Ubuntu Desktop Linux 20.04 Application Guide


As a user of Ubuntu Desktop, how to maximize the benefits of the system depends on your understanding of the applications running on it. If you are a long-term Windows user, you may not be used to Ubuntu Desktop at first. Because humans are accustomed animals, it is a challenge to change work habits or even change applications. But don't think too much, Ubuntu Desktop is not that difficult to operate, and you will get started in a few days. Basically, Ubuntu Desktop is an open source operating system environment, on which there are very rich and free software resources available. But the key is what kind of program you expect to use when you work or leisure. These are some of the suggestions we want to make in this application guide.

Install antivirus software?

With Ubuntu Desktop, you can completely save the cost of anti-virus software. Remember that Linux poisoning is very rare, but you are afraid of hackers. Ubuntu Desktop is basically placed on the intranet and does not provide external services. The system can be updated regularly, and there will be no major security problems.
Ubuntu workspace multiple desktops

When you use Ubuntu Desktop for a period of time, if all the application windows are crowded on the same desktop, it will feel very crowded. Ubuntu Desktop supports multiple desktops. You can put the same type of programs on the same desktop and use multiple desktops to disperse them. The advantage of this is that too many programs will not interfere with the desktop space and improve the fluency of work. It is also very easy to use. Just press the Win key or the upper left corner of the desktop-Overview, and several small windows of the work desktop will appear on the right side of the screen, with the open applications in the middle. Click on the application to start using it. You can also drag and drop the application to other desktops to adjust the number of applications on each desktop for easy operation. You can switch desktops by clicking on the small window of the working desktop or scrolling with the mouse.

Ubuntu workspace multiple desktops
Remmina remote desktop
screen sharing

Screen sharing and remote desktop

If you have an iPad or want to connect to the Ubuntu desktop from the Windows desktop, you can share your Ubuntu desktop (password protection of course). This allows you to operate Ubuntu Desktop anytime, anywhere. Conversely, with Remmina on Ubuntu, you can use VNC or RDP to connect to other Windows desktops or other Linux operating systems, which is very convenient for network administrators.

In addition, some engineers work at home and need to connect to a remote graphics workstation in the office. At this time, the ability to smoothly process 2D/3D graphics requires RDP acceleration. NoMachine can quickly provide a streaming experience including audio and video, just like sitting in front of a computer.

NoMachine RDP

Of course, some people are still accustomed to using teamviewer to connect to the desktop, this is not a problem.

Teamviewer on Ubuntu Desktop

Terminal window and text editor

Linux is often much using faster with command lines. You can open many different tabs at the same time to perform different tasks. GUI is the strength of Windows and MacOS, but more programs and windows consume hardware resources, and the computer runs slower. Ubuntu Desktop can do many things even if it runs on an old computer.  By using terminal , it is still very fast.

In addition to Ubuntu's default text terminal, Telix is a set of software with more advanced features. For example, if you want to look at three text windows at the same time to understand system problems, traditionally you need to switch between three different tabs. Tilix can integrate these three windows into the same window and can be placed horizontally or vertically, and provides function of customization the background/header/link. Telix also supports drag-and-drop windows and notification functions (for example, when a task is completed).

It’s also worth mentioning that Ubuntu’s default text editor can open different files in different tabs of the same window. This makes it very convenient for me to switch files for editing or comparison. Is this better than Windows Notepad a lot of?


text editor on ubuntu
backup and recovery

System backup and recovery

People who use Windows should have this kind of experience. When the system is abnormal and cannot find the root cause, then we may use the restore function to return to the last normal point in time to temporarily solve the problem. In Ubuntu Desktop, you can use timeshift to make system snapshots. Once the system is abnormal, you can restore the snapshots. Ubuntu Desktop also has a built-in file backup function, which can back up files to other hard drives or cloud drives.


On Windows, most of them use Outlook to send and receive messages. But outlook is also a hotbed of viruses, so if you don't need it, you don't need it. The recent reports of huge exchange server hacking incidents indicate that it is very insecure whether to use exchange email server or outlook client software on Windows. Many hacked servers have been executed into backdoor programs to steal data or attack other exchange servers.In other words, if you are using Ubuntu Desktop, data theft or malicious extortion caused by these phishing email will not happen, because malicious programs will only infect the Windows operating system and will not work on Ubuntu Desktop.

Ubuntu Desktop use thunderbird or Mailspring. If the company uses Exchange Server, you can also use Hiri or typeApp's ActiveSync to send and receive messages. Ubuntu Desktop supports various cloud mailbox services such as Gmail or Office 365. But in fact, we like to use Zimbra Webmail, you can send and receive messages with a browser, you don't need to use mail client software, and you can use it across different devices.

Zimbra Webmail


WINE provides pure Windows applications to run on Ubuntu Desktop. If you have some Windows programs such as notepad++ that you want to run on Ubuntu Desktop, you can run the notepad++ installer after installing WINE.

Disk Management

Generally, disk management in Linux will use tools such as fdisk or parted to partition the disk. Ubuntu Desktop has a good graphical interface management tool that allows you to have a complete understanding of storage devices on your computer. For example, the hard disk needs to have both NTFS and ext4 file system, we can decide how to cut the hard disk to make the best disk configuration. In addition, you can notice that when you click on the hard disk, there will be a list of evaluation hard disk health status, which is helpful for us to understand whether the hard disk is normal. If this line is not displayed (for example, there is an M.2 SSD on the system without displaying a health assessment, which means that SMART hard disk detection is not supported), you need to use the smartctl command to check separately. If the test result is PASSED, it means it is normal.
 disk management
use smartctl to chechk disk health
sudo apt-get install smartmontools
sudo smartctl -t short -a /dev/nvme0n1
Power management, increase laptop battery life

When using Ubuntu laptops, there are many situations that require different power management modes. For example, when you only use battery power, you want to save power as much as possible, or you need to have better performance when you need to perform GPU calculations. Although you can adjust various settings such as screen brightness, a better way is to install TLP software. After TLP is installed, it can automatically perform power-saving tasks in the background, and generally double the use time. There is a graphical interface software slimbook battery on TLP that allows you to switch between different modes easily, and even do more subtle controls, such as automatically temporarily turning off the USB port and adjusting the CPU speed. The installation method of TLP and slimbook battery is as follows:

sudo apt install tlp

Slimbook Battery installation

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:slimbook/slimbook

sudo apt update

sudo apt install slimbookbattery

Power management, on Ubuntu
LibreOffice Writer
LibreOffice Calc

Office software

Microsoft Office software is a word processing tool in the office. This kind of file with a file name of .doc or .xls is the favorite of viruses and ransomware. If there is no anti-virus software installed on the Windows operating system, it is indeed very risky. LibreOffice on Ubuntu Desktop is similar to Office software, which is as powerful and compatible with Office. However, the most important thing is the odt file of LibreOffice, which is not the target of virus attack. Even if there is a virus, it will not affect the operating system itself. Basically, it is very safe to use LibreOffice odt files. If you want to send a quotation file by email, I will also convert it to a pdf file and mail it to the other party.

DVD burning software

The DVD burning is default on Ubuntu Desktop.There is also a brasero software that can also be installed, which is quite convenient to use.

Image file writing software

Etcher is a free and open source USB image file writing software. With the publication of various Linux operating systems, it is much more convenient to be able to make a bootable USB disk or SD card. Etcher is the software that provides such functions and can be used across Windows/macOS/Linux. The usage method is also very simple, just select the .iso or .img file then select the USB disk or SD card, click Next to complete it, which is very convenient.

Communication software

The common desktop versions of Skype and Line can be used on Ubuntu Desktop.

There is also another one called Telegram which is  one of popular encrypted communication software. You can install Telegram Desktop to use on your desktop, and all messages will be synchronized to your mobile phone, which is very convenient.


Both Firefox and Chrome support. Google Chrome can synchronize the tabs to be opened in different operating systems, and also synchronize bookmarks/extensions/passwords/Apps, etc. In this way, both Windows and Ubuntu Desktop can open the same tabs and Apps, which is more convenient to use. The browser is also a web management tool that login to the company's systems or uses Chrome extensions to execute other programs, so the browser is a very important application. It is also worth mentioning that Microsoft's Edge browser can also be installed on Ubuntu Desktop 20.04. In the actual test, it is possible to create payment information by logging in to the corporate online banking. Unfortunately, when the release is prompted, the release component of the Windows system is required, so after all, it must be converted to Windows for release. Therefore, the bank's online banking system should speed up its pace to make a cross-platform compatible model.

edge on ubuntu desktop


ULauncher quickly open the application

Traditionally, opening an application has to search back and forth on the menu or on the desktop. When there are more and more Ubuntu applications, you need a tool that can quickly open the application. ULauncher allows you to press Ctrl + Spacebar to search for applications by entering keywords, allowing you to open the application you want to use in a few seconds, which is very convenient. ULauncher also supports various extensions so that you can do some advanced functions such as opening web search.

Art software

Art software commonly used in Ubuntu Desktop is GIMP (an alternative to photoshop) and Inkscape (an alternative to coreldraw). For ordinary beginners, GIMP and Inkscape are sufficient. Of course, the design logic of each set of software is different. Using alternative software ,you have to change your mind. If you must use the software with the previous thinking, it may not work in many places, causing the software conversion to fail.

In addition, for those who want to manage a large number of photos or pictures in the computer, the shotwell software pre-loaded in Ubuntu Desktop can manage all pictures or photos by date. Shotwell can also do convenient graphics processing for pictures, such as rotate/cut/straighten/red-eye/adjust/enhance, which is equivalent to a simple art tool software.

3D drawing and animation

Blender is a 3D drawing software on Ubuntu Desktop (an alternative to 3D Studio Max). 3D graphics software in the industry is very expensive. If there is a set of free software that can achieve the same effect, why not use it? 3D graphics software will use OpenGL support. Using Ubuntu Desktop with mid-to-high-end graphics cards such as NVIDIA P2000, you will be able to create 3D models very smoothly.

3D CAD/CAE software

Professional 3D CAD/CAE software on Windows is very expensive. Compared with the CAD software on Ubuntu Desktop, FreeCAD is free. You can use FreeCAD to design a 3D model and then print it out with 3D printing. Another set of CAELinux can be done from CAD to finite element analysis to fluid dynamic analysis. It’s hard to imagine that jobs that used to require millions of software to complete are now available for free. However, it is still necessary to emphasize that professional software has its uniqueness. Using alternative software to complete design and analysis requires empathy and should not be restricted by previous usage habits.

CAE Linux
EDA Electronic Design Automation

Electronic design automation tools, or EDA tools for short, are specialized computer programs designed to help design IC chips or PCB boards. They are widely used by microchip manufacturers to develop first-class electronic products and reduce production costs. EDA program includes a large number of projects including system design and hardware implementation. Linux provides some of the best such tools for system designers. For example, KiCad or gEDA are a large number of integrated open source EDA tools to replace authorized EDA software, saving software purchase costs. In fact, there are more and more open source software for EDA, you can check this article.

 KiCad on Ubuntu

Video editing software

Want to edit some videos and upload them to YouTube? Want to make a multi-camera video podcast and add good audio and video effects? Non-linear editing and audiovisual editing software such as Kdenlive or openshot are good choices on Ubuntu Desktop˙. For those who are new to editing software, I think it is a good learning tool. Kdenlive nonlinear editing software includes basic and advanced functions such as keying, rotoscoping, keyframe editing, cool transitions and output profiles.

FTP software

If you need to upload to the server using FTP, FileZilla is a good tool. Basically, Ubuntu Desktop provides many command operations. If you want to learn Ubuntu Linux well, it will be helpful to be familiar with command line. After all, the graphical interface has certain restrictions, and only commands can show the software functions very well.
Zoiper  VoIP

VoIP software

The company uses VoIP software to connect to external PSTN phones. You can install Zoiper free version on Ubuntu Desktop to connect with the company's Asterisk server-Elastix. So I can call customers directly on Ubuntu Desktop, which is very convenient.

Video conference and web meeting

Our company uses 3CX software for external video conferences and web meetings. 3CX is a Chrome-based extension. I can receive calls and initiate video conferences through 3CX, reducing the cost of many long-distance business trips. 

A commonly used web meeting software, Zoom, is also supported by Ubuntu. Although the version written on the official website is 16.04 LTS, it can be used in the 20.04 LTS version.

zoom on ubuntu

Slack team communication platform

For many trans-regional or transnational teams, if something needs to be discussed online, in addition to arranging online video conferences, if they only use instant messaging software, they will face problems with different team members' communication software. Therefore, ordinary discussion work needs a convenient instant communication platform, and the Slack team communication platform can help. Ubuntu Desktop also supports Slack installation and message notification, which is equivalent to an enterprise-level communication software, so that we can make a better separation between personal communication software and work communication software without excessively mixing messages.

Slack on ubuntu desktop
VLC media player

Media player

There is software for watching videos by default on Ubuntu Desktop. It is recommended to install a VLC media player to make the supported video formats more complete.

Listen to music and internet radio

Downloading and installing Spotify is the best choice. Or you can use the default Rythonbox to open music files.

For those who want to listen to radio stations from all over the world, you can use Shortwave software to listen to internet radio stations. For example, I am learning Japanese. It is very interesting to be able to listen to Japanese radio programs in Taiwan. You can even activate the recording function to practice your listening repeatedly. Shortwave also supports Google’s chromecast so you can listen to radio programs on big TVs, which is highly recommended.


 Google Service
File Folder

Cloud drive

For people who are accustomed to using cloud drives for file backup, Ubuntu Desktop can also support it very well. For example, I use Google Drive more often because there is nearly 15GB of free space available. The setting is also quite simple, as long as you select Google to log in in the online account settings, you can synchronize Google's services to your desktop, including the cloud drive. After syncing, you can find your Google Drive data in your folder. All changes in the folder will be synchronized to the cloud. If you need to read Google Drive directly from the Linux file system, then you also need to install a software google-drive-ocamlfuse. In addition, commonly used cloud drives such as Dropbox are also supported. After installation, a Dropbox directory will be created in your home directory, so you can directly access the cloud drive on your desktop.

Multilingual support
For people who work in different languages, it is a great thing to be able to switch between different language interfaces on a single desktop.
Ubuntu Desktop has built-in languages from all over the world. Even if you select a single language such as Traditional Chinese at the beginning of the installation, you can add other languages such as Simplified Chinese or Japanese to the settings afterwards. When switching languages, just log out and log in to complete the switch. Unlike Windows, which requires a complete reboot, it saves a lot of time.

Multilingual support

Games are the strengths of Windows, but Ubuntu Desktop still has potential. Because of the mature 3D graphics computing capabilities and rich software support, coupled with the mode of streaming games and the popularity of cross-platform games, running games on non-Windows operating system platforms is not a problem. For example, Steam published by Valve has three versions of Windows/macOS/Linux, so if you buy Steam from Valve, you can not only play on Windows, but also download and transfer painlessly on Ubuntu Desktop. The 3D effect is very good!

screenshot software

Screenshot software

Ubuntu Desktop comes with screenshot software by default, but it cannot mark and edit the screenshot directly.Flameshot is another set of easy-to-use screenshot software that can be edited after the screenshot. For example, you can add arrows and explanatory text or obscure sensitive information.



There is a icon in the upper right corner of Ubuntu Desktop to click on the Wi-Fi/bluetooth connection. If you want to share your Ubuntu laptop as a WiFi hotspot for others to use, then you can enable WiFi hotspot sharing, just like sharing your mobile phone connection with others.

WIFI Hotspot on ubuntu desktop

In addition, sometimes you want to use your laptop to connect to a Bluetooth speaker to listen to music, just open the Bluetooth search device.

bluetooth on ubuntu

File sharing

In a general multi-person office environment, it is sometimes necessary to share personal files with others. At this time, you can turn on the folder sharing function of Ubuntu. If you want others to have write permissions, you can also turn on the write function. When the file is created by someone else, you can see the padlock symbol on the directory or file. In Ubuntu Desktop, if you want to mount a folder shared by others, just enter the following in the connection server of the file management


The system will mount the picture directory. So Ubuntu Desktop can do file sharing and print sharing for a variety of operating system environments.

file sharing on ubuntu

Caffeine screen saver control software

Generally, the screen saver is turned on by default in Ubuntu Desktop, but sometimes you are watching a video or writing a program and do not want to be disturbed. You can use Caffeine to turn off the screen saver, so that you can concentrate on your work or when you don’t need it. Switch back to the screen saver manually.
Caffeine screen saver
Multimedia creation

For those who want to use Ubuntu for multimedia work, complete application integration will increase productivity. Ubuntu Studio integrates five categories of applications including audio, graphics, video, publishing, and photography to provide a complete creative environment for creators of all types, and these high-quality applications are open source and free. If you use the same operating environment but use Windows and commercial applications, you may need to prepare a large amount of money to purchase software licenses, but using Ubuntu Studio is zero cost. But the only thing you need to do is to become familiar with the operation of the apps and let these software turn your ideas into work. Ubuntu Studio can be installed as a normal operating system (using the Xfce graphical interface), or it can be installed on the official version of Ubuntu Desktop using the Ubuntu studio installer (using the default Gnome graphical interface).

Ubuntu Studio


If you are working outside the company with your Ubuntu laptop, you can use OpenVPN to connect to the company's intranet, which is equivalent to sitting in an office.

Software development

No matter what type of development you are doing and which programming language you use, Ubuntu can easily deploy the development environment that best suits you just by installing apt or snap. According to the survey, Ubuntu Desktop is currently the Linux development environment most used by developers, and it is also valued by major brands of computers, launching laptops or desktops pre-loaded with Ubuntu Desktop. I personally recommend Dell Latitude and Precision workstations pre-loaded with Ubuntu Desktop, which allows you to use it out of the box, which is very convenient.

For software development on Linux, Ubuntu Desktop provides Gedit, Atom, Sublime Text and even Notepad++, but Visual Studio Code provided by Microsoft is also good. It has built-in support for many languages including TypeScript, JavaScript and Node.js. It also supports auto-completion functions and extensions through plug-ins.

Visual Studio Code

Application package format

For more and more Linux Desktop applications, it is very important to be able to develop an application and then run it on all Desktop versions. The commonly used application packaging formats in Ubuntu Desktop are snap and flatpak. Both of these use container technology and a central library for cross-version support and automatic updates of programs. So you don't have to worry about the application cannot be executed after the system is upgraded. The program can also be automatically updated to maintain the best condition. Compared with the Windows operating system, XP/Win7/Win10 applications are incompatible, causing many people to stay on Win7 for a long time and do not want to upgrade to Win10. Is the Linux desktop version more advanced now?

snap list on linux

flatpak list on ubuntu

CCTV Viewer can be installed on Ubuntu Desktop. Just enter the URL of the IP camera and the image can be sent back to the desktop. If there are multiple cameras, they can also be viewed in a grid at the same time.

CCTV Viewer

Live streaming and recording software

If you are doing online teaching or as a YouTuber, you will need a software for live streaming or video recording. You can install Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) on Ubuntu Desktop. OBS allows you to use various scenes to mix various audio/media or video sources and then record them or stream them to major live broadcast platforms such as YouTube/Facebook/Twitch, etc. You can also switch between different scenes during the live broadcast just like a director, providing viewers with richer viewing effects. The OBS installation method is as following

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg
Then add the OBS package library and install OBS with apt:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:obsproject/obs-studio
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install obs-studio
The following is the OBS opening screen


Network management tools

As a network administrator, you need to frequently perform system management, configuration file changes or log viewing in Linux and Windows environments. Use Ubuntu Desktop's terminal window and remmina remote desktop to connect to Linux and Windows systems. It is a very friendly network management environment. If you are in a Windows environment, you need to install additional programs such as Putty to connect to Linux, which is not very convenient for cross-platform management. In addition, network administrators often need to draw network architecture diagrams. I personally recommend installing the yED software under Ubuntu Desktop. It is a flowchart software similar to Microsoft Visio, but functionally can meet the needs.

yED flowchart


Virtual machine

You can install VirtualBox on Ubuntu Desktop to run any operating system you want. Or you want to run Docker containers on VM directly, that's not a problem. For example, some programs must operate under Win10. You can choose to install Win10 in VirtualBox.

In addition, if you want to run the container environment directly on Ubuntu Desktop, you can install Microstack or Microk8s. Microstack is a simple version of OpenStack, easy to install. The same Microk8s is a simple version of K8S, which is particularly suitable for development environments or applications in edge computing or IoT applications.

Microstack on Ubuntu


Web editor

If you need to edit web code frequently, you
can install the Bluegriffon program on Ubuntu Desktop. The other set is Brackets published by Adobe, which supports rich web editing tools, but this open source software will soon be discontinued. It may be that the sellers of licensed software vendors are not interested in the open source service model. But open source is open source, and interested developers will develop it very well.
Brackets web editor
glmark2 benchmark test

OpenGL 3D graphics performance

If you want to know how efficient your Ubuntu computer is for 3D graphics, you can run the glmark2 benchmark test program. We are using Nvidia Quadro P2000 graphics card, and the glmark2 score is 9790. (Computer specifications i7-9700 CPU/16GB RAM/256G SSD/Quadro P2000)

ERP/accounting software

At present, many ERP and accounting software are already web-based, and there will be no problems in use if the operating system platform is replaced. We ourselves use the open source Odoo ERP.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

The field of data science is the strength of Ubuntu Desktop, and Ubuntu Desktop provides perfect integration capabilities in software.

develop software

Best-in-class data science tool. The best productivity tools for AI/ML development, including available guides and resources.


Multi-frame model service. Effective model deployment across mesh devices. Low latency reasoning service.

ML operation

Infrastructure for production data science. Centralized or multi-cloud training infrastructure can achieve better resource allocation and data governance.

Data lake

No matter where the data is, an epic amount of data can be analyzed. Use open source to build large data lakes optimized for machine learning on bare metal, virtual or cloud infrastructure.

Data calculation test

We use an Ubuntu computer with an NVIDIA P2000 graphics card to do machine learning training on the Pytorch MNIST dataset, which is more than 6 times faster than training with a CPU alone. If you are engaged in data science related research, it is recommended to purchase a workstation computer with Ubuntu Desktop to implement it.


As an open source operating system, Ubuntu Desktop integrates many high-quality software, making it possible to switch from a Windows operating system to Ubuntu Desktop. But I still see some pure Windows development environments such as online banking, which cannot be used on Ubuntu Desktop. I would suggest that the company keep a few Windows computers for "special" purposes and convert other computers to Ubuntu Desktop. This configuration can save a lot of licensing fees for Windows and proprietary software. In addition, using Ubuntu Desktop is also very safe and stable, without worrying about the threat of poisoning or ransomware.

This is an application guide for Ubuntu Desktop that I have compiled. Perhaps Ubuntu is also good for many areas. You can also leave a message in the discussion area and I will add it. Change is not as difficult as imagined, as long as you know how to detour. All roads lead to Rome, don’t they?
Choose Ubuntu or CentOS for Linux operating system in 2021?