After you have downloaded and installed Ubuntu 9.04, what is next thing you should do?
Getting Ubuntu onto your hard disk is only the first step. It is still in the raw and unpolished state. To get the best out of it, you really need to configure and customize it to suit your needs. In part 3 of the series, I am going to go through the important things that you need to do after you have got Jaunty up and running.
1) Enable the repositories
Every time I do a fresh install of Ubuntu, the first thing that I do is to enable the universe, multiverse, backport and Canonical’s ‘partner’ repositories. These repositories open up new application choices and allows you to install popular third party software easily and quickly.
Go to System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager.
Click on Settings -> Repositories.
Checked all the boxes.
Go to the Third-Party Software tab. Check all the boxes too.
Close the window and press the Reload button at the top left corner to update the repositories.
2) Modifying GRUB menu
The GRUB menu is the black screen that you see when you boot up your computer. You can easily modify the setting, including whether it is hidden or how many seconds before it boots up. One of the useful application that allows you to modify your GRUB menu easily is Startup Manager
sudo apt-get install startupmanager
Before you modify your GRUB menu, it is best to back it up.
sudo cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu-backup.lst
Open your Startup Manager, here is where you can change the timeout, how many kernel entries to keep and show/hide the grub screen.
3) Configure Firewall
If you are concern about your security, then it is pertinent that you activate the firewall and prevent any unauthorized access to your computer.
UFW is installed by default, but if you need a graphical interface, install GUFW.
sudo apt-get install gufw
Alternative to GUFW is Firestarter which is a simple but powerful app that allows you to monitor your traffic
sudo apt-get install firestarter
Wine is a must-have application for those who can’t live without their Windows applications, It allows you to install your Windows application in your Ubuntu machine and run them like native Windows apps.
sudo apt-get install wine
Once you have installed Wine, remember to run the configuration (Applications -> Wine -> Configure Wine) before attempting to install your favorite Windows app.
Can’t listen to MP3? Can’t watch Youtube video? Can’t run Java? Don’t worry, all you need to do is to install the ubuntu-restricted-extras package and it will install all the necessary files/codecs for you. Some common applications in the package include MP3 codec, Adobe Flash player, Java runtime and Microsoft core fonts.
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
6) Ubuntu Tweak
Ubuntu Tweak allows you to tweak your system settings, all in one place. You can install new applications, customize your desktop settings, configure your startup applications, changing the system filetype association and many more tweaks in this single application.
To install Ubuntu Tweak, first open your sources.list files
gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
insert the following lines to the end of the file. Save and close.
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu jaunty main deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu jaunty main
In the terminal, update the repository and install Ubuntu Tweak
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak
After trying out several media players, including Totem and MPlayer, I still prefer VLC for its great support for almost any kind of multimedia format out there.
sudo apt-get install vlc
8) Gnome Do
Gnome Do is a small application that allows you to search and do things faster and more efficiently in your Ubuntu machine. It is similar to QuickSilver in Mac and Launchy in Windows. For those who have not tried Gnome Do before, it might take some time for you to get used to it. But once you’re hooked to it, there will be no turning back for you.
Gnome Do also comes with a dock interface that you can use it like any other docks.
sudo apt-get install gnome-do
9) Eye candy
Some people like to have nice beautiful effects on their desktop while others may just want a minimal desktop. If you belong to the former, here are some applications that you can install to beautify your desktop.
- CompizConfigSettingsManager: The configuration manager for Compiz. Inside you can find lots of interesting (and useless) desktop effects.
- Avant Windows Navigator, Cairo dock – Mac OSX style dock for your desktop
- conky, GKrellM – display system setting on your desktop.
This is not a list about the popular applications out there that you should have, but a list of basic stuffs that you need to have for better performance. Initially, I wanted to include more of my favorite apps such as Songbird, Thunderbird, Adobe Air, VirtualBox, Filezilla, Checkgmail etc, but I find that they are more of a personal perferences rather than a must-have for everyone. If you favorite application is not in the list, do tell me about it in the comments.
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