternative if you find you have problems. To install using the Terminal use the command
sudo apt-get install smplayer
You can install any of these programs using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre. I will give an example for each method using VLC media player.
Using Synaptic Package Manager:
1.) Make sure you have administrative privileges and your password.
2.) Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager
3.) Enter your password when asked.
4.) When looking for a program you have to options – you can either browse the list or use the Quick Search. Either is fine.
5.) So if I wanted to install VLC Media Player I would search for it in the Quick Search and then right click and choose Mark for Installation.
Of course as I already have it installed it already has a green mark next to it.
6.) Click Apply and it should be installed. If it asks whether you want to install the recommended extras, choose yes. VLC should now be successfully installed.
Using Ubuntu Software Centre:
1.) Go to Applications > Ubuntu Software Centre
2.) In the search type VLC media player and select it from the list. You can click on more info if you would like to read about it before installing.
3.) When you are ready click the install button. The installation may take a little while but at the end VLC should be successfully installed.