Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tweaks & Apps to pump up your Ubuntu

Some nice little tweaks and apps for your ubuntu. For some of the apps you might have to add the PPA via the apt lines into your ubuntu repository before you can download & install them. For others, you can just use apt-get install to get going :)

Clipgrab - an app to download videos with original (or your desired) encoding from popular video sharing sites like youtube, vimeo, dailymotion etc. 
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:clipgrab-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install clipgrab



SysPeek - a system monitor indicator that displays CPU usage, memory usage, swap usage, disk usage and network traffic.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vicox/syspeek 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install syspeek
Seems to be discontinued since Precise

"This PPA currently publishes packages for Oneiric and Natty" - [source]

Zeitgeist Activity-Log-Manager - (now included in Ubuntu 12.04) - If you want certain files or filetypes from a certain location or application not to appear in Ubuntu dash history, then go with this.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:zeitgeist/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
zeitgeist-daemon --replace
sudo apt-get install zeitgeist activity-log-manager

Ejecter - an app indicator that gives you nice little EJECT button whenever there is an external mountable device attached to your ubuntu machine (mainly via USB)
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fredp/ppa
sudo apt-get update
# now included in apt-get since 12.04

sudo apt-get install ejecter


Shutter - one of the best screenshot tool for Ubuntu. Grab a region, section, window, popup, context menu or the entire screen as you choose. And then annotate, blur, add markers, objects, paint & draw on it as you like.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shutter/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install shutter




Gnome-Shell - an alternative to the Unity desktop environment which most of us are familiar with since Ubuntu 11.04. Gnome-shell is made from the new Gnome3 which is based on GTK3.0. Gnome3 has been rebuilt ground-up from scratch instead of adding new features to the Gnome2, thus, giving a very new, sleek and fast user experience. And it's really pretty too.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell


Unsettingsis a GUI based Unity tweak tool that comes with some unique features, like: disable the global menu and overlay scrollbars or easily add applications to the systray whitelist.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install unsettings




LightDM-Manager - Want to change the default background picture and logo of the ubuntu login screen? You gotta have lightDM-Manager.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:claudiocn/slm
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install simple-lightdm-manager





PySDM - Storage Device Manager is what you need if you want to automount partitions at system startup. You get to customize a lot of partition related matters in a nice & easy graphical interface.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo apt-get install pysdm
It's also available in synaptic package manager


GRUB-Customizer - a nice bitmap as the background of GRUB Boot Loader, 3 seconds custom timeout, set default OS and normal/highlighting colors - previously I used startupmanager for all this. But i find GRUB Customizer does a way better job in terms of results & comfort.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-customizer


Oracle Java JDK - I suddenly noticed JDK is not available in Synaptic anymore. Here is a workaround for getting started with Java Development Kit. This package provides full Oracle Java JDK 7 (which includes JRE and the Java browser plugin) - [caution: might not be updated with oracle's latest release]
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-installer
For removal:
sudo apt-get remove oracle-java7-installer



Ubuntu Tweak - Perhaps the BEST (in capitals) ubuntu configuration manager tool ever made. It's hectic to configure ubuntu behaviors by editing config files or text files. From cleaning up obsolete packages to pimping the visuals of your ubuntu, with ubuntu tweak you get to do all that in a nice and intuitive Graphical User Interface. In my experience, I got a nice Mac OSX like behaviors on my ubuntu by using ubuntu tweak.
- Launchpad
- Review
Enter the following in terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak



More must-have apps that are usually readily available in the Ubuntu Software Center:
  • PDFsam - PDF Split and Merge is a very simple, easy to use, utility to split and merge pdf files. It has a simple graphical interface to let the user choose single or multiple pdf files including single or a range of pages to split or merge them.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install pdfsam
  • Audacity - A powerful multi-track audio editor.  It is designed for easy recording, playing and editing of digital audio. Audacity features digital effects, spectrum analysis and fast editing tools with unlimited undo/redo. Supported file formats include Ogg Vorbis, MP2, MP3, WAV, AIFF, and AU.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install audacity
  • CHMsee - A sleek & easy-to-use Compiled HTML Help file (.chm)  viewer written in GTK+.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install chmsee
  • OpenShot - an ‘iMovie’ style video editor to create and edit videos and movies using many popular video, audio, and image formats. It comes with support for YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Metacafe, iPod, Xbox, and many more common formats!
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install openshot
  • Avidemux - a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. for many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install avidemux
  • GIMP - a very competitive alternative to adobe photoshop for image manipulation on Linux. Edit, enhance, and retouch photos and scans, create drawings, and make your own images. Lots of tools are available; you can sharpen and resize photos, and remove dust and red-eyes, for example.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install gimp
  • Ubuntu-restricted-extras - This installs the commonly used applications and formats which, however, have copyright restrictions to be distributed by Ubuntu - mp3, avi, mpeg, TrueType, Java, Flash, Codecs etc.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • GNOME Sushi - The official “quick look” for Nautilus. With a tap of the space bar you can peek inside folders, preview files, photos and videos without opening them.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install gnome-sushi
  • uGet - an easy to use download manager for Ubuntu.
    Type in terminal: sudo apt-get install uget
You can also read this previous blog post to learn How to Enable Icons, "Open in Terminal", "Open as Administrator" in ubuntu context menus.