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A List of 40 Popular Ubuntu Apps

For intermediate users. Some tech skills required.

Most popular Ubuntu apps

Pre-installed apps

Ubuntu apps Description
Ubuntu archive manager Archive Manager Compress or extract archives (.zip, .rar, .tar, etc.).
Ubuntu backups Backups Backup files to local, remote or cloud locations. Possibility to encrypt backups and schedule incremental backups.
Ubuntu calculator Calculator Perform arithmetic, scientific or financial calculations.
Ubuntu calendar Calendar Schedule appointments, keep track of your agenda.
Ubuntu cheese Cheese Capture videos and stills from your webcam.
Ubuntu baobab Disk Usage Analyzer Scan device volumes or specific directories and display disk usage.
Ubuntu disks Disks Inspect, format, partition and configure disks.
Ubuntu document scanner Document Scanner Scan, crop, rotate, print and save text and images.
Ubuntu evince Document Viewer View file formats such as .pdf, .ps, .xps, .tiff, .djvu, .cbr, .cbz, etc.
Ubuntu nautilus Files Search, navigate and manage files.
Ubuntu firefox Firefox Browse the web.
Ubuntu eye of gnome Image Viewer View single pictures or image collections, view fullscreen slideshows or set wallpapers.
Ubuntu libreoffice LibreOffice Process word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. Fully compatible with Microsoft's formats (.doc, .xls and .ppt).
Ubuntu password manager Password & Keys Manage encryption keys (PGP, SSH).
Ubuntu rhythmbox Rhythmbox Play albums, organise audio files, create playlists, listen to podcasts, and access other online media.
Ubuntu screenshot Screenshot Save images of your screen or individual windows.
Ubuntu shotwell Shotwell Import, organise and view your photos.
Ubuntu terminal Terminal Access an interface to execute text based commands.
Ubuntu text editor Text Editor Edit text files.
Ubuntu thunderbird Thunderbird Access your emails, calendars, address books and to-do lists.
Ubuntu totem Videos Play movies.

Previous chapters explained how to install popular apps such as Firefox, Tor, Protonmail & Tutanota, Signal, Keepass, or Veracrypt & Cryptomator. Many more applications are available for Ubuntu. Below a selection of popular apps you might find useful. There are two easy ways to install them:

  • The Software Center, which was presented in the previous chapter on Ubuntu. It's an app store to search, install, update or remove software. Click on the Activities button on the top left, search for Software and open it. Find an application, read through the description page, hit the Install button and enter the administrator (root) password to proceed.

  • The terminal is another way to install, update or remove software. Open it with the CTRL + ALT + T shortcut, or click on the Activities button on the top left and search for Terminal. For example, the following terminal command installs Firefox: sudo apt install firefox. Voilà!

Ubuntu apps Description
Ubuntu mousepad Mousepad Text editor: simple, easy-to-use and fast. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install mousepad
Ubuntu onlyoffice OnlyOffice Office suite: free and open source software to process word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. Fully compatible with Microsoft's formats (.doc, .xls and .ppt). Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or follow OnlyOffice's instructions.
GNOME maps Gnome Maps Maps: free open-source maps. Uses the collaborative OpenStreetMap database. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install gnome-maps
Ubuntu vlc VLC Videos: free open-source multimedia player. Supports most file formats and streaming protocols. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install vlc
Ubuntu mplayer Mplayer Videos: free open-source media player. Supports most file formats. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install mplayer
Ubuntu ffmpeg Ffmpeg Media processing: open source tool to convert and modify different file formats such as .mp4, .avi, .mov, .mkv, .mp3, .wav, etc. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install ffmpeg
Ubuntu gimp Gimp Image processing: free and open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop, with plenty of add-ins for additional features. Supports file formats such as .bmp, .gif, .jpeg, .mng, .pcx, .pdf, .png, .ps, .psd, .svg, .tiff, .tga, .xpm, etc. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install gimp gimp-data
Ubuntu krita Krita Image processing: free and open source painting program for concept art, texture & matte painters, illustrations and comics. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kritalime/ppa && sudo apt update && sudo apt install krita
Ubuntu tenacity Audacity Audio processing: free and open source software to record, sample, edit, convert, analyse and add effects to sound files. Caution: discussions around adding telemetry to Audacity led to a fork called Tenacity, might be worthwhile to check out. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install audacity
Ubuntu openshot OpenShot Video processing: free and open source video editor to resize, scale, trim, cut, zoom, transition and add effects to video files. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openshot.developers/ppa && sudo apt update && sudo apt install openshot-qt
Ubuntu blender Blender Video processing: free and open source 3D creation suite, including modeling, animation, simulation, rendering, motion tracking and video editing. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install snapd && sudo snap install blender --classic
Ubuntu steam Steam Gaming: distribution platform for video games. Play thousands of top rated games on your Linux computer. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install steam-installer
Ubuntu empathy Empathy Chat: chat per text, voice & video messages. Proprietary protocols are supported: Google Talk, MSN, IRC, AIM, Facebook, Yahoo, ICQ, etc. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install empathy
Ubuntu pidgin Pidgin Chat: free and open source messaging client. Supports many protocols including MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Jabber, IRC, IRQ, etc. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install pidgin
Ubuntu gnucash GNUcash Finance: free and open source accounting software for personal and small-business finances. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install gnucash
Ubuntu deluge Deluge Torrent: free and lightweight torrent client. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install deluge
Ubuntu transmission Transmission Torrent: transmit and receive files using the BitTorrent protocol. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install transmission
Ubuntu filezilla FileZilla FTP: free FTP client. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or the following terminal command:
sudo apt install filezilla
Ubuntu rar Rar, Unrar and Unzip File compression: three small programs to compress or extract archives (.zip, .rar, .tar, etc.). Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or type the following terminal command:
sudo apt install rar unrar unzip
Ubuntu bleachbit Bleachbit Maintenance: open source tool to keep the computer clutter free. Free up cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk. Install via the Ubuntu Software Center or type the following terminal command:
sudo apt install bleachbit


Ubuntu games

Games

Linux is not perfect. From time to time, you'll run into limitations. For instance, many games aren't released for or compatible with Linux. Fortunately, there are some options.

Steam

Steam offers thousands of top rated games for Linux, as long as you meet the minimum requirements: 1GHz Pentium 4 or AMD Opteron processor, 512 MB memory, 5 GB hard drive space, an Internet connection and a graphic card with latest drivers installed. To install Steam, click on the Activities button on the top left of the screen, open the Ubuntu Software Centre, search for Steam and click Install.

Lutris

Lutris is a free and open source gaming platform for Linux. It allows to install thousands of games with little fuss, making Linux gaming a smooth experience. Before you install Lutris, make sure to have the latest graphic drivers installed. Then, follow the detailed instructions below.

Show me a step-by-step guide

Open the terminal with the CTRL + ALT + T shortcut, or click on the Activities button on the top left and search for Terminal. Run the commands below to install Wine, a program used to run Windows applications in Linux:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
wget -nc https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key
sudo apt-key add winehq.key
sudo apt-add-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ jammy main'
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

Now, install Lutris:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lutris-team/lutris
sudo apt update
sudo apt install lutris

Once installed, open Lutris, register or login, browse through the catalogue and install new games.


Ubuntu virtualbox

Windows Software

At times, a particular piece of software might not behave as expected on your Ubuntu machine. Running it in Windows might solve the issue. VirtualBox is a great way to achieve this, as it basically runs a small Windows computer inside your Ubuntu machine. More details below.

Show me a step-by-step guide

Install VirtualBox

Make sure your Ubuntu device meets the minimum requirements: 4 GB RAM, 20 GB of free drive space. Click on the Activities button on the top left of the screen, open the Ubuntu Software Centre, search for VirtualBox and click Install. Or just open a terminal and run the command sudo apt install virtualbox.

Configure VirtualBox

Instructions Description
Download Windows Download a Windows .iso. Choose the 32 or 64 bit version, depending on your computer architecture.
Create a Virtual Machine Start VirtualBox and click on the button New.
Name and operating system Give your Virtual Machine (VM) a name, for example Windows VM. Also select the Operating System (Microsoft Windows) and the version, for example Windows 10 (64-bit).
Memory size Choose how much RAM to allocate to Windows. 2 GB are recommended, 3-4 GB are even better.
Hard disk Select Create a virtual hard disk now to add a virtual hard disk.
Hard disk file type Choose the VDI format for the hard disk file type.
Storage on physical hard disk Choose Dynamically allocated for the hard disk file size.
File location and size Choose where to create the virtual disk. Also, decide how much disk space to allocate to Windows. 32 GB are recommended, more is even better.
Optical Disk Selector Back on the main screen, click on Start to launch the Virtual Windows Machine. In the pop-up dialogue, click on the icon to choose a virtual optical disk file. Click on Add and navigate to the location of the downloaded Windows .iso image. Click on Open, Choose and Start.

Install Windows in VirtualBox

Instructions Description
Install Windows After the boot phase, the Windows installation wizard will show up. Follow the on-screen instructions: select a language and keyboard layout, provide a Windows key, accept the terms of use, and so on.
Start working with Windows Log in to the first Windows session in the Virtual Machine. Going forward, you can launch Windows by clicking on the Start button on VirtualBox's main screen.


Ubuntu support

Support

For further details or questions, refer to:

Further suggestions for free and open source software can be found here:


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