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Tell DLS: What are your top 10 must-have apps? - Linux!


It's time for the third installment of our 'Tell DLS' feature and today i'm sharing my top 10 must-have apps for Linux with you, our lovely readers.

I confess to not really being a Linux expert, generally using OS X for the majority of my working day and using Windows and Linux only when the need arises. With that said, I think I have some great applications in my list!

Of course, being a 'Tell DLS' feature, we want this to be all about sharing your experience too - so please post your chosen top 10 in the comments.

Read on after the jump for my top 10 (how many can you identify from the icons above?).


What: apt
Where from: Debian (built in to your Debian distribution)
Why: Suggested as an inclusion by another member of the DLS team, there's no questioning the usefulness of the 'Advanced Packaging Tool' and particularly the great 'apt-get' command. Whether i'm apt-get'ing a new package or doing an apt-get update / upgrade, this is one tool that makes life with Linux a whole lot easier. It's also one of those little things that keeps me hooked into Debian based distributions (generally Ubuntu!)

What: Audacity
Where from: Audacity
Why: Audacity is a great cross platform sound editing and recording tool. I use it for cutting up sounds for my podcast and i've even used it for recording podcasts in the past. Audacity can edit a huge range of file formats and makes it incredibly easy to cut / copy / splice your sounds. It's class leading software of this type without a doubt.

What: Firefox
Where from: Mozilla
Why: I can pretty much cut and paste what I wrote in my OS X piece here! 'Since I use different operating systems a fair bit (OS X, Windows and Linux), I find that Firefox is the browser for me. I can use almost all my plugins across platforms, I can sync up my bookmarks between machines and I've become so familiar with it I have no real desire / need to change!'. This is the application that means I can really make Linux useful for me, as I work so much on the web. Superb.

What: gParted
Where from: Sourceforge
Why:
gParted - the Gnome Partition Editor - has saved me on many many occasions! It provides graphical yet powerful partition editing and is particularly useful as it is pre-installed on the Ubuntu Live CD. There have been many times when I've had some sort of partitioning related disaster that only booting the gParted equipped Live CD could save. I also frequently use it for repartitioning memory cards and it's never let me down.

What: OpenOffice
Where from: OpenOffice.org
Why: We all need to open / edit / create documents / spreadsheets etc. now and again and on Linux, OpenOffice gets my vote as the best way to do so. OpenOffice is mature, stable, well featured and, of course, free! An honorary mention to AbiWord here too as an excellent alternative word processor.

What: Pidgin
Where from: Pidgin
Why:
Whichever Operating System i'm on, I need a good IM solution that works with multiple services, and on Linux, it's Pidgin. Now with added XMPP Voice and Video support, Pidgin works great and has a useful plugin architecture with good third party support. It's interesting to note that Pidgin is no longer the default IM application in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala (it is replaced by Empathy) but until i've given that a spin, Pidgin stays!

What: Songbird
Where from: getSongbird
Why:
Songbird is a great music player based on a Mozilla core. As with many of my favourite applications, it includes a very well supported plugin architecture. With a music store, last.fm scrobbling, shoutcast support, gapless playback, support for lots of different audio formats and extensive library management, Songbird narrowly wins out for me over the popular amaroK.

What: The GIMP
Where from: GIMP
Why: GIMP, the 'GNU Image Manipulation Program' is another app, together with Firefox, that I just could not live with Linux without. The best way to describe it is as a 'Photoshop rival', but while it's exceptionally powerful it is also open source and free. All the key features for power users are in there and yet it remains accessible for beginners too.

What: VirtualBox
Where from: Sun Microsystems
Why:
VirtualBox is a Virtual Machine application in the same vein as VMware or Parallels. It allows you to run other Operating Systems from within your Linux setup, including Windows, should you desire! VirtualBox is very stable and very performant with some unique features - such as the ability to host 64 bit guests on 32 bit hosts.

What: VLC
Where from: Videolan
Why:
VLC is probably the only video player you'll ever need on Linux, such is it's breadth of codec support. Downloaded 47 million times at the time of writing, VLC is capable of reading most audio and video formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, DivX, MPEG-1, mp3, ogg, aac ...) as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

So there's my list!

It's interesting to note that, unlike in my OS X list, everything in this list is free AND open source! I guess that really embraces what Linux symbolises for a lot of people.

Tags: linux, opensource, Tell DLS, tell-dls, TellDls

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