I Have Installed Ubuntu…What’s Next?

Does this sound familiar to you? You have taken the plunge and install Ubuntu on your computer. The next moment, you have no idea what to do next and where to head. Now, before any doubt creeps in and you are wondering if you have make the right choice leaving the comfort zone (Windows or Mac) and venture into the unknown ground, let us show you what you can, and should do after installing Ubuntu

Note: While this article deals with Ubuntu, it should work for any other distro as well.

1. Unlearn and Re-learn

If you are coming from the Windows or Mac background, you will find that the architecture and user interface is totally different in Ubuntu. You can’t just click on .exe file, or drag the dmg file to your application folder, and expect it to install. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to unlearn all the things you know about previous OS and relearn everything about Ubuntu.


Some of the things you should know about Ubuntu:
1. Installing applications in Ubuntu can be easily done via the Ubuntu Software Center, and the first application you should install is not an anti-virus suite.

2. An easy way to install applications that are not found in Ubuntu Software Center is to download the application .deb file. This .deb file is similar to .exe file in a way that you can double click on it to install the app.

3. There is no Start menu and pressing the “Win” key won’t bring up the application menu. Applications can be accessed from the Application menu (at the top left of the screen)

4. The file manager for Ubuntu is Nautilus, not Windows Explorer or Finder. And Nautilus is much better than Windows Explorer and Finder.

5. There is no C: drive in Ubuntu. All your personal files are stored in the /home/username directory.

6. Most of the applications in Ubuntu (and Linux) are free, and FREE doesn’t mean inferior product. There are tons of useful, free and high quality applications available for you to use. Don’t bother about software piracy, there is no need for it.

7. The system will check for update regularly and update itself in the background. And it doesn’t require you to reboot to complete the update. Best still, it won’t auto-restart itself when you are in the midst of doing something important.

2. Find alternative software

Ubuntu comes pre-installed with plenty of applications that you can use out of the box. You get a browser, video player, audio player, text editor, photo manager, office suite, games, PDF reader, IM app, email client, bittorrent client, disk burner and many more.

While these apps are handy, some of them might not be of your liking, or do not suit your needs. The good news is, you can find free alternative software for almost each and every one of them.

Alternative app:

Browser: Firefox (default), Chrome, Opera, Midori, Konqueror, Epiphany
music player: Rhythmbox (default), Banshee (soon to be the default), Amarok, Clementine, Exaile
video player: Mplayer (default), VLC, SMPlayer
email client: Evolution (default), Thunderbird
IM client: Empathy (default), Pidgin, aMSN

3. Learn about PPA

To install application via the Ubuntu Software Center, the application must first be listed in the software repository. In some cases where the software you want is not available, you can add the software PPA and it will become available for installation in Ubuntu Software Center. PPA is known as the Personal Package Archives and it is a good way to add external software packages to your software repository. Like any other app, it will get updated when a newer version is released by the developer.

A good and easy way to add/remove and manage your PPA is via the Y PPA Manager.

4. Learn basic terminal command

As scary as it may seems, the terminal is actually a very useful thing. While you don’t have to learn terminal command to use Ubuntu, having some knowledge of it will definitely improve your productivity and give you more confidence in tackling the OS.

Some basic commands include:

sudo apt-get update – update the system software repository

sudo apt-get upgrade – upgrade the installed software to the latest version as listed in the software repository

sudo add-apt-repository [ppa] – add PPA to your repository. Replace [ppa] with the PPA name

sudo apt-get install [application-name] – install an app that is found in the software repository. Replace [application-name] with the application name.

sudo apt-get autoremove [application-name] – remove the application and all its dependencies

sudo apt-get clean – clean up the system and remove obsolete packages.

5. Customize it to your liking

The best thing about Linux is that I can customize almost everything to my liking. The simplest is to change the wallpapers and screensaver. The next level is customizing the theme. Moving to a slightly more advance level would be customizing the login screen and the grub screen (also known as the bootup screen). Other than that, you can also add stunning animation and window effect with Compiz, or get a geeky desktop with Conky.

6. Bookmark Ubuntu community and tutorial site

Along the way, you will definitely face some problems that you can’t solve. Luckily, there is a tons of Ubuntu helps and resources available in the Internet. Check out our top 10 Ubuntu sites you should bookmark. And don’t forget the Linux section over here at MakeTechEasier.

7. Enjoy it

You have already reached this far, what else to do other than to enjoy it? I have been using Ubuntu for the last 6 years and I am enjoying every single bit of it. I am sure you will too.

8. Spread the word around

Last but not least, if you enjoy what you are using, share it (Ubuntu or any other distro) around with your friends and let them benefit from it too. You can direct them to the website to download the ISO file or simply pass them your LiveCD.

Did I miss out anything?

Image credit: Scarleth White

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