View Full Version : Essential Software for the average Joe

January 16th, 2017, 05:12 PM
Hey everyone, I'm about to make a military deployment, and I've essentially left the Windows/Mac world (except that my office still uses Microsoft products). Anyway, I've turned my old MacBook Pro into an Ubuntu machine, and I've got the following now:

Opera browser
Chromium browser
Firefox browser
Libre Office 5

I also have a few games, like Steam (so whatever I own that I can port to Linux).

Since I'll be gone for several months, do you recommend any particular software to make my time away more productive/enjoyable? What movie player do you prefer? Music player? Any writing software (screenplays or research papers)? Any very basic and beginning programming software. I use my laptop mostly to research and write, but I'm interested in whatever people are using.

Thanks in advance,

January 16th, 2017, 05:16 PM
Basic and beginning programming: Python3 (http://www.diveintopython3.net/), already included with Ubuntu Desktop. Grab the free pdf version of the book (https://github.com/downloads/diveintomark/diveintopython3/dive-into-python3.pdf) to learn how to use it.

January 16th, 2017, 11:15 PM
Video player: SMPlayer with the mpv engine. Install both from the repositories, then in SMPlayer navigate to Options > Preferences > General and select "mpv" from the "engine" drop-down list.

I use LibreOffice Writer for word processing. Screenplays have unique formats though. There are a couple of reviews of the alternatives available from a Google search.

I use Kubuntu, so most of my software comes from the KDE side of the world. I use Clementine for an audio player.

January 22nd, 2017, 08:51 AM
Gimp to edit photos and also draw

Artificial Intelligence
January 22nd, 2017, 04:30 PM
Mostly Steam, but I use gimp and inkscape for fun. I usually use the default applications on elementary OS except the browser. I use chrome for that job.

Oh the terminal I like to use as well :D

Bucky Ball
January 22nd, 2017, 05:42 PM
Re. screenwriting; how's about this (http://www.trelby.org/) and these (https://www.gadgetdaily.xyz/top-4-linux-screenwriting-software/)? The latter list is a couple of years old so you may have to dig around and see what's still alive and useful.

January 22nd, 2017, 07:20 PM
Gimp is like photoshop only free and not so easy-to-use. If you want to edit an existing photo or other image this is the thing.
Inkscape is a nice vector drawing app I use any time I need to share an idea in drawing form. Not a cad program, more like adobe illustrator if you ever saw that.

Programming is a really big topic.
Best command-line programming editor: vim or emacs.

Best gui programming editor: sublime text 3. Not free, but demo mode only pops up a dialog every so often. License is one license per human, unlimited computers. Mac, windows, linux. You get a really nice basic editor with no extras and install plugins for extra language support or features. There are tons of plugins.

Best IDE: intellij. Not free, not cheap. Very worth it if you program professionally. Next is some variant of eclipse, get the variant already set up for whatever langages you're interested in.

January 22nd, 2017, 07:29 PM
Documentation: markdown or some variant of it. This is a wiki-style markup language, not an app. Easy to learn, low-tech and keeps your styles consistent throughout the document. Use sublime-text-3 with markdown features added. Also look at multimarkdown, github-flavored markdown and search for other variants.

I've never done markdown except with sublime and vim. I'm sure other programming editors do nicely too.

That's another thing: find a programming editor that really fits you well and learn every feature. Even if you never get serious about programming they come in really handy

January 25th, 2017, 09:08 AM
VLC media player saves a lot of headaches for video playback.
PhotoFiltre runs well if you get into the Wine stuff.
Peace and good luck.

January 25th, 2017, 09:39 AM
Zim-wiki for note-taking. I'd be lost without it.

January 26th, 2017, 09:04 AM
VLC, a quick and easy media player.
Kodi, for those that want a richer media experience.
Pinta, a simple graphics program.
Handbrake, for ripping DVDs or encoding videos.
Asunder, a great CD ripper.
Guake, an on demand terminal emulator, just press F12 and it's there.
Simple Scan, exactly what the name suggests.

January 27th, 2017, 03:55 PM
I have three different video players,just in case...I also use the Gimp with my Bamboo tablet, and Calibre for reading.

February 14th, 2017, 09:54 AM
Type ‘restricted’ and the list of available software with that name will show up. Choose the “Ubuntu restricted extras” and click on the install button. This will install all the required multimedia tools you will need for that Scarlet Johansson movie or that Coldplay song.

February 24th, 2017, 12:37 PM
Definitely f.lux for dimming the screen to the appropriate level at night. I do most of my work on the computer in the evenings and at night and once you start using it you cannot go back.

Of course there is Redshift, but I had mixed success with that, as I imagine other ATI users might. Here was the thread for getting f.lux to easily work


As for other vital installations, for me it's


At the moment I use Rhythmbox for mp3 playback because I haven't found anything simpler. Amorok looks too bloated to me.