I want to run programs from my ubuntu machine through Tor, without TAILS. i was wondering if this is possible?
tsocks if you are looking for a way to "torify" any application. You need to edit
/etc/tsocks.conf to point to your instance of Tor, and then you can run any command through Tor in such fashion:
tsocks nslookup yahoo.com
On Windows a neat program that is this equivalent is ProxyCap but it isn't free.
As far as browsing Web pages you certainly want to chain it through Polipo or Privoxy to strip your outgoing HTTP requests of potentially identifying information before Tor gets it.
You can can run Tor through a Polipo proxy, and then use that proxy with your application. I do this on a Debian machine and it works fine with cURL.