For me, the ability to jump from one Linux desktop to another depends on whether the applications I depend on will be available to me. Luckily for me, the applications I rely on for productivity are readily available from the Ubuntu Software Center.
In this article, I'll share my top twenty productivity picks with you, and explain how they lend themselves to a more productive workstation environment.
1) FocusWriter: Despite the many advantages of using a modern word processor such as LibreOffice Writer, there is still plenty of items on your desktop to keep you distracted.
To alleviate this problem, I've found that using FocusWriter for distraction free word processing work is the best bet. Unlike the alternatives available in this space, this software allows you to work with text in a full screen environment, and also provides you with the option to skin the background to better keep yourself from being distracted.
2) MyWake: At first pass, the idea of an alarm clock built into a desktop operating system might seem a bit strange. However, when you stop to think about how many road warriors are out there with their notebooks borrowed from work, suddenly the idea doesn't sound that strange.
After all, how productive can one be if they're oversleeping! MyWake comes to the rescue with alarm tones strong enough to wake even the deepest sleeper _ the alarm sounds range from the fun to the annoying, depending on your preference. Plus, it’s easy to use.
3) (Planner) Project Management: Being able to effectively tackle an important project is not only beneficial in the workplace these days, it's a critical skill. Maintaining any level of productivity when dealing with a big project is an exercise in patience. That's why I've come to rely on Planner. It handles everything from managing tasks down to generating reports on how the tasks are coming along. As project software goes, Planner is among one of the better options available.
4) Freeplane: Mind mapping can be a massive time-saver for keeping the productivity flowing, but it helps to have the right application to ensure that the mind map is of benefit to the project and not a hindrance. This is where an application like Freeplane can become a real benefit to one’s workday. Being able to visually, connect and explain thoughts and how they relate to one another, can be a huge help in today's workplace. Unlike other mind map software options for Linux, Freeplane has the ability to help your thoughts and ideas stand out clearly, without a ton of extra work.
5) Glom: Database management isn't anything new. But making database management easy on the Linux desktop, has been hit and miss, depending on the software being used. That said, Glom has really come to the rescue in this space. It is simple to use, has a logical interface and is a perfect fit for smaller to medium-sized businesses. While some might consider it to be overly simplified, I think it's setup just right.
6) Pybliographer: Keeping track of bibliographic databases isn't for the faint of heart. It takes one of two things: plenty of time or decent software. Being a busy guy myself, I opted for decent software.
The software I selected to handle all of my own bibliographic needs was Pybliographer. Despite a call being put out to the public for a new maintainer, I've found it difficult to match this software elsewhere. It's simple to use, has a flowing interface and, overall, has yet to let me down. I also dig the fact that it works with LibreOffice for inserting citations as well.
7) gSTM(Gnome SSH Tunnel Manager): To say that I spend more time in SSH than the average person, is fair to say the least. It's a handy way to tunnel into my various PCs and servers. Not only that, bundled with X forwarding, I can access local applications as if I was sitting right there at the desk.
Sadly, though, not all SSH managers are created equal. After trying a few different options, I found myself happily settling for gSTM as my goto SSH tool. With its fantastic UI, gSTM allows me to connect to multiple SSH-enabled machines with the utmost of ease. Even better, it allows me to add or remove services with a mere few strokes of my keyboard.
8) Liferea: I have been an avid RSS user since the beginning. My usage dates back to Radio UserLand and today, RSS remains a huge part of my life with my own OPML files. The key to getting the most from RSS and the content syndicated from it comes down to being able to use Liferea for handling my RSS feeds. With its natural UI flow and ability to tackle my individual RSS feeds and bundled OPML files, it's easily the best RSS reader I've ever used on the Linux desktop.