As I’ve been using Ubuntu Studio, I’ve discovered a number of must-have (for me, anyhow)  packages which were not installed by default.

As with any Ubuntu-based distro, there are a number of steps required to enable non-free and/or non-supported software.  I won’t bother to go into them, because Ubuntu has reached the point where it mostly prompts you to add codecs and things when you need them.  Of course, you should enable all repositories in the application manager (better yet, use Synaptic or, my favourite, Aptitude from the command line).

One exception I had to add was the “unstripped” versions of all the ffmpeg libraries.  I don’t think this is actually broken, just disabled in the default version of Ubuntu.  I just went into Synaptic, searched for ffmpeg, and added all the packages with “unstripped” in the name. (for details see Bug #254201 in ffmpeg-debian (Debian): “feature regression: ffmpeg lacks some video encoders (like h263+, MPEG4, maybe more…)”).  I use ffmpeg at the command line to encode video files and it is used in the background by many other video manipulation tools.

Some other packages I wanted to add to UbuStu:

  • openoffice (I used it to log my clips in a spreadsheet)
  • emacs (indispensable for tweaking config files and taking notes)
  • ntp (to make sure I’ve got the right time)
  • fslint (very useful for finding and removing duplicate files)
  • most (better than more or less for paging)
  • flashplugin-nonfree (to play flash in Firefox)
  • gstreamer (and plugins)
  • rhythmbox (my favourite jukebox for large music collections)
  • mplayer (commandline video player)
  • wv (commandline msoffice document dump)
  • elinks (commandline browser — comes in handy more often than you’d think)

I’m sure I’ll add plenty of more packages as I go along, but these are a few of the ones I’ve wanted so far.  I’ve also added a number of other applications, such as PiTiVi, Kdenlive, Avidemux, VideoCut, which I’m hoping to play with and get to know better.