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18 years of DEBIAN starting from version 5 "Sid" until the recent 10 "Buster".
Before that done 6 years of system administration including a SCO UNIX Server and a couple of Windows Servers and dozens of workstations. The largest system was nearly 100 PC's, devices etc. at 3 locations with LAN and VPN's, Firewall and Phone via landline and VoIP.

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My software under Linux - usability of the distro

Posted 04-22-2012 at 01:14 PM by error_401
Updated 12-19-2020 at 07:08 AM by error_401 (Update on Debian 8, 9 & 10 entries and software)

I have promised a bit about the software I regularely install on my Linux machines. For brevity I give the program name which can be searched for on the internet and for the apt-get users the package name with wich to install as well as a short description why I install this software.

First version: APR 2012
Updated: AUG 2020

Proper Name of Software / apt-get package name / description

Here we go:
Clam Anti Virus / clamav / the clam anti virus base
ClamTK interface / clamtk / the graphical interface for KDE this also installs clamav
Rootkit Hunter / rkhunter / a scanner for rootkits
chkrootkit / chkrootkit / another scanner for rootkits

scite / scite / a text editor, also look in tips below for usability improvement.

OS TOOLS - may already be installed
dkms / dkms / an environment required i.e. for virtualbox to load kernel modules

nmap / nmap / console network mapping software
zenmap / zenmap / graphical frontend for nmap (installing zenmap installs nmap)
smartmontools / smartmontools / a tool to monitor hard drives with S.M.A.R.T. technology
gsmartcontrol / gmsartcontrol / the GUI for smartmontools
grsync / grsync / a bit of a special synch tool
ddrescue / gddrescue / a tool for data recovery from disks and CD-ROM's
smb4k / smb4k / a SAMBA discovery tool for KDE - discover all SAMBA shares on the networking
cifs utilities / cifs-utils / a set of utility tools for the CIFS file system. complements smb4k
wireshark / wireshark / network monitoring tool
kismet / kismet / wifi network monitor tool - great on details such as channels freq etc.
kde connect / kdeconnect / A KDE connecting software to connect Android phones to KDE
exiftool / exiftool / A tool to retrieve information from image files EXIF. Handy to write the image files with data and time in front of the useless DSC00xxxx.jpg numbers.

Some hardware may need specific stuff to run properly. Unfortunately the 8.2 Jessie still has no touchpad control out of the box. To configure touchpads for tapping with 1, 2 or 3 fingers. install:

kde-config-touchpad / kde-config-touchpad / a tool to configure touchpads under KDE

In addition when some hardware is not working right away one of the first packages I try is:

firmware-linux-nonfree / firmware-linux-nonfree / a set of hardware drivers from non-free

and if required i.e. nouveau driver for some NVIDIA cards

firmware-misc-nonfree / firmware-misc-nonfree / a set of additional hardware drivers from non-free

gftp / gftp / an ftp application with a nice split window to shuffle files back and forth on an ftp server.
filezilla / filezilla another well known ftp client.

BROWSER + PLUGINS (if not installed by OS setup)
Google Chrome Browser from the google website. Install using "dpkg -i". It will terminate with errors but afterwards just run "apt-get install -f" to fix the missing dependencies. Chrome is nice and complete with flash-player etc. and it runs correct with sound and anything. Until today the most hassle-free browser I'm running.

FlashPlayer for Iceweasel / flashplugin-nonfree / This is deprecated software!

inkscape / inkscape / a vector graphics program similar to Adobe Illustrator
dia / dia / a diagram editor I use for to hand draw network topology
gimp-plugin-registry / gimp-plugin-registry / s suite of the most commonly used scripts and additions to the GIMP
scribus / scribus / a DTP (desktop publishing program) nice variant for double sided docs etc.
fontforge / fontforge / a program to forge ones own fonts for ttf or opentype
pdfchain / pdfchain / a program to merge PDF documents
pdf-shuffler / pdfshuffler/ a program to merge, separate, manipulate PDF documents.
pdf-arranger / pdfarranger/ a fork of pdf-shuffler actually the Debian 10 version.
x-sane / xsane / a scanner program

Blender / blender / download from the website and unpack into a folder in the user. Runs out of that folder within the user space, no installation required
freecad / freecad / a free 3D CAD program which has matured into a usable CAD.
librecad / librecad / a free 2D CAD program

Android studio from
Some additional software is required under 64 bit systems to run the development and testing.

open JDK 7 / openjdk-7-jdk / The Java developer toolkit, may require newer version now.

Depending on the system some additional libraries


Just install with apt-get install

kdevelop / kdevelop / an IDE integrated development environment under KDE for many programming languages.

kde-games / kdegames / a suite of nicely designed games such as patience and battlship or mine-sweeper also look in the distro's package game section. Several packages are available bundling some games.
supertux / supertux / a jump and run game in an icy world with TUX the LINUX penguin
kmahjongg / kmahjongg / classic chinese mah jong games (may be replaced by gnome-mahjongg)
kpat / kpat / KDE patience game suite
ksudoku / ksudoku / the name says it all
klickety / klickety / a color matching game

stellarium / stellarium / a planetarium software and nice tool for stargazing on the computer
celestia / celestia / similar to stellarium but with different navigation and features
NOTE: Not yet ported to Debian 10.
KStars / kstars / similar to stellarium this is the KDE version of the planetarium program
sykpe / skype / The known VoIP software in it's LINUX flavor (may need install from website using the .deb) and running apt-get install -f afterwards.

sylpheed / sylpheed / an e-mail client without html parsing (means less risk of virus infection by e-mail)
libre-office / libreoffice / is in the standard distro and is a full suite of office programs.
gnu-cash / gnucash / accounting software

amarok / amarok / media player specifically for sound - great player (No longer in Debian 10)
VLC / vlc / The VLC player which plays nearly anything (Included in Debian 8 not included in Debian 9 and higher)
libdvdcss2 and libdvdread4
easytag / easytag / an mp3 tag editor able to remove and edit all tags including images.
linux multi media studio / lmms / a digital sampler and midi program to make music and a bit more
clementine / clementine /a multimedia player (sort of replacement of amarok for me)

I found out that all the video editing programs available have their downsides. Then I stumbled over "Blender" again. Blender per se is a 3D animation program. Because of being able to animate it includes a video editor - a great video editor!

blender / blender / download and install from the site - only requires user credentials no root required
openshot / openshot / a simple yet great video editor
kdenlive / kdenlive / a video editor from KDB

The below entries may have to be added to the /etc/apt/sources.list file in order for some of the above software to be installed.

deb yourdistro main contrib non-free
deb-src yourdistro main contrib non-free

deb yourdistro/updates main contrib
deb-src yourourdistro/updates main contrib

and if you have virtualbox installed.
deb yourdistro contrib non-free

and to install libdvdcss2
deb /
deb-src /
For installation of the videolan libdvdcss2 and virtualbox software and additions plus the associated keys see below in TIPS AND TRICKS.
Every time you update your sources.list run
apt-get update
for it to reflect the latest entries and being able to access the new sources.

When installing Debian from CD-ROM it adds an entry to the sources.list such as:

deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.0 _Squeeze_ - Official i386 kde-CD Binary-1 20110205-22:12]/ squeeze main
Whenever trying to update, upgrade or install software it will ask for the CD-ROM. You may delete this entry or simply make it a comment by adding "#" in front. Then apt will no longer consider this entry.

Since Debian 9 the installer uncomments the entry from the sources.list if installed from CD-ROM at the end of the installation.

I have installed Debian 9 + 10 on a Windows 8.1 machine in UEFI. The only function disabled is secure boot.
Short installation overview:
Boot Windows, access startup options activate startup options for UEFI firmware boot. As from then on we can access the UEFI during boot with F2 or DEL.
Disable fast startup in Windows System Settings. (We don't want some ghost hybernation file on the disk)
3. Disable security stuff such as "Bitlocker" which monitor a system on a file level.
3.1 Also disable all HDD passwords which may have been set.
4. Shrink the Windows partition with the included disk manager tools. LINUX will require at least some 30GB. It should be possible later on to access the windows partition. (Careful what you access from the LINUX side not to destroy Windows program data. A solution would be to create two empty partitions with the Windows disk manager, one for LINUX and one formatted with Windows NTFS as a shared data partition.)
5. Boot in UEFI and change the security settings in order to be able to boot from external media. May require an administrator password to be set beforehand. Disable "secure boot" if you can live with that, else figure out how to make Debian boot in "secure boot".
6. Change boot sequence in such a way that it boots from the installer medium first. (i.e. CD-ROM first)
7. Start the installer an go to the disk partitioning and make the following partitions into the free space:
250MB ESP partition formatted for ESP UEFI boot, with bootflag set
4-20GB Swap partition. I use a minimum of what the RAM is to a max of about 150 % of the installed RAM.
Remainder of space as ext4 filesystem where we will install our LINUX
8. Write the partitioning to disk and install the distro.
9. Boot up and if it works GRUB should also show Windows Boot Manager in the boot list.
10. Enjoy dual-boot

Windows should be happy even without secure-boot. You have a full UEFI firmware available to LINUX. Normally it should work to access the data on the Windows side, while Windows will NOT BE ABLE to look at the LINUX partition. This is the reason for the extra partition. We can store all our Windows data there and access it also from LINUX without getting into the way of Windows.

Install Virtualbox by reading through the website and by using the appropriate packaging for your distro.

Scite may need a tweak to always show all files when using "open file" instead of showing only source files (which is annoying IMHO).

Found on

August 10th, 2007, 07:26 PM
bumping ancient thread. i have been doing some research into this issue and found this thread again.

here is a hack which works and you don't need to sudo. add this line to your ~/ file


it is a hack because now every file is a "source file".
Note: the file is to be found in the /home/user/ and is a hidden file. You can edit it directly by using

nano ~/
or even easier by opening Scite and go to "Options" - "Open User Options File". Normally this file is empty. You can simply add the source file line and save it. Done.

DVD Player

Debian does not play all DVD's because of restrictions in the free section. To overcome this limitation you may use the libdvdcss from VLC's player development.

1. - Add the additional sources to the sources.list
deb /
deb-src /
2. - Add the key
wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -
3. - Install libdvdcss via apt-get install
apt-get install libdvdcss2
Now it should play all dvd's.


From Debian 10 there is a ghost package which takes care of this all:
libdvd-pkg / libdvd-pkg / which will install and build the necessary files
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