20 Most Highly Rated Applications to Install from Ubuntu Software Center

Many long-term Ubuntu users(including me) overlook at the fact that, there are plenty of good quality applications available free of cost in Ubuntu Software Center already. If you look at our reviews of applications here, a good number of them require adding and updating third party repositories. Not that those apps are somehow inferior, but we will, for a change, list the most highly rated applications which are available for free installation from Ubuntu Software Center.

top apps for ubuntu

Ubuntu Software Center
We have talked in detail about the limitations of Ubuntu Software Center in its current form. But that was a discussion strictly from a functionality and design point of view. What about the hundreds and thousands of open source applications available in Ubuntu Software Center? Below, we will list 20 of the most highly rated and downloaded applications of the lot.

Stellarium Planetarium Software 

stellarium for linux

Stellarium is a free and open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. It boasts of a star catalogue with over 600,000 stars. No wonder why Stellarium is one among the most favored applications for Astrnomy enthusiasts in Linux.
Chromium Web Browser

chromium web browser

Chromium is the open source web browser project from which Google Chrome draws its source code. Chromium browser is like the bleeding edge of the Chromium project while Google Chrome is the more user focused version, rebranded version ie. Also, Chromium browser is available as an installation candidate in default Ubuntu while Google Chrome is not. Learn how Chromium is different from Google Chrome in greater detail.
SMPlayer - MPlayer Based Media Player


SMPlayer is my most favorite multimedia player for Ubuntu. SMPlayer is basically a Qt based MPlayer front-end. SMPlayer remembers the settings of all files you play. So, when you restart a video after quitting SMPlayer, it will start from the exact same position.
GnuCash Finance Management

GnuCash provides accounting functions suitable for use by small businesses and individuals. It can track finances in multiple accounts, keeping running and reconciled balances. There is support for customer, vendor and employee processing.
Blender - 3D Modelling, Animation, Renedering App


Blender is one of the most popular open source applications ever. Blender is basically a free and open-source 3D modelling and rendering application which is also cross platform. Short films and animations created using Blender has been an instant hit across the web.
Guake - Quake Style Terminal Emulator for GNOME


We have talked in detail about Guake Terminal Emulator before. Guake is a drop-down terminal for GNOME Desktop Environment(originally inspired from KDE's Yakuake).
Synaptic Package Manager


As you should know, Ubuntu Software Center completely replaced Synaptic during the last release cycle. But even with all its improvements, Ubuntu Software Center is not anywhere near as slick or functional as Synaptic yet. So you might want to install and use Synaptic until Software Center is more 'complete'. Expected changes for upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin release include many improvements and feature additions for Ubuntu Software Center, so that we can expect a more solid release next time around.
Shutter - Capture, Edit and Share Screenshots

shutter screenshot tool

Shutter is perhaps the most comprehensive tool for easy capturing, editing and sharing of screenshots. Really must have app for bloggers, have been using Shutter like forever.
Synapse Launcher

synapse launcher

Even after the advent of Unity and GNOME Shell, which made launching of apps really easy, popularity of Synapse is only growing. Synapse is blazing fast and good looking as well.
Mumble - A Low-Latency, High Quality Voice Chat Program for Gaming

mumble chat

Mumble is a voice over IP application primarily designed for use by gamers, similar to programs such as TeamSpeak and Ventrilo. Many reviewers have rated Mumble above both TeamSpeak and Ventrilo apparently. Mumble features noise suppression, automatic gain control and low latency audio with support for multiple audio standards.  
XChat is a graphical IRC Client with a GTK+ GUI. To put it into perspective, XChat is the only client application I have ever used for Internet Relay Chat(IRC).
Akregator Feed Reader Application

akregator feed reader

Akregator is the only KDE application we have listed here so far and it is simply because of the fact that, Akregator is the best feed reader application available for Linux. Period. 
Uget Download Manager

uget download manager

Uget is a simple, lightweight and easy-to-use download manager. It is fast, responsive and does what it is supposed to do rather well. Uget is the download manager I always preferred to use while downloading ISO's, very reliable download manager for Ubuntu.
Deluge Bit Torrent Client

deluge bit torrent client

Deluge is a free and open source, cross-platform bit-torrent client. Transmission bit torrent client is good enough for me, though Deluge can act a really good alternative.

GIMP Image Editor

GIMP needs no introduction. It is simply the best image editor application for Linux. Until a few releases back, GIMP was among the default choice of applications for vanilla Ubuntu. It has now been replaced with more light weight applications. [Top GIMP Tutorials]
RawTherapee Digital Photo Processing Application

rawtherapee for ubuntu

RawTherapee is used to adjust some of the most often changed parameters when optimizing digital images. It was one of the first raw converters available for Linux with a reasonably usable GUI. A good application to try out for hard core photographers.
Darktable - Good Alternative to Adobe Lightroom

darktable for linux

Darktable is a good alternative to Adobe's Lightroom application. It enables you to develop raw images and enhance them. All editing with Darktable is fully non-destructive and only operates on cached image buffers for display. The full image is only converted during export.
Inskscape Vector Graphics Editor

Inkscape is a free and open source, cross platform, vector graphics editor with capabilities similar to Illustrator and CorelDraw, using SVG file format. [Top 10 Inkscape Tutorials]
OpenShot Video Editor

OpenShot Video Editor

OpenShot Video Editor is a free and open-source non-linear video editor. It can create and edit videos and movies using many popular video, audio, and image formats. Though user reviews have generally been positive, many hard core users still prefer KDenLive.
Calibre E-book Library Management

Calibre ebook manager

Calibre manages your e-book collection for you. Calibre is a free and open source tool as well. It even supports e-book syncing with a variety of popular e-book readers out there.
Note: We have omitted some obvious choices like VLC, Rhythmbox, Ubuntu Restricted Extras and some other applications we have discussed here before. And this post is meant for new comers to Ubuntu primarily, as a quick introduction of top free applications available in Ubuntu.