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Ubuntu Addon Applications

See our full list of add-on applications.

Eye Candy Applications

Eye Candy Applications refer to the decoration of the graphical user interface. These can be add-on icons, themes, wallpapers, 3-D effects, etc.

Gnome Eye-Candy Resources

  • Gnome Look has wallpapers, splash screens, icons, and themes for windows managers (including Metacity and Compiz) and other applications.


Metacity is the default desktop compositing manager in Gnome. It is lightweight, streamlined and does not have many configurable options, but has multiple themes available at Gnome Look.

Compiz Fusion

Compiz Fusion is available as a separate Windows Manager, to allow advanced desktop effects such as the rotating cube desktop. Many Ubuntu users choose to run Compiz, which is quite fast in Ubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-extra emerald librsvg2-common

To change to Compiz as the Window Manager:

  • Select Compiz Configuration:
System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Settings Manager
Note: You must logout and log back in for the change to take effect.

Fusion Icon

Fusion Icon is a tray icon that allows you to easily switch between window managers, window decorators, and gives you quick access to the Compiz Settings Manager. This allows quick toggling of 3-D desktop effects (that may not be compatible with some applications).

sudo apt-get install fusion-icon
Applications -> System Tools -> Compiz Fusion Icon

You can then easily access CompizConfig Settings Manager from the icon.

Rotate the Compiz Cube

Set the CompizConfig Settings Manager to enable the "Desktop Cube" and "Rotate Cube" and "Viewport Switcher" options. Click on the icon for each to customize settings. For example, to change the appearance of the cube, click on the Desktop Cube icon to access its settings. You can set the hotkey buttons for rotating the cube in the "Viewport Switcher" settings. Otherwise, hold down the Ctrl+Alt+Left mouse button and drag the mouse (or touchpad) the direction you want to rotate the cube.

Remember, the cube rotates between desktops. It's not a cube unless you have at least 4 desktops running. You will not get a cube if you are only using 2 desktops (you will get a "plate"). You can still rotate the sides of the plate, of course, but it will not be a cube. (Recent users from the Windows OS may have no experience with the concept of simultaneous desktops, but they are nice once you learn how to use them).

When running Compiz fusion as the Windows Manager, you must change the default number of desktops from within CompizConfig Settings Manger. To enable 4 desktops:

CompizConfig Settings Manager -> General -> General Options -> Desktop Size -> Horizontal Virtual Size -> 4

When you start an application, you can assign it to any one of the 4 desktops by right-clicking the upper left corner of the application window and choosing the "To Desktop..." option. Rotating the cube shows the different desktops. You can also go to a desktop using the taskbar icon which shows the 4 desktops.


Emerald is the theme engine for Compiz Fusion. Multiple themes are available. (These themes originated from the Beryl project before it merged with Compiz to form Compiz Fusion.) The Emerald Theme Manager for Compiz Fusion can be installed:

sudo apt-get install emerald

Ubuntu Wallpaper

Change USplash Boot Screen

This is the splash screen you see at bootup, when you are asked for a login and password. You can change the USplash screen using the utility startupmanager. (Startup Manager can also be used to change GRUB bootup settings if you use multiple OS's on your computer). Install:

sudo apt-get install startupmanager

System -> Administration -> Startup Manager

You could alternatively use a different splashscreen manager, Splashy, instead of USplash. Install:

sudo apt-get install splashy splashy-themes

Google Desktop

Google Desktop for Linux is a proprietary suite of widgets and applications to give Google control over your computer and thereby allow you to use Google services. A .deb package can be downloaded and installed from Google Linux Downloads. For installation instructions, see Google Desktop for Linux Instructions.

Dock applications

Avant Window Manager, Cairo Dock, and Wbar are dock-like applications for Ubuntu Linux. A dock represents running programs as icons at the bottom of the screen (as is done on the Mac OS X desktop), instead of by toolbar panel segments (as is done in Windows and other Linux window managers). See this brief comparison of dock applications.

Avant Window Navigator

  • Avant Window Navigator requires that a desktop composition manager (such as Metacity, Compiz, Xcompmgr, KDE4 (Kubuntu), or xfwm4 (Xubuntu)) be installed and running.
  • Install and upgrade proprietary nVidia or ATI graphics drivers so that the compositing manager functions properly.
  • Install AWN:
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator awn-manager
(Note: If you are using Gnome (Ubuntu) and do not already have a compositing manager installed (such as Compiz), Metacity will be installed as part of the installation.)
  • Enable automatic startup of AWN at bootup:
  • Menu -> System -> Preferences -> Sessions -> Add...
  • Select which applets should run from the dock menu by default:
  • Menu -> Applications -> Accessories -> Avant Window Navigator Manager
You can drag application icons onto the list, then activate or deactivate the applets from the list.

Cairo Dock

Cairo Dock can be used either with a desktop compositing manager (such as Metacity for Gnome, Compiz, or the KDE4 Window Manager) or without one. See the Ubuntu installation instructions for details. It is available from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plugins


wbar is a quick-launch bar (not a dock) that has an appearance similar to Avant Window Manager and Cairo Dock. It is GTK (Gnome) based but can work in all desktop environments. It does not require a compositing manager to be installed and is therefore quicker and more suitable for low-end hardware systems. It is the default in the Google gOS desktop and is available as a .deb package from Google. Download and install (from the command-line Terminal):

wget http://wbar.googlecode.com/files/wbar_1.3.3_i386.deb 
sudo dpkg -i wbar_1.3.3_i386.deb
  • Start wbar with custom start options (e.g. by pressing alt+F2). Here is an example:
wbar -isize 48 -j 1 -p bottom -balfa 40 -bpress -nanim 3 -z 2.5 -above-desk
Here is another example:
wbar -above-desk -pos bottom -isize 60 -nanim 1 -bpress -jumpf 0.0 -zoomf 1.5

For a full list of command-line startup options, see:

wbar --help

Tip: If you want the "wave" effect just increase the -nanim value. I like the icons to just pop up so I don't use it, but with 9 icons 5 there is a nice "wave" effect.

Obviously, you could create a menu item with the command line options (similar to the examples above), or a batch file that can be automatically started at system startup (as a cron event or startup session).

You can also change wbar startup options by editing the configuration file:

sudo gedit /usr/share/wbar/dot.wbar

See this example configuration file. However, not all options are able to be set from the configuration file and must be run from the command line. For more info see this wbar guide.


A simple wbar configuration utility can be downloaded as a .deb package and installed:

wget http://koti.kapsi.fi/~ighea/wbarconf/wbarconf_0.7.2-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i wbarconf_0.7.2-1_i386.deb


Virtualization allows a second operating system (OS), such as Windows or OS X, to be run from within Ubuntu. This requires extra RAM (because both Ubuntu and the virtualized second OS require separate amounts of RAM) and a license for the second OS. If you wish to run a virtualized instance of Windows XP, for instance, you must have a license for Windows XP.


VirtualBox is a fast and complete virtualization solution owned and maintained by Sun Microsystems. There is a free and fully open-source edition available under the GNU GPL license.

  • Install pre-requisites:
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
sudo apt-get install build-essential dkms
  • Install the open-source edition:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose virtualbox-ose-guest-utils virtualbox-ose-source
  • Start VirtualBox:
Menu -> Utilities -> VirtualBox OSE PC virtualization solution
  • If you are using a server edition of (K)ubuntu, make sure PAE/NX is enabled:
Virtualbox OSE -> General -> Advanced -> Enable PAE/NX: (ticked)

For usage instructions, see the End-user documentation.

Automated virtual machine startup within Virtualbox

You can automatically startup a virtual machine within virtualbox as a command-line option using VBoxManage. This can then be used as a menu item, cron event, or startup action. See this blog post for more info.


QEMU is a free open source virtual machine that can be either used as a full virtual machine or to emulate specific processes. An accelerator is available. Install:

sudo apt-get install qemu kqemu-common


KVM is the free open source virtualization solution implemented as a Linux kernel module (in the recent kernels) for computers whose processors contain virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). See the Ubuntu installation instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install kvm


Xen is an efficient open-source virtualization ("hypervisor") platform which includes a merge with QEMU. It is free open source under a GPL license. The latest desktop (and installation instructions) is available from the website. (A commercial version is also offered by Citrix.) Implementation in Ubuntu requires some modification, currently. For more info, see the Ubuntu community documentation. Install:

sudo apt-get install xen-hypervisor xen-docs convirt

A Xen virtual machine host can also be installed automatically with certain 64-bit CPUs, using the 64-bit Ubuntu Server LiveCD. (An Ubuntu desktop can then later be added -- see Ubuntu server).


VMWare is a commercial virtualization platform that currently offers two free products: VMWare Player and VMWare Server (the latter with a free renewable yearly license). VMWare Player can play virtual appliances that have already been created, whereas VMWare Server (which has a broader range of features) allows the creation of virtual machines. In general, VMWare Server is recommended unless you only need to play an appliance. (Appliances will also run in VMWare Server). Users that wish to run servers (or processes) that need to be available to a network from within the virtual machine should use VMServer. If you wish to install a new OS within a virtual machine (other than in an appliance), you will need VMWare Server.

VMWare Player

Installation instructions are on the website, or at the Ubuntu community wiki. In brief, to install the free VMWare Player:

  • Install pre-requisites:
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
  • Get the binary package/installation script, give it executable privileges, then run the installation script:
wget http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmplayer/VMware-Player-2.5.3-185404.i386.bundle
chmod +x VMware-Player-2.5.3-185404.i386.bundle
sudo ./VMware-Player-2.5.3-185404.i386.bundle
  • Run:
Applications -> System Tools -> VMWare Player

VMWare Server

  • Install pre-requisites:
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
  • Download the server source files for your architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) from the VMWare Server website and retrieve your license key by email.
  • Extract the files, give execution privileges to the install script, and run the install script:
tar xvf VMware-server-2.0.1-156745.i386.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib
chmod +x vmware-install.pl
sudo ./vmware-install.pl
VMWare Package

VMWare Appliances (that include an Ubuntu/Debian OS) can be created using VMWare Server and the VMWare Package utility. These appliances can then be deployed to users who can play them using VMWare Player. Install:

sudo apt-get install vmware-package

Keyboard errors in VMware guest

After installing VMWare 6.5, and installing a guest OS, the Function, arrow and Del/End/etc keys do not function. This is a bug with VMWare´s code. Add this line to ~/.vmware/config (create file if necessary) to fix this issue:

xkeymap.nokeycodeMap = true

Virtual Machine Manager

Virtual Machine Manager is an application to allow viewing of all instances of virtual machines on your system. It includes a secure implementation of VNC. This and other virtual management tools are available as an integrated package in Ubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-virt-mgmt

Crossover for Linux

Codeweavers' Crossover Office for Linux is a subscription-based commercial package that allows many Windows programs to be run on Ubuntu without the need for a Microsoft OS license or a complete virtualization system. See the website for more info. Codeweavers releases older versions of this product into the free package Wine.


Wine is a free open-source package that is similar to (and implements many elements of) CrossOver for Linux. Like CrossOver for Linux, no Microsoft license or virtualization platform is required to run Windows programs.

sudo apt-get install wine

Also consider installing Microsoft's TrueType fonts:

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts


PlayOnLinux is a Wine frontend which simplifies the installation and launch of many Windows programs, particularly games.

wget http://www.playonlinux.com/script_files/PlayOnLinux/3.7/PlayOnLinux_3.7.deb
sudo dpkg -i PlayOnLinux_3.7.deb

Internet Explorer 6

Internet Explorer 6 can function under Wine, albeit imperfectly. For most purposes, Firefox can be used (with the User Agent Switcher plugin) to mimic Internet Explorer, but for those instances when it can't, IE6 may be useful. A beta implementation of Internet Explorer 7 is also available from this package. For more info, see IEs 4 Linux.

  • Make sure you have wine and cabextract packages:
sudo apt-get install wine cabextract
  • Download IEs 4 Linux and install:
wget http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/downloads/ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
tar zxvf ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
cd ies4linux-*
./ies4linux --no-gui


Wine-Doors is a Gnome-based package manager that aids the installation of several Windows programs (such as Internet Explorer 6, DirectX 9, Windows Media Player, Winamp 5, Total Commander 7, IrfanView 4) that might require workarounds to function well within Wine. The Windows programs along with required package dependencies are installed from dedicated repositories at the Wine-doors website. As with all private repositories, caution must be used. Use of an anti-virus software such as ClamAV is recommended whenever using any Windows programs. To obtain and install:

wget http://wddb.wine-doors.org/system/files/wine-doors_0.1.3_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i wine-doors_0.1.3_all.deb

Transgaming Cedega

Cedega is a commercial application (similar to CrossOver Office and Wine), for installing and running some Windows applications, specifically games, without the need for virtualization or a Microsoft license. It provides 3D support, software acceleration support, and a high level of DirectX support. Installation instructions are found on the website.


Mono is a free open source project sponsored by Novell to allow .NET programs to function in Linux (Ubuntu) and Mac OS X. The most recent version is available here.

sudo apt-get install mono-2.0-devel


Moonlight is part of the Novell Mono project that is an open source implementation of Silverlight (the Microsoft multimedia presentation platform). It is based on FFMpeg. It is made to work best with the Firefox 3 web browser, as a plugin. It is available here.

Netflix under Moonlight

Netflix streaming requires Silverlight 2.0. The current version of Moonlight is 1.0 (corresponding to Silverlight 1.0). The final version of Moonlight 2.0 is anticipated for November 2009. A Beta-release preview of Moonlight 2.0 is available now, however. Usage may require Internet Explorer 6 (see above) and ActiveX controls (in a Wine environment) for DRM.

Edutainment Applications

There are many, many superb applications that can be installed with a single click.

Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Edutainment.

Below are a few examples that can be installed from this menu:

  • Stellarium -- an astounding planetarium for the desktop
  • K3DSurf -- a program for modeling 3,4,5, and 6 dimensional models.
  • Bibletime-- a Bible study tool for KDE.
  • Zekr -- an Islamic Quran study tool (available in Utilities instead of Edutainment)
  • Oregano -- a program for electrical engineering schematics
  • RlPlot -- a high quality graph generator
  • Mnemosyne -- a flash-card tool
  • Gramps -- map your family-tree and co-operate with genealogy projects.

Also see the list of educational programs recommended and used in the Edubuntu project.

Google Earth

Google Earth gives you an annotated eagle's eye view of our planet. This is a free proprietary package (you must accept the license to use this package).

sudo apt-get install googleearth-package
make-googleearth-package --force
Doubleclick on the resulting .deb file.
-- or --

To install the latest Linux binary, download and save the GoogleEarthLinux.bin package from Google Earth downloads. Then install:

chmod +x GoogleEarthLinux.bin


Applications -> Internet -> Google Earth 3D planet viewer

You should turn off the Google Earth -> View -> Atmosphere setting, or you might see clouds everywhere and the ground won't show up.


If Google Earth opens, shows the splash screen, and then crashes, you’re probably experiencing a common issue. Running ~/google-earth/googleearth in a terminal will show this error: ./googleearth-bin: relocation error: /usr/lib/i686/cmov/libssl.so.0.9.8: symbol BIO_test_flags, version OPENSSL_0.9.8 not defined in file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 with link time reference

To fix this, browse to the folder you installed Google Earth into. By default this will be google-earth in your home folder. Find the file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 and rename it to something else, like libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak. Google Earth should now start correctly.

cd ~/google-earth
sudo mv libcrypto.so.0.9.8 libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8
(Note: You can also specify /home/user/google-earth instead of ~/google-earth ).

For other issues, see the Ubuntu help pages on Google Earth.

Uninstall Google Earth

To uninstall run the uninstall shell script located in the /home/user/google-earth folder (or whichever folder you installed google-earth into).

FBReader (e-book reader)

FBReader is a free cross-platform e-book reader, based on the GTK platform. Install:

sudo apt-get install fbreader

Proprietary Applications

Proprietary software helps you maximize your Internet experience, but is not open source. The software available includes Multimedia Codecs, Java Runtime Environment, and plug-ins for Firefox.

Restricted Extras

The Ubuntu Restricted Extras will install Adobe Flash Player, Java Runtime Environment (JRE) (sun-java-jre) with Firefox plug-ins (icedtea), a set of Microsoft Fonts (msttcorefonts), multimedia codecs (w32codecs or w64codecs), mp3-compatible encoding (lame), FFMpeg, extra Gstreamer codecs, the package for DVD decoding (libdvdread4, but see below for info on libdvdcss2), the unrar archiver, odbc, and cabextract. It also installs multiple "stripped" codecs and avutils (libavcodec-unstripped-52 and libavutil-unstripped-49). This is a single command approach.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Note: Installation only works completely and properly when done from the command-line Terminal. The entire package will not usually install completely from within a Package Manager.

Games Applications

There are some phenomenal games for Ubuntu Linux.

There are hundreds of free, open-source games available in Ubuntu. Most (including the KDE Games collection and the Gnome Games collection) can be accessed:

Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Games

Examples are:


Vdrift is a free open source 3-D racing game, similar to Need for Speed, with realistic physics, multiple drift tracks, and multiplayer games. Support for joysticks, mice and keyboard is included. A binary package for Linux is available from the website.


Incredible action games (including those from the Top 25) are available in Ubuntu. Many can be installed using:

Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Games

Examples are:

  • Alien Arena -- a multi-player first person shooter action game with free servers. The repositories have version 7.0-1. For the current version 7.2 see the website.
  • OpenArena -- an open-source multi-player first person shooter action game, with free servers. The repositories have version 7.7. For the current 8.1 version see the website.
  • Tremulous -- a Halo-like multiplayer first person shooter action game. The repositories have the current version.
  • Sauerbraten - a multiplayer graphics-rich first person shooter game evolved from Cube.


  • Nexuiz is an open-source multi-player first person shooter game with free servers and tournaments.

The current version 2.4.2 is in the repositories.

sudo apt-get install nexuiz nexuiz-music

You must have desktop effects turned off (System -> System Settings -> Desktop). There are a few other problems. See the Nexuiz forums. Some recommend running from a shell:

sudo ./nexuiz-linux-glx.sh


sudo ./nexuiz-linux-sdl.sh

  • A 35 map community pack is available here. To install, extract the map pack to /home/username/.nexuiz/data (or ~/.nexuiz/data ).


UrbanTerror is a multiplayer first person shooter action game. It uses the open-source quake 3 engine and features many real weapons and free-to-use servers for multi-player functionality. See the Installation instructions at the website.

  • Alternative installation with a script:
  • After downloading the script open Terminal into your download directory then make the script executable with the following command:
sudo chmod +x urt40-linux-installer.sh
  • Now double click on the script to execute and follow the directions
  • The install will take a while, as the script executes a download of the necessary files which are about 541MB
  • After the install you will have a nice UrbanTerror icon on your desktop (unless you installed as root)


The Spring Project is a scripting engine platform to develop and play free multiplayer games such as Star Wars Imperial Winter and Complete Annihilation. See these installation instructions for adding the repository, then installing as a package.


PlaneShift is a promising free full-immersion online fantasy game (MMPORG). Client downloads and patches are available here.

  • Make the downloaded binary installation file executable:
cd /directory_where_downloaded
chmod +x PlaneShift-v.0.42-x64.bin
  • Run the executable binary as root (this must be done from the command line Terminal):
sudo ./PlaneShift-v.0.42-x64.bin
  • Follow the instructions for installation. When prompted whether to manually set permissions, answer "no."
  • During installation, most users have recommended installing this game to your /home directory as a single user installation, instead of to /opt for all users. This avoids permissions problems. I was able to install to /opt, but it takes some effort.
  • Make sure your user belongs to the games group:
System -> User Manager -> user -> Groups -> check games
  • Download the updater patch psupdaterlinux64.zip and unzip it to your download directory.
  • Run the updater as root:
chmod +x psupdater
chmod +x psupdater.bin
sudo ./psupdater
Applications -> Lost & Found -> Client and Setup

To run it from the menu, I had to edit the menu entries by checking the box: "Run in terminal." Alternatively, run it from the command-line Terminal:

sudo /opt/PlaneShift/pssetup
sudo /opt/PlaneShift/psclient

Notes: This game ran very slowly for me on a 32-bit installation with a DSL connection and I gave up. The 64-bit installation worked better, but there were still many freezes. This is a game very much in development, and is still in alpha stage.

PrBoom - the classic Doom2 game

PrBoom is a free open source port of the original first person shooter action game, Doom.

sudo apt-get install prboom freedoom timidity timidity-interfaces-extra

There are thousands of extra maps (Wads) available for this game. It is easiest to keep a directory for your wads in your home directory:

mkdir /home/user/wads

Place your doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad (from your original game) into this folder. If you don't have one, you can copy the Freedom version of doom2.wad from /usr/share/games/freedoom into this folder. Place any new .wad's you have downloaded from the Internet into this folder as well. Then run the game using both the original iwad map as well as your new .wad map (you will only see the new map).

prboom -iwad /home/user/wads/doom2.wad -file /home/user/wads/new_wad.wad

Note: Only doom2.wad, tnt.wad, or plutonia.wad can be used as an iwad. You must have one of these in addition to any new wad you wish to use. When in doubt, use doom2.wad.

Note: this game can also be installed using Applications -> Add/Remove Software -> Games as Freedoom, but you must also install timidity and timidity-interfaces-extra.

Wing Commander Privateer

The Linux version of this free version of Wing Commander can be downloaded as a binary here.

Internet Applications

Internet applications enable you to make full use of your Internet connection. Web browsers, Email clients, Instant Messengers, and more are included in this category.

Web Browsers

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the ubiquitous web browser. Based on open source components, it is trademarked and cannot be altered or re-distributed with any change that involves the name or trademarks. Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install firefox
Firefox Plug-ins
Adblock plug-in (block ads in a web page)

Adblock Plus blocks ads that appear in web pages. You can subscribe to a free filter service, and can add ads to block with a single click.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-firefox-adblock
  • You can also add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Noscript plug-in (controls scripts)

The Noscript plugin is considered one of the most important security measures for browsing the Internet. Most viruses and trojans gain access to computers from the Internet through scripts. This plugin allows you to choose which scripts to allow and blocks the rest.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-noscript
  • You can also add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
User Agent Switcher plug-in for Firefox

The User Agent Switcher plugin allows a browser to masquerade as another browser, allowing (most of the time) browser-specific content to be displayed.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Video Download Helper plug-in for Firefox

The Video Download Helper plugin allows the download of videos (including Flash videos) from sites like YouTube.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Unplug Download Management

The UnPlug add-on lets you save video and audio which is embedded on a webpage.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Java Runtime Environment (JRE) for Firefox plug-in

This package also installs the Java Runtime Environment. (JRE is also installed when OpenOffice or ubuntu-restricted-extras is installed.)

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin

Note: You must accept the license to use this product.

Adobe Acrobat Reader for Firefox Plug-in

This plugin is available from the Medibuntu repository. It allows you to view Adobe Acrobat files within the Firefox browser.

deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ jaunty free non-free
  • Install:
sudo apt-get install acroread mozilla-acroread acroread-plugins acroread-fonts
Adobe Flash Player for Firefox Plug-in

To install the official Adobe Flash plugin (Flash 10) for Firefox:

sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplugin
Gnash Plug-in (Open source Flash Player replacement)

Gnash is available in a 64-bit version as well as a 32-bit version. It is the open source replacement for Adobe Flashplayer.

sudo apt-get install gnash

After installing, change your web browser's Preferences -> Applications so that SWF and SPL files use Gnash.

VLC plug-in for Firefox

This package allows the popular VLC player to play media within the Firefox browser.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-plugin-vlc
Gecko MediaPlayer Plug-in for Firefox

Gecko MediaPlayer is a browser plugin for all Gecko-based browsers (Firefox, SeaMonkey, IceApe, Opera) that allows Mplayer to play multimedia within the browser. Install:

sudo apt-get install gecko-mediaplayer

An alternative is to use the mplayer plugin for Firefox. Install:

 sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer
Kaffeine Plug-in for Firefox

This package allows the Kaffeine media player (often used in KDE-based desktops) to play multimedia within the Firefox browser.

sudo apt-get install kaffeine-mozilla
Helix player plug-in for Firefox

This package installs the Helix player (the open source player that plays Real Player content in Linux) as well as the plugin that plays RealMedia within the Firefox browser.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-helix-player
FireFTP for Firefox

FireFTP is a Firefox extension for FTP transfers.

Firefox Widgets
Turn off browser bar drop-down list in Firefox

This is the most frequently asked problem regarding Firefox. To turn off the location browser bar drop-down list (and therefore not show your browsing history):

Firefox -> about:config (in the location browser bar) -> browser.urlbar.maxRichResults -> right-click -> Modify -> set value to 0


IceCat is Firefox distributed without the Mozilla trademark restrictions. It is endorsed by the Debian project (on which Ubuntu is based). It is formerly known as IceWeasel and is also known as IceApe Browser. Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install iceape-browser


SeaMonkey is an open-source integrated internet application suite (including web browser, IM (IRC) client, Email client, RSS/News reader, and web development tools). It is based on the same components as the Mozilla products and shares the trademark and branding restrictions. There are many plugins, similar to those for Thunderbird and Firefox. Install:

sudo apt-get install seamonkey


IceApe is an open-source integrated internet application suite (including web browser, IM (IRC) client, Email client, RSS/News reader, and web development tools). It is based on the same components as the Mozilla product SeaMonkey, but has no restrictive trademark licensing, and is endorsed by the Debian project (on which Ubuntu is based). Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install iceape


Opera is a proprietary browser and internet suite (currently free on PCs) also used in some mobile devices and gaming consoles. It includes email, an address book, IRC chat, integrated BitTorrent, and webfeeds. A limited number of plugins are also available.

sudo apt-get install opera

Download Managers

Downloader for X

Downloader for X is a GTK-based free-standing download manager utility. Still included in current repositories, the project appears dead. It is open-source, but does not have a GPL license.

sudo apt-get install d4x

Email Clients


Evolution is the default Gnome-based email client in Ubuntu. If not installed:

sudo apt-get install evolution
Evolution and PGP

Email messages can be encrypted in PGP and sent by email using Evolution. See this tutorial for an example how to configure it.


KMail (Kontact Mail) is the default email client included with Kontact in KDE (Kubuntu). Kontact includes email, an address book, a calendar, reminders, pop-up notes, a link to the Akregator News/RSS reader, time-tracking, and more. Install:

sudo apt-get install kontact


Mozilla Thunderbird is a licensed and trademarked free open-source email client that is compatible with Firefox. Install:

sudo apt-get install mozilla-thunderbird
Lightning calendar extension

Lightning is the calendar extension for Thunderbird (with functionality similar to the stand-alone application Sunbird). Install:

sudo apt-get install lightning-extension

Enigmail is an add-on to Thunderbird that allows you to easily encrypt your email using OpenPGP, which is included in the kernel by default. It also allows you to create and manage the encryption keys. Install:

sudo apt-get install enigmail
New Mail Icon for Thunderbird

"New Mail Icon" is an experimental tray add-on which notifes you of new mail. Download from the website. Install:

Thunderbird -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Install -> select downloaded file



Akregator is the default news/RSS reader included with Kubuntu (KDE). Usage instructions are found in the Handbook. Install:

sudo apt-get install akregator


RSSOwl is a Java-based RSS | RDF | Atom Newsfeed Reader. These installation instructions only work with RSSOwl version 1_2_3.

In order to use the internal browser, install first the packages xulrunner and firefox , either via Synaptic Manager or by typing this command into Terminal:

sudo apt-get install firefox xulrunner

Change to your "opt" directory:

cd /opt

Download the tar.gz-archive into your opt directory:

sudo wget http://belnet.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/rssowl/rssowl_1_2_3_linux_bin.tar.gz

Extract the archive and remove the extracted file:

sudo tar zxvf ./rssowl_1_2_3_linux_bin.tar.gz && sudo rm ./rssowl_1_2_3_linux_bin.tar.gz

Make a startscript:

sudo nano /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh

and add the following lines to your starter-script file /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh

    export MOZILLA_FIVE_HOME=/usr/lib/xulrunner
    cd /opt/rssowl_1_2_3_linux_bin

Make the startscript executable:

sudo chmod u+x /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh

Now you always can start RSSOwl:


After having started the application "RSSOwl":

Go to --> View and enable "View Newstext in Browser".

Then go to --> Tools --> Preferences... --> General and enable in misc-section "Open any news automatically in browser".

Go to --> Tools --> Preferences... --> Browser and enter the path to the executable (my path was /usr/lib/firefox/firefox). Finally enable “use external browser” at the bottom.

Instant Messengers


Pidgin is an open source IM application. It is the default in the Ubuntu (Gnome) desktop. You can access multiple services with it.

sudo apt-get install pidgin


Kopete is the default Instant Messenger application for Kubuntu. You can access multiple services with it. Install:

sudo apt-get install kopete
Kopete Styles

Additional styles for Kopete are available from KDE-look. Install from:

Kopete -> Settings -> Configure -> Chat Window -> Style -> Get New...
GoogleTalk on Kopete

Kopete can be configured to work with GoogleTalk Instant Messaging (but not VOIP) using the Jabber protocol. See these GoogleTalk instructions.

Konversation (IRC client)

Konversation is the default Kubuntu Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client. It functions similar to the venerable mIRC. "A little less action and a little more Konversation." -- Elves Install:

sudo apt-get install konversation


aMSN is an MSN Messenger utility that functions like the original client. It is not necessary if you use Pidgin. Install it:

sudo apt-get install amsn

To enable Drag-and-Drop capabilities to aMSN for easy file transfer see Ubuntu Geek.


Emesene is an MSN messenger client that uses a simplified interface similar to the original client. It is not necessary if you use Pidgin. Install it:

sudo apt-get install emesene

Videoconferencing and VOIP

Videoconferencing and voice over Internet (VOIP) applications are merging into integrated applications. Most of these applications now allow placing calls to non-Internet based telephones for a small fee.


Formerly known as Gnomemeeting, Ekiga is a SIP compliant fully functional open source integrated VOIP and videoconferencing program.

sudo apt-get install ekiga


Skype is a proprietary integrated VOIP and video conferencing program similar to Ekiga. It is Qt-based and uses ALSA sound.

  • Download and install the 32-bit version:
wget -O skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-ubuntu-32
sudo dpkg -i skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb
sudo rm skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb
How to install Skype on a 64-bit system

The current version of Skype for 64-bit systems is a masqueraded 32-bit module. To use on a 64-bit system you might still need to install the needed packages:

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs lib32asound2 libqt4-core libqt4-gui
  • Then download and install the current Skype .deb package from the Skype website:
wget -O skype_ubuntu-current_amd64.deb http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-ubuntu-64
sudo dpkg -i skype-ubuntu-current_amd64.deb
sudo rm skype-ubuntu-current_amd64.deb
  • If the 64-bit version doesn't work for you, use the 32-bit version:
wget -O skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-ubuntu-32
sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb
sudo rm skype-ubuntu-current_i386.deb


Wengophone is an integrated VOIP and videoconferencing client available on many platforms. Wengophone was initially an open-source GPL-licensed package ('Wengophone Classic'). Both the Classic version (available as a .deb file) and the current proprietary binary version are available from the website. Wengophone Classic has now been rebranded as QuteCom, however. To install the current version as an Ubuntu/Kubuntu package, see these instructions.

  • Download and install the older Wengophone Classic version (.deb package):
wget http://download.wengo.com/wengophone/rc/wengophone-0.958m-1.i386.deb
dpkg -i --force-architecture wengophone-0.958m-1.i386.deb


Gizmo5 is an Internet soft-phone application, similar to Skype, that uses the SIP protocol. Install (.deb package):

wget http://download.gizmo5.com/GizmoDownload/gizmo-project_3.1.0.79_libstdc++6_i386.deb
dpkg -i --force-architecture gizmo-project_3.1.0.79_libstdc++6_i386.deb

Asterisk VOIP PBX system

Asterisk is an enterprise-grade, free open source PBX and telephony system for VOIP.

sudo apt-get install asterisk


Kiax is an LGPL-licensed open source IAX (Inter-Asterisk eXchange) application. It is used for making VoIP calls from an Asterisk PBX. The current version must be installed from source files. See the website for download and installation instructions, or see this Ubuntu Launchpad site.

FTP Clients

You might wish to use a dedicated FTP client instead of the one in your browser.


Filezilla is the ubiquitous free open-source FTP client and server for all platforms.

sudo apt-get install filezilla

Filesharing / P2P

Do not share copyrighted material or content that is otherwise illegal to share.

Transmission (BitTorrent Client)

Transmission is the GTK-based default BitTorrent client in Ubuntu (Gnome).

sudo apt-get install transmission


KTorrent is the default BitTorrent client in Kubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install ktorrent

Be sure to have your firewall ports open (by default 6881 and 4444).


Azureus is a Java-based BitTorrent client.

sudo apt-get install azureus


QTorrent is a PyQT-based BitTorrent Client that is supposed to be very fast.


Apollon (P2P Filesharing)

Apollon is an older BitTorrent client oriented towards KDE. It uses plugins for compatibility with multiple networks.

sudo apt-get install apollon gift

MLDonkey (P2P eMule/eDonkey2000)

MLDonkey is a P2P file sharing program (and network) that is able to use different network protocols. To install the MLDonkey core server, follow these instructions.

MLDonkey GUI frontends
  • Install the Gnome GUI frontend for MLDonkey:
sudo apt-get install mldonkey-gui
sudo apt-get install kmldonkey


PGP (Message Encryption)

PGP (OpenPGP and GnuPGP) is a tool to encrypt your messages (such as email) to be unlocked only by someone who has a key to unlock it.


Seahorse is the GUI for Gnome to manage the key pairs and other options of GnuPGP. It can also manage your SSH keys. For more info see this tutorial. Run:

Applications -> Accessories --> Passwords and Encryption Keys


Tor is a project to allow privacy while using the Internet and to limit usage tracking. It routes your traffic through several anonymous nodes, so that your usage appears to come from an IP other than your own. (There are always risks when using the Internet that even Tor can not help with, though. Read this.) Using Tor can slow down your Internet usage significantly, depending on how much traffic is being passed through the Tor network (routine file-sharing or large downloads will also significantly reduce performance of the Tor network.)

  • Tor network speed improves when there are more volunteers to run relays (and relays have better anonymity), bridges, and exit nodes. Please consider being a relay or bridge node if your ISP does not filter Tor and you have good bandwidth. Additonally please consider configuring your relay as an exit node (if you are in a favorable network and don't mind a little bit of potential hassle for being an exit node).
  • Note: Due to recent attacks on the Tor network, it is worthwhile to install the most current version of Tor. See this section.
  • Note: Attack vectors to defeat Tor anonymity have been described. See here and here.

Install Tor (Network privacy)

  • Install Tor by following the instructions here. Note that the instructions require port 11371 on your firewall to be open to use the gpg keyserver (and download the key for the debian package). Then see the Tor installation guide for details. In general:
sudo apt-get install tor
  • Here is an example installation method:
sudo add-apt-repository "http://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org saucy main"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install deb.torproject.org-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tor
Use your own OS' version instead of saucy.
  • To install the signing key for the repository (make sure port 11371 in the firewall is unblocked):
gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv 886DDD89
gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | sudo apt-key add -
  • If, after installing Tor, you wish to remove the Tor repository:
sudo add-apt-repository --remove "http://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org saucy main"
sudo apt-get update
  • Tor can be run in its default configuration from the command-line (or from a menu item with the "Advanced -> Run in terminal" box ticked):
A separate menu item can be created to reliably shut down Tor:
sudo killall tor
  • By default Tor listens for Socks5 traffic on port 9050. (Socks5 proxies are able to tunnel both UDP and HTTP traffic through them.) In general, applications (including other daisy-chained proxies) should be configured to use Tor as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050.
  • I don't like Tor to automatically start at boot, so I edit the /etc/tor/torrc configuration file (use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu):
sudo kate /etc/tor/torrc
and change the line so it looks like:
#RunAsDaemon 1
RunAsDaemon 0
then restart Tor:
sudo /etc/init.d/tor restart
sudo service tor restart
  • I also like to make sure Tor doesn't start at bootup using Bootup Manager:
sudo apt-get install bum
Run Bootup Manager:
sudo bum
Make sure Tor doesn't start at bootup:
tor (unticked) -> Apply -> Yes

Using Tor with Firefox

Tor acts as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050. Recent versions of Firefox allow direction of all traffic, including DNS resolution, through a Socks5 proxy. To enable this behaviour (after starting and running a previously installed version of Tor):

Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection:Settings -> Manual proxy configuration (ticked) -> SOCKS Host: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> SOCKSv5 (ticked) -> No Proxy for: (or localhost)
-> Remote DNS (ticked)

The last step (Remote DNS) is important so that DNS lookups are done through the proxy (with SOCKSv5), not the client computer. (Privacy is lost if DNS lookups are done by the client computer.)

  • To return to using Firefox without a proxy (such as Tor), choose "No proxy" in the Firefox Network settings:
Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection:Settings -> No proxy (ticked)

Tor Browser Bundle

The Tor Browser Bundle (Tor, Vidalia GUI, a modified version of Firefox, and Torbutton) provides greater functionality and security than the stock Firefox version with the standalone Torbutton. Install from here the version for your language and unpack it. For example:

wget https://www.torproject.org/dist/torbrowser/linux/tor-browser-gnu-linux-x86_64-2.2.35-12-dev-en-US.tar.gz
tar -xvzf tor-browser-gnu-linux-x86_64-2.2.35-12-dev-en-US.tar.gz

Then change to the extracted directory and start the Tor Browser Bundle:

cd tor-browser_en-US

A menu item can also be created with the command to start it.

Torbutton (Firefox plug-in)

Once the Tor Browser Bundle is installed and Tor is running properly, Torbutton allows you to choose whether to use Firefox through the Tor anonymizing network or not. Updates to Torbutton can be installed using the .xpi extension found directly from the website.

  • As of 2012, Torbutton only works with modified versions of Firefox found in the Tor Project's Tor Browser Bundle (Tor, Vidalia GUI, a modified version of Firefox, and Torbutton) or with some older (non-updated) versions of Firefox.
  • Newer versions of Firefox may refuse to start when Torbutton is installed. If this occurs, Firefox must be started in safe mode:
firefox -safe-mode
Be sure to select "Start in Safe Mode" instead of "Reset Firefox" (unless you want to erase all your configuration settings and erase all your extensions/add-ons/plug-ins). Once in Safe Mode, the Torbutton extension can be disabled or removed (Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions -> Torbutton -> Remove) and Firefox set to use "No proxy" in the Firefox Network settings:
Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection:Settings -> No proxy (ticked)
  • The standalone Torbutton add-on for Firefox disables many functions of Firefox (when used with older unmodified versions of Firefox), such as the Drag and Drop function. It must therefore be disabled (Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions -> Torbutton -> Disable) while using many of these Firefox functions.

Using Thunderbird with Tor

Tor acts as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050. Recent versions of Thunderbird allow direction of all traffic, including DNS resolution, through a Socks5 proxy. To enable this behaviour (after starting and running a previously installed version of Tor):

Thunderbird -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network & Disk Space -> Connection:Settings -> Manual proxy configuration (ticked) -> SOCKS Host: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> SOCKSv5 (ticked) -> No Proxy for: (or localhost)
  • To return to using Thunderbird without a proxy (such as Tor), choose "No proxy" in the Thunderbird Network settings:
Thunderbird -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network & Disk Space -> Connection:Settings -> No proxy (ticked)

Note: To ensure absolute privacy of the location of your email client, an email account should be set up only through Tor (the first time) and should NEVER be accessed without tunneling through Tor.

TorBirdy (Thunderbird plug-in)

TorBirdy is an "experimental" Thunderbird email client add-on to allow older versions of Thunderbird to use the Tor network. (Also see the Tor website for more info.) It will not be able to be installed if you have recent versions of Thunderbird / Firefox. Install:

Thunderbird -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons: Search all add-ons: torbirdy -> Install

Using Choqok with Tor

Choqok is a Twitter / microblogging client. Choqok allows the use of a Socks5 proxy. If running Tor on port 9050, configure Choqok to use the Socks5 proxy on port 9050:

Choqok -> Settings -> Configure Choqok... -> Behavior: Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration (ticked) -> SOCKS Proxy: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> OK

Using Filezilla with Tor

Filezilla, the ubiquitous FTP client, can be used with Tor. Filezilla directly allows the use of a Socks5 proxy. If running Tor on port 9050, configure Filezilla to use the Socks5 proxy on port 9050:

Filezilla -> Edit -> Settings -> Connection:Generic proxy -> SOCKS 5 (ticked) -> Proxy host: (or localhost) -> Proxy port: 9050 -> OK
  • Note: Many services block FTP through Tor using Filezilla or any client that uses a separate communication channel and data channel. This is because the data channel and communications channel must be from the same IP address for these services, which doesn't occur using an FTP client through Tor. For such providers, use a browser-based FTP method instead.

Using Rekonq/Konqueror/Dolphin with Tor

KDE services that access that Internet, such as Rekonq, Konqueror, or the Dolphin File Manager, can be made to use Tor by setting the systemwide KDE "Network Settings" to use the Tor proxy. (All three programs share the same KDE Network Settings).

Settings -> System Settings -> Network and Connectivity: Network Settings -> Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration: (ticked) -> SOCKS proxy: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> Apply
Konqueror -> Settings -> Configure Konqueror... -> Web Browsing: Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration: (ticked) -> SOCKS proxy: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> OK
Rekonq -> Settings wrench icon -> Configure rekonq... -> Network -> Proxy -> Use manually specified proxy configuration: (ticked) -> SOCKS proxy: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050 -> OK

Using Konversation with Tor

Konversation is an Internet Relay Chat client similar to mIRC. Unfortunately, without Tor your IP address is easily determined while using an IRC client. Konversation directly allows the use of a Socks5 proxy. If running Tor on port 9050, configure Konversation to use the Socks5 proxy on port 9050:

Konversation -> Settings -> Configure Konversation... -> Behavior: Connection -> Proxy (ticked) -> Type: Socks v5 -> Address: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050

Internet Messaging with Tor


The Internet Messaging client Kopete can be used with Tor using the Off-the-Record messaging system, which is already installed by default. Enable the plugin:

Kopete -> Settings -> Configure -> Plugins -> OTR (ticked) -> OK -> OTR Settings (Wrench icon)


The Internet Messaging client Pidgin can be used with Tor using the Off-the-Record messaging system. Install the plugin:

sudo apt-get install pidgin-otr


The Internet Relay Client XChat can be used with Tor using the Off-the-Record messaging system. Install the plugin:

sudo apt-get install xchat-otr

Using Tor with Dropbox

Tor acts as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050. Recent versions of Dropbox allow direction of all traffic, including DNS resolution, through a Socks5 proxy. To enable this behaviour (after starting and running a previously installed version of Tor):

Dropbox -> Options -> Preferences... -> Dropbox Preferences: Proxies -> Proxy Settings: Manual (ticked) -> Proxy type: SOCKS5 -> Server: (or localhost) -> Port: 9050
  • The transfer of multiple large files through Tor is discouraged as it slows down the Tor network.

Using proxies with Tor


  • If you installed a recent version of Tor from the repositories, you will have installed the "usewithtor" package. A number of applications can be automatically redirected to the Torsocks proxy (torsocks) with this utility:
usewithtor myapplication

A menu item with such a command can then be created.

  • By using torsocks, usewithtor will also block an application from sending UDP traffic (which is not anonymized by the Tor network).
  • Applications that you wish to "usewithtor" (with torsocks) or "torify" (with tsocks) should use port 8118 for the http proxy port and port 9050 for the socks port.


  • Another method is to "torify" an application with a different tor socks proxy (tsocks) if tsocks has been configured (edit /etc/tor/tor-tsocks.conf).
torify myapplication
  • tsocks does not explictly block UDP traffic, so if it is desirable to allow UDP traffic while anonymizing ftp traffic, use this method.


  • I use the Privoxy proxy to tunnel http traffic through Tor. Install the Privoxy http proxy:
sudo apt-get install privoxy
  • Applications can be set to send their http traffic to Privoxy over port 8118; Privoxy will then in turn forward the http traffic to Tor over port 9050. (Use an IP address other than if Privoxy and/or Tor are not on the local machine. Use localhost instead of if using IPv6 addressing on your systems).

Note: For some older versions of Privoxy, users have reported better success designating the address of the host computer as instead of localhost in the configuration settings.

  • Edit configuration files.
  • In the configuration file Privoxy is configured by default to listen on port See Firewall considerations. Edit the Privoxy configuration file (use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu):
sudo kate /etc/privoxy/config
Add the lines
forward-socks5 / .
forward-socks4a / .

Note: socks5 allows more authentication choices, UDP for external DNS resolution, and accommodates IPv6. (By including both lines, socks4a is used as a fallback if a program does not support socks5.)

  • Restart Privoxy:
sudo /etc/init.d/privoxy restart
sudo service privoxy restart

Other proxies

Other proxies such as socat, Polipo can also be used with Tor instead or Privoxy. Squid can also be daisy-chained to one of the proxies.

Ensuring applications use the proxy

  • See this advice. (Note: this is labeled as "old advice.") In (K)Ubuntu, the bash configuration files are at ~/.profile (i.e. /home/user/.profile) for the current user or at /etc/profile for system-wide usage. Using this advice, edit one of those two files and add the lines at the end of the file:
export http_proxy HTTP_PROXY

Using specific applications with Tor

  • Torchat can be used for IM through Tor. Install:
sudo apt-get install torchat
  • Other applications may allow for the http proxy and the chainloaded socks services of Tor to be used independently (in parallel). Once Tor (and the relevant proxy or proxies) are running, the http proxy and the socks proxy can be specified in the configuration settings of an application that allows for this.

Tor GUIs

  • It is not necessary to use a GUI with Tor.
  • If you will use Tor with a GUI interface (such as Vidalia or TorK), however, edit the Tor configuration file (use the gedit text editor instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu):
sudo kate /etc/tor/torrc
  • Add the line so that the GUI interface can control Tor over port 9051:
ControlPort 9051
Note: There is some concern that allowing control of Tor over port 9051 is not secure. If you will not be using a GUI, this step is not advised.

Vidalia (Tor interface)

Vidalia is the recommended Qt4-based GUI frontend for Tor. If not installed with Tor, install:

sudo apt-get install vidalia

Tork (KDE Tor interface)

TorK is a KDE interface for Tor that relied on the older Qt3 platform. It is no longer included in the (K)Ubuntu repositories (as of Natty 11.04). However, if desired it can still be installed (along with the required older Qt3 libraries) by adding the Maverick repository (directly or using a package manager):

deb http://ubuntu.mirror.cambrium.nl/ubuntu/ maverick main universe
  • Installing TorK also will install privoxy and unless you have also added the Tor repository directly, will also install an older version of Tor from the Ubuntu universe repositories. See these installation tips. Install:
sudo apt-get install tork privoxy
  • Run TorK (K menu -> Internet -> TorK Anonymity Manager) for the first time using the First Run Wizard (TorK -> Tools -> First Run Wizard).
"No, tor is going to run on this PC" then "I have to start Tor manually" then "Run A Tor client with default settings" then "I want to use Privoxy..." then "Privoxy starts in the background when my computer boots up" then go through the remaining options.
I then start ("Play") TorK as a Client. I happen to like Konqueror for Anonymous browsing, since it worked the first time for me without a problem. I keep Firefox for non-Tor browsing (so I don't have to change any of its settings) or install Torbutton (see below). You may have to fiddle with your Network proxy settings in Konqueror or Firefox (if things don't work the way you expect them to).
  • Allow the Firewall (like Firestarter) to allow ports 8118, 9050, 9051, or just turn off the firewall completely, until everything is working. Then turn the firewall back on. (You should monitor your firewall carefully. TorK has settings to automatically turn it off, if you aren't careful.) No ports are required to be left open in the firewall for Tor to work, as all traffic will be directed through the socks port 9050 (which avoids the firewall).
  • Applications that you wish to "torify" (with tsocks) or "usewithtor" (with torsocks) should use port 8118 (i.e. for the http proxy and port 9050 ( for the socks port.
  • Once configured as a client successfully, if you have the bandwidth and a stable environment please enable the client/relay mode and/or server mode so that the Tor bandwidth is increased.
  • Note: Tork constantly monitors the network (both Tor and non-Tor traffic). This can cause slowing of the Tor traffic from your computer and even cause intermittent interruptions. (Tor runs in the background and does not require Tork to be running as a control module.) If Tor is running in a stable mode, it will be faster (and less problematic) to stop Tork (sudo killall tork) and allow Tor to run in the background.
  • Note: Traffic that is routed through Privoxy (and then presumably to Tor from Privoxy if configured correctly) will be logged as "non-Tor" traffic by Tork. As long as Privoxy is working correctly, however, this traffic is being forwarded through the Tor socket.
  • Tork does not start Privoxy properly. Privoxy must be started (prior to starting Tork) as a startup program (e.g. using the Bootup-Manager) or manually with the command:
sudo /etc/init.d/privoxy start
sudo service privoxy start

Prevent autostart of proxies and Tor

  • Whenever I stopped the TorK GUI and then later wanted to start it again, I had to manually kill the Privoxy and Tor processes first.
sudo killall privoxy
sudo killall tor
  • Further, Tor, Privoxy, and Polipo install themselves as automatically started services at bootup. Preventing automatic startup (at boot) of Tor and Privoxy (and/or Polipo) can be accomplished by one of the methods in this Ubuntu Forums thread. Personally, I like using Bootup-Manager:
sudo apt-get install bum
but another option is:
sudo update-rc.d tor disable
sudo update-rc.d privoxy disable
sudo update-rc.d polipo disable

which will also stop updates from re-installing the applications as startup services when updates are made.

  • If Privoxy is stopped, it must be re-started with the Bootup-Manager or using the command:
sudo /etc/init.d/privoxy start
sudo service privoxy start

Firewall considerations

Single computer

If you have the Tor client, the proxy client (Privoxy, Polipo, or socat), and the browser client (or other application) on the same computer, you do not need to have any open ports in order to use Tor. In such a circumstance it is safest to block all ports that connect to the Internet. The socks proxy bypasses the firewall entirely (so there is no need to leave any ports open in order for it to communicate).

By closing all ports (using a firewall), applications will be prevented from bypassing Tor (accidentally or unknowingly). Later, if you wish to have some of your traffic directed through Tor and some of your traffic traffic routed outside of Tor, you can open the ports for the traffic that will not go through Tor.

Proxy on LAN

If the proxy (Privoxy, Polipo, socat, etc.) on your LAN is on a computer different from the computer(s) that have the end-user client applications, it is best to open the port (e.g. 8118) for communication only between computers on the LAN (with the end-application clients on them) and the computer on the LAN with the proxy on it. Port 8118 should then not be open to the Internet but only to the computers on the LAN that will use the proxy.

If the Proxy and Tor client are on different computers as well, port 9050 should be open (on the LAN, not on the Internet) between the computer with the Proxy and the computer with the Tor client only, so that the Proxy can forward traffic to the Tor client (but not to the Internet). (Obviously, if the Proxy and the Tor client are on the same computer, there is no need to open the 9050 port at all.)

Blocking all non-Tor traffic using iptables

To ensure that no unprotected traffic "leaks" from applications without your knowledge, it is possible to configure your firewall iptables to prevent all traffic except that which is transmitted through Tor.

Tor network initialization

It may be necessary to open port 443 (or less desirably port 80) to allow resolution of the nodes of the Tor network. Consider using DNS privacy methods.


Upgrading to Tor 0.2.4

  • In 2013 a botnet appears to have started to operate on Tor using the v0.2.3 client (with speculations about both the USA's FBI and NSA involvement). This slowed the Tor network by increasing handshakes between relay nodes. See this info. In addition, DDoS attacks in 2014 exploit vulnerabilities in Tor versions < See this info. For these reasons it is best to use a recent version of Tor.
  • In the past, it was suggested by some users that the v.0.2.2 client (which is still available in the (K)Ubuntu repositories) was not vulnerable to the 2013 botnet. This has not been verified nor does it seem immune to recent attacks.

Router speed

  • Although applicable to p2p traffic, this information is generically applicable to Tor as well.
  • Some routers (including a certain version of the Linksys WRT54G) slow down when the incoming/outgoing connection log (cache) becomes full (which can happen with many Tor or P2P connections). Disable the Log if this problem occurs.
  • An uncommonly recognized problem (with some routers, such as the WRT54G, with heavy traffic flow on startup) is that of a connection storm. The fix is not trivial and may require using custom firmware and/or working with the iptables firewall. See this info.

Other resources

  • Tor documentation
  • Obfsproxy is a proxy to transform data between a client and a Bridge node into innocent looking data, in order to circumvent Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) censorship. See the Debian/(K)Ubuntu instructions.
  • OnionCat is a VPN adapter/service that transmits IP-based data transparently through the Tor network on a location hidden basis. (Also see this.) A Launchpad repository is here.
  • FoxyProxy is a proxy service that can connect to the Tor network. Also see the Firefox plugin download page.
  • Tails is a free, complete GNOME-based Debian Linux operating system with Tor enabled by default. Iceweasel (the free Debian version of Firefox) and other Internet tools are cryptographically-enhanced, and, for privacy, browsing and other Internet usage traces are minimised. Components include LUKS for disk-encryption, Nautilus Wipe for erasing disk traces using the Nautilus file manager, KeePassX for password generation and encyrypted password storage, the Firefox plug-in HTTPS Everywhere to ensure the usage of encrypted website portals, and Off-the-Record_Messaging for Internet Message encryption, among others.
  • Anonymous email tips -- setting up web-based email anonymously through the Tor network
  • Free webhost reviews -- any online storage site must be assumed to be insecure, so these should always be accessed through Tor and never used for private files. A popular method is to sign up for a webhost account (through Tor) using an anonymous email account (also created using Tor) then subsequently to use Filezilla with Tor to securely transfer files to the webhost. See this article if interested in using the webhost as a webseed for BitTorrent. Because many free webhost providers are insecure, you may wish to consider accessing the free webhost within a quarantined virtual machine and access the webhost only through Tor (such as with Filezilla with Tor).
  • Here are some moderated lists of Tor hidden services from the Deep Web Wiki (primarily accessible with Tor running and enabled as a proxy):

Similar networks:

Graphics and Video Applications

Graphics and Video Applications allow you to edit your favourite photos, create stunning 3D drawings, or professionally edit your videos and movies.

Kino (Non-linear Video Editing Suite)

Kino is a widely used GUI-based non-linear video editing suite for Linux.

sudo apt-get install kino mjpegtools

Cinelerra (Non-linear Video Editing Suite)

Cinelerra Community Version is a complete high-end open source video editing suite that is a derivative of a similar commercial system. Follow the installation instructions for Ubuntu Intrepid.

KdenLive (Non-linear Video Editing Suite for KDE)

Kdenlive is a GUI-based non-linear video editing suite for KDE based on FFmpeg and the MLT video framework. It is optimised for KDE 4.

sudo apt-get install kdenlive mjpegtools

Avidemux (Video editor/processor)

Avidemux is a free, GPL-licensed open source cross-platform video editor and processor that supports many filetypes (MPG/DVD, AVI, MP4, ASF). Install the GTK-based version:

sudo apt-get install avidemux

Dia (Diagram editor)

Dia is a free open source GTK-based diagram creation program for Gnome. It is similar to Visio.

sudo apt-get install dia

Kivio (Diagram editor)

Kivio is an open source flow-chart and diagram creation program that is part of the KOffice Suite for KDE. It supports Dia stencils.

sudo apt-get install kivio

GIMP (Image Manipulator)

Gimp is a powerful, full-featured, free open-source graphics and image editor, similar to Adobe Photoshop.

sudo apt-get install gimp

There is an extra set of brushes, palettes, and gradients for The GIMP.

sudo apt-get install gimp-data-extras

Inkscape Vector Illustrator

Inkscape Vector Illustrator is an open source drawing program similar to Illustrator and CorelDraw.

sudo apt-get install inkscape

recordMyDesktop (Desktop Session Recording)

recordMyDesktop is a desktop recording utility, which has both pyGTK and a pyQT4 GUI frontends available. Recordings are saved in Theora video/Vorbis audio files. See this tutorial. Also see this help video to enable sound recording. To install with the GTK frontend (since the Qt-frontend is not in the repositories):

sudo apt-get install recordmydesktop gtk-recordMyDesktop

Istanbul (Desktop Session Recording)

Istanbul is a desktop recorder for the Gnome desktop. It records your session into an OGG Theora video file.

sudo apt-get install istanbul

Wink (Presentation Editor)

Wink is a open source tutorial and presentation editor. It allows you to capture screenshots and use them for presentations.

sudo apt-get install wink

Note: The package is available for 32-bit systems only, although there are instructions for 64-bit installation here.

Digikam (Photo Organiser)

Digikam is a comprehensive open source digital photo organiser and editor. Install it:

sudo apt-get install digikam kipi-plugins digikam-doc

Google Picasa (Photo Organiser)

Google Picasa is a photo editor and organiser similar to Digikam. It allows uploads to a Google web server for online exchange. For more info, see the Picasa for Linux FAQ. A self-installing .deb file is available at Picasa 2.7 downloads.

Camorama (Web Cam)

Camorama is a simple GTK-based (i.e. Gnome-based) interface for webcams using the v4l (video for linux) drivers.

sudo apt-get install camorama

Multimedia Applications

Multimedia applications include music and video playback, CD and DVD playback and recording, and Internet TV as well as "terrestrial" (i.e. broadcast, satellite, and cable) TV viewing on your computer. Here is a nice review of some of the applications that enables conversion and handling of these types of files.

CDs and DVDs

DVD Playback Capability

To play encrypted DVDs, the libdvdcss2 package is essential. libdvdcss2 is a simple library designed for accessing DVDs like a block device without having to bother about the decryption. More information about this package can be found at VideoLAN.

  • You can install libdvdcss2 as a 64-bit .deb package without installing the Medibuntu repositories:
wget -c http://packages.medibuntu.org/pool/free/libd/libdvdcss/libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_amd64.deb
or a 32-bit .deb package:
wget -c http://packages.medibuntu.org/pool/free/libd/libdvdcss/libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.10-0.2medibuntu1_i386.deb
  • You can also use guidelines provided at Medibuntu. This will install the Medibuntu repositories on your system and then install the libdvdcss2 package:
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/jaunty.list --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
You can also install 32 bit or 64 bit Windows multimedia codecs (if you haven't already done so using ubuntu-restricted-extras):
sudo apt-get install w32codecs
sudo apt-get install w64codecs
  • Instead of downloading directly from Medibuntu, you could also use the script included with the libdvdread4 package to download and install libdvdcss2:
sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

K9copy DVD-Ripper

K9copy is the free open source DVD backup, copying, compression, and authoring utility that requires libdvdcss. For other info, see this or this guide. You can easily create MPEG-2. MPEG-4, or DVD videos with this utility.

sudo apt-get install k9copy
  • Tips: At times you may not be able to copy your DVD directly from DVD to DVD. This may because you have a small imperfection in the DVD, or because the DVD was initially created with a non-standard burning method. There are two methods that can help solve this problem:
  • Copy the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders from your original DVD directly to your hard drive. Then use k9copy to burn a DVD directly from these hard drive folders.
  • Use k3b (or Gnomebaker) to copy an .iso image from the original DVD to your hard drive. Then use k9copy to extract from the hard drive .iso image and then burn a DVD directly from it.


dvd::rip is a DVD backup/copy program, written in GTK-based perl, that uses the transcode video/audio processing and conversion tools. See the website for installation and official documentation. For other info, see this dvd::rip tutorial. Install:

sudo apt-get install dvdrip rar

DVD Fab DVD Ripper

DVD Fab is the favoured DVD backup tool for today's DVD encryption methods. It must be run in Wine (since it is a Windows application). It comes as a fully featured 30-day trial, but see these instructions for fine-tuning the trial period.


Handbrake is a GPL-licenced open source tool for converting DVD to MPEG-4 (iPod format) that is an alternative to k9copy. A self-installing .deb file is available from the website for download.

FFMPEG video / audio 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

Example: To convert a saved Flash video (.flv) to an MPEG-2 format playable on a DVD, convert:

ffmpeg -i samplevideo.flv -target ntsc-dvd samplevideo.mpg

Then use K3b (or Gnomebaker) to write the mpg file to a New DVD Data Project.

  • For PAL use -target pal-dvd. For widescreen, use -target film-dvd. For other conversion tips, see this forum. (Note: Most Flash video has very low resolution, with a screen size of 360x270, for example. You may see a slight diminishment in resolution if you wish to convert it to 720x480 (which is the NTSC standard size) or other screen size. You can keep the original screen size and resolution by omitting the -target parameter.) If your original file is 16:9 widescreen and you desire a 4:3 letterbox output for playing on an overscanned TV, you may need to pad the file so that the widescreen is not compressed (see this forum):
ffmpeg -i samplevideo.flv -target ntsc-dvd -s 648x364 -padleft 36 -padright 36 -padtop 58 -padbottom 58 samplevideo.mpg
  • You can also use the WinFF GUI and add the command (as above) as a "Preset," for subsequent use. For example:
Video converter (WinFF) -> Edit -> Presets ->
Preset Name: Letterbox -> Preset Label: 16:9 Widescreen to 4:3 Letterbox
Preset command: -target ntsc-dvd -s 648x364 -padleft 36 -padright 36 -padtop 58 -padbottom 58
Ouput file extension: mpg -> Category: DVD
-> Add/Update -> Save
  • To convert to MPEG-4 (mp4) files, use
ffmpeg -i samplevideo.flv outputvideo.mp4
  • FFMpeg requires that multiple restricted extra codecs be installed. This can be done in a single easy step from the command-line Terminal:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

WinFF is a free, GPL-licensed open source GUI frontend for FFMPEG. Install:

sudo apt-get install winff xterm
Applications -> Multimedia -> Video converter (WinFF)
Join video segments

Individual video segments (MPEG-2, for example) can easily be joined:

cat samplevideo1.mpg samplevideo2.mpg samplevideo3.mpg > samplevideo123.mpg
You can then write the resulting MPEG-2 file to a DVD and play it in most DVD players.

Save any streaming Flash video

An easy way is to install the Video Download Helper plug-in for Firefox.

Otherwise, most Flash videos download to the /tmp directory while you watch the video, creating a randomly-named video file there (such as Flashuh4G6s). When you close the webpage, this file in the /tmp directory will be erased. After the entire video has downloaded, but before you close the webpage, copy that file (such as Flashuh4G6s) to your home directory (where it will not be erased). Of course, for this to work, you must change your Flash (or Gnash) settings to allow an unlimited buffer. While watching your Flash video, right click to bring up the Flash -> Settings window. Set the Buffer to "Unlimited."

Once you have copied the file, rename it appropriately with the .flv added to the filename. You can then watch it using VLC or Mplayer.

Here is another method that involves making a symbolic link.

Convert Flash video audio to mp3

Once you have downloaded flash video content (.flv) from the Internet (using the Video Download Helper plug-in for Firefox, for example), the audio component can be converted to an mp3 using this command (from the command line Terminal). (This will work for any type of video file, not just Flash.)

ffmpeg -i nameofvideoclip.flv -ab 160k -ac 2 -ar 44100 -vn nameoffile.mp3

where -i indicates the input, -ab indicates the bit rate (in this example 160kb/sec), -vn means no video ouput, -ac 2 means 2 channels, -ar 44100 indicates the sampling frequency. See FFMPEG docs for more info.


2ManDVD is a GUI utility for creating DVD videos. It is the successor of ManDVD. Choose the version for your architecture and install it from the 2ManDVD website. Click on the download link and select to open it with the GDebi Package Installer (default). (If you have previously installed ManDVD you must uninstall it first.) For a usage tutorial, read this 2ManDVD guide.


Applications -> Sound & Video -> 2ManDVD


DeVeDe is a program to create video DVDs and CDs suitable for home players (i.e. VCD, sVCD or CVD) from any source video file that is supported by MPlayer. Choose the version for your architecture and install it from the DeVeDe website. Click on the download link and select to open it with the GDebi Package Installer (default). For a usage tutorial, read this DeVeDe guide.


Applications -> Sound & Video -> DeVeDe

DVD Author

DVD author allows you to create menus and format your MPEG-2 videos onto a DVD disc so that you can play it in a commercial DVD player. DVD Author is a command line tool, but several GUI's exist. Install:

sudo apt-get install dvdauthor

QDVDAuthor is a Qt-based GUI for DVD Author. Install:

sudo apt-get install qdvdauthor


Applications -> Multimedia -> QDVDAuthor

Follow instructions in the Quick-Start Guide:

QDVDAuthor -> Help -> Quick-Start Guide

For a tutorial on authoring DVDs, see this guide.

Gnomebaker (CD/DVD burner)

Gnomebaker is the default CD/DVD burning application for the Gnome desktop, installed by default in Ubuntu.

K3b (CD/DVD burner)

K3b (KDE Burn Baby Burn) is the default KDE CD and DVD burning utility included in Kubuntu, but can run well in Gnome. (Due to licensing requirements, mp3 capabilities must be installed separately as the libk3b3-mp3 package). Install:

sudo apt-get install k3b libk3b3-extracodecs

Ripper X CD Ripper/Encoder

Ripper X is a GTK-based (i.e. Gnome) open source utility to rip CD audio tracks to OGG, MP3, or FLAC formats. It supports CDDB lookups.

sudo apt-get install ripperx

Asunder CD Ripper/Encoder

Asunder is a GTK-based open source CD ripper/encoder which saves to Wav, MP3, OGG, FLAC, or WavPack. Self-installing .deb packages are available here.

Audex CD Ripper/Encoder

Audex is a port to KDE4 of the KAudioCreator package used in KDE 3. It can create output for LAME (MP3-compliant), OGG Vorbis (oggenc), FLAC and RIFF WAVE. It must be installed from source, currently (see the website).

EasyTag (ID3 Tag Editor)

EasyTag is an open-source GTK-based ID3 Tag Editor for mp3 and other file formats. Install:

sudo apt-get install easytag


Applications -> Sound & Video -> EasyTAG

Audacity (Audio Editor and Recorder)

Audacity is a popular cross-platform free open source (GPL-licensed) audio recorder and editor. It can be used to record, splice, edit, and manipulate sound files similar to tools found in recording studios. Install:

sudo apt-get install audacity

Ardour (Digital Audio Workstation)

Ardour provides the premier open source digital audio editing tool used on Linux (and OSX) platforms. (Ardour is used in UbuntuStudio.) Install:

sudo apt-get install ardour

UbuntuStudio (Ubuntu distribution customized for multimedia editing)

UbuntuStudio is an official derivative of Ubuntu that pre-packages many multimedia editing packages. (Each of the packages can also be installed independently.) See the website for a full list of the premier audiovisual software packages available for Ubuntu Linux.

Music Players


Rhythmbox is the default music player in Ubuntu (Gnome), relying on the Gstreamer framework.


Amarok is the default music player in Kubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install amarok
Amarok themes

Amarok themes can be downloaded from KDE Look and installed.

  • Download the theme (ending in .tar.bz2) to your home directory (or chosen directory).
  • Amarok -> Settings -> Appearance -> Install New Style
  • Select the downloaded file.


Audacious is a compact, fast music player that is a fork of XMMS. It resembles WinAmp and can use WinAmp and XMMS skins. It supports many plugins and is ideal for streaming content. Install:

sudo apt-get install audacious

You can switch switch between the "PulseAudio Output Plugin" and the "ALSA Output Plugin" under

Audacious -> Preferences -> Audio -> Current output plugin.

Banshee Music Player

Banshee is a Gstreamer, Mono and Gtk-based music player for Linux and Mac OS X. It supports multiple mp3 players (including the iPod).There are plugins for podcasts, internet radio, and more.

sudo apt-get install banshee

Exaile Music Manager and Player

Exaile is a GTK-based music player that supports many formats, incorporates a Shoutcast directory, a plugin for iPod, Last.FM support, tabbed playlists, and other features. Install:

sudo apt-get install exaile

Songbird Music Player

Songbird is an open source music player from Mozilla with an appearance meant to resemble iTunes. It is in current development and does not yet have full support for mp3 players (such as the iPod). It incorporates a Shoutcast internet radio interface. The current beta version can be downloaded from the website.

Video and Music Players

Most current video multimedia players play many video formats, including the Flash video .flv format.

MPlayer Multimedia Player

Mplayer is a video player with a wide range of formats supported (including RealMedia and Windows-codecs) and a wide variety of outputs.

sudo apt-get install mplayer

SMPlayer is an enhanced frontend for MPlayer.

sudo apt-get install smplayer
Dump a video stream to disc

You can dump a video stream to disc using Mplayer:

mplayer -dumpstream streamurl

If you don't know the exact URL of the stream you wish to save, you can discover it from the webpage it is embedded in by using the Firefox add-on UnPlug. Do not save streams that are illegal to download.

VLC Multimedia Player

VLC is a cross-platform multimedia player that supports many formats without need for additional codecs. It can not only receive video streams (also see here to convert it to mp4), but can act as a server for video streams, as well. It is one of the only players that can view and backup almost any DVD format, no matter which copy protection is used. See these tips for using VLC to backup/rip encrypted DVDs.

sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse
Playing VCD on VLC

How to play VCDs: Open file, In the Open Disc dialogue, click at Disc tab and chosing VCD at disc type gives me this:

vcdx:///dev/hdd :audio-track=0

in the advanced options /dev/hdd is my CD-ROM drive, obviously. Remove x and change that to:

vcd:///dev/hdd :audio-track=0

Xine-UI Multimedia Player

Xine UI is a multimedia player based, of course, on the xine platform. It can also play streamed video from the Internet and supports most formats, including some uncommon ones.

 sudo apt-get install xine-ui

Kaffeine Video Player

Kaffeine is the default video player in Kubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install kaffeine

RealPlayer 11 Multimedia Player

The Linux Realplayer is actually based on the open-source Helix player. Helix itself can be installed as a package easily (read Helix plug-in) and used instead of Realplayer. These instructions are to install the proprietary version of RealPlayer only.

Download Real Player official linux player

Open a terminal and cd to the directory you have downloaded realplayer's .bin file. Then issue the following commands

chmod +x RealPlayer11GOLD.bin
sudo ./RealPlayer11GOLD.bin

When it asks for installation path enter /usr/local/RealPlayer

For all other questions just choose default by pressing enter.

If you have installed mozilla-mplayer package you will need to delete the mplayer firefox plugin for real player videos. Other wise all real player files will open with mplayer. For that please do this

cd /usr/lib/firefox/plugins
sudo rm mplayerplug-in-rm.*

Please remember to restart firefox and when ever you click on a real player video choose the option open with and use /usr/bin/realplay

Internet TV

Miro Player

Miro Player (formerly Democracy TV Player) is an open-source Internet TV and video player that allows you to watch Internet TV and videos. Unlike other video players, it contains a structured guide that includes more than 2500 channels, has built-in BitTorrent, and has features that can automatically save videos, such as from YouTube.

sudo apt-get install miro

Myth TV

See MythTV

Sopcast Internet TV

Sopcast is an interface to play live P2P video streams through the VLC media player. Install VLC first. This is a Chinese program and most content is hosted in China and may not be legal in your area. Please consult local regulations.

Download and install:

wget http://sopcast-player.googlecode.com/files/sp-auth_3.0.1_i386.deb
wget http://sopcast-player.googlecode.com/files/sopcast-player_0.3.0-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i sp-auth_3.0.1_i386.deb sopcast-player_0.3.0-0ubuntu1_i386.deb

For 64-bit systems, use:

wget http://sopcast-player.googlecode.com/files/sp-auth_3.0.1_amd64.deb
wget http://sopcast-player.googlecode.com/files/sopcast-player_0.3.0-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i sp-auth_3.0.1_amd64.deb sopcast-player_0.3.0-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb


Applications->Sound & Video->SopCast Player


Zattoo is a free Internet TV player that allows you to watch terrestrial television from various countries in Europe. See the Zattoo Download page for further instructions on installation. For screenshots and an alternate installation guide, see this UbuntuGeek guide.

  • Install dependencies first:
sudo apt-get install libgtkglext1 adobe-flashplugin
 wget http://zattoo.com/release/download.php
  • Install the downloaded .deb package:
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
  • Run Zattoo:
K -> Application -> Multimedia -> Zattoo Player
Note: you have to register for a free account when the player starts.

Media Centers and PVR (Personal Video Recorder)

There are a number of open-source Media Centers for Linux, some of which include personal video recorder functions. For a full list of open-source media centers, see this guide.


MythTV is a media center with PVR (personal video recorder) for retrieving, recording, and playing broadcast and Internet TV and other multimedia content. It has many options and plugins for expansion. To be useful, you will need a compatible TV tuner card. For setup tips, see this guide. Install:

sudo apt-get install mythtv


Mythbuntu is an integrated Ubuntu (Xubuntu) desktop optimised for MythTV usage. In can be used instead of adding MythTV to a Ubuntu desktop.


XBMC is a free, mature, open-source cross-platform media center. It does not have a PVR capability nor as many functions as MythTV, but has a very nice interface.

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-intrepid/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-intrepid/ubuntu intrepid main
  • Install:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc


Boxee is an XBMC-like open source package to allow streaming video over the Internet, including from YouTube and other sites. It is a fork of XBMC, and is still in alpha development and testing stage. It is currently available for 32-bit systems only, and recommended for Hardy. A current version is anticipated soon. (Note: Boxee does not run Netflix on Linux, despite their ads). See these download instructions.


Elisa is a cross-platform media center that uses the Gstreamer multimedia framework. Commercial plugins are available from Fluendo. It supports PVR and Music Jukebox . Install:

sudo apt-get install elisa


See LinuxMCE.

Multimedia Servers

MPD Multimedia Playing Server

MPD is a music server meant for LAN usage. It can be controlled from remote clients. It can also stream internet streams.

TiMidity++ MIDI Sound Server

TiMidity is a MIDI software synthesizer required by several games and other MIDI-dependent applications.

sudo apt-get install timidity

uShare UPnP A/V Media Server

uShare is a UPnP media server compatible with the Xbox360 and PS3.

sudo apt-get install ushare

Also see: How-to: Run uShare at Startup.

Multimedia Encoders

Gnac (GNome Audio Converter)

Gnac (GNome Audio Converter) converts between all GStreamer supported audio formats. It is not yet part of the standard repositories. See these installation instructions.

SOX (encodes/decodes audio)

SoX is a somewhat confusing command-line utility to convert audio formats. See this usage guide. Install:

sudo apt-get install sox



Internet Radio

Internet radio streams through different ports, so check your firewall if you are not able to play the streams.

Last FM

LastFM is a service for sharing music recommendations and individual radio streams. It is included as an option in Amarok, or can be installed separately:

sudo apt-get install lastfm

Shoutcast Internet Radio

Shoutcast is the first and last free mp3 streaming service. Hundreds of radio streams can be played through Amarok, Audacious, or other multimedia player. Simply associate the .pls streams with your favourite player (Audacious or XMMS2 recommended).

StreamTuner Stream Directory Browser

StreamTuner lists streams available on the Internet through a GTK-based interface. It lists Shoutcast and Live365 streams, among others. Install:

sudo apt-get install streamtuner

BBC program recording

  • get_iplayer allows BBC streams (through their iplayer service) for UK users, as well as Hulu streams for US users, to be recorded to mp4, wav and mp3 files (depending on content). See the website for usage.
  • iPlayer can be run in Wine using these instructions.

Home Automation / Home Theater / Home Security

Complete Systems

Linux MCE (Media Center Edition)

LinuxMCE is an integrated home theater/home security/home automation/telephone PBX/intercom system for your home. It incorporates MythTV, Pluto home automation, Motion security surveillance, Asterisk PBX, VDR video disk recorder, and other home automation/security/theater packages in an integrated platform. It is available in 32 and 64 bit versions. LinuxMCE can run either as a standalone Home Theater PC or can co-ordinate a fully networked home, using the networking capabilities that are intrinsically part of the Kubuntu Linux OS. For more info see the LinuxMCE website or wiki.

The most recent stable version runs on Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy). An alpha version for Kubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) has been released, and the full version is anticipated soon. LinuxMCE can be installed at the same time as the Kubuntu OS (on a new PC with an nVidia graphics card), with a single DVD installation. Alternatively, Kubuntu can be installed first and LinuxMCE then installed from a 2 CD installation.

Home Security

Zoneminder surveillance system

Zoneminder manages surveillance cameras and stores images on the hard disk. Images can be viewed using a (LAMP) server remotely. X10 devices can be triggered using built-in perl scripts. For more info see the Zoneminder website.


sudo apt-get install zoneminder ffmpeg
Myth Zoneminder

MythZoneminder allows you to view your security cameras through Myth TV, essentially. It is a plugin that interfaces the two packages Zoneminder (which must be working on your system) and Myth TV (which must also be working.) See the installation instructions.

It can be found in Synaptic as the mythzoneminder package.

sudo apt-get install mythzoneminder

Productivity Applications

Office Suites

Open Office

Open Office is installed by default in Ubuntu, with Writer (Word equivalent), Presentation (PowerPoint equivalent), Calc spreadsheet (Excel equivalent), and Base relational database (Access equivalent).

Open Word 2007 Documents in Open Office

The latest edition of OpenOffice opens .docx (i.e. Word 2007) documents by default.


The KOffice suite is part of the KDE project and is meant to provide the capabilities of the OpenOffice suite without the licensing restrictions of OpenOffice. It can be used in any version of Ubuntu. Install:

sudo apt-get install koffice


AbiWord is a fast, collaboration-enabled word processor. For the most current version see the AbiWord web site. To install from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install abiword


gscan2pdf is a GTK-based package that includes an interface to the scanning module sane, the OCR module tesseract, and modules to scan files into and then manipulate (including rotation, renumbering, and merging) PDF files. Install:

sudo apt-get install gscanpdf

Personal Information Managers

Kontact Personal Information Manager

Kontact is the default PIM included with Kubuntu. Kontact includes email, an address book, a calendar, reminders, pop-up notes, a link to the Akregator News/RSS reader, time-tracking, and more. Its many functions resemble MS-Outlook. Through connectors it interfaces with many groupware servers (such as Kolab and eGroupware). Install:

sudo apt-get install kontact

Mozilla Sunbird (Calendar)

Sunbird is a standalone group calendar in the Thunderbird and Firefox family of applications, and is compatible with ICS, CalDAV (e.g. DAViCAL, and WCAP servers. (It operates almost identically to the Lightning calendar extension of Thunderbird.)

sudo apt-get install sunbird
  • A related (branded) package known as SeaMonkey Calendar can also be installed.
sudo apt-get install mozilla-calendar
  • A related (unbranded) package known as IceApe Calendar can also be installed.
sudo apt-get install iceape-calendar

BasKet Note Pads

BasKet Note Pads is a personal note-taking application that resides on your computer and can be used for creating "to-do" lists. It is great for centralising your thoughts in one place. Install it:

sudo apt-get install basket

Planner (Project planning & management)

Planner is an MS-Project-like planning and management tool.

sudo apt-get install planner

Time Tracker

You can keep track how long you use an application with TimeTracker. Keep records for billing or simply limit your Internet usage.

Financial Software

For a brief introduction, see this list of 10 Linux financial tools.

GnuCash (Personal Finance Management)

GnuCash is a free, open source GPL-licensed personal finance manager that uses double entry accounting like professional accountants. It is GTK-based (Gnome 2). The current version can be installed from source files (see the website for installation instructions), or the package version can be installed:

Applications -> Add/Remove Programs -> Office -> GnuCash Finance Management

or from the command-line terminal:

sudo apt-get install gnucash

KMyMoney (Personal Finance Management)

KMyMoney is a personal finance manager that uses double entry accounting, the method professional accountants use. It is similar to MS-MyMoney and Intuit QuickBooks. It is designed for the KDE desktop. Install:

Applications -> Add/Remove Programs -> Office -> KMyMoney

or from the command-line terminal:

sudo apt-get install kmymoney2

Moneydance (Personal Finance Management)

Moneydance is a commercial cross-platform Java-based personal finance manager similar to KMyMoney that sells for $40 per license.

SQL-Ledger (Enterprise Finance Management)

SQL-Ledger ERP is a free, open-source, platform independent double-accounting-method system and enterprise resource planner (inventory, work and purchase orders, taxes, etc.) that uses the SQL database server (PostgreSQL/Oracle/Mysql databases). It uses a web browser for an interface and be accessed remotely. It is extremely comprehensive and is available in many languages. Install:

sudo apt-get install sql-ledger

WebERP (Enterprise Finance Management)

WebERP is a free, open-source enterprise resource planner and accounting suite similar to SQL-Ledger that uses a web browser as an interface. It runs on the LAMP server. It is somewhat difficult to implement and use, but conforms to strict accounting guidelines. Set up your LAMP server first, then install using the web site instructions.

Phreebooks (Enterprise Finance Management)

Phreebooks is a free open-source enterprise resource planner and accounting suite similar to WebERP. It also runs on a LAMP server. It is in active development in 2008. A demo is available at the website.

Quasar (Enterprise Finance Management)

Quasar is a proprietary Linux-based accounting suite similar to Quickbooks. For a single user without point-of-sale or networking needs, it is free. For other users it costs CA$500 per seat. An installer for KDE-based systems is here.


Groupware solutions include shared calendars, group email servers, groups address lists, group projects, and internal messaging. They require (one or more) servers with LAMP or similar server stacks.

Groupware Servers

Groupware servers are meant to operate on a server platform. You must install the server version of Ubuntu/Ubuntu first. Read Servers.


Kolab is the most comprehensive open-source groupware solution available and is distributed as a multi-platform solution. (It integrates easily with both Ubuntu (including Evolution) and KDE/Kubuntu (including Kontact).) It is free and open source with a GPL license (unlike other groupware solutions), yet enterprise support is also available. It is scalable to large organizations and is Outlook (MS-Exchange) and Mozilla compatible. This is a German package, however, and documentation in English can occasionally be limited. The Kolab website provides its own instructions for installation from source (currently v. 2.2). Version 2.2 includes the Horde web interface. In brief:

  • Install the compiler and other necessary stuff:
sudo apt-get install build-essential
  • Make a directory for the Kolab installation and make it universally accessible:
sudo cd /
sudo mkdir /kolab
sudo chmod 777 /kolab
  • Optional: If you wish to mount kolab in its own partition, then create a new partition (using Gparted, for example). Figure out the device name of your extra partition:
sudo fdisk -l
It should be something like /dev/sda3.
Mount /dev/sda3 (or whatever your partition is) as /kolab by editing /etc/fstab:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
and adding the line:
/dev/sda3  /kolab  ext3  defaults,rw 0 0
then reboot and make sure there are no errors.
  • Make a directory into which to download kolab:
cd /tmp
mkdir /kolabtmp
  • Download all the current Kolab files:
cd /tmp/kolabtmp
wget -r -l1 -nd --no-parent http://files.kolab.org/server/release/kolab-server-2.2.2/sources/
  • Install Kolab (as root using sudo -s):
sudo -s
sh install-kolab.sh 2>&1 | tee kolab-install.log
  • Reboot your system.
  • Stop Kolab services and run the configuration utility:
sudo /kolab/bin/openpkg rc all stop
sudo /kolab/sbin/kolab_bootstrap -b
Obviously, you should know all your details, such as your fully qualified host name (which you can determine from hostname -f), domain details, etc., before doing this step. If you are not familiar with OpenLDAPand LDAP basics, you should learn about it, as Kolab uses the slapd OpenLDAP server daemon.
  • Restart all Kolab services:
sudo /kolab/bin/openpkg rc all start
  • Login to the web administrator interface using "manager" and the password you set at bootstrap configuration:
Kolab Ubuntu package
  • There is an Ubuntu/Kubuntu package for the new version of Kolab (v. 2.2), but no documentation support for it yet exists. I have not tried this new package. Install:
sudo apt-get install kolabd

Notes: Kolab uses its own server components, and it is best to run Kolab on a dedicated server. However, it is possible to run other servers on the same machine, as long as you choose alternate ports if the server modules conflict.


Citadel is a turn-key fully open source groupware solution (that is also Kolab compliant) with a structure rooted in bulletin-board systems, and is therefore user friendly. Installation instructions are found at the website.


eGroupware is a robust and stable free open source groupware solution (with GPL license) based on the LAMP stack (the default server stack included with Ubuntu Server) and the Postfix mail server (both of which should be installed first). There is a new version recently available, with a new corporate sponsor in Germany and a commercial enterprise version. Compatibility with many clients has been improved. Egroupware provides the easiest installation and quickest setup time of all groupware solutions. Much of the documentation for the current version, unfortunately, is not in English.

sudo apt-get install egroupware

Open-Xchange is a proprietary groupware solution (meant as an MS-Exchange replacement) that has released a "community edition" based on commercial versions. The latest .deb package is for Hardy Heron 8.04. It is compliant with many different types of clients, including Kontact, Outlook, and Palm PDAs. Installation instructions are at the website and are not trivial.


OpenGroupware is a groupware solution based on the postgreSQL database. There is an enterprise version and a limited open source version, and development appears to have been stagnant in 2008. Installation must be from source, as packages are very outdated. See the website for details.


Zarafa is the leading European MS-Exchange replacement/groupware solution. It is proprietary, but a GPL-licensed (except for trademarks) free open-source community edition was released in 2008. Download instructions are available from the website.


Zimbra is a proprietary groupware solution that offers an open source "community edition". Although currently free, the community edition is limited in features and does not have a GPL license. All submitted modifications and contributions become the property of Yahoo.

The latest version is for Hardy Heron 8.04 LTS and can be downloaded as a .tar.gz file from the website.

SugarCRM Server

SugarCRM is a commercial customer relationship management (CRM) platform and groupware server (sales, marketing, support, project management, calendaring) system with a community edition. It supports MySQL and MS SQL databases. For more info see SugarCRM Server Setup.


SchoolTool is a free open source groupware solution for use in primary and secondary schools which includes calendaring, gradebooks, attendance records, and student information databases. It was created with the help of the Shuttleworth Foundation (which also sponsors Ubuntu). See these installation instructions.

Groupware Clients

Many groupware solutions have connectors to interface with clients such as Kontact/KMail and Mozilla Thunderbird (or SeaMonkey).

Kontact Personal Information Manager

The Kontact Personal Information Manager, included in Ubuntu by default, interfaces with many groupware servers.

KDE Groupware Wizard

Kubuntu provides a wizard (script) to help clients (such as Kontact/Kmail) connect to a groupware server. Currently supported groupware servers are Kolab, eGroupware, SUSE Linux Openexchange, and Novell Groupwise.

Zimbra Desktop

Zimbra Desktop is a desktop that collaborates with Zimbra servers. See the Zimbra Desktop FAQ. For more info also see Ubuntugeek's Zimbra Desktop Installation Guide for Hardy 8.04.

Oracle Calendar Desktop Client

The Oracle Calendar Desktop Client is proprietary calendaring software for use with Oracle groupware/database systems.

Download Oracle Calendar Desktop Client:

wget http://www.k-state.edu/infotech/calendar/oracle-10-clients/DesktopClients/Linux/cal_linux_1011.tar.gz


tar -xvf cal_linux_1011.tar.gz

Change into the extracted files directory:

cd OracleCalendar_inst/

Prepare the files:

mv cal_linux cal_linux.bak; cat cal_linux.bak | sed "s/export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL/#xport LD_ASSUME_KERNEL/" > cal_linux; rm cal_linux.bak

Change permissions:

chmod +x gui_install.sh cal_linux

Start the GUI installer:

sudo sh gui_install.sh

Wiki software

Wiki software allows an organization to have a manual that can be edited by a number of collaborators. Wikipedia is the best known example.


MediaWiki is the free, open source server software that Wikipedia uses. It is scalable to very large uses. It runs on the LAMP server stack (which uses the MySQL database and is available as an installation option with the (K)ubuntu server), or it can be used with a postgreSQL database. Installation instructions are here. Also see these tips. Install (version 1.13) from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install mediawiki
  • Edit the config file so it recognizes MediaWiki:
sudo nano /etc/mediawiki/apache.conf

Uncomment (remove the #) the line:

Alias /mediawiki /var/lib/mediawiki
  • Restart apache2:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  • Run/install MediaWiki by logging into:
You will be prompted for configuration variables to be set. The trickiest is the MySQL user/password. Hopefully you remember your MySQL superuser that you set at the time of LAMP (or MySQL) installation.
  • Copy your local settings configuration file to /etc/mediawiki (and make a backup of the original):
sudo cp /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php /etc/mediawiki
sudo mv /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings_at_install.php

Edit your configuration variables there:

sudo kate /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php
  • If you are using a virtual host server, make a symbolic link (named in this example mywiki) from your /usr/share/mediawiki installation folder to your /var/www folder:
sudo ln -s /usr/share/mediawiki /var/www/mywiki

then make sure you have an apache2 virtual hosts configuration file (in /etc/apache2/sites-available) that points to /var/www/mywiki as the DocumentRoot. Make a symbolic link from your virtual host configuration file in /etc/apache2/sites-available to /etc/apache2/sites-enabled to enable it. Restart apache2 after enabling the sites. (Warning: MediaWiki is not secure at installation and can be easily hacked by new users. Do not publish your wiki to the Internet before reading all the instructions and changing the configuration file (LocalSettings.php) so that it is more secure.) You would then access the database at:


ReCaptcha is a webservice CAPTCHA module to present a text challenge for user-input that is unreadable by computer bots, lessening the chance of automated input (spam and vandalism). This can be used for wikis and for other uses.

A reCaptcha plugin for MediaWiki is available here (and instructions are repeated below).

  • Download and install:
cd /var/lib/mediawiki/extensions
sudo wget -O currentrecaptcha.zip http://recaptcha.googlecode.com/files/recaptcha-mediawiki-1.7.zip
sudo unzip currentrecaptcha.zip
sudo rm currentrecaptcha.zip
  • Sign up for a private/public key pair from the ReCaptcha website.
  • Edit the Mediawiki LocalSettings.php file (assuming you put it in /etc/mediawiki):
sudo nano /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php
and add the following lines:
#For ReCaptcha
require_once( "$IP/extensions/recaptcha/ReCaptcha.php" );
# Sign up for these at http://recaptcha.net/api/getkey
$recaptcha_public_key = ' xyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyx ';
$recaptcha_private_key = ' ababababababababa ';
where xyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyx is the public key obtained in the previous step and ababababababababa is the private key.

Now ReCaptcha should appear automatically for new user sign-ups, anonymous edits that contain new external links, and brute-force password cracking attempts.


Twiki is an open source wiki engine used by many small to medium size companies internally. It has an active development team with multiple plugins. See the website for installation instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install twiki

Moin Moin

Moin Moin is free, open source (GPL-licensed) wiki software written using Python, with a large community of users, including the Apache, Debian, and Ubuntu wikis. See these Ubuntu installation instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install python-moinmoin


TiddlyWiki is an open source personal wiki. It is ideal for creating a list of things to do, note taking, or as a collaboration tool for a small team. It is a single HTML file that can reside on your computer or can even be uploaded to a web server and be used as a simple website. It is developed using a Firefox browser as an interface. Installation instructions are on the website.


Kompozer Web Development Editor

Kompozer is a Gecko-based web authoring system that combines web page editing with web file management in a WYSIWYG manner. It supports XML, CSS, and JavaScript in an XUL architecture. Jaunty users must use version 0.8 (from the website), as the earlier repository version (0.7.10) is not compatible with the newer version of GTK included in Jaunty.

sudo apt-get install kompozer

Quanta Plus (Web IDE)

Quanta Plus is an integrated development environment integrated with the KDE desktop. It allows webpage development, database design, and XML design and scripting, for example, using multiple development tools. The latest stable version is 3.5, however, and integrates with the KDE 3.5 environment (Ubuntu Hardy Heron). You should therefore use Ubuntu Hardy Heron with this product. (There is also a commercial version (Quanta Gold), also oriented towards KDE 3).

sudo apt-get install quanta kompare kxsldbg cervisia

Netbeans IDE

Netbeans is a free open-source integrated development environment used to create applications using Ajax, Ruby, pHp, Groovy, Java, Javascript, C++, and other scripting tools.

sudo apt-get install netbeans

BlueFish Web Development Editor

BlueFish is a GTK-based (Gnome-oriented) editor to write websites, scripts and programming code. It supports perl, Python, pHp, CSS, XML, Java, Javascript, C, SQL, and other formats.

sudo apt-get install bluefish

Subversion Version Control System

A version control system maintains the revision history details for software package repositories. Developers who submit frequent software updates for their packages will be assured of using the most current version using such a system. Subversion is the leading system in this category and is free and open source. Install:

sudo apt-get install subversion

Web Publishing

Drupal (Web content publishing)

Drupal is a leading open-source package for website creation and content collaboration for large-scale websites. A modular approach to website building, from simple out-of-the-box websites to complex sites, is possible with a short learning curve. Get more info on how to get started. Drupal requires an installation of a LAMP server stack; if you have not already installed LAMP, it will be installed along with Drupal 6. I have found it easier to use the MySQL database (the "M" in LAMP), but Drupal6 can also integrate with PostgreSQL if you have it installed. Drupal is available as a package, or from the command-line terminal:

sudo apt-get install drupal6
  • After everything is installed (and the problems below sorted out), restart the apache2 server:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  • Finish installation through your browser:

You can then also see these tips for installation through the browser. A Drupal/Ubuntu users group is found at Drubuntu.

Installation quirks


When I installed my Ubuntu server, it installed libgd2-noxpm. This is a graphics library (without X pixmap (XPM) or font configuration (fontconfig) support). However, Drupal requires libgd2-xpm, which is used instead of libgd2-xpm. Removing libgd2-xpm doesn't appear to be trivial, however. I could not remove it using Adept or KPackageKit.

However, both apt (from the command line) and Synaptic Package Manager appear to remove libgd2-noxpm successfully, and then libgd2-xpm is correctly installed.

Exim vs. Postfix

Exim and Postfix are mail handlers. I had installed Postfix at the time I installed my Ubuntu server (but was not using it). But Drupal uses Exim and therefore removes Postfix at installation and installs Exim instead. Therefore, it is better not to use Drupal on a mail server that uses Postfix.


WordPress is a popular free open source web content manager that started as a blog tool and now incorporates many publishing elements. For bloggers and small to medium-sized websites, WordPress provides the fastest installation and customization process with many modules. WordPress requires an installation of a LAMP server stack first. Then install:

sudo apt-get install wordpress
  • Make a symbolic link from your Apache2 www folder to your installation folder and install a new MySQL database named localhost to use with WordPress:
sudo ln -s /usr/share/wordpress /var/www/wordpress
sudo bash /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql -n wordpress localhost

Note: If you already know the name of your (virtual) host URL for WordPress, then use it as the name of your database instead of localhost. For example, my URL is mysite_x.homeserve.org so my command is:

sudo bash /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql -n wordpress mysite_x.homeserve.org
  • If you will access your WordPress server through a virtual host, then create your virtual host configuration file in the /etc/apache2/sites-available folder. Once you have edited the file, make a symbolic link from it to the /etc/apache2/sites-enabled folder. Restart apache2:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  • Install WordPress through a browser:
or, if you are using a virtual host:

Note: The Jaunty repositories contain version 2.7.1, which is subject to a security worm. If you install this version, please update immediately to the current version from the Tools -> Upgrade menu. (Alternatively, install the current source version from the website.)

For the automatic updater to work, all the WordPress files, folders, and subfolders must be owned by www-data (which is also the owner of the apache2 process) prior to updating.

sudo chown -R www-data /usr/share/wordpress

Joomla (Web content publishing)

Joomla is a powerful open source website creation and content management tool that allows website creation for use in every arena from the simple to complex corporate environments. Info for beginners is a good place to start.

Scribus (Desktop publishing)

Scribus is an open-source package that provides professional-appearing desktop publishing.

sudo apt-get install scribus

Plone (Content Management System)

Plone is a free, open source (GPL-licensed) multi-platform content management system used by many large organizations around the world. It is available with an integrated installer here. Some users have had some difficulties in Jaunty, due to changes in Python.

Science, Technology, and Engineering Applications

What .. you thought Ubuntu was just for play? Also see Ubuntu Science.

Health applications

VistA (Enterprise Electronic Health Record)

OpenVistA and WorldVistA are two varieties of the largest and most robust CCHIT-approved electronic health record platform in the public domain. They are GPL licensed, are based on the US Veterans Administration health record system, and can be installed as an integrated database, server, and client system. See the detailed download and installation instructions for OpenVistA and WorldVistA, or visit Vistapedia for other instructions. Also see the Ultimate Server with OpenVistA EHR.

Mathematical solutions

Scilab, Octave, and Freemat are three open source solutions for solving complex numerical mathematical problems. Symbolic mathematical problems can be solved with Maxima.


Gnu Octave is a free, open source (GPL licensed) platform for solving linear and non-linear equations, similar to (and mostly compatible with) Matlab. It interfaces well with Gnuplot. For troubleshooting tips, see this thread. Install:

sudo apt-get install octave3.0

Also recommended:

sudo apt-get install libatlas3gf-base gnuplot qtoctave

Note: QTOctave is a GUI for Gnuplot or Easyplot 1.1, and and the ATLAS library is an algebra-software-optimization set of utilities.

EasyPlot 1.1 is an alternative to GnuPlot, with a version that can be used with QTOctave. It must be installed from source.

An older GUI for Octave/Gnuplot is qgfe (available as the package qgfe).


Freemat is a free, open source (GPL licensed) platform for solving linear and non-linear equations, similar to (and mostly compatible with) Matlab. Install from Add/Remove Programs (Edutainment) or

sudo apt-get install freemat


Maxima is a free, open source (GPL licensed) computer algebra system (CAS) for doing symbolic mathematics. It can solve equations with many variables, simplify expressions, do calculus, and many other advanced operations. To install:

sudo apt-get install wxmaxima maxima-share

To run, enter:


or select wxMaxima from the Applications/Education menu. wxMaxima is the standard Maxima GUI.

Amateur Radio applications

Fldigi is a free, open-source (GPL) application for digital-mode amateur radio communications using a sound card. Enable "Community Maintained Software (universe)" in Software Sources; then install either from Add/Remove Programs under (Amateur Radio) or by typing

sudo apt-get install fldigi
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