As I wrote before, I’m conducting an experiment of working with only Open Source software in my day-to-day User Centred Design profession. One of the good things with OS X software was the abundance of useful, single use applications which helped in work.
Using Linux, this shouldn’t be impossible to achieve either.
The flavour of Linux I use is Ubuntu with GNOME. GNOME is for those unfamiliar similar to the OS desktop interface – how the interface looks and operates, but it much more powerful.
There is also the concept of extensions for GNOME – additions to the default interface which allows you to do one thing (think web browser extensions, or addons). Thankfully there are lots available. The list below is some of the most useful for UX professionals.
This extension shows a list of sound output and input devices in the status menu below the volume slider. Various active ports like HDMI , Speakers etc. of the same device are also displayed so you can control what inputs and outputs are used for audio. Very useful when using an external microphone, video camera for recording, or when doing a presentation.
Easy Screen Cast
I’ve also installed other extensions which I find useful – Touchpad Indicator (turns off/on touchpad when a mouse is plugged in), SomaFM Radio (allows you to listen to Internet broadcaster SomaFM), System Monitor (which shows graphs and stats on CPU, memory, disk usage).
There are some other useful extensions available at the GNOME extensions site.