The REAL Ubuntu 16.04 Essential Software

There are so many Top X lists out there for “essential” software for your new Ubuntu install…and most of them just pick the most popular communication or download software and then leave out everything else.  Here’s a more complete and curated list, by function, for anyone who wants to get all their installing done with confidence, right away:

  1. Customize GUI: Unity Tweak Tool
  2. Package Manager: Synaptic (faster than default; how to use guide)
  3. Disk Management: Gparted
  4. Terminal: Terminator
  5. Video: VLC, Handbrake.  For hidden extras (support for MP3 and unencrypted DVD playpack, Microsoft TrueType core fonts, Flash, codecs;not included due to copyright reasons), also run: sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
  6. Virtual Machines: VirtualBox
  7. Images: GIMP (“free Photoshop”), Inkscape
  8. Text Editor: Sublime Text 3 (use unofficial PPA)
  9. Office Suite: LibreOffice (already installed)
  10. Music: Clementine (most full-featured, cross-music-platform, and user friendly option I’ve seen)
  11. E-mail: Geary (Simple, clean, user friendly, but no encryption option to-date) -or- Thunderbird (already installed).
  12. Torrent: Taxiti –or- uTorrent (preference)
  13. Anti-virus: AVG Free (if you even feel you need an anti-virus)
  14. Chat: Jitsi, Whatsie (unofficial whatsapp), Signal via Chrome plugin, Discord (canary version; for gamers/clans).  I tend to be biased toward cross-OS-compatible options.
  15. Screenshots: Built-in Screenshot tool –or- Shutter –or- Screencloud (screenshot tool; other)
  16. Browser: Preference, but I stick with Firefox whenever possible – it’s feature-full and has less privacy issues than Chrome.  If you want a better selection of apps and aren’t as worried about privacy, Chrome (and the less heavy Chromium) is a great choice.  Regardless, you’ll want to install some add-ons: 1) HTTPS Everywhere, 2) uBlock Origin, and 3) uMatrix.  For Chrome, add 4) Click & Clean to that list. There are a number of other great options as well, but never found a reason to switch.  Don’t forget to enable flash support on browsers separately no matter which you chose (if you want flash, because it’s a security nightmare).
  17. Programming: Gitkraken (best alternative to GitHub Desktop for debian-based Linux distros), PyCharm (Community version, via ubuntu-make)
  18. Other: FileZilla

If “Software” isn’t working, you need to remove and reinstall “gnome-software,” not the legacy software-center.  16.04 includes the gnome software center by default (a huge improvement versus previous versions), though the reinstall’s icon may not be orange anymore:

  • sudo apt-get autoremove gnome-software
  • sudo apt-get install gnome-software

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