Create A Perfect Linux Desktop Using Ubuntu 10.04: Post Install Guide

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The days of getting a perfect desktop PC using a Linux based system has never been so near with the arrival of Ubuntu 10.04. It adds some key features that have been missing from a Linux distribution , something that a regular user expects from a state-of-art OS, e.g. a basic movie editor  Pitivi, similar to Microsoft Movie Make, a basic image editor for day to day image editing chores, new improved F-Spot. Lucid Lynx tops that with a new app Gwibber client and Me  Menu making Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx probably the first OS to cater to “Social Butterflies” by facilitating direct access to your Facebook, Twitter accounts, and more.

I am assuming that you have already installed Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx on your PC, it is a breeze anyway. If you haven’t take a look here. It tells you how to dual boot Windows 7 and Linux or  try Linux using virtualization, safest approach possible.

Now that you have installed Ubuntu 10.04, lets go about installing all the additional packages that would obviate the use of Windows or proprietary paid softwares. Free software ROCKS! Goal is to setup a desktop system which would be self sufficient, without the need to reboot in Windows.

First step is to open sources.list file located in /etc/apt folder by doing this at a terminal (you can open a terminal by going to Applications > Accessories > Terminal) :

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

now uncomment the following two lines by deleting # in front on them.

# deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu lucid partner
# deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu lucid partner

replace them with

deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu lucid partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu lucid partner

Save the file and now we can install all the software we want to. Fire up Synaptic, the package manager for Ubuntu from the System> Administration > Synaptics Package Manager

Enter the password that you use to login, when prompted. You should see a screen like this

Before we begin click on the Reload button to refresh the list of packages. Below is the list of applications that we are going to install, using Synaptics (marked in blue), to take care of our daily computer needs. Some of these applications are already installed but have been listed for your information. The names of the application packages are listed below followed by its description and status. To install any package, search for the application name in the Quick search box in the Synaptics Package Manager, once it shows up in the search result, √ (tick) the box in front of it by right clicking on the application name and then selecting Mark for Installation. Click on Mark on the pop-up window asking for permission to install additional packages required to be installed. Some of these applications would have to be installed separately and as such can’t be installed through Synaptics, they have been marked in red.

Internet:

  • flashplugin-installer: Adobe Flash Player: to be installed
  • Firefox: web browser:  already installed
  • Chrome: web browser by Google: to be installed separately
  • Opera: web browser: to be installed separately
  • thunderbird: An email and news client: to be installed
  • Evolution: e-mail/calendar – Outlook style application: already installed, look in to Application > Office menu.
  • transmission: A BitTorrent Client: Bittorrent client: to be installed
  • Empathy IM Client: multi-platform instant messaging client: already installed
  • Skype: VOIP software: to be installed separately
  • Google Earth: Map software by Google: to be installed separately

Graphics:

  • gimp: replacement for Adobe Photoshop: to be installed
  • F-Spot: feature rich personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop: already installed
  • Google Picasa:  application for organizing and editing digital photos: to be installed separately

Office:

  • OpenOffice Writer: replacement for Microsoft Word: already installed
  • OpenOffice Calc: replacement for Microsoft Excel: already installed
  • acroread: Adobe Reader: to be installed
  • scribus: open source desktop publishing (DTP) application: to be installed

Sound & Video:

  • audacity: free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor: to be installed
  • audacious: Winamp like music player: to be installed
  • banshee: media management and playback and synchronize music with Apple iPods: to be installed
  • gnome-mplayer: media player (video/audio), supports practically all formats: to be installed
  • vlc: media player (video/audio), supports practically all formats: to be installed
  • Rhythmbox Music Player: audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPodsalready installed
  • gtkPod: iPod manager, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini: to be installed
  • dvdrip: full featured DVD copy program: to be installed
  • dvd95: dvd shrink like program to convert DVD9 to DVD5:  to be installed
  • kino: digital video editor: to be installed
  • sound-juicer: CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs: to be installed
  • Totem – media player (video/audio)already installed
  • xine-console: media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs: to be installed
  • Brasero: CD/DVD burning programalready installed
  • k3b: CD/DVD burning program: to be installed

Programming:

  • emacs: Feature rich extensible self-documenting text editor: to be installed
  • vim: Terminal based power text editor: to be installed
  • kompozer WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver: to be installed
  • bluefish: HTML editor: to be installed
  • quanta: web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor: to be installed

Other:

  • virtualbox-ose: run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows: to be installed
  • VMware-Player: Similar capabilities as Virtual box: to be installed separately
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer: TrueType fonts available on Windows: to be installed
  • sun-java6-bin: Sun Java Platform Standard Edition Runtime Environment: to be installed
  • wallpapers: Additional wallpapers: Just search for this string and select as many packages as you want
  • screensavers: Additional screensavers: Just search for this string and select as many packages as you want
  • ffmpeg: Useful video conversion application

Once you have selected all the packages marked in blue or at least the ones that you are interested in, hit the Apply button on Synaptics to start the installation process, followed by another click on Apply on the pop-up window.

Let the installation finish, you might be asked to accept a license agreement if you chose to install Sun Java and Acrobat Reader. Exit Synaptics.

Now you should have all the essential core Ubuntu applications installed on your machine. Lets install the third party applications now. You should download .deb files (32 bit or amd 64 bit depending on the version of Ubuntu you installed).

Download Google Chrome from here.

Download Google Picasa from here.

Download Google Earth from here.

Download Skype from here.

Download Opera from here.

All the packages above are .deb except that for Google Earth, and can be simply installed simply by double clicking on the downloaded file. To install Google Earth, open a terminal and cd to the directory you download the Google Earth file (by default it would be Downloads):

cd Downloads
chmod a+x GoogleEarthLinux.bin
./GoogleEarthLinux.bin

This would launch the installer, click on Begin installation to install Google Earth. Thats it, you have installed all programs that one would need for day to day work. I would put my recommendations for specific tasks in another post soon. Remember for program like GoogleEarth to work you would need to have drivers for your video card installed, if you haven’t then you can do that by launching System > Hardware Drivers and then enabling the appropriate driver.

To download VMware Player you would have to register at their website, registration as well as download is free. Installation process is identical to that for GoogleEarth discussed above.

Want to do more:

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About the Author

has written 346 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

4 Comments on “Create A Perfect Linux Desktop Using Ubuntu 10.04: Post Install Guide”

  • ipod to mac wrote on 5 August, 2010, 4:00

    sounds good !
    I will try this with my friends

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

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