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I use Ubuntu but this is really a distro-agnostic question.

What is the must have software that you install once you've done a fresh linux install?

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closed as not constructive by 8088, Sathya Nov 24 '11 at 13:58

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8 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Here is what I install on every fresh ubuntu system. The names are ubuntu package names and they are ordered depending on what package repository they reside in.

At the end there is an extra section for software I use regularly and which had no ubuntu package at the time I compiled the list (01-01-2008). Another extra section has some programs and libraries I use often but which I don't want to install per default for various reasons.

Main Repository


  • firefox
  • synaptic


  • imagemagick
  • gimp
  • inkscape
  • graphviz
  • fontforge
  • fontforge-doc


  • vim-common
  • vim-gui-common
  • vim-doc
  • vim-gnome


  • tetex-extra
  • latex-ucs


  • tidy
  • php5
  • php5-cli
  • konqueror
  • elinks
  • lynx


  • build-essential
  • doxygen
  • perl
  • python
  • subversion
  • subversion-tools
  • subversion
  • subversion-toolslftp
  • ant
  • ant-doc
  • junit
  • dh-make
  • fakeroot

Universe Repository


  • povray
  • cream
  • clamav
  • gnuplot
  • gftp
  • sqlite
  • sox
  • hunspell
  • potrace
  • pstoedit
  • audacity
  • csound
  • subversion-helper-scripts
  • rapidsvn
  • r-base
  • octave
  • timer-applet


  • bluefish
  • linkchecker


  • xalan
  • libxml2
  • xmlstarlet


  • tomcat5
  • trang
  • eclipse

Font Stuff

  • gfontview
  • dfontmgr
  • psfontmgr
  • freetype1-tools
  • freetype2-demos
  • fonttools
  • lcdf-typetools
  • libotf-bin t1utils
  • lmodern
  • ttf-mph-2b-damase

Multiverse Repository

  • acroread
  • acroread-escript
  • sun-java5-jre
  • sun-java5-plugin
  • sun-java5-jdk
  • sun-java5-jre
  • checkstyle
  • libsaxon-java
  • libsaxon-java-doc

Not available as ubuntu package

  • fop
  • jing
  • batik
  • xerces
  • pdftool
  • pdfcat
  • megapov
  • swftools
  • googleearth


  • metapost
  • metatype1
  • ledcontrol
  • atlas
  • lapack
  • blas
  • acroread-plugins
  • mozilla-acroread
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very good list! –  codeLes Jul 24 '09 at 21:16
By any chance, do you know how to suppress open source jdks. After loading up last time I had like 3 of them, and had to clean them to get sun-java. I guess it's un-FOSS but I just want a single jdk that works well. –  user2751 Jul 24 '09 at 22:13
@1alstew1: You can apt-get remove them but if any packages depend on them you are out of luck. What I do is sudo update-alternatives −−config java and select my prefered jdk. –  Ludwig Weinzierl Jul 25 '09 at 14:26
you get 'accepted' because you are one serious list keeper! –  codeLes Jul 29 '09 at 14:50
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For me I'm still a get it as I realize I need it kinda guy, but here are a few things that I have to get:

  • vlc
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • Adobe Flash player (or compatible plugin)
  • Java JDK
  • gparted
  • ntfsprogs (since I dual boot)
  • eclipse/netbeans
  • compiz (love those shiny effects!)
  • gnome-do
  • windows fonts
  • ...
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Windows fonts. Really? I have contemplated it, but somehow I seem to want to stick to "The Linux Experience" –  Lakshman Prasad Jul 30 '09 at 8:14
some web pages unfortunately work better when those fonts are present. –  codeLes Jul 30 '09 at 13:44
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I have this on pretty much any system I load, you never know when you've got a little time to kill. On Windows boxes I'll just download it when I feel like it, but with linux it's just another apt-get.

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  • less
  • vim
  • screen
  • build-essential
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I haven't used Linux in a long time, but I remember always going for Amarok right away.

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VLC and various plugins for decoding DVDs and MP3s

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I usually use a tiling WM such as awesome, dwm and xmonad so I tend to prefer CLI apps.

Not a complete list but ...

vim, mc, htop, build-essential, flash, firefox, vlc, mplayer, mocp, screen, weechat, rtorrent, elinks, lynx

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the musthave addons for firefox (adblock plus, noscript, downloadstatusbar etc)

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