Linux apps I install by default

I’ll be setting up a new laptop tomorrow, so I’m spending this evening getting this one (Lenovo Thinkpad X220) ready to be a family machine. I’m going to wipe it and install Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS on it as, in retrospect, I think it’s a better long-term prospect than the (otherwise excellent) Elementary OS.

To remind myself, and for the benefit of anyone who’s likely to make the switch to Linux soon, here’s the apps I’ll be install straight away on my new machine. I’ve added a little explainer as to what each is and why I’ll be installing it. They’re not all free and open source, but I’d like one day to have an entire work flow that does consist of such tools.


Albert — a fast, lightweight, quick launcher. Basically allows me to use the muscle memory I have for searching via Cmd-Space in macOS.

Atom — a hackable text editor. The good people behind GitHub make this, and I find it very useful when writing any HTML and CSS.

Audacity — free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. I use this t edit the TIDE podcast and any audiobooks I produce.

Calibre — an ebook management app and converter. Allows you to take control of your digital reading (and t strip DRM from Kindle ebooks using the right add-on)

Clementine — a modern music player and library organiser. Also integrates with online music sources and can be controlled via Android smartphones.

Firefox — web browser from Mozilla. I just feel safer and that my browsing is more private using this over, well, anything else really.

f.lux — shifts the colour temperature of my laptop screen towards the red end of the spectrum during the  hours of twilight and darkness. I’m actually pretty photophobic, so this is essential for me.

GIMP — free and open source image editor. I use this any time I’m going beyond simple cropping resizing f images.

LibreOffice — a free and open source office suite. I use this when I have to (which is not very often)

nvPY — note-taking application similar to Notational Velocity, but for Linux. Syncs with Simplenote.

ownCloud — access & share your files, calendars, contacts, mail & more from any device, on your terms. I use this to sync files, instead of something like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Skype — video conferencing tool. I mostly use appear.in, but when it gets flakey, or people would prefer using something they’re familiar with, Skype pretty much always just works. I don’t like using Microsoft products, though.

Skype Call Recorder — does what it says on the tin. We use this to record the TIDE podcast.

Thunderbird — email app. Sometimes you need an actual desktop mail application, and Thunderbird is solid, dependable, and has lots of great add-ons.

Transmission — bittorrent client. Simple, straightforward way to download large files.


If you’ve got Linux apps you always install by default, I’d love to hear about them! Add details in the comments below.