Wednesday, May 1, 2013

[To do] Top things to do after installing Ubuntu 13.04

Top things to do after installing Ubuntu 13.04

¿De qué está hablando? Versión en español

Not running 13.04? Check my previous post for 12.04 and 12.10

Planning to install Ubuntu? This post explains how to do it with partitions (it's more secure and very useful) Here you can check my Raring Rintail review

So I installed Ubuntu, what now?

In this post I will show the top things that I recommend you to do in order to make your computer run like a champ.
I strongly recommend the use of the (a) Terminal except in a few cases, like when you first update, you should update with the "Update Manager" because you'll have to install new kernel revisions.

Updating packages and upgrading

The first thing that you absolutely want to do, just after installing Ubuntu is to update your packages. To do this, you will need to search for the "Software Updater" in the application list.

It will atomically check for updates, after all the packages are updated you can click in "Install Now"

Or you could launch a Terminal and put the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

The first time you do this it could take a lot of time.

Installing proprietary drivers

If your computer has a graphic card like nVidia or AMD or a wireless connexion you must install some drivers to make it work properly. If your wireless doesn't work you might want to install the driver using a wired connexion.

After searching for "Software & Updates" go to the "Additional Driver" tab and choose the driver that you want to activate. You need to restart your computer afterwards.

Enabling proprietary packages and installing proprietary software

If you want to install some proprietary packages like libraries to play MP3, or to install software developed by Microsoft, like Skype, you have to active some repositories in the "Software Sources". You open the "Ubuntu Software Center" and in the Menu "Edit" you open the "Software Sources" window

 Then you click in tab "Other Software" and choose the option "Canonical Partners":

For legal reasons Ubuntu is not allowed to include some codecs, fonts, software automatically. You have to enable Medibuntu packages. You just use this command for doing that:

sudo -E wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update

That way you can have access to all (or almost) the propietary packages that you may want/have to use

sudo apt-get install app-install-data-medibuntu apport-hooks-medibuntu

Privacy in Ubuntu

Don't forget about setting up your privacy if you're running 12.10 or a newer version. If you don't want Unity to send your search to Amazon go to "System Settings", then "Privacy" and turn off/on what you want.

I don't like Unity, show me something else

Many people don't like Unity for many reasons and prefer to change the desktop. Or maybe you just want to try something different.

Gnome 2: or "Oh I miss the old days". If you want to go back to Gnome 2 just type this command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

Gnome 3: the Gnome team recently released version 3.8.1 which many people seem to like. And let's admit that New is always better... Maybe not...

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

KDE 4: the KDE recently released version 4.10.3, this desktop is my second choice after Unity. I used it for a while and is fast, stable and the graphics with OpenGL are sick. With this command you're actually changing the flavor of your Ubuntu to add Kubuntu:

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Cinnamon: it started as a fork of Gnome 2. Very interesting and pretty nice too.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cinnamon

There are many other options out there in the wild but I haven't given them a long try. Here are some examples: XFCE, LXDE, Awesome, Xmonad, MATE... among others.

I like Unity,  but I want to tweak it a little bit

If, like me, you're just used to use Unity there are some programs that let you tweak this desktop

Ubuntu Tweak 
Another tool very interesting to modify Unity is Ubuntu Tweak. To install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak


Google Chrome o Chromium: if you don't like Firefox you can install Google Chrome by going to their download page.
After you installed the right package for your distribution you can use this command (adapt it with the name of your package:

sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

or you could just open the folder where you save the file and double-click it. But the command line is more fun, let's admit it.

If you want to install Chromium instead:

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser


If you want to download some files from the Internet using a Bit Torrent client there is one installed by default with Ubuntu. Transmission is a light-weight bit torrent client that will do just the job. You can set it up as you want but it doesn't have a lot of options.

There are many options for Linux, like KTorrent, Deluge...


If you want to install another client for your e-mail I think you could try to install Geary. Here is how it looks:

To install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yorba/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install geary


There are some interesting programs to play multimedia, audio, video... But before doing some installation we want to make sure that we have the right codecs intalled.

sudo apt-get install non-free-codecs libxine1-ffmpeg gxine mencoder totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0

A frequent problem you find in different forums is how to play DVDs in Ubuntu/Linux. DVDs use a special encryption protocol, you have to install a library for decryption, run this command that will install this library and execute a configuration file:

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 && sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/./


VLC is a great media player that can read EVERYTHING, and I really mean it.

sudo apt-get install vlc


If you're looking for an alternative to Rhythmbox because you don't like or if you miss some functionalities like an equalizer or a little more personalization; Clementine is a great option.
Go to the Download Page of Clementine and choose the latest version for Ubuntu and the architecture that you use (in my case Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit). Then from a Terminal try to install it, you will run into some errors of dependencies, but just use the second command to solve this, and you are good to go.

sudo dpkg -i clementine_1.1.1~quantal_amd64.deb

sudo apt-get install -f


If you like photography and you don't want to spend a lot of money in Photoshop you can try out GIMP. I use it every day and it comes with a lot of functionalities.

Just run the following command:

sudo apt-get install gimp

If you want to edit RAW files from your camera you will need this extra package:

sudo apt-get install gimp-ufraw

This will let GIMP edit the RAW file after it imports it.


If you want to do some vector drawing Inkscape is a great piece of software, very easy to use. Here is an example I made in a free sunday.

sudo apt-get install inkscape


If you want to do some video editing in Linux, I think the best option right now could be OpenShot.

sudo apt-get install openshot

Just heard Steam came for Linux?

That's right boy, Steam launched its client for Linux a few months ago and it looks pretty awesome.
If you want to install it the easiest way is from the Ubuntu Software Center:

It will give the option to "Buy..." it, but it is actually free to just follow the procedure and you will be able to play your favorite games.

This is how it looks, pretty sweet if you ask me:



I have tried Empathy but I had some troubles with my MSN account. Pidgin is a great alternative and it supports many protocols, like MSN, Facebook, Google Talk...

sudo apt-get install pidgin


In order to install Skype in Ubuntu you have to install the independent packages  as seen at the beginning of this blog.

sudo apt-get install skype

If you're using Skype and Unity give Skype Wrapper a try, it will integrate Skype to Unity. Here are some examples of what it will do:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:skype-wrapper/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install skype-wrapper

If you want to see the changes you need to Log out first.

Cloud and backup


Most people have a cloud account with some server. You can share files, make a backups in the cloud, or just have your files available from anywhere you want. You have to go to the download page and again you can run this command (adapting it to your distribution):

sudo dpkg -i dropbox_1.6.0_amd64.deb


Something that I love about Ubuntu (and other distros) is that they have their own backup manager. You can setup your backups to put them in the Cloud or in a FTP server or simply put it in a hard drive.
You search in your applications for "Backup"  and then you can configure
your backup as you like.

Ubuntu One

Ubuntu offers a 5GB account for every Ubuntu installation. You can synchronize any file you want with this.

Some tools and indicators for your system


An interesting tool that allows you to save some energy of your laptop. It also indicates you the state of the computer.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install jupiter

System indicator

This allows you to see many stats, like your processor performance, your network connexion, your RAM charge, I/O of your disk...

sudo apt-get install indicator-multiload

Archive Management Apps

If you frequently download files from the internet and you want to uncompress or compress here is a command that has everything you may want to install.

sudo apt-get install unace unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils rar

Note: If you install the rar, unrar package you will be able to read comic books in .cbr format with Evince.


There is an interesting indicator if you want to check the weather (although I have had some issues with it, when it works it's nice):

sudo apt-get install indicator-weather

I still need some Windows programs


If you need to install some Windows software that isn't available for Linux you can use Wine emulator. It is not going to work for everything but you can do a lot of stuff like installing Microsoft Office.

sudo apt-get install wine

Virtual Box

If Wine doesn't work you may want to create a virtual machine and install some programs in it. The problem is that you must have a Windows ISO.
Download the package from Oracle's site and again from the terminal (adapting it to your own):

sudo dpkg -i virtualbox-4.2_4.2.10-84104~Ubuntu~precise_amd64.deb

Programming (a.k.a "Why don't you compile?")

For people who use their machine for writing code, here is a list that you use for installing some basic packages for programming:


First of all you want to install some basic packages that allows you to compile, this packages include gcc for example

sudo apt-get install build-essential

¿gcc is too old school?

Clang is a great compiler for C and C++, it has the same syntax that gcc but it has a nice output:

sudo apt-get install clang


A simple IDE that recognizes some languages.

sudo apt-get install geany


For programming with Java the only thing that you need to do (because it will install Java at the same time) is install Eclipse.

sudo apt-get install eclipse


If you're planning to do some programming using OpenGL you must install the "freeglut" package:

sudo apt-get install freeglut3-dev

Cleaning everything that you wont use anymore

After you're done installing everything that you always wanted run this commands to clean your packages and to uninstall everything that you don't need anymore:

sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get autoclean

And you're good to go. Enjoy your new install!

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