The internet is full of these lists where each time an Ubuntu release is launched, they are re branded with the new release name and number and shipped out. So what makes this list different?

Firstly almost all of these lists have the same apps on them, these are not necessary the best out there, or what you need and in many examples won’t even give you the best experience you can get.

This is a list created by someone who actually uses Ubuntu as a daily driver and I use these apps daily.


  • Swapped vscode for vscodium
  • Updated Hiri information
  • Added information on Bpytop as a Bashtop port.
  • Spotted some more spelling mistakes

The List

1. BlueMail (Free)

BlueMail – The Best Email Management App for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS
BlueMail is a modern, mobile first, powerful Email management tool with a sleek design, unified inbox and support for all your accounts: IMAP,Exchange,POP3.

Bluemail is an app I used on android for many years and recently i’ve started using it on Ubuntu. Its a great app if you have multiple mail accounts across multiple platforms as it has support for almost all the major mail platforms and provides views in either per mailbox or as a unified view.

Until recently it was also one of the few mail clients on Ubuntu which supported Google with Advanced security mode enabled. (At the time of writing a bug has stopped this, however Bluemail have responded that they are looking into it)

The interface also has a dark mode which works really well with (K)ubuntu dark themes.

2. Nemo (Free)

How to Install and Make Nemo the Default File Manager in Ubuntu
This tutorial shows you how to install and use Nemo file manager in Ubuntu. You can also make Nemo the default file manager instead of Nautilus.

As someone who prefers using KDE to Gnome and one fo the reasons for that preference is Dolphin as KDE’s File manager. I always find Nautilus so underwhelming on Gnome.

One of the first things I do is set Nemo as the default file manager.

As well as providing a fuller featured experience Nemo also has a quite nice plugins architecture and the two pane view is also a nice feature.

3. Standard Notes (Free/Paid)

Standard Notes | A Simple And Private Notes App
Standard Notes is a private notes app that features unmatched simplicity, end-to-end encryption, powerful extensions, and open-source applications.

I take a lot of notes and the primary thing i want my notes to be is available on any platform I use. Standard notes does this. It syncs to the cloud as an encrypted blog, supports 2FA login, loads of plugins (Paid version) which add different editors, dark themes and much more

the Search engine within the application is really good and using hashtags to group notes works really well

4. Hiri (Trial/Paid)

Hiri best email client for Windows, Mac and Linux
Hiri is the best email client for Managers on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Hiri is a mail app specifically for Outlook/Exchange accounts and is a well thought out mail client. If you’re looking for something to separate work and home email and you use Office365 this is a good client to use.

As well as the standard pen there are several plugins available which can do things like add a task list, splitting mails into fyi and important, help with subject lines and even stop you looking at the client so often.

Note: It was pointed out that this code has not been updated since 2018. Personally i’ve found no bugs in it and have used it for over a year. However some will consider this abandonware.

5. Hyper (Free)

A terminal built on web technologies

If Nemo is a step up from Nautilus then I find Hyper to be the same step up from Gnome Terminal

Adding features such as Themes and plugins to improve the experience and being configured using basically code Hyper gives a good smooth Terminal experience.

6. VSCodium (Free)

VSCodium – Open Source Binaries of VSCode
Free/Libre Open Source Software Binaries of VSCode

When Microsoft released Visual Studio code they hit a home run. As an editor for those day to day tasks or an advanced IDE this is a great application for almost any workflow where you are dealing with code

Providing a huge library of extensions to do almost anything with your code, to the SCM integration with Git. The continuous monthly updates. VS Code is a well thought out editor. Now Consider all of that but with a code base that removed the telemetry and feedback to Microsoft. Thats VSCodium. It is a community-driven, freely-licensed binary distribution of Microsoft’s editor VSCode

7. Termius (Free/Paid)

Termius – SSH platform for Mobile and Desktop
The #1 cross-platform terminal for Windows, macOS, Linus, iOS, and Android with built-in ssh client which works as your own portable server management system in any situation.

To say Termius is “just a remote terminal” is so far away from what this application is. There is a free and a paid version, and this is one of those applications its worth stumping up the cash for.

Firstly its cross platform, Linux, android, chromebook, Windows Mac Termius has it all covered. It also does this using a secure back end, which means those keys and connections you setup on your desktop are immediately available when you install it on another platform. A customizable experience from fonts and sizes to colours of the theme this is a very click app if you’re using SSH to connect to remote hosts.

8. OnlyOffice Desktop (Free)

ONLYOFFICE desktop and mobile apps
Download free ONLYOFFICE document editors for your desktop and mobile devices

Another application where apps like Libreoffice are gushed over, where I feel they are over represented and lagging in so many areas. Step up then Only Office one of the best MS Office alternatives for daily use i’ve come across.

Supporting Office fully only office provides an interface for Documents, presentations and spreadsheets. It also has a secret up its sleeve because while MS Office integrates well with Office365 (or whatever its called this week) Only office is able to integrate with NextCloud so you can open and edit documents directly from your NextCloud server.

9. WhatsDesk (Free)

Gustavo Gonzalez / whatsdesk

While there is no WhatsApp client on Linux there are plenty of alternative clients. Having used a few I find on my setup WhatsDesk to be stable and work really quite well

Its stable, functional and looks a little as you’d expect a WhatApp client to.

10. Bashtop (Free)

Linux/OSX/FreeBSD resource monitor. Contribute to aristocratos/bashtop development by creating an account on GitHub.

The Top command is without doubt a useful command on any linux distro, and most list like these would suggest installing htop which takes top to another level.

My recommendation is Bashtop, which like Htop has plenty of options for you to view what is going on on your system from a command line tool. However Bashtop displays its information in a much more useful way.

As advised on Reddit the Bashtop command has been ported to Python as bpytop

Linux/OSX/FreeBSD resource monitor. Contribute to aristocratos/bpytop development by creating an account on GitHub.

There are touted a few extra features, less memory use and a mouse driven menu system (which i can’t seem to find). Also to install this on Ubuntu from a 3rd party repo the instructions can be found here

About | Azlux’s repository

11. Ansible (Free)

Ansible is Simple IT Automation
Ansible is the simplest way to automate apps and IT infrastructure. Application Deployment + Configuration Management + Continuous Delivery.

Ansible isn’t an Application its a language, one that is used to automate tasks, its widely adopted and simple enough for even someone like me to get to grips with and automate tasks.

At its simplest level Ansible can be used to install things onto your system and make sure each time they are installed it is done the same way

--- - hosts:   become: yes   vars:    user:      - name: "david"    packages:      - telegram-desktop      - termius-app      - whatsdesk      - mysql-workbench-community      - glimpse-editor      - hiri      - standard-notes      - drawio  tasks:    - name: Install Snap Packages - Base      snap:        name: "{{ packages }}"        state: present    - name: All done!      debug:        msg: Packages have been successfully installed

There is a lot more that can be bone with Ansible, a LOT more however this is a simple place to start. Some have mentioned this is “really a sysadmin tool” however i’d disagree only because its quick and easy to pick up and if you do a lot of laptop rebuilds as you find the right distro for you or you would like to learn how to automate some tasks in Ubuntu then this is a quick, simple language to learn.

12. Fish (Free)

fish shell
A smart and user-friendly command line shell

The Friendly interactive shell is a replacement for Bash on your Ubuntu based system. And much like Nemo, Bashtop and Hyper before it takes what is offered by the base install and enhances it.

Out of the box and launched fish supports powerful features like syntax highlighting, autosuggestion, and tab completions that just work, with nothing to learn or configure. Taking the Auto completion as an example this isn’t the same as the bash tab completion in the standard Ubuntu shell.

Fish takes this to a new level.

13. Netdata (Free)

Netdata – Monitor everything in real time for free with Netdata
Open-source, distributed, real-time, performance and health monitoring for systems and applications. Instantly diagnose slowdowns and anomalies in your infrastructure with thousands of metrics, interactive visualizations, and insightful health alarms.

While I have covered bashtop from the terminal already in this list. Netdata provides far more granular system data

Web based and run as a background service, netdata opens via the browser and provides realtime information about what is happening on your desktop.

I’ve covered this in a previous blog post.

Netdata: Monitoring your servers
I had a look, why have i not blogged about this before. Netdata is amazing, itslocal system monitoring on Linux on steroids and its Free and and and withrecent updates its also got a really decent cloud based dashboard solution.. What is netdata?Netdata – Monitor everything in real time for free…

14. Glimpse Image Editor (Free)

Glimpse: A Free Cross-Platform Photo Editor

The defacto standard for editing for a long time on *nix based systems was Gimp. Like most software which has been around as long as Gimp, there is bloat, politics and well that name. So someone forked Gimp and created Glimpse

Glimpse is a fully featured image editor much like Photoshop and supports a huge range of image formats for input and output. Its had some of the Gimp bloat removed and wraps it all up in a single window.

Note: It has been mentioned that Glimpse is behind Gimp in release schedule. Personally nothing I use has been missing in Glimpse

15.  Insync (Paid)

Insync – Google Drive & OneDrive Syncing on Linux, Windows & Mac
Give all your computers & files the power of Google Drive & OneDrive. Sync, use & share your files directly from Explorer, Nautilus, Caja, Nemo & Finder.

Like Whatsapp there are no native clients on the *nix world for Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. This is where Insync steps up

Insync is a commercial product which will sync with Google Drive or GSuite Drive as well as OneDrive or OneDrive for business. Each one of these will cost a different subscription from the vendor. Setting up once connected is as easy as you would expect.

Note: If you dont feel like paying take a look at Grive2

16. Shutter (Free)

Shutter – Feature-rich Screenshot Tool
Shutter Ubuntu / Linux app that allows you to take screenshots, edit them, apply various effects, upload them online and more.

Following a theme in this list, the screen shot utility when you press prnt scrn on Ubuntu is lacking. Ok unfair, but it is very basic. This is where Shutter comes in.

Shutter is a full featured screen shot utility which provides basic editing favilities within the application as well. It will save the output in the expected formats and if you’re willing to fiddle with the global keybindings in Gnome or KDE you can bind the application to the Prnt Scrn key.

17. git (Free)


Git is much like Ansible earlier on this list, its a tool that the more you use Ubuntu you will find yourself using more and more.

Git is the command line tool used to access software on places like github or gitlab at a very basic level. There are a multitude of GUI’s for git however there are plenty of google accessible pages which will get you started. Like this one:

git – the simple guide – no deep shit!

18.  DrawIO (Free) – Diagrams for Confluence and Jira – Product Video Features Testimonials Example Diagrams Diagramming in Confluence and JiraEasily create and share professional diagrams with one of the top-rated apps for Confluence and Jira on Atlassian Marketplace. Start using Support See

There is no Visio for Linux and that can create problems if you want o create flow charts, network diagrams or org charts.

DrawIO is a cross platform or web available version of Visio which performs these tasks. It has a good set of icons for use and can be setup to save to cloud locations like Google Drive.

19. Gnome Tweaks (Free)

Projects · GNOME / GNOME Tweaks
Welcome to GNOME’s integrated development platform, powered by GitLab

Gnome as a Desktop is a very low maintenance platform with a design thinking that less is more. While for new users this provides a very uncluttered interface it does mean that many things you may want to do are hidden away

Gnome Tweaks is a tool which unlocks some of these hidden features in a functional GUI.

20. PulseAudio Volume Control (Free)


Like Gnome Tweak the PulseAudio volume control is all about unlocking additional features.

If you use multiple output devices maybe when docked you have headphones, a speaker and a mini conference speaker. Without this application you’ll need to chose one of those across all applications. However with Pulse Audio volume control you can assign an audio output or input device per device.

Notable Mentions:

Wireguard (Free)

WireGuard: fast, modern, secure VPN tunnel
WireGuard: fast, modern, secure VPN tunnel

A fast secure VPN client

Youtube Music Desktop (Free)

YouTube Music Desktop App
Free cross platform Desktop Player for YouTube Music

A stable well written wrapper app for Youtube Music (if you use the Advanced Security on Google install the AppImage not the Snap)

Slack (Free/Paid)

Welcome to your new HQ
Slack is where work flows. It’s where the people you need, the information you share, and the tools you use come together to get things done.

A wonderful collaboration application which many business also use for support services

Authy (Free/Paid)

Authy | Two-factor Authentication (2FA) App & Guides
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an additional layer of protection beyond passwords. Download our free app today and follow our easy to use guides to protect your accounts and personal information.

A cross platform, backed up 2FA app

Boxes (Free)

How to Install and Use GNOME Boxes to Create Virtual Machines
This quick tutorial explains the steps to install and use GNOME Boxes and create virtual machines, and with some tips and troubleshooting as well. Virtualization is a process of running a virtual instance (rather than actual) with an abstracted layer of hardware. In popular terms, it allows you to i…

A replacement for Virtualbox or VMware player which integrates well into Gnome

By davidfield

Tech Entusiast