Setting up Ubuntu from scratch

Ubuntu logoThis is mostly to help me remember what I like to do when setting up Ubuntu on a new computer, but maybe other folks will find it useful too. I’ll probably update it over time.

  1. Update Ubuntu
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    sudo apt-get autoremove
  2. Install frequently-used software (recommended for all)
    sudo apt-get install vim flashplugin-nonfree ttf-mscorefonts-installer ubuntu-restricted-extras gimp
  3. Install less-frequently-used software (my personal list)

    Note: Skype requires the Canonical Partners repository. Goto System > Update Manager > Settings > Other Software and check “Canonical Partners” before running the following.

    sudo apt-get install pidgin skype hugin audacity ffmpeg wine lame vorbis-tools dia meld inkscape alpine
  4. Remove software I don’t use (or that gets in my way)
    sudo apt-get remove evolution empathy gwibber shotwell
  5. Make sure SSH connections stay open
    echo "    ServerAliveInterval 120" | sudo tee -a /etc/ssh/ssh_config
  6. Enable the TrackPoint (ThinkPad-specific)
    sudo apt-get install gpointing-device-settings

    In the TrackPoint section, select “Use wheel emulation”, set button to 2, and check “Enable horizontal scroll”

  7. Configure Firefox
  8. Install EditPlus in Wine
  9. Keyboard remapping
    Goto System > Preferences > Keyboard > Layouts > Options…

    • Caps Lock key behavior > Caps Lock is disabled
    • Compose key position > Right Ctrl
  10. Set up “LAMP” for local web development (optional)

Also check out: Adventures in Linux with Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Guide. Everything else is just apt-get install and a lifetime of learning.


Heh, I did this myself this week.

The minimalist toolbar is brilliant, and Last Tab seems really nice. (Firefox comes one step closer to a full operating system.) Thanks.

You’re using vi and you have CapsLock as a Ctrl instead of Escape? xkeycaps for the win.

Actually I just use vi/vim for in-terminal editing. Most of my code I write gets written in EditPlus (thanks to Wine).

I need to make a list like this. What’s more fun, though, is making your own bootable install image with the changes already made :D

Kenneth—and update it every 6 mos? Nah. Well I’m not installing Ubuntu fresh all that often. But I’d love to see a set of instructions on how to appropriately script the changes I’ve described here. The apt-get ones would be easy. Not sure about FF and the various conf file changes.

As of Ubuntu 9.10, the annoying pcspkr module is blacklisted (yay!), so I’ve removed the following from my standard list of instructions:

Turn off the PC speaker beep/bell

sudo rmmod pcspkr
sudo vi /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

Then at the bottom add:

blacklist pcspkr

I also made the following updates, based on recent usage, and changes to Ubuntu since I wrote this.

  • Separated “Install frequently-used software” into two groups: general and personal
  • Added pidgin and pidgin-otr (since they are no longer installed by default) and thunderbird, which I use for email at work
  • Added dia and meld, which I use at work
  • Added Screengrab, a Firefox addon
  • Added a keyboard remapping step to enable the Compose key

I’ve updated this post as of Ubuntu 11.04. I’ve also written a separate Natty Narwhal-specific post: Ubuntu Unity: Ugh.


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