Superb Software for Work & Play

ubuntu karmic koala

This package resource list has the best Karmic-compliant software, by category, for work or play. Fonts, multimedia codecs, system tools, you name it.

With our repositories nicely set up, we're set to install some creamy warez.

This works pretty much as before, with Jaunty. The only change I've found is that, for those packages not from repositories but downloaded from the software providers themselves, instead of these downloading to /home/USERNAME/Desktop, they download to /home/USERNAME/Downloads. So hey, that figures.

Setup Unmanaged VPS (4 Noobs!) ... with vpsBible
Secure WordPress. Properly. ... with wpCop, the platform's dedicated security website
Olly 'the_guv' Connelly's site and 'WordPress 3 Ultimate Security' book.

You won't want all this – and neither do I, by a long chalk – but hopefully these choice picks give an idea or three.

I'll keep this list updated, so drop by every now and them to check. And, hey, lemme know your suggestions. What have I missed or, of what's here, what shouldn't be?

Essential Packages

It can be hard to get by without these. Note I recommend the official Java environment, for maximum compatibility.

Software Description Installation Location
Java Runtime Environment (JRE) Many applications depend on this key framework. sudo aptitude install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-fonts to test type java -version
Adobe Air This Java-based platform is needed for running many rich internet applications, like TweetDeck. 32-bit
Download here.
cd /home/USERNAME/Downloads
chmod +x AdobeAIRInstaller.bin
sudo ./AdobeAIRInstaller.bin
Follow installer prompts.

Follow this guide, observing “John's comment”.

Applications > Accessories > Adobe Air Application Installer

System & Security Tools

Useful system tools.

Software Description Installation Location
Ubuntu Tweak Configure Ubuntu to your heart's content, using just the one tool. sudo aptitude install ubuntu-tweak Applications > System Tools > Ubuntu Tweak
Gtkorphan Find and delete unused dependencies. Gtkorphan is the GUI for deborphan which, when installed, does the same thing from the command line. sudo aptitude install gtkorphan sudo gtkorphan
UFW The iptables manager UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) is a default Jaunty install. GUFW is its handy GUI. I cover this, and the wider topic, in the section Hack-Proofing Ubuntu. sudo aptitude install gufw System > Administration > Firewall Preferences
Clam AntiVirus Anti-virus with GUI, featuring email attachment scanning, a scalable multi-threaded daemon and a tool for auto updates. sudo aptitude install clamtk Applications > System Tools > Virus Scanner
Clam AntiVirus (non-GUI) The command line equivalent. sudo aptitude install clamav

Productivity Tools

Speed up common tasks with some of these tools:-

Software Description Installation Location
Gnome Do Mac-like desktop app-icons dock, with search and other productivity tools. sudo aptitude install gnome-do Application > Accessories > Gnome Do
Nautilus-Dropbox Right click on item in Nautilus, using the Dropbox secure backup, sync and sharing services with 2Gb free space. sudo aptitude install nautilus-dropbox right click in Nautilus
Globalmenu An OS X-style global menu alternative. Quite cool, esp if you went with Linux because you couldn't afford the Mac. sudo aptitude install gnome-globalmenu
Nautilus Bundled Extras Make the Nautilus explorer more powerful, optional and personalised. Here is my pick of the crop:- see below
nautilus-actions Configure programs to launch. sudo aptitude install nautilus-actions right click in Nautilus
nautilus-cd-burner Drag/drop files to burn to CD or DVD. sudo aptitude install nautilus-cd-burner right click in Nautilus
nautilus-clamscan Adds a “Scan for viruses” item to the right-click menu. sudo aptitude install nautilus-clamscan right click in Nautilus
nautilus-gksu Grant Super User privileges within Nautilus. sudo aptitude install nautilus-gksu right click in Nautilus
nautilus-image-converter Mass-resize or rotate images. sudo aptitude install nautilus-image-converter right click in Nautilus
nautilus-open-Terminal Open a terminal in arbitrary local folders. sudo aptitude install nautilus-open-Terminal right click in Nautilus
nautilus-script-audio-convert Convert audio formats on the fly. sudo aptitude install nautilus-script-audio-convert right click in Nautilus
nautilus-script-collection-svn Execute Subversion commands on selected files. sudo aptitude install nautilus-script-collection-svn right click in Nautilus
nautilus-wallpaper Set your desktop wallpaper from the context menu. sudo aptitude install nautilus-wallpaper right click in Nautilus

Or if you just want all the Nautilus Bundled Extras:-

Graphic Effects

You can already implement some striking effects (if your graphics card is up to the task) – System > Preferences > Appearance > Visual Effects > check Extra and reboot. Want more?

Software Description Installation Location
Simple CCSM This GUI ‘effects manager' customises what Jaunty has under the hood. Not only are the effects rather splendid, their functionality aids productivity. sudo aptitude install simple-ccsm System > Preferences > Simple CompizConfig Settings Manager

Sound & video, players & codecs

Because, obviously, having AC-DC shrieking off in the background also aids productivity.

Software Description Installation Location
VLC Does everything I need & more. sudo aptitude install vlc Applications > Sound & Video > VLC media player
Players & Audio/Video Codecs Else, try multiple players. sudo aptitude install amarok gxine helix-player smplayer totem-gstreamer totem-mozilla vlc Applications > Sound & Video > [player]
A/V Codecs Bundle With this lot, you'll be able to open pretty much anything, encode, decode, and improve sound quality. Some media tag editors are included. sudo aptitude install amarok-common easytag flac id3v2 ffmpeg ffmpeg2theora faac faad flac icedax id3tool lame liba52-0.7.4-dev libflac++6 libjpeg-progs libmad0 libmp4v2-0 libmpcdec3 libmpeg2-4 libmpeg3-1 libquicktime1 mencoder mpg123 mpeg2dec mpg321 mpeg3-utils mpegdemux mozilla-helix-player nautilus-script-audio-convert non-free-codecs sox tagtool uudeview ubuntu-restricted-extras vorbis-tools
DVD support DVD doesn't play natively in Ubuntu. Here's the fix. sudo aptitude install libdvdcss2 && sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/./
Boxee Media player with webTV support, said to be good but only for 32-bit systems. Free signup at

How to Install Flash .. the Right Way

You need Flash for Youtube, whatever video online and a whole bunch offline. It's the number 1 multimedia codec and player about and has a slightly alternative installation method, so let's get it right:-

Download the format labelled .deb for Ubuntu 8.04+ here to your /home/username/Downloads folder, double click the file and then click Install Package.

.. You'll be asked to install a couple of dependent files too, and nagged for an admin password.

CD Burning & Ripping

Burning tip: Copy a cd or dvd to an .iso image by typing at the Terminal:-

Then, to create a copy of the original disk, insert a blank disc and right click on your new .iso file, choosing Write to disc.

Alternatively ..

Software Description Installation Location
Gnomebaker Bakes CD's and DVD's. sudo aptitude install gnomebaker Applications > Sound & Video > Gnomebaker
K3b As feature-rich as Nero and, unlike still-proprietary Linux Nero, K3b is free. The alternative Brasero burner is installed by default. sudo aptitude install k3b k3b-data k3b-i18n libk3b3 Goto Applications > Sound & Video > K3B
abcde Terminal-operated shell script to grab from CD to ogg or mp3, tagged. Superb. sudo aptitude install abcde No GUI

Web browsers

Firefox 3.5 comes bundled by default (and with Karmic it seems to run faster than with Jaunty, at least on my PC), but this is for the rest.

Software Description Installation Location
Chromium Chrome for Linux, it's an open-source Webkit browser, for testing Safari too. I've included an element inspector. sudo aptitude install chromium-browser chromium-browser-inspector Accessories > Internet > Chromium
Epiphany Alternative Webkit (GTK+) browser. I've included the extensions pkg for some handy tools. sudo aptitude install epiphany-webkit epiphany-extensions Accessories > Internet > Epiphany
Galeon Quality browser running Mozilla's Gecko engine but no mod cons for speedy standards-compliant page rendering. sudo aptitude install galeon Accessories > Internet > Galeon
Internet Explorer 7/8 HAHA .. only kidding!! We can install this on the Windows slice so, no worries, we'll have something to swear at. hell
Lynx The text-based browser, handy for usability-testing, or just when you've got a web 2.0 headache. sudo aptitude install lynx Accessories > Internet > Lynx
Opera Sporting a Presto engine. sudo aptitude install opera Accessories > Internet > Opera
Safari Incompatible with Linux, but it's Webkit so use one of the above. Can be installed on our virtual Windows slice, so only an extra couple of clicks away.

Graphics Development

A few graphics tools. Being a Luddite, I run Photoshop via my Virtualbox installation of XP. (PS CS2 works well thru' Wine too.)

Software Description Installation Location
GIMP Pimp your Gimp with these extras to improve the graphics equivalent of Adobe Photoshop. see below
gimp-plugin-registry Adds a repo of optional extensions. sudo aptitude install gimp-plugin-registry Applications > Graphics > GIMP Image Editor
gimp-data-extras Extra brushes, palettes and gradients. sudo aptitude install gimp-data-extras Applications > Graphics > GIMP Image Editor
Shutter A feature-rich screenshot program. sudo aptitude install shutter Applications > Accessories > Shutter
Inkscape This vector graphics programme is the Linux equivalent of Adobe Illustrator. sudo aptitude install inkscape Applications > Graphics > Inkscape
Blender Create 3D graphics. sudo aptitude install blender Applications > Graphics > Blender
Picasa Advanced photo management. Download from and run the .deb Applications > Graphics > Picassa

Office Apps

Accounts, project management & similar office utilities.

Software Description Installation Location
Gnucash Personal finance tracking, supports multi-accounts, running/reconciled balances, double entry, expense cats, imports QIF & OFX files. sudo aptitude install gnucash Applications > Office > Gnucash
Homebank More accounting for pyjama-clad developers, it's similarish to Gnucash, from what I've heard. sudo aptitude install homebank Applications > Office > Homebank (I guess)
Dia Flowchart/diagram editor, rather like MS Visio. sudo aptitude install dia Applications > Graphics > Dia
OpenProj Project management programme. wget && sudo dpkg -i openproj_1.4-2.deb Applications > Office > OpenProj
GEdit Improve Jaunty's default text editor with some handy plugins. sudo aptitude install gedit-plugins Applications > Accessories > Text Editor

Communications Schtuff

Email, calendar, tasks, IM & VOIP Applications.

Software Description Installation Location
Mozilla Thunderbird Jaunty's standard, Evolution, is very good, with calendar and task management. Thunderbird is also pretty fine though, and the Lightning plugin can be bundled for calendar and tasks. sudo aptitude install thunderbird Applications > Internet > Mozilla Thunderbird
Thunderbird Lightning The calendar and tasks functionality for Thunderbird. sudo aptitude install lightning Applications > Internet > Mozilla Thunderbird
CheckGmail Gmail new mail notification widgetty thing. (Why not just set up Gmail & Thunderbird/Evolution for IMAP?). sudo aptitude install checkgmail Goto Application > Internet > CheckGmail
Instant Messaging Multi-Client Pidgin is installed by default and, just before you bother adding another, it works with the majority of IM clients as well as a few chat networks. Applications > Internet > Pidgin Internet Messenger
Skype The grand-daddy of VOIP. Jaunty comes installed with an alternative, Ekiga. sudo aptitude install skype Applications > Internet > Skype

P2P File Sharing

Just a few bits and bobs for torrents and donkeys.

Software Description Installation Location
Deluge An alternative to the Jaunty standard bittorent client, Transmission. sudo aptitude install deluge-torrent Applications > Internet > Deluge Torrent
Azureus A Java-based equivalent. sudo aptitude install azureus Applications > Internet > Azureus
Amule You guessed it, kinda like Emule. I think that's a play on words or, in donkey speak, a neigh play. sudo aptitude install amule Applications > Internet > aMule
Amule-Gnome-Support Amule's web browser support package for Firefox and other browsers. sudo aptitude install amule-gnome-support Check your browser

File Management Utilities

So that'll be apps that help organise the file system, then.

Software Description Installation Location
Archivers Unpack anything. sudo aptitude install aish arj cabextract file-roller lha mpack p7zip-full p7zip-rar rar unrar sharutils unace uudeview zip unzip.
Glipper Extend clipboard functionality. sudo aptitude install glipper Right click on panel > Add to Panel > drag Clipboard Manager to panel
Multiget A powerful http and ftp download manager. sudo aptitude install multiget Applications > Internet > MultiGet
Subversion AKA svn, this is a version control system, used to keep favored applications, files, etc bang-up-to-date. In a local environment it's especially handy for project collaboration whilst, on a live server, it can be used to keep online apps safely patched. sudo aptitude install subversion Mug up on this


Maybe there are other Google Apps or gnome plugins that you like?

Software Description Installation Location
Google Earth Some map thing. I can see my mum in her garden, but it could be the washing on the line. (Seriously brilliant and useful for planning a holiday or war.) sudo aptitude install googleearth Application > Internet > Google Earth
Google Desktop Give Google access to more of your privacy. Intelligent local search using Google's algorithm, and much much more. Much. (Actually it's very good.) sudo aptitude install google-desktop-linux Applications > Google Desktop > Google Desktop > Google Desktop Preferences, with a handy new icon on the panel too
Google Gadgets Clutter for your desktop. Sorry, am I cynical? Never tried it. Never will. But it is popular. sudo aptitude install google-gadgets-gtk Applications > Internet > Google Gadgets, right click on the newly launched panel icon and something or other, this, that, I'll be down the pub.

Windows/OS Translators, Virtualizers, Emulators, Bagofpotaters, whatever they're called these days

Use Windows & other systems from within Linux.

Software Description Installation Location
Wine Translates Windows programs for Linux in a buggy kind of a way. sudo aptitude install wine Applications > Other > Wine
PlayonLinux A wine fork, said to be better for games. Needs dual-boot with Windows. Forget it and use Setup a Virtual OS with Virtualbox (sure beats a dual-boot!) sudo aptitude install playonlinux Applications > Other > PlayonLinux
Virtualbox Now you're talking! Run virtual OSes easily (this sure beats a dual-boot.) Read Part 25 – Emulate Virtual OSes with VirtualBox


About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at, polices WordPress security at and helps noobs build web servers at, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.


  1. the_guv  November 7, 2010

    cheers JP .. pleased to help

  2. JP  November 7, 2010

    Incredible! Veeeery useful and easy to follow 😀

    (the part of Explorer really made me laugh)

  3. the_guv  April 19, 2010

    @siva .. big cheers .. look out for the new Lucid Lynx bible, now writing

  4. siva  April 18, 2010

    very good good work…….. thanks…….

  5. the_guv  March 16, 2010

    @Koen .. tx for that .. yes, sometimes it helps to assume “Super User” permissions. appending:-


    in front of commands can force the command to work

  6. Koen V  March 14, 2010

    Super super helpfull!
    Tx for sharing all your experience in such a clear guide, while keeping it fun to read!

    Only minor issue I had: concerning the mounting of a partition and making a ‘symlink’ needed change some access rights I think to make it work.

    For me personnaly some more details about the partitioning shemes would also have been interesting (or a link to somewhere with thorough explination, I googled arount).

    Tx again!!!

  7. the_guv  February 9, 2010

    @Luiz .. thank you .. appreciate that, Sir.

  8. Luiz Augusto  February 8, 2010

    Thanks for this great work. Useful and beautiful site!

  9. the_guv  February 6, 2010

    @Emilio .. your welcome, tx

  10. Emilio  February 4, 2010

    Thanks for a great guide! it helped my as an noob lots!

  11. the_guv  January 20, 2010

    @mark .. big cheers, your’re welcome.

  12. mark simpson  January 19, 2010

    Hey … this stuff is brilliant and extremely helpful ! thanks for all the hard work. Mark

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