It took me a while but I have finally installed dual-boot Vista with the latest Ubuntu on my home PC.

I am not really a stranger to unix, and have been using it for at least 7 years as a user and C/C++ developer, yet now entering a new era of being sort-of an administrator, developer, and most importantly a daily user of the OS. Hence I am looking to configure it with the best/useful programs, best/useful shortcuts, etc. Here is what I am looking for, but PLEASE suggest beyond this list, as I am pretty sure I'm missing a fair amount (consider myself a neophyte; suggestions will also be useful to others). Provide links, examples, instructions, etc.

  • anti virus programs, security
  • networking tools
  • browsing (firefox?) chat (gaim irc?)
  • developments tools (debuggers, compilers) -- I primary use C/C++
  • moving files between Windows Vista and Ubuntu
  • what kind of shell should I use, how to best configure it (tcsh, bash?)
  • editors. I primary use gvim 7.2
  • desktop, shortcut, zip tools,
  • Other things I forgot to mention.

Please feel free to edit this post.



ubuntuguide.org has detailed instructions to set up Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty for all kinds of different use cases.

I remember having used this guide to set up Ubuntu 8.04, so I think they will always refer to the latest official version.


I hate to give such a vague answer but my answer is 'get what you need'. Ubuntu comes with a fairly good basic set of tools for the average desktop user- AV isn't needed unless you run a gateway server, and there's a built in firewall (and graphical tools such as firestarter for configuring it it)

Ubuntu comes with firefox, pidgin and xchat (the KDE version comes with kopete konquerer and konversation). It also comes with evolution for mail, but personally i generally dump this. I also think that you'd want to play around with various IDEs till you find one you like, and get familiar with the command line - i use yakuake(for kde in theory, but kde apps and gnome apps do play nice) as a drop down console, though tilde is the equivilent gnome app.

choice means, its always good to try things, until you find what you like :)


Without going into details on each, here are the programs I install on every Linux system I put together. Many are cross-platform, but they are absolutely required for my home Linux systems (PC or laptop):

  • ClamAV for anti-virus
  • IpTables for firewalling
  • Firefox for browsing (or Opera
  • Thunderbird for e-mail
  • VirtualBox for running Virtual Machines
  • Songbird for syncing an iPod (not great, but works)
  • Amarok is another decent player if you don't mind installing KDE
  • Conky for desktop monitoring of your system (e.g. processes, CPU temps, system load, etc.)
  • Eclipse for a fantastic IDE (you can use a number of different flavors, including Eclipse CDT for C/C++, Apatana for web-based development, PyDev for Python, the list goes on...)
  • Nitrogen for a lightweight background browser
  • Subversion for source control
  • Zim is a neat wiki-based desktop text-editor (great for taking notes)
  • FreeMind is a great mind-mapping tool
  • Openbox for an alternative window manager (rather than Gnome or KDE) -- works great with Conky and tint2

The list definitely goes on, and I apologize for not providing more information regarding each (configuration and whatnot). The links, however, should get you started.

  • IPTables is included in the IPBlock package in your repository. – Tom A Sep 8 '09 at 5:31
  • ahh, good catch :) – bedwyr Sep 8 '09 at 22:45

On personal PC I have installed:

  • Firefox (for browsing)
  • OpenOffice (for viewing and editing documents)
  • Wine (for starting Windows programs)
  • uTorrent (under Wine)
  • Steam for games (under Wine)
  • smplayer for viewing video (it support hardware acceleration)
  • Skype for communication
  • gedit & build-essentials for development

As for viruses, I have WiFi router with Debian on it with tuned iptables.

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