I’ve used loads of Linux distributions in the past. Each of them had its advantages and disadvantages – there’s simply no “perfect” OS…
Gentoo and Debian basically don’t have any “releases” – updates come in frequently. When you wake up, turn on your computer, it tells you that there are updates, you install them and want to start working – and bang, one of theses updates breaks your apache/ssh/ruby/you-name-it. Pretty bad for your productivity.
Fedora, Ubuntu, and SUSE do have time-based releases. Updates come in once or twice a year and you know that in between only security fixes will be deployed to your machine. That’s nice since the probability of an update breaking your installation is minimal.
I’m on Ubuntu right now and it gives me a stable system. But sometimes it feels “out-of-date” and I’d like to have a more recent version of an application, escpecially if it’s non-critical for work.
Ubuntu has a very neat feature for this: Specialized repositories for different programs hosted on launchpad.net called PPAs (Personal Package Archives). You enable a PPA by appending the sources.list contents shown on the PPA page to the file
So, here’s the list of my top 10 PPAs:
OpenOffice 3.0 is not available on Interpid Ibex or Hardy Heron. Get it through this PPA.
2. Avant Window Navigator
If you like the Mac OS X Dock you probably love Avant Window Navigator. It shows your running applications and replaces the Gnome task bar.
Avant Window Navigator PPA
XBMC is one of the slickest Media Players for Linux. It makes a lot of progress and the latest version is the one you want.
Still using Windows programs? The latest version of Wine comes with loads of improvements and bug fixes.
You’ve got plenty of choices for a Bittorrent client on Linux. Deluge is the application I like most. The unstable version in this PPA is pretty stable for me and comes with a much nicer GUI than the one in the official repositories.
6. Screen Profiles
I’m working with a lot of Ubuntu servers. “Screen” is like VNC for your SSH terminal sessions. With Screen Profiles your terminal session almost feels like working on a desktop machine. You get a task bar with status information like CPU load and update notifications.
Screen Profiles PPA
If you host your own WordPress installation on Ubuntu you’ll really appreciate this PPA. You don’t have to follow the WordPress blog for updates anymore and upgrades are pretty smooth.
Viruses on Linux, yeah 😉 If you always want to have the latest version of ClamAV e.g. for scanning the emails received with mail clients on Windows this is the right PPA for you.
9. Google Gadgets
Google Gadgets are one of the most powerful desktop enhancements out there. And they are available for Linux 😉
Google Gadgets PPA
Owning a Windows Mobile device? SynCE enables you to synchronize it with Evolution. The PPA is pretty up-to-date and comes with loads of fixes compared to the version in the official Ubuntu repositories.
There are tons of more PPAs for you to discover. Check out the list on launchpad.net.