Essential Applications and Utilities

Coming from a Windows environment, it can be a bit confusing hearing people talk about Nautilus and Gedit.  Where are the File Manager and Notepad?  The following is a list of software that you should know about.  Note that Ubuntu is based on GNOME, so some of these are GNOME utilities.  Other distros may use other applications


The GNOME text editor.  Pretty straightforward to understand.


The GNOME file explorer.


The command line interface.  Terminal runs the shell.  By default, Ubuntu runs the BASH shell, so you may hear people saying open BASH.  There are various shells available, stick to BASH for the moment.  There is a seperate section here for BASH commands

System Monitor

Similar to the Windows Task Manager



You may also want to install the following programs


Pronounced vee eye.  An early text editor.  Some people still use it today and can get quite enthusiastic about it.  You should have a quick look at it as it is always installed in some form on Linux distros, and is available even when other text editors aren’t (for example, when the computer is failing to boot properly).  Install vim (vi improved) and follow the tutorial.  It will take you about half an hour.  You’ll be glad you followed it someday.


Another early text editor, one still used a lot by developers.  It’s written in emacs lisp and is fully customisable, so much so that it can be used for just about anything.  Install it from the Software Centre and follow the tutorial.  Emacs shortcuts crop up all over Linux (for example, the terminal uses Ctrl a and Ctrl e to jump to the start and end of lines) so it’s worth having at least a passing acquaintance with this program.  I use Emacs a lot.  There is a section on this website devoted to its use…

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