Another important application for me is Evolution, which I value as a centralized work area. Numerous other programs handle email, notes, to do lists, and contact information as well or better, but few are as convenient as Evolution. However, with KDE 4 maturing, I am considering investigating KDE-PIM in depth, so that I can make an informed choice between the two.
As a sometime designer, I also check what fonts a distribution installs by default. These days, the number of free fonts is increasing, and many distributions install all that are available. However, if necessary, I make a point of installing Red Hat's Liberation fonts to ensure I have metrical equivalents of Times Roman, Helvetica/Arial and Courier, the standard Windows fonts, and a selection of SIL fonts for their expanded Unicode support, so that I can type in non-English languages without looking ignorant -- or, in the case of people's names, discourteous. I am particularly careful to include SIL's Gentium, one of the most drop-dead gorgeous fonts I've ever seen, regardless of the license.
For games, my preference is for short classic games, like GNU Backgammon or PySol, which has all the games of solitaire you could ever want. I also install the Civilization-style game FreeCiv and the combat-oriented Battle for Westnoth for when I have spare time and want a strategic challenge.
Most of these programs take no time to configure, because I keep regular backups of the home directory, so that transplanting is simply a matter of copying and changing permissions to fit the appropriate user-account. However, I usually conclude a fresh installation by adding OpenOffice.org and Firefox extensions. To OpenOffice.org, I add the Sun Presenter Console (which requires configuring for dual monitor use), and the Sun PDF Import extensions.
To Firefox, I add two main categories of extensions. Since I regularly have several dozen tabs open while researching and writing an article, I use several to enhance the manipulation of tabs, such as remove tabs, TabHistory, Tabs Open Relative, and Undo Closed Tabs Button. An especially useful tab extension is Session Manager, which allows me to store different sets of tabs for easy reopening later.
From this list, anyone who doesn't know me would have little trouble identifying who I am: a free software-loving user whose main purposes including writing, designing, and using the web, and only the simplest of programming. That makes me, if not quite a typical user, typical enough for many purposes.
But enough of me. What are your considerations when setting up and configuring a new computer with GNU/Linux? And what can other people learn from them?