Ubuntu Starter Kit

By | September 25, 2009

3. Installing Multimedia stuff

a) Installing codecs

Before you install audio and video players you need to make sure that there are all the codecs. To install them use the following command:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

b) Video and audio players

Despite the fact that default video and audio players (Movie Player and Rhythmbox) are very decent as far as the functionality is concerned, no doubt there are better alternatives. Right now we are not going to describe all nice applications you can check, but just recommend you to install two of them – one for video, another one for audio files.

For video one of the best player to install is VLC Player, which represents a well-known media player that supports most audio and video formats, TV capture cards and many network streaming protocols. It doesn’t need any external codec, program or codec pack to work. To install it use the command:

sudo apt-get install vls vls-plugin-esd mozilla-plugin-vlc

As for the audio player Amarok would be a very nice choice. It represents a very popular media player

that has great functionality and usability. Using this application you can connect to different web services such as: Last.fm, Magnatune, Ampache, Librivox, MP3tunes, Shoutcast Radio, Jamendo, and OPML Podcast and etc. To install it simply go to Applications — Add/Remove — Search for «Amarok» – Choose it — Apply changes. In case you would like to install it from Terminal, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install amarok

Of course it doesn’t mean that you have to install the above mentioned applications. There are a great deal of multimedia programs to choose from. If you would like to check more of them, please read Multimedia in Ubuntu.

4. Wine installation

Wine represents a compatibility layer for running Windows applications on Linux. Applications are run at full speed without the need of cpu emulation. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, however it can use native system dll files in place of its own if they are available.

What you may need it for if you decided to change OS? Generally the transition period is a little bit painful because your favorite apps are missing and adaptation takes time. Thus it’s a pretty nice idea to use this program at least for some time. Here is the command to install it:

sudo apt-get install wine

5. Internet applications

a) Browsers

The default one is Firefox. In fact it’s the one we recommend. However in case you get used to Opera or Google Chrome we are not going to force you forget about them.

To install Chromium (Chrome for Linux) you will need to proceed the following steps:

– Edit you repository list, open /etc/apt/sources.list file with this command:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

– Add this to the end of the file, after that safe and exit:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

– Add the GPG key, use this command:

sudo apt-key adv <code>--</code>recv-keys <code>--</code>keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 0xfbef0d696de1c72ba5a835fe5a9bf3bb4e5e17b5

– Update the source list:

sudo apt-get upgrade

– Install Chromium using the following command:

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

– To use the browser go to Applications > Internet > Chromium Web Browser

As far as the Opera is concerned to install simply download it from the official website.

b) Instant Messaging Clients

Due to the fact that the default instant messaging client in Ubuntu is Pidgin, which is one of the best of its kind, supporting all the protocols you may need, the only thing you should install is Skype.

You will need to download the latest version of Skype from the official website. Make sure you choose the right version.

Taking into consideration the fact that Pidgin is not the only decent multi-protocol IM client, you can check the others too in order to find something else. Here is a nice post about most popular IM clients for Ubuntu.

c) Installing FTP client

In this case one of the best choice would be Filezilla. To install it simply run the command:

sudo apt-get install filezilla

d) Installing Torrent client

In fact you can easily skip this step because the default client – Transmission – is pretty nice one. However if you want to get a more functional torrent application, we would recommend you to install Deluge. To do so run the following command:

sudo apt-get install deluge-torrent

e) Installing Mail client

By default Evolution Mail and Calendar is installed. It’s a very nice multifunctional application that will satisfy the majority of users. Nevertheless if for some reasons you want to install another Mail client, we would suggest Thunderbird, which is probably familiar to you because there is a Windows version as well. Here is the command to install it:

sudo apt-get install mozilla-thunderbird

f) Installing Download manager

If you always use download managers to get the files from the Net than you should probably try Downloader for X. You can install it using the command:

sudo apt-get install d4x

g) Installing SIP client

If you get used to communicate with your friends via VOIP, why should you stop doing that? There are a lot of different applications for Ubuntu which can easily help you with that. We would recommend you to try Ekiga. To install it simply run the command:

sudo apt-get install ekiga

6. Relax, there is nothing more you should do (at least now :))

Hopefully the above mentioned steps will significantly improve your Ubuntu experience and make the adaptation period as short as possible.