If you’re used to your internet programs in Windows or Mac OS, you may not have much of an idea of alternatives in Ubuntu, so hopefully this post will be of help. You would have noted by now that you have a web browser, which is now the world’s leading browser – Firefox. Also, you have the powerful PIM Evolution, which even many Windows and Mac users use. So while the basics of email and browsing are already covered in a default Ubuntu installation, you may be looking for good apps for your other online tasks. And you may prefer alternative browsers and email clients, so I’ll cover those as well.
If you’d like to try another web browser, you can go for the light-weight open-source Epiphany (install: epiphany-browser). If you want a full-featured browser with plugins and the ability to save whole web pages as MHT archives (like you can do in Internet Explorer, but not in Firefox), you can’t go past Opera (install: opera).
If you don’t really need a heavy PIM, just an email client, and can do without the constant updates to Evolution, then you should install Mozilla Thunderbird (install: thunderbird). It is more like what people are used to with Outlook Express, but of course a lot more stable and reliable.
For those in need of an MSN Messenger client, you can’t go past aMSN. There are other clients, many which support other chat networks, but for most people, all that is needed is something like aMSN (install: amsn).
If you need a download manager, Downloader for X is a good choice (install: d4x). You can also give Kget a try (install: kget) – it is a KDE app that runs fine in Ubuntu (some additional KDE libraries might need to be installed).
For FTP transfers, FileZilla should be just what you need (install: filezilla). If you want something even more light-weight, try FOFF (install: foff).
Those of you in need of a Bittorrent filesharing client (or “peer-to-peer file distribution tool“), you can go with the heavy-weight multiplatform favourite of millions, Vuze (formerly Azureus). If you’re already used to this program, then the choice is obvious, so you need look no firther than Vuze (install: vuze or azureus). Just enter “torrent” into the Quick search in Synaptic and you’ll see there are quite a few alternatives, many of them very light-weight. But if you want a recommendation of a powerful yet fairly light-weight alternative to Vuze, then I suggest you try Ktorrent – once again, a KDE app that runs fine in Gnome (install: ktorrent).
There are your main web tasks covered, but you can always look for other types of programs by searching in Synaptic. For example, if you want an RSS app, then search for “rss” – it really isn’t any harder than that. In no time you’ll have all the apps you’ll ever need while online!
If you’d like to install all of those recommended apps in one go, without having to open Synaptic and do it all manually, just paste the following into a terminal (just remove the names of any you don’t want, and of course a space before or after it):
sudo apt-get install thunderbird epiphany-browser opera amsn d4x kget filezilla foff azureus ktorrent
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