Inspired by Mark Pilgrim’s Essentials 2006, here are my essentials. As I was reading the article, I find that Mark and I agree on most of these things so I try to leave out the things that I completely agree with. Check out his list too cause it’s pretty awesome.
- Ubuntu – The big advantage to me of Ubuntu is that it’s Debian-based, up-to-date, and it’s easy to find other people who’ve posted solutions: all you’ve got to do is google “
Ubuntu HOWTO” and you’ll find how to fix such-and-such. While some of their packaging decisions aren’t the best, it mostly gets things done.
- gVim – It always seems like the really cool kids use Emacs but vim is for people who are f’ing metal. There, I said it. And my Ctrl key still works.
- del.icio.us – You don’t know how much you need this plugin till you install it. At first, I thought “bookmarks, who cares”, but once you can bookmark everything and search through it really fast, and it saves your keyword searches so ‘wp something’ always takes me to Wikipedia
- Pidgin – Does IM without nonsense. Like the new icons.
- KTorrent – Quick, doesn’t do dumb stuff, and its DCOP extensions means I can add torrents remotely
- sshfs – It’s like network mapping a drive in Windows, only without having to map it on the remote machine first. With SSH keys, you don’t even put in a password and as long as you’re not trying to do anything crazy, is fast enough (I can play movie-quality video over wireless on it).
- F-Spot – Really quick tagging and it uploads to Flickr (albiet badly). The maintainer is buried though, and doesn’t really keep up with development well though. Schade.
- Unison + rsync – I use these to keep my data consistent. Unison is great for keeping your documents in sync between two machines, i.e. you often make changes and edit stuff on either machine.
rsync -avlzp --deleteis great for keeping stuff backed up, ie the target machine doesn’t modify the files at all; think of rsync as a quick version of “cp -Ra”. Unison is pretty quick, uses SSH so you don’t have to set up a “server”, and generally doesn’t do dumb stuff.
- Tomboy – I keep random information in here that I have to remember, like routing numbers, or my water company account number. You can also grep through
~/.tomboyin a pinch.
- NoMachine NX – While this program is annoyingly buggy, if they’d fix all the nonsense bugs it’d be an awesome, cross-platform VNC. The saving grace for this program is that it’s really fast; it blows anything else (with the possible exception of RDP on Windows) out of the water.
- apt-get source – Leverage the fact that everything is open-source when you’re coding