Ubuntu 8.04 'Hardy' Desktop Addendum
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, or Kubuntu. This guide applies to i386 and amd64 architectures.
Don't accept the default partitioning method because there isn't a separate /home partition. With /home separate you can re-install Ubuntu without wiping out your own files. Use this partitioning scheme:
|Usage||Size||Partition Type||Filesystem Type||Options||Bootable?|
|/||6GB is comfortable, 8GB is very comfortable||primary||ext3||relatime||bootable|
|home||Remaining space||primary||ext3||relatime||not 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|
Get rid of Ubuntu's brown theme, instead choose the Clearlooks theme: Desktop → Preferences → Theme → Clearlooks.
Subscribe to Various Ubuntu Repositories
Maybe turn off the CD-ROM install media so that you aren't bugged to insert a CD when you don't have it inserted: use Desktop → Administration → Software Sources
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) and Skype.
Add Medibuntu repository:
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/hardy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
Add the Medibuntu GPG Key (not whilst Synaptic or Update Manager are running):
wget -q http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update
If you want to exclude getting packages from the non-free component of the Medibuntu repository:
sudo sed -e 's/ non-free//' -i /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
Install updates using Update Manager.
Packages Recommended For Most Regular Desktop Systems
- adblock-plus [universe] - block adverts in web browser
- flashplugin-nonfree [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 it isn't yet developed enough to work with all Flash video.
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-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]
- icedtea-gcjwebplugin [universe] - Java JRE 1.6 / 6.0 browser plugin. Though this won't pass the Sun Java test (though it's improving) so you might instead want sun-java6-plugin [multiverse] - 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 SANE
- liferea [main] - feed reader
- mozilla-plugin-gnash [universe] - Flash (SWF and FLV) player and browser plugin. May not work for all situations, in which case you may require flashplugin-nonfree [multiverse], Adobe's Flash Player. Use about:plugins to see specific details of browser plugins installed.
- regionset [universe] - change DVD player's region
- sbackup [universe] - simple backup
- scribus [main] - layout
- scribus-doc [main] - layout documentation
- scribus-template [universe] - layout templates
Packages For Further Microsoft Windows Compatability
- ntfsprogs [main] - use Windows NTFS partitions
- samba [main] - share files to Windows machines
- ? samba-doc [main] - Samba documentation
- smbfs [main] - mount Windows network shared drives
- wine [universe] - run programs written for Windows
Support for a wide range of archive formats
sudo aptitude install arc arj cabextract lha lzop nomarch p7zip-full pax tnef unrar unshield ytnef zoo
- gnome-bluetooth - Ubuntu already allows sending of files over Bluetooth, this allows receiving. This shouldn't be required, but is, because of Ubuntu bug 211252
- gnome-vfs-obexftp - contains a GNOME VFS backend to access remote files over OBEX FTP. In theory this is replaced by gvfs-backends but is still required because of Ubuntu bug 211252
Software for Laptop Computers
- gsynaptics [universe]
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'
- lightning-extension - together with Thunderbird, an alternative to the default PIM (email / calendar / todo list) 'Evolution'
- skype [medibuntu] - though note that it's proprietary software, not open source and so it has security and interoperability implications and so a SIP client is recommended instead, such as the already installed 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
More Software, Less Necessary
- filezilla - FTP, SSH and SCP client
- kompozer [universe] - WYSIWYG web editor
- bluefish - source code web editor
Software for When Deployed in an Organisation
- openssh-server - to remotely access the machine using SSH
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
The first account you create will have super user privileges, via the sudo capability. If you want to create user accounts that do no have such privilege then create another user with the following suggested restrictions:
- Profile: Unpriveleged
- user privileges
- access external storage devices automatically
- capture video from TV or webcam and use 3d acceleration
- connect to wireless and ethernet networks
- use audio devices
- use CD-ROM drives
- use scanners