Guide to Installing and Finding Ubuntu Applications
The best thing and the worst thing about moving to a brand new operating system is all of the new applications that are immediately available to you. With Ubuntu, an open-source GNU/Linux based operating system, this is compounded even more by the astounding number of options along with the close-to automated package management system and strong community support.
Therefore, it’s helpful to have a basic guide to guide new and returning users through the varied software options by highlighted specific popular packages and providing installation directions, along with information about where users can look for more options and support. By showing the new Ubuntu user the best of the software repository from the start, we can ensure retention and thereby further undercut the market share of the 8,000 pound gorillas in the OS market.
Seeing all of the software available for Ubuntu through the official repositories is an easy and enjoyable experience. In fact, you don’t even need to open an internet browser. You can see the repositories (or repo’s) in two different ways:
1. Click on the Add/Remove Programs option in the Applications menu. This will most of the more popular items, along with each package’s estimated popularity. The option to install is provided right through the dialog screen.
2. Use the Synaptic Package Manager, which is available through selecting System–>Administration–>Synaptic Package Manager. A search function is included, making this process even easier. Also, you can choose to update all of your current packages through the click of the button. More often than not, no restart or reboot is required.
Without further ado, here are some common applications for Ubuntu, and directions on how to install them.
qBitTorrent is an application used to connect to the BitTorrent file sharing network, which acts as an uncentralized way to distribute and download large files without much hassle. Many sites on the internet provide these torrent files, and it is the responsibility of the user to make sure they are not violating the copyright laws of their respective nation by using them.
qBitTorrent is not available in the official repositories, so you’ll have to use the Terminal to install it. You can access the Terminal through Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. As soon as it opens, enter the following commands (a root password may be required).
gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.lst
Copy the following lines to the end of the file:
deb http://hydr0g3n.free.fr/qbittorrent/feisty/ ./
deb-src http://hydr0g3n.free.fr/qbittorrent/feisty/ ./
Close the window, and copy and paste the following command:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install qbittorrent
Check your e-mail in style with this client. Evolution comes pre-installed with Ubuntu, and you can open it from the Applications menu. This program is ideal for calendaring, keeping track of contacts, and checking e-mail. If it isn’t installed for some reason, you can install it with the Synaptic Package Manager.
Pan is a way to connect to UseNet. It’s one of the few for Ubuntu that has a graphical display.
Type this in to install it:
sudo apt-get install pan
Pan rivals the XNews program for Windows, and it’s completely open-source.
Firefox is a really quick web browser developed by Mozilla. Yep, it definitely knocks the socks off of Internet Explorer, and it’s way more compatible with most websites than Safari. Based on the latest statistics, more people than ever before are moving over to Firefox from other browsers, and almost everything on the internet is compatible with it. Though it comes pre-installed with Ubuntu, I definitely think it’s worth a mention. If it’s not preinstalled, type this in the command line:
sudo apt-get install firefox
Multi-protocol Instant Messaging, baby! Includes support for AIM, Yahoo!, GMail, and MSN. I know, I know, it’s amazing. And trust me, it is EASY to install!
Here’s the directions: Insert this stuff into your command line.
sudo dpkg -i pidgin_2.0.0beta7devel.vicox-1_i386.deb
I hope this was a useful start. For more application ideas, you can try the official documentation or the forums. Good luck, and enjoy your new experience with Ubuntu!
Mary Riley is a maverick web designer and aspiring law student. She maintains the Daily Ubuntu, a guide for new Ubuntu applications on a daily basis. You can follow Mary Riley’s stories and articles through her Twitter feed.