Some must-have apps/packages for new Ubuntu MATE installations

#About this post

I'm starting this topic to collect a selection of useful applications and packages for new Ubuntu MATE installations. The applications and packages are purely my opinion, based on my personal preferences. However, I encourage anyone with suggestions to reply and add them. There's so much awesome stuff out there - even with package managers, it's difficult to find the awesome stuff. :fearful:


Filezilla is a great FTP/SFTP application. It's very widely used because it's free, works great, and is available across several platforms.

Project homepage:

Installation: sudo apt-get install filezilla


Shutter is by far the best and most amazing screenshot tool I've found. Some key features I find useful:

  • Numerous ways of taking screenshots. I most often use "selection", which allows you to click-and-grab a box on the fly, but you can grab the desktop, selected windows, or with the gnome-web-photo package installed, websites.
  • Automatic naming/saving of screenshots based on your setup
  • Easy upload to various public sites such as imgur, or private sites via FTP
  • Editing of screenshots with features such as cropping, adding text/arrows/shapes, blurring sections

I'm probably missing some features. It's just that amazing.

Project homepage:

Installation: sudo apt-get install shuttergnome-web-photo


Ubuntu MATE comes with Pluma for its text editor, which is nice, but I'm more used to gedit, so I install it instead.

Installation: sudo apt-get install gedit gedit-plugins


TypeCatcher is a nifty little app that allows you to browse all Google Fonts. If you find one you like, click the top-left icon to download and install locally. Simple as that.

Project Homepage:

Installation: sudo apt-get install typecatcher


Synergy is a virtual KVM. In essence, it allows you to use one keyboard/pointer across multiple computers. From the computer that has the keyboard/pointer you wish to use, run the server and define the location of the screens; from each other computer, run the client and connect to the server (IP or hostname).

Installation: sudo apt-get install synergy


QuickSynergy is a package that allows quick changes to Synergy. In previous versions of Synergy, setup was a bit more complicated. These days, QuickSynergy is perhaps not as needed, but might help some.


  • Installing QuickSynergy will install Synergy
  • After installation, you need to run Synergy on each computer first anyway
  • When you run QuickSynergy and make changes and apply them, you can close QuickSynergy - Synergy will run in the background.

Installation: sudo apt-get install quicksynergy


Synapse, once installed, is accessible by CTRL-SPACE. What it allows at its most basic level is simply amazing: Start typing the name of an application, and it will match against installed applications. Hit ENTER to launch the application.

It will learn what you launch using it, so as time goes on, you'll have to use fewer and fewer letters to get what you want. But wait, there's more! You can also hit the left/right arrow keys to search for various other contexts, such as documents, audio, places, images, and more. I rarely use it for those things, but basically, instead of even having icons for apps on my launcher, I find it faster to open apps using Synapse, e.g. CTRL-SPACE+chr is enough to get Google Chrome; CTRL-SPACE+F is enough to get Filezilla.

Project homepage:

Installation: Synapse is not in the default repositories, so to install, you must add the ppa:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:synapse-core/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synapse


This package allows you to connect to your machine via SSH. It's handy if you have multiple machines on your LAN, especially if you administer them. Installing this package will allow you to make SSH connections, as well as use SFTP in Filezilla, and rsync.

Installation: sudo apt-get install openssh-server

#Your Suggestions

Please reply with your suggestions for additions to this list; or better yet, post them in some sort of format like I've done here.

Also, if you have suggestions for things to add in the descriptions, or better screenshots - whatever suggestion to make this list better and more useful, please let me know. :slight_smile:


Hi ieh,

this is not so much a list of my favourite apps but a way of doing a quick install for them.

what I have done is to create a "One Hit Install" terminal command, this includes all my favourite apps, some of which are listed briefly below:

synaptic: (Package Manager):

gdebi: single deb package installer:

hplip-gui: (AKA: HPLIP Toolbox): a must have for HP printer owners!:


deluge: (a torrent downloader):

me-tv and kaffeine (better tuning properties than me-tv!) (DVB-T TV reception software) and linux-firmware-nonfree which is a firmware bundle for many hardware devices associated with DVB-T.


Before you do the following, make sure your system is updated after your first install and that you have the "Canonical Repositories" actively marked otherwise you won't be able to install apps like "Skype"!.

If you know the EXACT name of the apps you want to install, create a list like mine, don't forget to save it and when you do a fresh install, you can quickly install all your favourite apps, create a list like the following one and copy and paste it into a terminal and then go for a cup of tea/coffee while it installs!.

My Ubuntu meta terminal command:

sudo apt-get install synaptic gdebi shutter gparted gpart xsane hplip-gui deluge pepperflashplugin-nonfree bleachbit libreoffice me-tv kaffeine linux-firmware-nonfree unetbootin devede handbrake libxine2-all-plugins transcode ubuntu-restricted-extras vamps videotrans mate-desktop-environment-extras playonlinux mono-complete p7zip-rar winbind kshisen amarok kontact skype faac flac chameleon-cursor-theme

Now just open a terminal and paste your command into to it, enter your password and wait!. :smiley:

I hope this helps someone!. :smiley:


I'm sure everyone's list will be different, but here are a few of mine.

I normally pull in Gimp and Inkscape for fiddling around with graphics and photos, and Synaptic for GUI package management, since the Ubuntu Store is not my friend. No screenshots of any those as everyone here has seen them since forever, I'm sure :smiley:

I don't have to pull in VLC since Martin had the foresight to include it in Ubuntu MATE. Other than that, I think I mostly use included applications. If I'm playing at coding Pluma usually works well enough for what I do, but I will install Geany from time to time, as it's a great editor.

Run Application

Synapse, which you mentioned, is a great app, but it's a bit much for my needs. I get a pretty decent launcher (for me) by setting the key combination for "Run Application" from the default of Alt+F2 to "Windows Key + Space". It auto-completes application names, and if ran in expanded mode helps with finding applications even more.


My other current "must have" isn't free or free, I'm afraid. I use Insync as a desktop sync client for my Google Drive account. I have a schload of free space on Google's servers due to a friend letting me sign in on his Chromebox and claim the "bonus storage" for buying a ChromeOS device (he has several). I do put the space to some good use though :slight_smile: It offers good Caja integration as well as a nice system tray applet.


I’m amazed again and again when I see what big celebration of apps is available for ubuntu!

After half year I’m new on GNU/Linux/Ubuntu Mate these are my favorites to add after a new installation:

and Okular

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Wow, I’ve never heard of Typecatcher. Got that installing now!

In addition to Gimp and Inkscape I use Grive, Zoho Docs, IDJC, Mixxx, Blogilo, KDE Connect, Ardour 3, qjackctl, Radio tray, YoutubeDL GUI and Sound Converter nearly every time I open my laptop.

Just a quick update - no energy to add to the first post yet, but will later. :slight_smile:

This reply is just to say that I’d posted it on /r/linuxmasterrace for input. While it got mixed reviews, some useful replies as well: Here’s a link to the topic on reddit. :slight_smile:

Audacious. That is about the only must have program I installed.

I discovered audio-recorder a couple of days ago.

The Ubuntu Podcast team use it the production of their, well, podcast. It is a really nifty utility that can record audio from just about anything.

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Or we deside us for a middle way:

Lubuntu Software Center - of course in Mate design! Charming, friendly and with love!
Just like the bakery arount the corner! :cake: :doughnut: :custard:

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Hey guys! I think it is a good Idea to discuss about what programs should be included at the very basic installation and which not. But ofc, this is also a matter of individual taste. To me, it seems like ubuntu Mate is covering a good range of basic apps to go with.

What I really alway install on all my machines - no matter if it is a laptop or a desktop or whatever - is gimp and inkscape. Just to stay on the save side, if I have to edit some things. GParted and synaptic are also tools, that I always carry with me. Just remove Ubuntu Software Center and add synaptic :wink:

That’s it. Keep things simple and basic. I wouldn’t add to much, because it’s really a matter of personal flavour what each user wants to install…

I agree with this idea. Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Gnome, and Linux Mint have their own software centers.Ubuntu Software Center is a monster of a program, slow and prone to crash. We need a MATE program that fit with lightness and simplicity of the distro.

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I agree with you, but I don’t think the intention of this thread is to discuss software to be added in future releases. Just kind of a list of must haves after a fresh install.

I too need to have the gimp on my computer, lol

I also probably misdirected the thread a bit by including things like
gedit, when my original intention was to hopefully find more things like
TypeCatcher. :slight_smile:

I also got carried away with Markdown, which distracted me. I love
Markdown. lol.


see what you’ve started!. :smiley:

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I’m so bummed - it’s crashing for me in 15.04. D:

It is truly amazing, and stuff like that it why I started this thread, so I’m very glad you found it! :slight_smile:

Synapse looks really nice. I’ve used Launchy a little, but it would not run Wine exe’s. This any different?
After every installation of mine I always install Pale Moon, GParted, Synaptic, Kolourpaint, GIMP, Fireworks (Wine), SimpleScreenRecorder, Kdenlive, and Clementine. Use more than that, but I consider those my essentials.

Just wanted to ask if there was a way to get Kodi for Raspberry Pi 2 on this? I spent the better part of 2 days trying to get it working but there are just too many missing dependencies. The whole reason I wanted to switch from Raspbian/Openelec dual boot to this OS was because I wanted to consolidate down some of the space. Also anyone know if Emulation Station would work on this as well?

I posted on the Raspberry Pi forum how to install Kodi on Ubuntu MATE on the Pi 2 here:

I also uploaded a preconfigured image with Kodi preinstalled:

No luck here with RetroPie and EmulationStation, or Darkplaces Quake, however in my extensive testing I did get Quake 3 Arena and OpenArena working with full hardware acceleration.


hello and happy new year.
personally I use yad for create some scripts. I would like it to be integrated in mate.

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If you’re new to linux you may also find this post useful:

Hope it helps :slight_smile:

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