10 essential Ubuntu apps

There’s a host of excellent software available for Ubuntu – we pick the top 10 to help you get started watching video, following Twitter, editing photos and more.

10 essential Ubuntu apps


One of the biggest omissions from Ubuntu 10.10 is a built-in alternative to Windows Media Center. Step forward Boxee, the free software package that turns your PC into an internet TV set-top box.

With access to the entire Channel 4 television archive, as well as apps for the BBC iPlayer, YouTube and others, Boxee users are never short of things to watch. The software also streams video, music and photos from other PCs in the home.


Ubuntu’s Me Menu delivers updates from your Twitter and Facebook accounts on the desktop, but we find it a little clunky. We much prefer the TweetDeck client, which can be used to update both Twitter and Facebook feeds simultaneously, and is an excellent means of monitoring the latest updates from your social networks.

You’ll need to install the Adobe AIR software first, though.


It’s officially only in beta at the time of publication, and it doesn’t appear in the Ubuntu Software Centre, but Picasa 3 is the best photo editing/organising app we’ve found for Linux to date.

Its intuitive, non-destructive editing tools are married with handy features, such as one-click uploads to the online Google Albums and impressive-looking collages.


It isn’t only Windows users who are tempted by the charms of Ubuntu: Mac owners might also fancy a change. Those not wanting to leave all of Apple’s UI behind should install Docky, a tribute to the Dock found at the foot of Mac OS X.

Favourite apps can be pinned to the Dock, and there’s a variety of different Dock style to choose from, with attractive transparency and 3D effects for PCs with the graphical grunt.


If you have essential files you want to share with another Windows PC or Mac, there’s no easier way to do it than with Dropbox.

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