Useful tools on Ubuntu (A)

This is going to be the first part of the series if I can pull it off. This article covers A.


Linux (and the family of *nix -es and their derivatives) is all about the control you have on your system. It comes from the innumerable small utilities which make it so powerful. Here’s an earlier article in which I listed some sites where you can search and find Linux software using various criteria. There are so many articles and posts in the web about specific useful yet medium to lesser known tools available on Linux. I am speaking of those tools which do not come with jazzy GUIs or too many bells and whistles but do their things right and are very very useful in specific use-cases. However, I couldn’t find anything comprehensive which covers majority of these tools with a brief on common use cases. So I thought of making a list of these tools covering as many of them as possible and leave the rest up to the readers to suggest so that I can update the list with time. The purpose of this list is to ensure that once you go through it, you learn about a few new tools which might be of regular use to you. This is also an effort to make newbies aware of the old tools which are still available and functional. I will try to link to the home pages of these tools wherever possible for usage reference, availability on different platforms etc. (but always remember the man pages). As a starting point I have chosen the Ubuntu 13.04 synaptic which shows around 41,000 odd packages. It’s a huge number and so I have planned to go alphabetically. Any help with this task is appreciated. The section which each tool belongs to is mentioned in Italics within brackets.

  1. aaphoto (Graphics) : Automatic photo adjusting software that focuses on colour correction and resizing. Supports several common image formats.
  2. abicheck (Libraries) : A tool for checking an application’s compliance with a library’s defined Application Binary Interface (ABI). It relies on ABI definition information contained in the library. Example definitions are given for GNOME and glibc.
  3. abs-guide (Documentation) : The Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide. Believe it or not, it is available as a package on Ubuntu.
  4. acetoneiso (Cross Platform) : Mounts almost all common image formats like ISO, BIN, IMG, NRG etc.
  5. ack-grep (Perl Programming Language) : Blazing fast grep alternative for large heterogeneous source trees.
  6. adlint (Development) : Static source code analyzer.
  7. advancecomp (Utilities) : Re-compression utility for zip, png, mng etc. formats. uses 7-Zip.
  8. agrep (Word Processing) : Approximate grep. Text search tool with support for single or multiple approximate patterns using AND, OR etc. Record oriented rather than line oriented.
  9. aiksaurus (Word Processing) : An word processor, email composer or other authoring tool pluggable English language Thesaurus.
  10. alleyoop (Development) : A front-end to the Valgrind memory checker.
  11. anki (Miscellaneous) : Learn and remember facts with flashcards.
  12. anon-proxy (World Wide Web) : Surf the web anonymously.
  13. antiword (Word Processing) : Converts MS Word files in to PS, PDF and text files.
  14. aptoncd (System Administration) : Take a snapshot of the packages installed via apt on an installation disc.
  15. apvlv (Word Processing) : PDF viewer that mimics vim through its behaviour, keyword and keyboard bindings.
  16. apwal (GNOME Desktop Environment) : Simple application launcher and configuration editor for GNOME.
  17. arping (Networking) : Sends ARP and/or ICMP requests to the specified host and displays the replies. The host can be specified by its hostname, its IP address, or its MAC address.
  18. asp (Networking) : Address Search Protocol. Discovers the current IP address of dynamically connected hosts. It’s useful when you want to connect to dynamic hosts, or to help others find you (in which case you run asp as a server).
  19. astyle (Development) : Artistic Style is a command-line source code indenter, formatter and beautifier for C, C++, JAVA, C# source code.
  20. ardesia (Graphics) : Free digital sketchpad software to make colored free-hand annotations with digital ink everywhere, record it and share on the network.
  21. atftp(d) (Networking) : Advanced TFTP client and server.
  22. athena-jot (Utilities) : Prints out increasing, decreasing, random, or redundant data, usually numbers, one per line. A good article on usage here.
  23. atop (System Administration) : Similar to the top command, but atop only shows the active system-resources and processes, and only shows the deviations since the previous interval. At regular intervals, it shows system-level activity related to the CPU, memory, swap, disks and network layers, and it shows for every active process the CPU utilization in system and user mode, the virtual and resident memory growth, priority, username, state, and exit code. The process level activity is also shown for processes which finished during the last interval, to get a complete overview about the consumers of things such as CPU time.
  24. aumix(-gtk) (Multimedia) : Text or GUI based mixer control program.
  25. autodia (Miscellaneous – Graphical) : Generates UML diagram from C++, JAVA, PHP, Perl code.
  26. autojump (Shells) : Jump to frequently used directories. Learns with time.
  27. autolog (System Administration) : Terminates connections for users considered idle based on configurable parameters.
  28. autoproject (Development) : Interactively generates a skeleton source package for a new program with Makefile, directory structure, standard files etc.
  29. autopsy (System Administration) : A graphical interface to the command line digital forensic analysis tools in The Sleuth Kit.
  30. autorenamer (Utilities) : GUI tool to drag and drop files and then rename them in the same order together.
  31. avinfo (Multimedia) : Automatically extract or display audio and video information from multimedia files or generate file list. Works with many popular formats.
  32. away (Utilities) : Locks the terminal with a message.

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