Help me consume the entire internet.
February 5, 2010 5:33 AM   Subscribe

What (Linux) programs should I install on my new netbook to optimize my internet experience?

I recently bought an Asus eeePC, to use as my "internet box" (as opposed to my "photo editing/gaming box"). It came with Windows 7 Starter. Within an hour of playing with it, I'd switched to UNR (9.10). Much better.

But now I'm a little lost as to what programs I should be installing. There are like eight gmail notifiers and a dozen or so instant messaging programs. I'm sure there are hundreds of awesome internety apps out there. I've used Ubuntu before, but always pretty casually (Oh hey, minesweeper!). Which apps make your internet consumption the fastest and most convenient?
posted by specialagentwebb to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Firefox and Thunderbird. Those may be too heavyweight for the eeePC though. What you want to do on the Internet is going to drive what apps you install.
posted by DU at 5:53 AM on February 5, 2010

Hulu has an ubuntu app. It's not in the ubuntu repositories, but is just an easy to install .deb file on Hulu's site. I've gotten by without a gmail notifier by just letting Pidgin (a popular IM client) fulfill that task as well. Streamtuner is a pretty great internet radio aggregator (that should be in the ubuntu repos). Google also just started releasing stable versions of Chrome for linux if you want to try that.
posted by cowbellemoo at 5:58 AM on February 5, 2010

Response by poster: Most of what I want to do is divided into either "communications" (email, IM, posting to the web), or "media" (streaming radio, video, reading online comics).
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:05 AM on February 5, 2010

Gwibber is really great if you use Twitter/Facebook.

Pigeon is really the best thing going for IM, there are some extra plugins in the repos too.

I find Chrome to run more smoothly on my eee than Firefox.

If you prefer Firefox you may really appreciate Meerkat to make room on your screen.

I also use my eee almost entirely for web stuff. The browser and the extensions you use really may be the single most important thing.
posted by quarterframer at 6:44 AM on February 5, 2010

On Ubuntu I run Pidgin (actually via NXclient from a machine on a shelf so I can disconnect and reconnect), chrome and/or firefox, and Mutt with IMAP for mail (really). I also use dropbox pretty heavily, and, well, that's it. I use a lot of the Pidgin plugins, too, for twitter and IRC and gmail notifications.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:45 AM on February 5, 2010

I love Digsby for IM/social network integration and they've got a Linux build.
posted by Nelsormensch at 6:53 AM on February 5, 2010

You might consider trying Kubuntu Netbook. I switched to it after two years of UNR and I like it much, much better.

Definitely chrome--it maximizes screenspace in a way that firefox doesn't, even when optimized with meerkat. VLC is the best linux media player. Dropbox is good for transferring files from your netbook to your desktop and back again. GIMP or Picasa if you want to quickly edit a photo and slap it online.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:31 AM on February 5, 2010

I have an EeePC 1000 running Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic (standard desktop, not UNR).
The biggest improvement I made was installing the Firefox Greasemonkey script Youtube Without Flash
Adobe Flash player is too cpu intensive for most Youtube videos. Now I can play even the HD stuff fullscreen and not drop a frame.
posted by dalesd at 7:49 AM on February 5, 2010

QuickSynergy will let you sit your netbook next to your other computer and use one mouse and keyboard to control both.

the Tiny Menu addon for firefox condenses things nicely.

Chrome feels faster than firefox for me, which is important on an slower atom processor

Youtube has a 'feather' beta that strips all the cruft off of the page and just gives you the video - it's great.

I like using mine as an ebook reader (self link)

Dropbox goes on all of my computers, to make syncing files easy
posted by chrisamiller at 8:36 AM on February 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, and CheckGmail is probably the notifier you want. Install from svn, not from the repos, as the packaged version is out of date and slightly broken.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:38 AM on February 5, 2010

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