There are 3 reasons for doing it this way:
- Distro updates sometimes work, sometimes fail and at other times they “sort of” work leaving you with a system that is not as snappy as it should be or has some other trouble which was not there before the upgrade.
- You just need to backup the home folder and you are good to go, even that is not required if you have the home folder on a separate partition.
- Installation takes about 20-30 minutes, all of which you can spend on Facebook/Twitter if you are installing using the Live CD.
This time around Ubuntu 10.04 is touting some great UI and design changes. Moreover, this being an LTS release, there are all the more reasons to go with the fresh install route. So if you decide to do so, come the 29th, here are some of the Ubuntu applications that you might want to install on a fresh Lucid Lynx install.
Ubuntu Restricted Extras
While not strictly an application in the true sense, Ubuntu Restricted Extras takes care of a number of software and codecs that other Ubuntu applications may require and that cannot be shipped with Ubuntu for legal reasons. All you have to do is fire up a terminal and issue the following command
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
This will install Java, Flash, some proprietary fonts and a bunch of codecs, enabling you to view most video files and play your favorite audio formats and a lot more essential software that you may not use directly but is important all the same.
Yes, Ubuntu ships with Firefox and to some Firefox is good enough, but Google Chrome is definitely the faster of the two and a good choice for an alternate browser if not the primary browser. It is not uncommon to have more than one browser on a computer.
Installing Google Chrome is easy, head on over to http://www.google.gr/chrome, click on the big Get Chrome button, choose the 32-bit or the 64-bit deb package depending upon your computer, when the download completes double click to install Chrome. Google quietly adds its repositories to software sources so that you can get automatic updates.
Ubuntu no longer installs GIMP out of the box. They say the GIMP is aimed at intermediate to advanced users, and not everyone’s cup of tea. While that makes sense, I think it is too useful a software to not have on your computer.
Installation of this Ubuntu application is easy – you can use the new Ubuntu Software Center (Applications > Ubuntu Software Center), search for The GIMP and click install or a quick sudo apt-get install gimp would suffice as well.
If using the Ubuntu Software Center you can also install additional GIMP plugins and brushes while you are at it.
One of the best media players out there. Not only does it play a variety of file formats you can also do a lot more with it. The this Ubuntu application is available via Ubuntu Software Center.
Ubuntu 10.04 includes what is called the MeMenu. While it does an excellent job of integrating chat, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, it is nice to keep tabs with your Gmail account(s) as well.
Sure you can configure evolution to sync with your Gmail account, however if all you need is a notification when a new mail arrives you can try Checkgmail. It supports multiple accounts and Google Apps accounts as well as labels within your Gmail. Available via Ubuntu Software Center or a simplesudo apt-get install checkgmail.
Gnome Do / Launchy
Gnome-do and Launchy are Ubuntu application launchers that can help you start applications without having to find your way around the menus. You hit a hot key, type in the first few characters of the name, hit enter and the application is there. In addition both of these can do additional work like calculations, Twitter updates etc via plugins.
Beagle gives you desktop search on Ubuntu. It indexes your files and allows you to search within file contents as well. Beagle is also available in the Ubuntu Software Center. Once installed, give it some time to build up the index, then you can search.
Cheese is a software for your webcam. It allows you to use your webcam to record videos and take photos. What makes it interesting are the different types of effects that you can play with while clicking photos. It gives you live previews of the photo with the effect applied. Very cool.
If you like a little eye candy you should get one of the many docks available for Ubuntu. Docky, which was originally available as a plugin for Gnome-do is our favorite and most feature rich. Other alternatives include AWN dock and Cairo dock.
All of these – Docky, Cairo and AWN are available via the Ubuntu Software Center.
If you have a relatively new computer you can take advantage of the eye-candy Compiz offers. While some of the effects are enabled by default and you can choose to use “extra” effects via System > Preferences > Appearance, you get real control using Compiz Config Settings manager. It is available via the Ubuntu Software Center (search for “ccsm”) or you can do a quick sudo apt-get install ccsm. Once installed you can tweak Compiz to your liking getting all the effects like you want.
There are so many other Ubuntu applications that we can write about. We have tried to include the apps most users would like to have on their computers. You can definitely find tons of software for any niche you are interested in. I for one like to install VIM as soon as I can, while Eclipse, Inkscape, Conduit, Dropbox are some of the other favorite ones. Ubuntu tweak is also a great software that lets you tweak various aspects of Ubuntu.