If you're about to start over with an Ubuntu installation, you don't have to spend time selecting and reinstalling all your chosen apps and packages. Synaptic offers a convenient solution for auto-installing your favourites. An Ubuntu Forums user points to an option in the default package manager for Ubuntu (and Debian, and a few other distros as well) that your Linux-using editors hadn't noticed. "Save Markings" in the File menu creates a file that notes all the package names—everything—you have installed in your current setup, and can be loaded easily into Synaptic on your next install for automated re-installation. It's a nifty time saver, but it likely works best on re-installations of the same OS version—package names can sometimes change across upgrades, though the worst that would likely happen would be an error message and some manual searching/downloading after that.