Ubuntu 9.10 'Karmic' Desktop Installer 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, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Netbook Remix or MythBuntu. This guide applies to i386 and amd64 architectures.


Ubuntu 8.10 had so many issues when first released that I resolved to not install a new Ubuntu for six weeks after a release. There were a lot of issues and they were eventually fixed, at least those issues that bugged me. Ubuntu learned from that mistake with 9.04. Nowadays there's a flurry of fixes in the first week or two after release and then it calms down significantly. Ubuntu 9.10 released with a few large issues, most of which were fixed, a few remain. Also, some of the fixes iron out issues upgrading from one version to the next and so are only applicable for existing installations, applied to the earlier version before upgrading.

Changes Since the Last Guide

If Upgrading From The Previous Ubuntu Instead of Re-installing

Note that with this version it is instead worth installing afresh if possible, for the 'ext4' filesystem which is now the default instead of 'ext3', and the 'GRUB2' boot loader which replaces 'GRUB Legacy'.


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 / 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.


You might want a happier looking theme, Clearlooks is one, you can find various themes at: System → Preferences → Appearance → Theme.

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 kernelwas 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 aptitude.

Additional Repositories


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 getting 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

Install these (note it includes Adobe Flash and Sun JRE) from the terminal with:
sudo aptitude install adblock-plus flashplugin-installer 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 sun-java6-plugin libdvdcss2 libsane-extras liferea regionset scribus-ng scribus-ng-doc

Packages For Further Microsoft Windows Compatability

Install these from the terminal with:
sudo aptitude install ntfsprogs samba smbfs wine


Support for a wide range of archive formats

Install these from the terminal with:
sudo aptitude install arc arj cabextract lha lzop nomarch p7zip-full pax tnef unrar unshield ytnef zoo


Install these from the terminal with:
sudo aptitude install traceroute lynx

Software for Laptop Computers

Alternative Applications in case the default applications don't work for you

More Software, Less Necessary

Software and Configuration For Remote Access

To Do - Potentially Worth Adding To This Guide

automatic updates

System → Administration → Software Sources → Updates →

User Accounts

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:


Importing images from media is broken.

Komputes's Top bugs in Ubuntu 9.10, nominated to be fixed for 10.04