Fresh ubuntu installation changes.

I’ve had the pleasure of installing many new ubuntus (10.10) in the last few weeks, having had a new computer myself, an old one break, installing it on a friends computer, and getting a new computer in the robotics department at uni. I thought I’d record the things I do with a new installation for posterity.

Firstly, to install, I find a USB stick by far the easiest way. I make this either using ‘unetbootin’ on windows, or the ‘startup disk creator’ on linux (System>Administration). Having the iso already downloaded makes it a little faster. On the victim pc, I put the stick in, boot straight into the bios to make sure that USB boot is at the top, it often isn’t, then restart into ubuntu. The install process is so simple nowadays, anyone could do it.

Once installed, I install chromium from the software centre (open source version of google chrome browser). It is my favourite browser by far, and I sync them all across my computers, so my preferences are kept the same wherever I’m browsing, and given that it seems 90% of computer use now is online or cloud based, this is the logical first step for me! I replace the firefox icon at the top with the Chromium icon.

Next, Docky. This is my new favourite application launcher, and is very mac-esque. A few customizations make it better, such as removing the docky anchor icon, making the background 3d, and removing icons I don’t like by dragging them to the bin. Removing the lower bar is the next obvious step to avoid feature duplication.

I install the propriety drivers for a graphics card if I have one, ubuntu should prompt about this if you try to use nice effects like compiz fusion which has some really nice features I love, like workspaces on a cube, and wobbly windows. Other non opensource things worth adding are java and flash.

Next, I change the minimize, maximise, close icons to the windows way round, ubuntu changed this recently, and I don’t like it. To fix, alt-f2, type gconf-editor, apps>metacity>general, and change ‘button layout’ to ‘menu:minimize,maximize,close’ (no quote marks).

Dropbox is always a gudden, for users of that, and spotify is another essential for me, but you’ll have to install ‘wine’ first, as there’s not an official linux version (one is in beta, but only for premium users, because ads aren’t figured out yet properly). The spotify team have instructions on running it under wine, ( a windows emulator), and you’ll have to fiddle with some settings like hardware acceleration. VLC is probably the best for playing local files, although it isn’t great on features (but it does play everything!).

I remove the chat bar from the top right, which for some reason also loses the shutdown icon, so you need to right click > add to panel, and add a shutdown icon, and also a log-out button if you’ll need to do that. I also add a force quit icon.

I add a simpler shortcut for the terminal, like ctrl+space, and make terminal work with standard copy paste shortcuts, rather than ctrl+shift+x, but this is only really for power users.

There’s skype, and filezilla, if you use them. There’s also the standard things like changing the personal options like wallpaper, screensaver, power options, and docky has some nice extras you can add like a gmail checker, and a weather icon. That’s all I can think of for now, it’s probably worth browsing the ‘featured apps’ in the software centre, and see if anything takes your fancy!

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