-When asking questions include the full stats of your system to make answers easier
Example: Ubuntu 8.10.1 64-bit, AMD4200+, 4gb DDR2800, 80gb NTFS, 512mb 8600, Wired
-Consider registering on your Distribution's official forums as your questions have probably been asked and answered dozens of times.
-Include as many links as possible since this is meant to be a reference.
-Unless you state otherwise everyone will assume you're running the latest version of Ubuntu.
Chose a linux distribution: Distrowatch.com
Useful forums: Ubuntu Forums
Learning the Shell explains how Linux is structured. Reading this really helps if you're a newbie
SourceForge Everything Open Source can be found here.
Softpedia for Linux: Hosts many Linux applications and lists recent changes.
There are lots of lists to tell what you what programs are similar to Windows.
This covers all of the tools and commands you'll need to keep Ubuntu nice and tidy. It is simple to do and a required read.
Lifehacker has a solid Linux fan base. Comments in any article regularly provide helpful Linux tips.
There are several distributions of Linux you shoulder consider downloading :
Note: All of these are meant to run from a CD or virtual install
BackTrack - Test your system's security and find possible exploits. Find out how to lock down the server you have torrenting 24/7.
SystemRescueCd combines a variety of useful tools you can use to restore or clean up a computer. The programs are capable of securely wiping sensitive data from drives and are used by organizations such as the FBI. Note: these kinds of programs can take days or even weeks for high capacity hard drive's.
Puppy Linux is an incredibly small (60mb) full fledged distro that is made to run on every possible piece of hardware. It is great way to test a system or compensate for a failed O/S. You can torrent from it, daily tasks (e-mail, etc.), back up your data, test hardware, and much more.
SOFTWARE: - Most are available in package manager
debTorrent , Apt-p2p install system updates from BitTorrent in addition to the standard Ubuntu, etc. servers.
rTorrent is one of the most widely accept clients and uses few resources. It can be run "headless" in the command line or with a GUI.
Opera (browser): you can also add a Repository (see below for info on Repositories)
Gnome-Do : Do everything as fast as possible, but no faster. It is a launcher similar to quicksilver and popular application docks.
Ubuntu Tweak , Ultamatix: Unofficial, but simplify the process of adding popular software.
IPlist , MoBlock Full fledged IP blocklists. IPlist runs in Java and Moblock is partially supported by PeerGuardian
Comix - Incredible program for viewing compressed Comics or photos. Tons of options.
Songbird , AmaroK - Media Players that compete against Itunes. Both are very useful.
KeePassX : Create and keep track of all those online passwords/accounts.
Terminator : Terminal Emulator with tons of unique features
Rsync is a popular tool for scheduling incremental backups of your data. It is a command line tool with different GUI's available.
Emacs : The text editor of choice for those who don't like simplicity of Vi.
DVD::Rip , handbrake, k3b, k9copy
Chrootkit , Rootkit Hunter: Your main security concern on Linux is rootkits. Viruses, malware, and spyware are normally written for Windows machine (these are a threat when running Wine)
Avidemux , Avinaptic are similar to Gspot. Analyze any rips and export the results.
Mplayer Has many front ends available. Can be configured to playback any video/audio file.
For system testing and Overclockers: CPUburn, PerlMon, Freebench, Systester
GcStar , Griffith catalog your extensive movie collection.
Avast is available for linux from the official website via free, annual e-mail registration.
I also recommend ClamAV, which works well, is light on resources, and is available with the terminal command:
sudo apt-get install clamav
Can I make Third Party software available through Package Manager?
Third Party APT Repositories add software to your your Sources List. Package Managers rely on these lists in order to find and install software, which is why you have to reload or update Synaptic every time you want to update Ubuntu.
How does this help me?
Now software released by the designer will be available to you automatically. You now have the option to get the latest releases straight from the developers of Wine. No more searching their website or waiting for Synaptic to play catch up. Check out this example in Ubuntu-
For Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10):
deb http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt intrepid main #WineHQ - Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex"
For Ubuntu Hardy (8.04):
deb http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt hardy main #WineHQ - Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron"
Add the relevant line to Software Sources menu (this can also be done via the command line). For most software this will be all you'll have to do. Wine requires you also add an authentication key, which can easily be done in their handy guide.
$ sudo apt-get -f install
You can resolve a failed installation
$ sudo apt-get install --fix-missing
resolve lost packages
$ sudo apt-get autoclean
delete useless dependencies and packages
How-To Reinstall all of your current packages if you do a fresh Ubuntu install - Link
People sometimes have to do a reinstall of their Ubuntu system for various reasons (been playing/experimenting with configuration/drivers/other packages or just because something is badly broken) but remembering all the extra packages you have installed can be a chore - but here is the simple solution:
On your old system (assuming it is still working), start up Synaptic and go:
File-Save Markings and choose a file name along with a location (like a USB drive) that you can use when you have installed your new system. This file contains a list of all your currently installed packages, and when you have installed and booted up your new system (and configured your repositories to the best for your location - as we all do, don't we?) then start up Synaptic and go:
File-Read Markings and point it at your saved file, and after that has completed then select Apply to kick off the download & installation of all of those packages you had installed previously!
There are also apt-get command line functions that achieve the same outcome, so those who don't have/use Synaptic can still do this. You will still have to do any special configuration changes that you had on the old system, but at least all of the packages are now in the new system. This is also very handy for moving to new hardware/duplicating setups etc. Be aware that doing this between different Ubuntu versions may cause complications because some packages may not be in a later version or have different names.
Also backup: /var/cache/apt/archives contains the downloaded packages. Back it up (if you have the space) and restore it along with the markings and apt won't have to re-download all (or maybe most?) of the packages.
Also backup: Don't forget to backup your sources before you re-install.
$ sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list ~/sources.list.backup
Otherwise if you have added any PPA's or other sources, this tip won't work.
Also be sure to check "Save Full State, not only changes."
Please share your comments and experiences on the comment area.