Ubuntu installation guide extra: alternative programs to install

MacBook, coffee mug, and cactus

Last updated on February 25th, 2023

As an addendum to my previous post about tips for setting up Ubuntu post-installation, and at someone’s suggestion, this post covers possible alternative programs to the main ones I recommend/use. Showing some of the choices available might be useful, along with showing off the myriad of options available in the Linux/open source world. The program I use is listed in bold, followed by a list of suggested alternatives:

  • ClamTK: I haven’t seen any better alternatives to ClamTK; if anyone has one, please let me know.
  • Frozen Bubble: There’s tons of other games available, of course. TuxKart (a Mario Kart-like game with Tux, the BSD Demon, and several other open source software mascots as racers) and Super Tux (a Super Mario Bros.-like game with Tux as the hero) are two popular ones.
  • Comix: Alternative readers offered in Ubuntu Software Center include QComicBook and Cbrpager. The former seems like a closer alternative to Comix (Cbrpager looks rather minimalistic).
  • The GIMP: Not sure about alternatives to the GIMP. There’s a paint program called GNU Paint (gpaint), as well as the highly popular TuxPaint painting program for children. For photo editing, F-Spot will do some basic editing (red-eye elimination, etc.).
  • Liferea: Besides Firefox‘s own support for RSS feeds, there’s also Thunderbird and using an online newsfeed reader, such as Google Reader.
  • XChat: Former default multi-IM client for Ubuntu Pidgin can handle IRC (plus various IM protocols).
  • GCstar: Besides OpenOffice’s Database program, the main alternative I’ve found and used is Tellico, though this will require also installing KDE’s libraries.
  • GnuCash: Along with simply using a spreadsheet in OpenOffice, there’s also KDE’s KMyMoney (which I haven’t tried, but seems to be popular for KDE users).
  • Back In Time: There’s a myriad of GUI-based backup programs, but the main alternative I’ve used is Simple Backup, consisting of Simple Backup Config (managing backups and their scheduling) and Simple Backup Restore (to restore backups).
  • Audacity: Not sure if there’s a better audio editing program, but if anyone can suggest any suitable alternatives, I’ll be glad to hear them.
  • Avidemux: Nowadays, Pitivi is the included video editor in default Ubuntu installations. Kino (for editing digital video, such as from a camcorder) is another popular choice.
  • dvd::rip, Handbrake: There’s various other programs for converting video files from DVDs, but the others tend to be less user-friendly or more dated than dvd::rip or Handbrake. A few possibilities include AcidRip (for converting DVD video to AVI files, which Handbrake no longer does, but AcidRip seems fairly long in the tooth) or k9copy (KDE program that can do some DVD conversion, but particularly specializes in squeezing DVDs down to the size of a standard DVD-R).
  • Sound Converter: Audacity is capable of converting sound files, among many other audio editing functions.
  • VLC: If not VLC, I usually go with the default Ubuntu video player, Totem. Another popular alternative is mplayer.
  • gufw: The main alternative to gufw I’ve used is Firestarter.
  • timer-applet: I’m sure there’s alternative stopwatch programs for GNOME, but this was the most full-featured and easiest to use one I found.
  • Firefox: While I usually stick with Firefox, I do keep on hand Epiphany, GNOME’s default browser (used by me for one website that doesn’t work right in Firefox for some reason). Other popular choices include Opera and Chrome.
  • Evolution: I’ve switched back and forth over the years between Evolution and popular stand-alone email program Thunderbird (currently using Evolution).
  • OpenOffice.org: I usually stick with OpenOffice.org, but a popular set of lightweight alternatives include AbiWord (word processing) and Gnumeric (spreadsheets).
  • Empathy: This multi-IM-system client is Ubuntu’s current default program for such, but it replaced the popular previous (and more fully developed) alternative Pidgin (formerly gaim) amidst some controversy. While I’m mostly using Empathy nowadays, its lack of support for file transfers within Yahoo IM is a glaring omission in my opinion, as is its lackluster ability to block unwanted contacts. Both of these functions have long been supported in Pidgin.

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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