Making the switch to Ubuntu – or any popular Linux distribution – is more than the mere act of changing operating systems. You must also have apps that allow you to get work done.
In this article, I'll be sharing critical applications that I rely on, and I’ll talk about how I use them in my daily activities.
Generally when it comes to software on the Linux desktop, I drop app titles into one of two categories. These would be stuff I use every day, and everything else. Below are applications I find myself running each and every day.
1) Firefox – Sometimes I use other browsers, but lately Firefox has been my long trusted friend. Reliable, safe and cross platform, Firefox is generally what I use for my daily browsing needs.
In addition to accessing bookmarks and webpages, I also rely on Firefox to handle my various LAN server duties as well. Duties such as: Plex, Zoneminder, router/WAPs, and my file server. All of these are accessed each day using Firefox.
2) Parcelite – I can't begin to function without a decent clipboard manager, and for me, you can't beat Parcelite on the GNOME desktop. Simple to use, easy to access and it's also chalked full of useful options. Parcelite options include everything from hotkeys to white space handling. There are a ton of great clipboard managers out there, but it's tough to beat what Parcelite offers.
3) Bittorrent Sync – I have used various open source alternatives for file syncing that needed more development before being released. That being said Bittorrent Synchas NEVER let me down. It's easy to run and install thanks to the new GUI offering, and Bittorrent Sync allows me to transfer huge video files quickly from machine to machine without wasting time syncing stuff to the "cloud."
I've also found it to be a fantastic way to share large files easily with others, while maintaining IP address and directory privacy along the way. Despite the numerous alternatives available, I remain firmly grounded as a Bittorrent Sync fanboy.
4) System Monitor – Because TOP only goes so far, I prefer a tabbed GUI as it's much easier on my eyes. Using GNOME's System Monitor, I can quickly discover a runaway process and easily kill it without ever needing to break a sweat. Unlike a terminal app like TOP, I can also get a visual perspective using graphs in real-time for my CPU, memory and disk usage. Being a visual person, it's difficult to beat the bar graph showing me how much space I have. Same applies to real-time resource usage as well.
5) PulseAudioControl – Each day, I tend to bounce between multiple sound devices. Sometimes I need to make one the default, but then switch from Firefox audio to another device altogether. Because I like to have as much control over my audio as possible, I've found that PulseAudioControl is an invaluable tool.
In this section, I'll share apps that I use, but may not necessarily use each and every day. Many of these apps are open source, some are not, all are of great value to me personally.
6) Skype – Whether it's calling into Jupiter Broadcasting to co-host a weekly podcast, or simply catching up with a business contact, Skype is how Internet video conversations happen. After testing countless alternatives, I always find myself coming back to Skype. Even though there are really awesome open source options like Ekiga or Jitsi, at the end of the day Skype is where everyone is at – good luck getting people to switch.
7) Kdenlive – I use two different video editors, and when it comes to banging out a heavily edited video, Kdenlive is the tool I use for picture in picture compositing and editing really large, complex videos. I've successfully managed 6 track edits in Kdenlive that have crashed in other video editors.
8) OpenShot – For the most part, OpenShot is my goto video editor for most of my video editing tasks. Quick edits, and two track work goes by quickly and easily using this editor. I have also found that it offers great effects that are difficult to match elsewhere. Blender title effects and great video transitions make OpenShot a fantastic editor for my own projects.