With thousands of apps a mere click away in Ubuntu Software it’s perhaps fair to say that Ubuntu default application selection matters a lot less than it use to.

But it does, arguably, still matter.

For new users the apps that come installed are often the apps that get used. Logical because, if you’re new to Ubuntu, you may not know which office suites are available, or what music player works best.

Shipping a set of sane defaults has always been part of the Ubuntu desktop’s reason d’être and there’s no reason that should change now it’s switching to GNOME.

If anything, the switch gives Ubuntu the chance to expand the breadth and update the capabilities it offers through its default app selection. Many GNOME core applications are now viable options (because, to be blunt, these looked terrible on the Unity desktop).

GNOME Core Apps

Photos is a photo management and editing app similar to Shotwell but more “user-friendly”. I especially love its in-window editing toolbar, filters and sharing support.

GNOME Photos in GNOME 3.24

Documents is a content-specific document manager that groups both local and online documents in one window. This makes it easy to search and browser for specific files and open them in your preferred office suite.

Sushi is a really nifty file preview for Nautilus. Simple highlight a file, photo, video or music file and tap the space bar to preview its contents.

gnome sushi python file
Sushi previewing a python file

Maps is a powerful desktop mapping tool. Leveraging OpenStreetMap, a free collaborative crowd-sourced map dataset, the app lets you plan routes, favourite places, see points of interest, and even check in via Foursquare. Offline support is planned for a future release.

gnome 3.16 maps app
You’ll never guess what Maps does

Clocks is a desktop application for — you guessed it — keeping an eye on the current time, multiple timezones, and setting alarms.

Contacts is a simple, straightforward address book. You can add, edit, search and view contacts, and integrate with some online address books.

GNOME Tweak Tool needs little introduction. A one-stop shop for all your advanced (and also not-so-advanced) configuration needs, from switching GTK theme, icon set and font, to enable/disabling GNOME extensions and setting the position of window controls.

gnome tweak tool option to move window controls in gnome
GNOME Tweak Tool 3.25.2

Music is far from being a fine-tuned alternative to Rhythmbox, but it does look more ‘modern’ than its rival.

If Weather is installed by default the notification/message tray will (if you allow it) also show the current weather conditions, saving you form having to open the app to check the weather.

gnome 3.24: notifications area
If the Weather app is installed the notification shade displays forecast

Polari is a desktop IRC client that’s decently featured and nice to look at. Quite whether there is a place for an IRC client on a modern desktop is debatable, and with Empathy no longer being installed by default, I’d guess this is likely too niche to be worth a slot on the install image.

Which GNOME Apps Should Ubuntu Include by Default?

For this weekend’s poll we’re asking you which GNOME apps (if any) you’d like to see Ubuntu include out-of-the-box, by default, so you don’t have to go fetch them.

A few things to note before you vote: for the purposes of the poll we’re looking specifically at  the most user-friendly GNOME core applications. Core apps are ones recommended for, referenced by or developed as part of a stock GNOME release.

Therefore the poll does not include third-party GNOME apps like Lollypop, Feedreader, Corebird, etc.

We’re also not including GNOME apps that are already installed by default on Ubuntu, such as Files (Nautilus), Calendar and Videos (Totem). The poll is run on the basis that the default browser and mail client won’t change. We’re also not touching on system and development tools (e.g., Boxes, Builder) as these generally aren’t included in Ubuntu by default.

You can vote for as many (or few) apps as you like, and if you think Ubuntu shouldn’t include any of these then there’s an option for that too.

Note: if you’re reading from our Android app, an RSS reader, or a scraper site you won’t see the poll embed above. please visit this post in a web-browser to add your vote.

Poll gnome ubuntu 17.10