After experiencing Linux for two years, I have compiled a list of applications that I use it daily. I would like to share my point of views on those applications and its alternatives. I hope that will served as a reference for those who have dilemma selecting them.
Linux Distribution: Ubuntu Linux
Ubuntu is very easy to install and customize. It consist of only one cd, allows online upgrades. The important thing is using apt-get for packages installation is convenient and fast. Fedora is another good distribution, the reason I do not use Fedora is because the native package manager tool is yum,. Compared to apt-get, yum is slow.
Alternatives: Fedora, Suse, Debian, Gentoo.
X Windows Manager: Fluxbox
Fluxbox is a very lightweight Windows Manager (wm), it gives me a lots of flexibilities on customizing my desktop, key bindings and manipulating the Apps. They have an active development team, which you can contact them at irc://irc.freenode.net/fluxbox. For Linux Novice users, I suggest you to stick with KDE or Gnome first, until you feel you want to have lightweight and flexible windows manager.
Alternatives: KDE, Gnome, xfce, e17
Media player: mplayer
I advocate mplayer without creepy front-end, executing mplayer on terminal works extremely well. A lots of front-end mplayer GUI limits the capabilities of mplayer and introduces a lots of problems.
Alternatives: xine with xine-ui, vln
Audio player: Amarok, xmms
Amarok is a great audio player from KDE development team, feature rich and very stylish, it support ipod sync too. xmms is just looks like winamp, I use it to listen online radio from shoutcast.
Text Editor: vim, kate
vim or vi is a good very good text editor that will be commonly installed by default on any *nix. Very customizable, I even use it as my c/c++ programming editor. Kate is KDE default text editor. Compared to gedit, I like kate more because it listed my opened files in list instead of a short tabs. Gedit gives me problems when I open too many files that exit the maximum tabs it allows to view at once. I have to navigate my tabs by clicking the arrows.
Alternatives: emacs, nano, gedit.
Virtual Terminal: konsole
The reason I use konsole under gnome environment instead of gnome-terminal, it because of I find konsole GUI toolset are well managed. Two things I find gnome-terminal irritating is when I enlarge the font size, the window size is increase as well. It leads more problems when different tabs have different font size. Secondly, adding a new tab from no tabs, the window will be out of shape too.
Alternatives: gnome-terminal, aterm, rxvt, xterm, eterm
Internet Browser: Firefox
I think most of us use Firefox.
Alternatives: opera, epiphany, Konqueror
IRC client: xchat
xchat is just simple, I am not irc power user, therefore, xchat is enough for me.
Email client: Thunder Bird
Thunder Bird is from Mozilla, a very simple email client. It just works.
Alternatives: Evolution, KMail
Messenger: gaim, pidgin
Gaim do not support p2p file transfer, cannot support video conferencing, sending message while appear offline. But I still using gaim because I couldn’t find any good messenger that is so lightweight and stable. Pidgin = Gaim, they just changed their name with some reasons.
Alternatives: amsn, kopete, emesene
File Manager: pcmanfm
pcmanfm is a very nice file manager that support tabs, and a lots of convenient features, read here to know more.
Alternatives: nautilus, konqueror, thunar, xfe, midnight commander, any terminal apps ( ls, cp, mv, rm…)
Photo Editing tools: GIMP
Not much alternatives, GIMP will be the alternatives of photoshop. For vector drawing, go for inkscape, open office draw.
Alternatives: GIMPshop ( GIMP with some toolset and menu arrangement)
Wifi Utils: nm-applets
I only use gnome network manager with nm-applets.
Alternatives: wifi radar, wpa_supplicant
Torrent client: ktorrent
I am not a heavy users of torrent client, ktorrent works fine for me.
Alternatives: Deluge, rtorrent, Azureus
Misc: gFTP( access ftp site), fcit (chinese input), stardict ( dictionary).
There are definitely more alternatives, I can’t list all of them in one post. Enlighten me if you find any great apps that I didn’t not mention at here.