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I'm faced with the prospect of moving from a server which has been configured previously with loads and loads of the sorts of tools you forget about day-to-day as you do various tasks (I'm talking about even the basic stuff like java and gcc etc), to a completely bare box (actually several, but I only really need to configure the first then I can just image the rest).

I was wondering if anyone has a list of their own particular 'must-haves', and also whether there are any sort of 'ready made' collections of all the day-to-day useful stuff to have in a unix (ubuntu specifically) shell.

On mac for instance, I've seen people make scripts to install all their favourite homebrew apps without having to do them one by one.

Just want to speed up and simplify the job of installing all the bog-standard bits and peices - but I don't know where to look?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Stephen Kitt, Braiam, Jakuje, garethTheRed, Rui F Ribeiro Mar 14 '16 at 18:28

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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This might be pointing the obvious, but you and only you can tell what is important and what is not, and create a install script depending on what you need. Scripting is not hard. If you are on a RedHat compliant system, all you need is a series of yum install <package_Name> commands. If you are going to use a Debian variant, the command changes to apt-get install package_name. You may need to manually add the repository names for few esoteric apps, but other than that, it should go smoothly.

If you want to know what was installed on your previous system, you can get that information by

rpm -qa    #on RedHat variants
dpkg --get-selections    #on debian variants

just massage the output with sed/awk/grep.

  • On Debian-based systems the output of apt-mark showauto should also be preserved, so that automatically installed packages can be re-flagged after re-installation (using dpkg --get-selections' output). – Stephen Kitt Mar 14 '16 at 14:52
  • Yes this is the sort of thing I was getting at, but I wondered if there are any out there that people use often? Kind of like a "swiss-army-knife" installation of loads of useful things. I can script it easy enough, but my thinking was that there might already be widely used examples. Not strictly limited to things that are installed by apt-get or yum as well. In much the same way there there are threads comparing people's go-to functions etc in their .bashrc's, I thought a list of people's go-to packages etc might be enlightening too. – Joe Healey Mar 14 '16 at 15:02

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