Essential Ubuntu Packages

When you first install Ubunu there are some packages that are not installed that are a must IMO have.  For  whatever reason these packages are omitted in the default install be it disc space, proprietary rights, or belief that they are not that important.  Every essentail package I refer to here is installed in the Hardy, Gutsy, Feisty, and Edgy script.

Without any further delay  here they are.

In many of the following procedures I refer to opening a terminal in the folder you are viewing.  I highly recommend you install the Nautilus Open Terminal package.

sudo apt-get install nautilus-open-terminal

This will allow you to open up a terminal in whichever folder Nautilus File Manager is currently viewing.  You can do this by File--->Open In Terminal or right mouse clicking in the Nautilus window.  This is a HUGE time saver as you won't have to change directories nearly as often as the default terminal will be opened in your /home folder.  IMO, this package should be installed by default.

A few of the procedures I have will need to "make" drivers and such.  When you make a package sometimes it will envoke Ubuntu's built in C-compiler gcc.  To compile C/C++ programs using gcc you must have the build-essential package installed.  The build-essential package contains all the headers that C/C++ need like <stdio.h> or <iostream.h>.  To install build-essential type the following in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install build-essential
After build-essential is installed you will then be able to compile C/C++ programs.  This package should also be installed by default in Ubuntu IMO.  As far as C/C++ programming skills and syntax there are numerous texts and online sources out there that can help you.

Ever need to partition a hard drive or some other form of media like a flash drive?  Well Ubuntu can do that but the package to install it is not included in the default install.  The program is called Gnome Partition Editor.  It allows you to shrink, expand, delete, change partitions of unmounted media.  To install type the following in a terminal

sudo apt-get install gparted

After installation is complete you can access Gnome Partition Editor from System--->Administration--->Gnome Partition Editor

There are many websites out there that use imbedded Flash and Java extensively.  Since Java is not included in the default install (mainly due to proprietary copyright) we will install them here.  To install these packages type the following in a terminal.

32 bit (use SUN Java)
sudo apt-get -y install sun-java6-bin sun-java6-fonts sun-java6-jdk sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin

64 bit (use Icedtea openJDK)
sudo apt-get -y install icedtea-java7-jdk icedtea-java7-jre icedtea-java7-plugin

This will install the Java Runtime Environment on Ubuntu

Install Flash 9 for viewing Flash based conten on your web browser.  Works on both 32 and 64 bit Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get -y install flashplugin-nonfree

Occasionaly you will come across a compressed archive that Ubuntu cannot handle.   Ubuntu can handle almost any type of compressed archive out there.   You may run across either a RAR or 7Zip compressed archive.   Ubuntu cannot handle these on a default install but there are some additional packages that you can install to allow you to unpack these types of archives.

sudo apt-get -y install rar unrar p7zip p7zip-full

This will allow you to unpack and create .rar and .7z archives using Ubuntu's Archive Manager.

Playing media has become very important in Ubuntu and the computer world over.  There are lots of different media types out there like mpeg1, mpeg2, mp3, mpeg4, avi, wmv, wma, etc. just to name a few.  Ubuntu can deal with all these media types but the user must install the proper CODECs.  Ubuntu cannot include these CODECs as they would have to pay for them but you can get them for free from Ubuntu's repositories.  To install the CODECs do the following in a terminal.  Note the pitfdll does not function under 64 bit OS so omit that package when installing on 64 bit Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get -y install gstreamer0.10-pitfdll gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse

Once done you will be able to play numerous media types.

Ubuntu can burn CDs and DVDs out of the box using Nautilus.   While functional it is not feature rich. Luckily in the repositories you can install a program called K3B.   K3B is considered by many ot be the best CD/DVD burning program for Linux.   K3b will burn CDs, DVDs, video DVDs, audio CDs, bootable CDs and DVDs, etc.   Many people say K3B is as good as Nero.

Gutsy and earlier
sudo apt-get -y install k3b libk3b2-mp3

sudo apt-get -y install k3b libk3b2-extracodecs

This will allow you to burn CDs/DVDs and allow you to burn mp3s as an audio CD.