Which applications to install and which settings to change ?
First of all, this is a guide for people, who want to try a Linux distribution for the first time because heard about it before and/or wondering how it is? Or for people who used Linux long time ago and aren't up to date with latest changes. This is not a guide for completely computer newbies... You must be an experienced Windows/computer user at least. If you are a computer newbie and/or not familiar with Linux at basic level, there is a great detailed guide prepared by Ubuntu team. Just go to Ubuntu Manual web site and download it as a PDF file.
You may be regularly using Windows in your home or office place. I'm a Windows lover, too, and use it regularly for my personal and business needs. But Linux and Ubuntu (a distribution/version of Linux) came a long way compared to 5-10 years ago. Although I prefer not to use Linux for my professional business, I love especially to play around with Ubuntu at home; It is one of the best Linux distributions out there. And, all programs are completely free and that's legal. I like the philosophy of free software and being able to access the source codes of applications, learn, change, improve them as a computer engineer. It is a great time saver if a similar project is written before with source codes available, even you are developing on Windows. So it helps my business, too :)
HOW TO OBTAIN UBUNTU?
So, you want to try Ubuntu? First, go to Ubuntu website and click the download button, on the following page, select "32-bit" and hit the "start download" button. This will start the download of a complete CD as a single ".iso" file. The download will take about 1 hour, depending on your connection speed it can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours. After the download completes, put a blank/empty recordable CD into your DVD drive and burn/record the ".iso" file to your CD. If you don't have a CD/DVD recorder, and using Windows you can use the free CDBurnerXP program for that. Leave the CD in your DVD drive and restart your computer with that CD.
After starting from the CD, if you don't touch any buttons or touch any button and select "Try without changes", the CD will automatically boot into "Live Demo", where NO CHANGES made to your hard disk and files, so that you can try Ubuntu without installing. Go ahead and use "Live Demo", because you will have first hand experience using Ubuntu, will see if the latest version 10.04 works correctly on your computer, whether all your hardware is supported and most importantly decide whether you like it or not. Some of your hardware may not be supported right off from the CD, but can have drivers on Internet. Go to "System --> Administration --> Hardware Drivers" in the upper menu and wait & see whether new drivers are found. If that is the case, install/activate them. Other mostly seen issue is that wireless connections may not be supported (requiring drivers from Internet), but you cannot connect to Internet. It's a paradox :) In that case, use your cable ethernet connection. This will most likely solve the problem.
UBUNTU AS A RECOVERY TOOL
One of the best ways to use Ubuntu “Live Demo” is to use it as a recovery tool. You have a full featured system without installing anything. It can read and write Windows hard disks/partitions, CDs/DVDs, USB drives, even can read Macintosh disks and may be write. One of the most common ways you will use Ubuntu as a recovery tool is when you cannot start your primary operation system or your system is infected heavily by viruses, you can start your computer with Ubuntu CD, access the drives and copy your important files to a USB driver or burn them to CDs/DVDs. So in worst case scenario you can install your operation system (Windows) along with applications again and will not lose your files.
There is also a partition editor (Gnome Partition Editor), which can add/delete/format/resize partitions. Available to install in “Live Mode”. It is a expert tool and you have to know what you're doing with it, because it is very easy delete all the harddisk(s) with a few mouse-clicks and lose all your files. It is relatively a small utility and won't use much space. To install it open a terminal window in “Live Mode” and type:
“sudo apt-get install gparted”
After the install, you can find it in “System → Administration”. Note that if you restart your computer, you will lose this application, because nothing is saved in “Live Mode” as I stated before. You have to install it again.
To find your files in other hard disks/partitions, go to “Places” in the upper menu. They are listed in the middle section of menu with CD, hard disk, USB icons along with their names. If you are remembering the name of the primary partition (for example, where your Windows is installed), you can easily find it here. If you don't know the name, well then you have to try one by one :)
With Linux and Ubuntu it is also possible to recover deleted hard disks and files, even recover files from physically damaged hard disks, but this is very advanced topic and should be done by experts. You really need to know what you are doing. Explaining these methods is beyond the scope and aims of this guide. If you're interested in that there is a detailed document here.
So, you used it and liked Ubuntu and want to install it. You can ask, if I can use it as a "Live Demo", why do I need to install it?
First, when running as "Live Demo" NO CHANGES made to your hard disk and files. NOTHING is saved. So, if you changed any settings, installed drivers and/or applications, these will be NOT available to you, when you restart your computer and use "Live Demo" again. All will be lost.
Second, you're limited by your computer memory, which is used like a hard disk. Your computer memory has mostly 2-4 GB, but your hard disk size can change from 80 GB to 1536 GB. You can't install as many application/programs as you like when using "Live Demo". You will run out of memory and Ubuntu will not have any other place to use. Beside that, you will lose your installed applications, changed settings by next restart, as I stated before.
Third, speed. Running applications from CD is much slower than running them from a hard disk. So, if you want to properly use it, you have to install it :)
Starting installation is simple. Just click on the "Install" icon on the Ubuntu desktop. Choose your language, location, keyboard, if you like to transfer settings and files from an already installed operation system (like Windows), where to install Ubuntu files, answer simple questions like your name, computer name, account name, account password (This is important, do NOT forget/lose this password. If you forget your password anyway, see Troubleshooting section below).
And this is VERY IMPORTANT. DO NOT SELECT "erase and use entire hard disk" when asked about where to install Ubuntu. Choose, "side-by-side installation" or "use largest available" if you are not experienced and not sure what you are selecting/doing. If you choose, "erase and use entire hard disk" you will LOOSE ALL YOUR FILES on this disk.
Ubuntu can happily install to a USB external hard disk and/or a USB Flash Drive. If you choose to install a USB Flash Drive, its size must be at least 8 GB. With 8 GB you will not be able install big games and store big files on your Ubuntu partition, only just run Ubuntu. If you choose to install to a USB external hard disk or internal hard disk, select a partition with at least 24+ GB. This will be sufficient for long term normal usage. For example, if you install all the applications and games in this guide, you will be using 12 GB of hard disk space in total. If you download a few DVDs (4 GB each) or 10-12 CDs (6-7 GB), you will end up using 18-20 GB in total. BUT do not forget you can read/write other partitions and hard disks when running Ubuntu. You don't have to store all your files on a Ubuntu partition. With that in mind, considering your usage scenarios, go and figure out how much space will you need for Ubuntu.
Please, note that although using a USB Flash Drive is much faster than a CD, it is still slower than a hard disk. Using an external USB device has its advantages. You can easily carry it around, plug-in into other computers and boot from it and use your own operation system along with your personal files almost everywhere. If you choose this usage scenario, I suggest you to NOT install property/restricted graphic drivers, BUT you can install other proprietary/restricted drivers (for example, wireless connection). Instead use generic graphic/video drivers and when prompted about the availability of this drivers, just ignore them. The reason behind this is you will most likely NOT find same graphic hardware, which your computer has, on any other computer. It will be most likely different and will need a different driver. When NOT using generic graphic drivers, you will not see anything most likely on the screen, or if you are lucky, you will see "reconfigure/reinstall graphic driver" messages and will have the chance to change and correct it. If you install proprietary/restricted drivers, and Ubuntu doesn't present you a login screen, see Troubleshooting section below to correct this.
After the installation, eject your CD from the drive and restart. If have chosen to install to a USB device, you may need select this device from your computer BIOS while restarting. For example, at the bottom of the screen you can read "Press F9 for Boot Options/Devices".
01. FORGETTING YOUR PASSWORD
If you forget your password in Ubuntu, you will need to reset it using “Recovery mode.” To start Recovery mode, shut down your computer, then power it up. As the computer starts up, press Shift for Grub2 bootloader or ESC for Grub1 when you see the white-on-black screen with a countdown (the GRUB prompt). Select the Recovery mode option using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Recovery mode should be the second item in the list. Wait while Ubuntu starts up. You will not see a normal graphical login screen. Instead, you will be presented with a terminal prompt that looks something like:
To reset your password, enter:
Replace “username” above with your username. Ubuntu will prompt you for a new password. Enter your desired password, press enter and then type your password again, pressing enter after you are done. (Ubuntu asks for your password twice to make sure you did not make a mistake while typing). Once you have restored your password, return to the normal system environment by entering:
Login as usual and continue enjoying Ubuntu.
02. NO LOGIN SCREEN IS SHOWN OR GRAPHIC DRIVER NOT FOUND
The simplest and easiest way to correct this issue is to order Ubuntu to reset the graphics configuration. Press and hold Control, Alt and F1. You should now see a black and white screen with a prompt for your username and password. Enter your username, press Enter, and then enter your password. (Characters will not appear on the screen as you enter your password. Don’t worry—this behavior is normal and was implemented for security purposes). Next,enter the following commands. Your password will be needed again.
"sudo cd /etc/X11"
"sudo mv ./xorg.conf ./xorg.conf_old"
"sudo service gdm stop"
"sudo X -configure"
"sudo mv ./xorg.conf.new ./xorg.conf"
"sudo reboot now"
Ubuntu will reboot, and your login screen should be restored.
AFTER INSTALLATION (POST-INSTALL APPLICATION & PROGRAMS)
01. INSTALL PROPRIETARY (RESTRICTED) DRIVERS
Proprietary/restricted drivers do not have generally available source codes to the public, but offer best performance and usability compared to generic drivers. For example, generic graphic drivers don't have 3D hardware acceleration support in them. Proprietary drivers are generally provided by hardware vendors/companies. Mostly graphic cards, wireless connections among other computer parts, need these drivers. After connecting to Internet (if your wireless connection is not working, simply use cable ethernet), go to "System --> Administration --> Hardware Drivers" in the upper menu, wait for driver detection and see if new drivers are found and activate/install all drivers. Unless you installed Ubuntu to USB device and want to use it with other computers by booting from it, you can safely select all drivers, in that case do NOT activate proprietary graphics driver, select all other drivers. If you have installed proprietary graphics driver, and/or having problems with display, see Troubleshooting section above.
02. ADD MORE REPOSITORIES
Repositories don't have an equivalent in Windows. In Linux these are application/program banks on different servers on Internet, where many applications and programs are collected together. You can easily connect and install programs by downloading from these repositories. In iPhone its equivalent is "App Store". We will need later applications available from these repositories, so add them. Go to "Applications --> Accessories --> Terminal" and open a terminal window. We will use this terminal very often. I will write what you have to type in quotes ("), but do NOT write these quotes while typing. Type:
"sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list" and goto end of file and add the following lines:
"deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ lucid free non-free"
After that, find and uncomment (remove # signs from the beginning of lines) the following line:
"deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu lucid partner"
Go to again end of file, and add the following lines:
"## GetDeb and PlayDeb"
"deb http://archive.getdeb.net/ubuntu lucid-getdeb games"
Go to again end of file, and again add the following lines:
"deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian lucid non-free"
Save the file and close the application, you will return to terminal window. Type into terminal and download digital signing keys:
Leave the terminal window open & waiting, go to "System --> Administration --> Synaptic Package Manager" and start the application, after that select "Settings --> Repositories" from application menu, select "Authentication" tab, press "Import Key File" button, select the downloaded files. After the import, you should see new entries added in the middle. Close the "Synaptic Package Manager" and return to terminal. Type:
"sudo apt-get update", after that, type
"sudo apt-get upgrade" and if asked to continue type "Y" (Yes) and wait for upgrade to finish.
03. IMPROVE AND CHANGE VISUAL EFFECTS
03.a. Visual effects and fonts
Go to "System --> Preferences --> Appearance"
Select "Visual Effects" tab and select the option "Extra", for window animations.
Select "Fonts" tab" and adjust font smoothing to your LCD (if you are using one). Even if you're not using a LCD, you can play around with settings. Additionally on this tab you can click "details" and more fine tune the settings to your pleasure.
03.b. Change window buttons from left to right
Until Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid, the window control buttons (minimize, maximize, close) were on the right-upper corner of the windows. Now, they are taken to the left-upper corner. If you don't like this, you can change the location of buttons back to the right-upper corner. For this, download this script. Open a terminal window and type (Note that you may occasionally need change your directory to where you have downloaded file):
"sudo chmod +x ChangeWindowButtons.sh", then run the script.
03.c. Change all the settings of visual effects and add/remove effects
If you install proprietary (restricted) graphic drivers, you get 3D hardware acceleration, which is used for window animations. Ubuntu uses "compiz" for these animations, but unfortunately by default does not come with an application to fine tune and add/remove/change the animations. For that, you can install following programs: Open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra compizconfig-settings-manager"
You can find the application in "System --> Preferences --> Compiz Config Settings Manager"
For a 3D rotating cube effect in compiz (see below), change the settings like that:
In "desktop" section, uncheck "desktop wall", check "desktop cube",
In "effects" section, check "3D windows", then press and hold ctrl-alt at the same time, while left-clicking on your mouse and moving it around.
03.d. Bigger selection of themes to choose from
When you go to "System --> Preferences --> Appearance" on the "Theme" tab you can change the look and feel of windows. If you want to have more alternatives, open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install community-themes gnome-backgrounds gnome-colors gnome-themes gnome-themes-extras gnome-themes-more metacity-themes shiki-colors"
03.e. Extra fonts
For more font alternatives in applications (also for some Microsoft fonts used in Windows), open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install ttf-droid msttcorefonts"
04. SYSTEM SETTINGS AND SYSTEM SUPPORT APPLICATIONS
04.a. Time Synchronization
If you want to have an accurate clock for your computer, you can keep your clock synchronized with Internet time servers. For that, go to "System --> Administration --> Time & Date", click the lock to make changes, select "Keep synchronized with Internet Servers" from "Configuration". The system will ask you to install "NTP", agree to it, then select appropriate 1 or 2 servers from "Time Servers". Click again the lock to prevent changes.
04.b. Clipboard Manager
There is an annoying bug from 2004 in which copy/paste doesn't work if the source application is closed before paste. Parcellite is a clipboard manager that works around that problem along with providing some other useful features. Open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install parcellite"
04.c. System Tweaks: Ubuntu-Tweak
Ubuntu Tweak is an application to make configuration of Ubuntu easier for everyone. It provides many useful desktop and system options that Ubuntu doesn't provide as default.Go to website Ubuntu-Tweak, and download the application from main page by hitting the download button. Save the package, and after download finishes, double-click to install.
04.d. Folder and printer sharing
If you want to be able to share files, folders, and printers with Windows machines, you can set it up graphically by right clicking on any folder and selecting "Properties" and going straight to the "Share" tab. Check "Share this folder" and you should be prompted to install the Windows networks sharing service. After that's installed, you'll need to restart and you can click "Create Share" to be able to view the folder and it's contents from other machines through the network.
04.e. Install extra compressed file support
Ubuntu supports most of the compressed file formats out of the box, but not all of them. If you are working with compressed files, just install them. Open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install unace rar unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils uudeview lha arj cabextract file-roller"
04.f. Install extra support for reading/writing/formatting Macintosh disks
If you are using a Macintosh and/or want to read/write Macintosh formatted CD, DVD, USB drives, transfer files between systems, convert compressed "dmg" images to hfs volumes (so that you can mount and/or burn them to CD/DVD), you can add support for that. Open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install hfsplus hfsprogs hfsutils dmg2img"
04.g. System Backup
You should always have backups. Take my advice and don't learn the lesson the hard way. Back-in-time should do everything you need. Open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install backintime-gnome"
04.h. Partition Manager/Editor
There is also a partition editor (Gnome Partition Editor), which can add/delete/format/resize partitions. As I stated before, it is a expert tool and you have to know what you're doing with it, because it is very easy delete all the harddisk(s) with a few mouse-clicks and lose all your files. To install it open a terminal and type:
“sudo apt-get install gparted”
After the install, you can find it in “System → Administration”.
04.h. Virtual Machine
You may need a virtual machine (a virtual computer running in Linux), into which you can install another operation system, like Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Macintosh OSX. Although running operation systems and applications in virtual machines are not as fast as running them normally, sometimes it is needed. For example, there may be applications like Photoshop, Visual Studio, SQL Server or games (actually I suggest not to run modern games in a virtual machine, because they will be slow, but you can try older games, which will be mostly acceptable to play), which do not have any equivalents in Linux and you need to use them absolutely. If you don't want to dual boot (installing two or more operation systems on the same computer and choosing which one to start at the beginning), you can install a virtual machine application and run another operation system in it without leaving Linux. Even running Ubuntu in a virtual machine running on Ubuntu is possible (see below). VirtualBox is an emulator for this job. Open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.2"
04.i. Adobe AIR application support
If you want to be able to run Adobe AIR applications on Ubuntu, open a terminal and type:
"sudo apt-get install adobeair"
05.a. Enable playback of many video/audio formats, encrypted DVDs and more fonts
To have support for almost any multimedia file, and more fonts, open a terminal and type:
"sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras x264 libdvdcss2"
05.b. Install VLC Media Player
VLC is a powerful media player that can play almost all multimedia files.It can handle DVDs, (S)VCDs, Audio CDs, web streams, TV cards and much more. VLC has nearly all codecs built-in. To install open a terminal and type:
"sudo apt-get install vlc"
05.c. Install Banshee Media Player
Banshee is a media player to play your music and videos. Stay entertained and up to date with podcasts and video podcasts. Sync your Android, iPod, and other devices. It's a similar application to well-known iTunes. To install:
"sudo apt-get install banshee banshee-extension-ubuntuonemusicstore"
05.d. Install OpenShot Video Editor
OpenShot Video Editor is an open-source program that creates, modifies, and edits video files. To install:
"sudo apt-get install openshot
05.e. Audio recording & editing
Jokosher is a simple yeet powerful non-linear, multi-track audio editor.
"sudo apt-get install jokosher"
05.f. Video screen capture
If you want to make screencasts to show off your awesome desktop, Istanbul is a nifty desktop recording tool.
"sudo apt-get install istanbul"
05.g. Media center
Moovida is a beautiful media center, which is perfect for setting up a Home Theater PC (HTPC) or TVPC. It supports of playing almost any kind of file.
"sudo apt-get install moovida"
05.h. Multimedia File Conversion
FFMPEG is the swiss-army knife of video and audio format conversion. It succeeds when no other program can. It is free and open source. If it not yet installed on your system as part of another package (it is used by many video/audio editors), then install it:
"sudo apt-get install ffmpeg"
To convert between many different file formats, you can read the FFMPEG documentation. Also, I suggest you to see this tutorial.
06.a. Bitmap graphics
GIMP is a Adobe Photoshop like graphic creation, edit and manipulation tool. It is simply the best available tool on Linux.
"sudo apt-get install gimp gimp-data-extras"
06.b. Vector graphics
Inkscape is an awesome vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw or Xara X. It supports many advanced SVG features and puts them into a well-designed interface. Anybody working with vectors needs this tool.
"sudo apt-get install inkscape"
06.c. 3D graphics
Imagine yourself making a Pixar movie and not paying a dime for the software needed to do it. That's the premise behind Blender 3D, a free fully featured 3D content creation suite.
"sudo apt-get install blender"
06.d. Photo management
Picasa is a free photo management tool from Google. Go to Picasa web site, and download the latest version for Ubuntu. If you are using 32bit edition of Ubuntu, go for "i386.deb" package, if not you are using 64bit edition of Ubuntu, in that case go for "amd64.deb" package and install it.
06.e. Google Earth
Everybody knows or heard about the Google Earth, right? If you have lived in a cave in the last years and don't know about it, you can check Google Earth web site. To install it, open a terminal and type:
"sudo apt-get install googleearth"
It is a well known fact that on Linux and Ubuntu there are not many games as on Windows, but they are good free games (although few) for Linux. PlayDeb is a website devoted to collect these into one place. You can visit the website and click on the "Install this game" or you can install it from terminal window. Personally I prefer, terminal window.
07.a. Suggested games
Below is a list of quality free games for Linux and Ubuntu. According to your game choice, I suggest you trying games at least once. Some games are quiet big, therefore the download sizes are given beside game names.
-- Nexuiz (882 MB)
For those of you who prefer fast-paced first-person shooters, Nexuiz is a very decent free game.
"sudo apt-get install nexuiz"
-- FreeCol (33 MB)
FreeCol is a turn based strategy game based on the old game Colonization, and similar to Civilization (wikipedia article). The objective of the game is to create an independent nation.
"sudo apt-get install freecol"
-- WarZone 2100 (50 MB)
A 3D science fiction real time strategy game, developed by Pumpkin Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in year 1999. Warzone 2100 offers campaing, tutorial, multi-player and single-player skirmish game modes, unit designer, unit experience system, and everything you would expect from a modern RTS game.
"sudo apt-get install warzone2100"
-- Alien Arena (368 MB)
Alien Arena is a standalone 3D first person online deathmatch shooter crafted from the original source code of Quake II and Quake III, released by id Software.
"sudo apt-get install alien-arena"
-- FreeCiv (14 MB)
Freeciv is a free clone of the turn based strategy game Civilization (wikipedia article). In this game, each player becomes leader of a civilization, fighting to obtain the ultimate goal: the extinction of all other civilizations
"sudo apt-get install freeciv-client-gtk"
-- Vertris (1 MB)
Vertris is a simple Tetris clone
"sudo apt-get install vertris"
-- Urban Terror (754 MB)
Urban Terror (wikipedia article) is a free multi-player first person shooter
"sudo apt-get install urbanterror"
-- Enemy Territory (271 MB)
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is a free multiplayer FPS set during World War II.
"sudo apt-get install enemy-territory"
-- S.C.O.U.R.G.E. (144 MB)
Scourge is a cross platform, open source rogue-like game in the fine tradition of NetHack and Moria.
"sudo apt-get install scourge"
-- UFO: Alien Invasion (280 MB)
UFO: Alien Invasion (wikipedia article) is a strategy game featuring turn-based tactical combat against hostile alien forces (human or computer controlled) which are infiltrating earth at this very moment. You are in command of a small special unit which has been founded to face the alien strike force. To be successful in the long run, you must research the alien technology in order to build bigger and better weapons against your foes.
"sudo apt-get install ufoai"
If you desire proprietary games and/or applications that only run natively on Windows, PlayOnLinux is a fornt-end for Wine which enables you to easily install many such applications and games.
"sudo apt-get install playonlinux"
Then go to "Applications --> Games --> PlayOnLinux" and update application data for first use.
07.c. Emulators for old systems and games
DosBox is a cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac OSX) MS-DOS emulator, which focuses on running old DOS games on modern computers. For a perfect experience, it includes a CPU, DOS file system, memory, graphics and sound cards emulation sub-systems. You can "re-live" the good old days with the help of DOSBox.
"sudo apt-get install dosbox"
ScummVM is a program which allows you to run certain classic graphical point-and-click adventure games, provided you already have their data files. Most popular games played with ScummVM includes, but not limited to, old Sierra and Lucas Arts games. ScummVM just replaces the old executables shipped with the games, allowing you to play them on systems for which they were never designed! For example, if you have the Amiga game files for Indiana Jones, you can play it on Playstation 2.
ScummVM Tools are used mostly convert music and speech files. (When CDs were becoming popular, the games were not big enough to fill all the CD. Empty space was used for music and speech, so that you can put your CD in your stereo set and listen to it as it was a regular music CD. MP3 or compressed audio was not popular at that time.)
"sudo apt-get install scummvm scummvm-tools"
-- Commodore 64 (C64)
With Vice you can play old Commodore 64 (C64) games and run applications with all sounds and graphics. Note that, you may or may not need to provide original C64 ROMs to the emulator for emulation at least to start.
"sudo apt-get install vice"
With UAE (wikipedia article) you can play old Amiga games and run applications with all sounds and graphics. Note that, you need to provide original Amiga ROMs to the emulator for emulation at least to start.
"sudo apt-get install uae"
08. OFFICE & DOCUMENT APPLICATIONS
OpenOffice is a replacement for well-known Microsoft Office. Ubuntu comes with most of the OpenOffice applications installed. To see them, go to "Applications --> Office"
-- OpenOffice Word Processor (Writer)
is a replacement for Microsoft Word and can open and save files generated by Microsoft Word.
-- OpenOffice SpreadSheet (Calc)
is a replacement for Microsoft Excel and can open & save files generated by Microsoft Excel.
-- OpenOffice Presentation (Impress)
is a replacement for Microsoft PowerPoint and can open & save files generated by Microsoft PowerPoint.
-- OpenOffice Drawing (Draw)
is a vector graphics editor and is part of the OpenOffice office suite. (See "Applications --> Graphics"). It features "connectors" between shapes, which are available in a range of line styles and facilitate building drawings such as flowchart. It also includes many features found in desktop publishing software.
-- OpenOffice Database (Base)
is a replacement for Microsoft Access. Base users can create databases, or can connect to other SQL databases (MySql, PostGreSQL and Oracle, maybe SQL Server). It is not installed as default like other OpenOffice programs, but you can install it with support to connect other databases. Open a terminal windows and type:
"sudo apt-get install openoffice.org-base unixodbc libmyodbc odbc-postgresql libsqliteodbc tdsodbc mdbtools libmysql-java libpg-java libjtds-java"
After the installation you can see it in "Applications --> Office"
08.b. Desktop Publishing
Scribus is a desktop publishing application designed for flexible layout and typesetting and the ability to prepare files for professional quality image setting equipment like writing small newspapers, brochures, newsletters, posters and books. It can be considered as a replacement for Microsoft Publisher.
"sudo apt-get install scribus"
08.c. Drawing Program
Dia is inspired by the commercial Windows program Microsoft Visio, though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use. It can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It currently has special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams. It can open Microsoft Visio XML files.
08.d. ClipArt Library
OpenClipart is a utility to provide access to a large library of free clipart. It includes a utility for OpenOffice Gallery. To install:
"sudo apt-get install openclipart"
08.e. Project Management
OpenProj is a replacement for Microsoft Project. It can open and save Microsoft Project generated files. To install go to opensource project web site and download latest ".deb" file and install it.
08.f. Document Scanning
Xsane is a full-featured scanning utility. To install, type:
"sudo apt-get install xsane"
08.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader
Everybody knows Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF files. Although Ubuntu comes with a lightweight PDF viewer, it is not as full featured as official Linux edition. To install it, open a terminal window and type:
"sudo apt-get install acroread acroread-fonts"
When asked whether to use it as default PDF reader, choose "yes".
09. INTERNET APPLICATIONS
FileZilla is simply the best FTP client on Linux, available on Windows, too.
"sudo apt-get install filezilla"
09.b. Filesharing - BitTorrent
Deluge is a small, but powerful bittorrent client like well-known uTorrent (available on Windows and MacOS X). Simple, effective, easy-to-use, with many features. After the install, you can go to web IsoHunt web site and search for anything you like :)
"sudo apt-get install deluge"
09.c. Chat Applications
Many prefer "Pidgin" as one of the best chat clients with support for almost any chat network. But it has a very small set features and a very simple user interface. I suggest you try it and decide for yourself. My friends and I are mostly using MSN, therefore I prefer aMSN (free MSN clone for Linux) as my chat application. You can install both of them and try each one of them, if you like:
"sudo apt-get install pidgin amsn"
09.d. E-mail Client
Although Ubuntu comes with a default mail and calendar client Evolution similar to well-known Microsoft Outlook, I prefer Thunderbird as my choice of e-mail client. It is from the people, who made famous browser Firefox. They go better together :). You can find Evolution in "Applications --> Office". To install Thunderbird, type:
"sudo apt-get install thunderbird"
Everybody knows Skype. To install it, type:
"sudo apt-get install skype"
Although Linux doesn't need a firewall for most cases, you can install one if you like. Firestarter is a simple, easy-to-use but effective firewall. When you start Firestarter from "Applications --> Internet", you will see a new icon appear on the right-upper corner of the screen (near where date and time is). Note that, when you restart your computer, you will not see this icon, unless you start it again manually, but that doesn't mean Firestarter is not working. Its service is running and protecting your computer in the background without you knowing. After the install, start the application, click "program preferences", then go to "Firewall --> Network Settings" and select the proper device for "Internet connected network device". The name of these devices mostly end with "eth0, eth1, wlan0 or wlan1". Select one of them and click "accept" button. Then try to start the firewall. If the application gives an error saying that it cannot start, select another device and try again. In 1 or 2 tries you will succeed.
"sudo apt-get install firestarter"
10. SETTING UP A WEB SERVER
When we consider Linux usage for personal usage at home and professionally as a server for businesses, it can be easily seen that Linux is much more used as a server. Because it's free and has all the necessary quality programs for a server. As I stated before, Linux is not very well-known for its games, but as a server platform it is highly respected.
Although setting up a full featured Linux web server (known as LAMP: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and fine tuning it correctly is a little bit complicated, just getting-it-run is surprisingly easy with Ubuntu. Usually 3 programs are installed to a web server: a web server (Apache), a dynamic web page rendering language (in our case PHP), and a database (MySQL). Although there alternative applications for each of these 3 categories, these are the most used ones and even have a acronym (LAMP). Facebook and many other big companies are using these applications, too. To start to install, open a terminal window and type:
“sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 libapache2-mod-php5 php5-mysql mysql-server”
When prompted to enter the your desired password for MySQL “root” user, type whatever you wish and do not forget it. After the installation, applications will start automatically and continue to do so even you restart your computer. If you see the following error in terminal window, while web server (Apache) is starting:
“apache2: Could not determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using 127.0.0.1 for ServerName”
In terminal window, type:
“sudo gedit /etc/apache2/conf.d/fqdn”, then add the following line (without quotes (“))
“ServerName localhost” , save and close the application. Again in terminal, type:
“sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart” , to restart the web server. You should not see the same error again.
We're almost done. Open your favorite web browser, and at the address bar type : http://localhost/
If everything went well, a test message saying “It works!” should appear.
After that, in the terminal, type:
“sudo gedit /var/www/phpinfo.php” , and add the following line (without quotes (“)):
"<? phpinfo(); ?>" , save and close the application.
Again, in your favorite browser, type: http://localhost/phpinfo.php
A list of a lot PHP settings should appear. This means PHP is working correctly. Because of security concerns (a lot information about your computer is made public this way), do not forget to delete the file.
OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION
I strongly suggest you to visit Ubuntu Forums. This is a community web site, where users can ask about everything related to Ubuntu in different categories and get answers from community or you can search the web site first for your interest and see if it is already answered.