Ubuntu 10.10 'Maverick' Desktop Setup Guide
Everything I'd do to an out-of-the-box installation to make it what I'd consider more complete. This guide is for Ubuntu, not Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Netbook Edition or MythBuntu. This guide applies to i386 and amd64 architectures.
Changes Since the Last Guide
- Added User Account Configuration
- gimp and gimp-data are no longer installed by default so they've been added
- lightning-extension has been renamed xul-ext-lightning
- adblock-plus has been renamed xul-ext-adblock-plus
- libsane-extras is now installed for Simple Scan rather than for SANE
- icedtea6-plugin is now officially supported
- TODO: sun-java6-plugin no longer exists, maybe openjdk-6-? instead?
- The command-line program aptitude is no longer installed, use apt-get instead
- no more ytnef is no longer available
If Upgrading From The Previous Ubuntu Instead of Re-installing
- Beware, if you've encrypted your home directory, then reinstall Ubuntu, choosing not to format the home partition, but formatting the system partition, then you'll need your encrypted partition password otherwise you'll lose the password store and be unable to get your data back.
- Re-add the Medibuntu repository to your package sources, as the installer will have disabled it
- Since Ubuntu 10.04, Skype is part of the Canonical partner repository (see guide to enabling it). To install Skype add the Canonical Partner Repository and then upgrade Skype.
Even when the home directory (/home) is on the same partition as the system (/), you can reinstall Ubuntu over an existing Ubuntu installation and preserve your /home directory as long as you choose not to format the root (/) partition - see HowToUbuquityPreserveHome.
Don't accept the default partitioning method because it puts the Ubuntu system, and your data, in the same partition, when it's better to separate them (see RecommendSeparateHome). With /home separate you can re-install Ubuntu without the risk of wiping out your own files (unless /home is encrypted). Use this partitioning scheme:
|Usage||Size||Partition Type||Filesystem Type||Options||Bootable?|
|/||6GB is comfortable, 8GB is very comfortable
(/tmp is used when burning CD / DVD / BluRay)
|primary||ext4||relatime (the default)||bootable|
|swap||Depends on usage but typically 2 x RAM (to a max of 2GB?) + 1 x RAM (+ 1 x VRAM?) for suspend/hibernate||primary||swap area||not bootable|
|home||Remaining space||primary||ext4||relatime (the default)||not bootable|
Beware, if you've encrypted your home directory, then reinstall Ubuntu, choosing not to format the home partition, but formatting the system partition, then you'll need your encrypted partition password otherwise you'll lose the password store and be unable to get your data back.
The first account you create will have super user privileges, via the sudo capability. If you're installing this in an organisational setting then give this an appropriate username ('admin' is already taken by the system); if you're installing this in a home system then this first account will likely be yours. If you want to create user accounts that do not have sudo capability then create additional user account(s) with the following suggested restrictions:
- Profile: Unpriveleged
- user privileges
- Access external storage devices automatically
- Capture video from TV or webcam and use 3d acceleration - this option isn't there in this version, is it instead 'use video devices'?
- Configure printers
- Connect to Internet using a modem (to do this from the command-line use sudo adduser <username> dip)
- Connect to wireless and ethernet networks
- Use audio devices
- Use CD-ROM drives
- Use modems (to do this from the command-line use sudo adduser <username> dialout)
User Account Configuration
Disable the login sound: System → Preferences → Startup Applications (AKA gnome-session-properties) → GNOME Login Sound - disable
The default behaviour is to lock the screen every 5 minutes, if you don't want to lock the screen you can turn this off using System → Preferences → Screensaver (AKA gnome-screensaver-preferences) → Lock screen when screensaver is active. Or if you want to change the timeout period you can do so there using 'Regard the computer as idle after: x minutes'.
Theme / Appearance and Other Behaviour
You might want a happier looking and clearer theme, Clearlooks is one example, you can find various themes at: System → Preferences → Appearance → Theme. Note that other themes may put the window controls back over to the right-hand side.
Update The System
Run Update Manager and install all the updates that have been released since this version of Ubuntu was released. You may need to reboot afterward if a newer Linux kernel was installed.
Update Manager won't remove old Linux kernels, to do this you need to instead use Synaptic Package Manager (under 'Installed (auto removable)') or apt-get.
Medibuntu (Multimedia, Entertainment & Distractions In Ubuntu) is a repository of packages that cannot be included in the Ubuntu distribution for legal reasons (copyright, license, patent, etc). They provide for example libdvdcss2 (which enables you to watch commercial DVD movies).
Add Medibuntu repository and GPG Key (not whilst Synaptic or Update Manager are running):
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list && sudo apt-get -q update && sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get -q update
If you want to exclude packages from the non-free component of the Medibuntu repository (acroread, alsa-firmware, AMR and FAAC support in MPlayer and FFmpeg, googleearth, restricted video codecs (ppc-codecs, w32codecs, w64codecs)), then do this:
sudo sed -e 's/ non-free//' -i /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
Add More Software
Packages Recommended For Most Regular Desktop Systems
- xul-ext-adblock-plus [universe] - Adblock Plus - block adverts in the Firefox web browser
- flashplugin-installer [multiverse] - Adobe's Flash Player browser plug-in. I'd like to instead recommend mozilla-plugin-gnash [universe] which is a browser plugin for gnash, but though it improves all the time and is now able to play some YouTube it isn't yet developed enough to work with all Flash video, for example MySpace.
The Adobe Flash Player acts as a plugin to Mozilla-based browsers (Firefox, Iceweasel, Epiphany, etcetera) to play SWF and FLV files embedded in web pages. It doesn't act as a stand-alone SWF and FLV player for files downloaded to your computer. The Flash Player program itself is comprised of the file /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so. Use You can use 'about:plugins' in your browser to see if it's linked to the browser OK and which version it is. You can test if Flash is working at www.adobe.com/shockwave/welcome/
Some configuration of Flash Player is partly done by right-clicking on a player window in the web browser and choosing 'Settings'. Predominantly, obscurely, configuration is done through an actual web page at http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager.html.
Adobe's Flash Player represents a security risk as it is proprietary software, closed source not open-source, with a history of security flaws. As such Ubuntu cannot provide security support for it which is why it is not included in the main archive. flashplugin-nonfree is probably the biggest security risk you can install in a system intended for general desktop use. There are other security issues too, see 'Internet Privacy/Persistent Identification Elements' at Wikipedia
The current state of the web has many pages with adverts displaying that are in the Flash format. Adobe Flash Player 9 is very resource intensive. Adobe Flash Player 10 will not be so resource intensive. Thus if you have open a number of tabs in a browser each with Flash-based adverts then the draw on your computer's CPU can be extensive. This presents a compelling reason to not have Adobe Flash Player installed.
- gimp [universe] - image editor
- gimp-data [universe] - brushes and patterns for GIMP
- gimp-data-extras [universe] - more brushes and patterns for GIMP
- gimp-ufraw [universe] - RAW plugin for GIMP
- gnash - standalone Flash player. Plays SWF and FLV files, though its support for Flash isn't yet complete. Note this is not a browser plug-in, it instead allows you to play Flash files from disk.
- gparted [main] - partition editor
- gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad [universe]
- gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse [multiverse]
- gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly [universe]
- gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse [multiverse]
- gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg [universe]
- icedtea6-plugin [main] - Java JRE 1.6 / 6.0 browser plugin. Test it at the Sun Java test, it requires you to choose a cache location. If it doesn't work well enough you might instead want ???? - Java JRE 1.6 / 6.0 update 6 browser plugin. Use 'about:plugins' in your browser to see specific details of browser plugins installed.
- libdvdcss2 [medibuntu] - allows commercial DVD movies encrypted with CSS to be played (used by libdvdread3)
- libsane-extras [universe] - drivers for more scanners than are shipped with Simple Scan
- liferea [main] - feed reader
- regionset [universe] - change DVD player's region
- scribus-ng [main] - layout
- scribus-ng-doc [main] - layout documentation
Install these (note it includes Adobe Flash) from the terminal with:
sudo apt-get install xul-ext-adblock-plus flashplugin-installer gimp gimp-data gimp-data-extras gimp-ufraw gnash gparted gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg icedtea6-plugin libdvdcss2 libsane-extras liferea regionset scribus-ng scribus-ng-doc
Packages For Further Microsoft Windows Compatability
- ntfsprogs [main] - use Windows NTFS partitions
- samba [main] - share files to Windows machines
- smbfs [main] - mount Windows network shared drives
- wine [universe] - run programs written for Windows
Install these from the terminal with:
sudo apt-get install ntfsprogs samba smbfs wine
Support for a wide range of archive formats
Install these from the terminal with:
sudo apt-get install arc arj cabextract lha lzop nomarch p7zip-full pax tnef unrar unshield zoo
Install these from the terminal with:
sudo apt-get install traceroute lynx
Optional - Software for Laptop Computers
- gpointing-device-settings [universe]
Optional - Alternative Applications in case the default applications don't work for you
- banshee - worthwhile alternative if the default music manager 'rhythmbox' won't work with your media player
- gthumb - for more easily viewing multiple images than Eye of GNOME / eog (which is lacking in features for viewing muliple images) and Fspot (which when used to view individual images not already in its library has a very poor interface) .
- thunderbird-gnome-support - together with Lightning, an alternative to the default PIM (email / calendar / todo list) 'Evolution'
- xul-ext-lightning - Lightning, together with Thunderbird, an alternative to the default PIM (email / calendar / todo list) 'Evolution'
- skype - Note that Skype is proprietary software, not open source, and as such has security and interoperability implications. A SIP client is recommended instead, such as Ekiga Softphone, but you can't talk to people who only have Skype with Ekiga.
- vlc - media player useful because Totem has trouble playing some DVDs where VLC succeeds, and VLC has a better ability to navigate DVDs
Optional - More Software, Less Necessary
- wammu - Mobile phone manager
- filezilla - FTP, SSH and SCP client
- kompozer [universe] - web editor
- bluefish - source code web editor
- blueman - for Bluetooth capabilities, better then the default Bluetooth tools, makes using Bluetooth enabled phones for Internet access possible and easy
- Software for connecting to VPN servers
Software and Configuration For Remote Access
- install openssh-server - to remotely access the machine using SSH:
sudo apt-get install openssh-server
- Allow remote connection to a logged in user's session (which requires a VNC client to access, such as vinagre / Remote Desktop Viewer). Note for Ubuntu Netbook Remix users, this requires the package vino.
- System → Preferences → Remote Desktop (or use vino-preferences) →
- Sharing →
- Allow other users to view your desktop - on
- Allow other users to control your desktop - on (the default)
- Security →
- You must confirm each access to this machine - off (the default)
- Require the user to enter this password - enter password
- Allow remote graphical login, irrespective of whether someone already logged in, using one of the following:
To enable the graphical login screen (the 'GDM chooser') so that you can use an XDMCP client, such as tsclient / Terminal Server Client (with xnest installed), to login:
sudo cp /usr/share/doc/gdm/examples/custom.conf /etc/gdm/
gksudo gedit /etc/gdm/custom.conf
Then make the file appear as:
Make sure you have no unsaved work and restart GDM (which will log you out): sudo restart gdm
This configuration is documented in the GNOME Display Manager Reference Manual.
- ? Install tightvncserver / vnc4server?
- ? Login using ssh -Y user@<workstation> then run X applications tunneled over ssh?
- ? 15 Remote Desktop Solutions for Linux
To Do - Potentially Worth Adding To This Guide
- ubuntu-restricted-extras [multiverse] - flashplugin-nonfree, gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg, gstreamer0.10-pitfdll [i386], gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse, gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly, gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse, icedtea6-plugin [amd64], libavcodec-unstripped-51, libdvdread3, libmp3lame0, msttcorefonts, sun-java6-jre [amd64], sun-java6-plugin [i386], unrar
- w32codecs / w64codecs?
System → Administration → Software Sources → Updates →
- Check for updates: Daily
- Install security updates without confirmation
Importing images from media is broken. [TODO: is this still an issue in 10.04?]
Regression Tracker: http://qa.ubuntu.com/reports/regression/regression_tracker.html