Best apps to install on Xubuntu / Ubuntu / Linux

tl;dr: Type sudo apt-get install followed by the name of one of these apps to install it: gedit, rar, libreoffice-common, vlc browser-plugin-vlc, mplayer, audacity, inkscape, youtube-dl, gparted, id3v2, lame, regexxer, gnome-do, udisks, terminator, arora

For example, to install Inkscape type:

$ sudo apt-get install inkscape

Before you go crazy installing apps

In case you missed my last blog post, the first thing you need to do is make sure your system is up-to-date with the online repositories by running the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

Once you’ve done that, you are good to go and can start installing apps. Below is a list of the best apps to install on Xubuntu/Ubuntu/Linux. They are all free. Big hugs to open-source engineers!

For most of the apps listed below I explain how to install them via the terminal. A shortcut to open the terminal is ctrl-alt-t. Once it’s open type the command that you see in the grey box. Lets get started.


gedit is the open-source GNOME text editor.  It includes tools for editing source code and structured text such as markup languages.

$ sudo apt-get install gedit



Rar is like a guy slut. It unzips everything it can get its hands on. For example, it can decompress CAB, GZIP, ACE and other archive formats.

$ sudo apt-get install rar



LibreOffice is an open source office suite forked from, which I actually like better. But the developers dised it. So LibreOffice it is. The LibreOffice suite includes programs for word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams, drawings and databases. It’s the free version of Microsoft Office and even opens Microsoft generated files.

$ sudo apt-get install libreoffice-common



VLC is an open-source (freeee) cross-platform multimedia player and framework which can also stream audio and video in a number of formats.  VLC offers support for advanced subtitles, full SSA compatibility, multi-track audio and playback speed control.  It rocks!

$ sudo apt-get install vlc browser-plugin-vlc



Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use it to record live audio, record computer playback, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files, cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together and change numerous effects including speed or pitch of a recording.

$ sudo apt-get install audacity



Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor that can be used to create and edit vector graphics including illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos and complex paintings.  It’s the open-source equivalent to Adobe Illustrator.

$ sudo apt-get install inkscape



YouTube is… Shit, if you don’t know what YouTube is you need to get out from under that rock.

$ sudo apt-get install youtube-dl



gParted is a free partition editor for graphically managing your disk partitions. With GParted you can resize, copy and move partitions without data loss.

$ sudo apt-get install gparted



ID3v2 is a tagging format for MP3 files.

$ sudo apt-get install id3v2



LAME is a high quality MPEG Audio Layer III (MP3) encoder licensed under the LGPL. That sounds really complicated, right?  Simply, it is considered the best MP3 encoder at mid-high bitrates and at VBR. I feel so geeky even copying and pasting this paragraph. On a more serious note, it is an encoder for MP3s. It turns .wav files into .MP3. .wav is always the middle man.

$ sudo apt-get install lame



MPlayer is an open-source media player. I like this explanation on as to how it is different from VLC:
“I use both. Mplayer on my Mythbox since Mplayer can use CoreAVC which allows for multi-core video decoding, great for 1080p. I use VLC to play videos on my desktop. Mplayer seems to be like a swiss army knife, as in can do almost anything if you know how, and VLC is a normal knife, it is simple to use, but doesn’t come with a toothpick.”

$ sudo apt-get install mplayer



Straight from, regexxer is “a nifty GUI search/replace tool featuring Perl-style regular expressions. If you need project-wide substitution and you’re tired of hacking sed command lines together, then you should definitely give it a try.” Do what they say, mate.

$ sudo apt-get install regexxer



GNOME Do allows you to quickly search for many items present on your desktop or the web, and perform useful actions on those items. Wikipedia says “like other application launchers, it allows searching for applications and files, but it also allows specifying actions to perform on search results. GNOME Do allows for quick finding of miscellaneous artifacts of GNOME environment (applications, Evolution and Pidgin contacts, Firefox bookmarks, Rhythmbox artists and albums, and so on) and execute the basic actions on them (launch, open, email, chat, play, etc.).” So that’s it in a nutshell.

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-do



udisks is an abstraction for enumerating block devices and performing operations on them, such as creating file systems or mounting.

$ sudo apt-get install udisks



Terminator is a GPL terminal emulator. It’s an efficient way of filling a large area of screen space with terminals. Basically, you can have multiple terminals in one window and use key bindings to switch between them. This is one my smart computer friend, Super K, says to install.

$ sudo apt-get install terminator


Arora (optional)

Arora is a cross platform web browser built using Qt and WebKit. It is what my school runs their knowledge base in.

$ sudo apt-get install arora


zsh (optional)

The Z shell (zsh), according to Wikipedia is “a Unix shell that can be used as an interactive login shell and as a powerful command interpreter for shell scripting. Zsh can be thought of as an extended Bourne shell with a large number of improvements, including some features of bash, ksh and tcsh.” My friend Super K says “ditch bash and go to zsh!”. I do what he says. If you are curious how it works, check out this YouTube clip. I say it’s optional because it changes the terminal a bit.

$ sudo apt-get install zsh
$ sudo apt-get install git-core

According to this article on Github, you need to take further steps to get zsh to work on Ubuntu.

The article recommends you do this to install zsh:

wget -O – | zsh

Change your shell to zsh:

chsh -s `which zsh`

And then restart:

sudo shutdown -r 0

Note that when I tried this, it gave me an error. I ignored the error and it worked.


fasd (optional)

If you use your shell to navigate and launch applications, fasd can help you do it more efficiently. With fasd, you can open files regardless of which directory you are in. Just with a few key strings, fasd can find a “recent” file or directory and open it with command you specify.

Here are two references to check out:


Google Chrome

Installing Google Chrome is a little bit different. First you need to download the .deb file on Google’s site and then install it from Ubuntu’s Software Center. Here’s how.

1. Go to
2. Click Download Chrome
3. Choose either 32 bit .deb (for 32bit Ubuntu) or 64 bit .deb (for 64bit Ubuntu)
4. Click Accept and Install
5. Download .deb file to a folder (Downloads is the default folder)
6. Open up your Downloads folder
7. Double-click the .deb file you just downloaded
8. This will launch Ubuntu Software Center. Click Install

Apps to download from the Ubuntu Software Center

There are some apps that are easier to install via Ubuntu’s Software Center. For example, Dropbox, FileZilla and Stellarium are the few that I prefer to install using the instructions below.

1. Click on the Xubuntu icon on the top left of your monitor
2. Choose Ubuntu Software Center.
3. Search for the app.
4. Click on the app’s image.
5. Click Install.


And there you have it. The most useful apps to run in Xubuntu/Ubuntu/Linux!

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