I just installed the beta of the new Ubuntu release, 10.04. As I usually like to do, I opted for a clean install and then set about doing all the things I usually do after a clean install. This time, I decided to document exactly what these things are so that other people can get their systems up and running smoothly. Hit the more button to see these steps.
First thing I do is head on over to the Ubuntu Software Centre and install the following applications.
Gnome-Do – Seriously, if you are not using this, start. Pressing <Super><Space> (Super is the usually Windows key on most laptops) brings up the Do window, into which you can type the name of a program and it will launch it for you, the screenshot below indicates what I’m on about
The amount of time that this program has saved me over the past weeks and months is unreal. I get frustrated if I sit at a PC that doesn’t have Do installed. It’s just great.
Shutter – Shutter is a great screenshot taking tool, in fact, all of the screenshots take in this post were done using Shutter.
Guake – Guake, when running, allows you to pull up a terminal window at any time by hitting F12. Simple, but brilliant.
Conky – Conky can show all sorts of info embedded into your wallpaper. This old post may be of interest if you’re getting going with conky.
GIMP – The popular GIMP imaging program was removed from this release of Ubuntu, something I don’t really agree with, but it’s a simply problem to rectify, it’s easily installable through the Ubuntu Software Centre.
Cheese – The simplest, best webcam program.
VLC – The swiss army knife of video players. Throw virtually any video file at it, and it will play.
Ubuntu Restricted Extras – Another essential install, this package installs a multitude if very important codecs for playing various media files. If you are having trouble with some multimedia files, I’d recommend this guide to help sort you out.
Flash – Again, essential. It was a huge pain to install this in 9.10, but in Lucid, using the Flash package in the software centre worked a treat.
Nvidia Binary Driver – I needed to install this proprietary driver to get compositing enabled on my laptop. If you’re having trouble with it, a reboot usually helps.
Eclipse – The best cross platform multi language IDE around, in my opinion.
BOINC Manager – This little program is used to attach to and manage, distributed computing projects. I currently contribute to the World Community Grid and encourage you to as well, your spare CPU cycles can help scientific research.
2. Key Firefox Extensions
Next, fire up Firefox and get all your favorite extensions set up. I’ve listed a couple of my favorites below.
XMarks – Another utility that everyone should be using. This nifty little extension keeps your Firefox bookmarks synchronised across any instance of firefox you have it configured on. So, when I boot into a Windows VM, or dual boot into Windows 7, the bookmarks in Firefox across all the different platforms are the same. Changes are reflected across all platforms. A really great thing is, if you do a clean Ubuntu install, you don’t need to worry about your Firefox bookmarks or passwords, as they’ll be sychronised back as soon as you install Xmarks.
It’s very difficult to follow the thread and replies of the comments shown on Reddit above. A simple User Script makes the comments look like this.
3. Sort out social networking
One of the best new additions to the new version of Ubuntu is the inclusion of tools for social networking right from the off. You can very easily set your Twitter, Facebook, Identica (these are referred to as “Broadcast Accounts”) and others to update from the in built integration of the Gwibber client. You can also set up chat accounts for Facebook, Google Talk, AIM, MSN, Jabber etc to all reside in the one IM client. To set up your social networks, use the menu accessed by clicking your username.
Now you can easily update all your statuses from one place, simply click your username and use the box provided.
4. Move the buttons back to their correct place
In the latest version of Ubuntu, one of the more noticable changes is the relocation of the minimise, maximise and close buttons from the right hand side of the window to the left. This has caused all manner of debate and outrage, but they are the way they are and will be staying that way for the foreseeable future.
This annoyed me so much, I did a seperate post on how to get the buttons back, which can be found here.
5. Install googsystray
I use Google web services quite alot, Gmail handles mail from several addresses, I sync my phone with Google Calendar, read all my feeds with Google Reader and I do….something with Google Wave. The problem is, keeping up to date with all these services can be a pain.
Googsystray is a little program that lives in your Notification Area, and appears when you have new email/feeds/waves. It means you never waste time checking any of these services to find you have nothing new.
The great thing is, in the email tray you can select to mark an email as read, archive it, or delete it, all without bothering to navigate to Gmail. In the example below, I’ve seen this Facebook post, so there’s no need for me to read the email notification about it, so I just click Archive, and it’s gone, dealt with.
6. Install Ubuntu Tweak
I love to set up little keyboard shortcuts and things of that nature to make my life easier, and thusfar, I have not found a better and easier way to do that than using Ubuntu Tweak. It’s a great app for adding repositories, keyboard shortcuts, configuring Compiz and loads more. It’s really a must if you’re into tweaking your OS to work how you want it to. It’s not in the repositories yet so cannot be gotten through the Software Centre, it can be downloaded and installed from here.
An extra tip from JEANJEAN in the comments. From within Ubuntu Tweak, in the section labeled “Source Center”, you can enable the Flash 64-bit PPA, as shown in the screenshot below. This means that you’ll always be kept up to date with the latest 64 bit Flash plugin 🙂