This is going to highlight my top 10 Kubuntu applications that are installed in the Kubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon base install. It’s going to focus on all KDE native apps for the purpose of integration into KDE. I use almost all of these on a daily basis, and with few exceptions do I have alternatives that I prefer. This is intended for the reader who just received their Kubuntu disk and has not installed anything extra yet. The base install’s list of included applications is rather diverse and provides the user with most desired functionality, and this post will focus on the best of that software, and when appropriate compare only included software on other commercial software.
Konqueror, in my opinion, is the best file manager on any platform. If you’re new to my blog, I’ve written about Konqueror before. While it lacks Breadcrumb Navigation, it’s more capable in regards to other features. It’s a tabbed environment, with the ability to split panes vertically and horizontally, multiple times. We’re able to integrate shell scripts, so the possibilities are virtually endless. You’re able to configure a background image. It includes an excellent web browser.
Katapult is an awesome shortcut launcher. This is an example of where the open-source community is ahead. Katapult provides quick access to shortcuts, applications on the KMenu, and others through “plugins”. To activate, you press a key combination (default is Alt+Space) and you’ll see the slingshot logo. Start typing a couple of characters and Katapult finds the closest relevant application, bookmark, etc. Complete the launch by pressing Enter. This is much quicker than using Alt+F1 and the arrow keys to navigate. It’s also more flexible and quicker than using the run dialog.
Konversation is another leap of technology past mainstream commercial personal operating systems. While Instant Messaging clients have come a long way over the past decade, IRC is still the king of chat, and few software packages surpass Konversation in the way of capabilities. It’s also important to newcomers of Kubuntu, because it provides immediate, direct access to the official chat, where the community is able to really provide instant support. I’ve used it many times and I’ve always been able to find someone willing to help me get going in the right direction when trying to solve my problem. It doesn’t have all of the instant messaging capabilities, but it’s direct link to instant help and free technical support earns it’s high ranking here.
kTorrent also holds no equal in Windows XP (or Vista I believe). Instead, you’re stuck to the demise of the single threaded transfer of Internet Exploder. If you’re not familiar yet with torrents, you should take the time to consider some of the free and open source torrents available at Jamendo while you’re testing out kTorrent.
SpeedCrunch also fills the gap where CALC.EXE fails to put processing power to work. SpeedCrunch’s view is more informative and input options are more diverse. It provides a running history of the calculations and provides user defined variables.
Kontact is THE free PIM and Mail client I choose to stick with. Many other applications integrate to Kontact which make it truly exceptional. It expertly handles my mail (IMAP mostly), my calendars, groupware connections, to do, notes, RSS feeds, etc. To achieve similar capabilities, you can spend several hundreds of dollars. It does everything.
Kaffeine is a stand up media player. This awesome KDE media player supports visualizations, plugins, it’s got it all. It plays mp3, wma, ogg, avi, etc. The program allows us to create media playlists. The integrated screen shot capture system is just a toolbar away.
Kopete is an awesome instant messaging client. It supports Jabber, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, GMail/XMPP, IRC, Gadu-Gadu, and many others. There are many messenger clients, but Kopete is so complete I’m not compelled to use anything else. While you can use Kopete for IRC, it’s just not flexible enough for an experienced IRC user to consider it higher in the ranking.
Kate is another Text Editor… but not just any. She’s very configurable and is powerful enough for use by developers. She’s particularly adept at helping change all of your configuration files. She’s not as fast or light as some of the alternatives, but the system has no competitive alternative when it comes to robustness.
k3b is by far superior to GnomeBaker. It allows the user to create DVD’s, audio CD’s, data DVD and CD’s, as well as VCD’s. It can create audio CD’s directly from MP3 with the addition of a plug in. It also directly burns and creates ISO image files of all formats.
Akregator will be my 11th and bonus application for this list. It integrates nicely with Kontact so you can easily access your feeds from your favorite PIM. Can’t beat that really.
Keep is one you can’t live without, so it’s the P.S. Bonus. It’s a backup manager allowing the user to specify the source and destinations of the backups, and scheduling the automated intervals. Another feature I enjoy is the ability to compress the backup. This works especially well for backing up /etc/ which contains many text files.