Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 12.10

Features David Hayward Dec 3, 2012

If you’ve just installed Ubuntu 12.10, then David Hayward has some extras to offer

Ubuntu 12.10 is finally here. The Quantal Quetzal. It’s a rather nice operating system; the improvements in Unity have certainly made for a much better Linux experience. Plus there are the much talked about new features that Canonical has included with its latest version of Ubuntu - features such as Web Apps, Remote Login, Amazon Searching from the Dash, Unity Preview, the new Software Updater and Additional Drivers. Indeed, there’s much to look forward to playing with.

However, as with most operating systems, to achieve a certain balance of features, functionality and freedom, we need to add, tweak and fine tune what we already have. The latest Ubuntu, although rich in its offerings, also requires some attention before we can fully appreciate it. Therefore we’ve scoured the length and breadth of the internet to bring you some things to do after installing Ubuntu 12.10.

Update and upgrade

Yes, it’s a brand new operating system, but things move pretty quickly in the world of Linux, so it’s always a good idea to make this the first task after a fresh Ubuntu installation.

In truth you can use the software updater, but in practice you’ll be better off using the ever faithful terminal. Simply press Ctrl+Alt+T and the terminal will pop up, then type in ‘sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade’ and press Enter.

Enter your password, and let the system do the rest. You may be asked to enter ‘Y’ to upgrade any components, in which case just go ahead and allow the process to continue.

Media codecs

Due the various legalities involved with media codecs in certain countries, Ubuntu is unable to ship the really necessary ones ‘out of the box’. There is an option during installation to include codecs, but if you missed it, you can always install them by doing the following.

From the terminal type ‘sudo apt-get install Ubuntu-restricted-extras’ and press Enter.

The system will then ask you for confirmation; as before press ‘Y’ to accept and continue with the installation. After a brief download, you’ll receive a message asking for end user agreement for the installation of the ttf-mscorefonts package. Using the Tab key, highlight ‘OK’ and press Enter, followed by the arrow keys to select ‘Yes’ on the next screen, and again press Enter to finish the installation.

In addition to the above, you can also install the Mediabuntu repositories necessary for playing just about every media file in existence. It’s a bit long winded, but type this in and press Enter:

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

Once all that lot is done, you can install the relevant packages needed to play encrypted DVDs, by typing ‘sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 && sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/./install-css.sh’ and pressing Enter.

Get your web apps on

The aforementioned Web Apps is a nice feature for those who like the world at their fingertips. Installing and using a Web App is simple: just browse to one of the sites listed in the Web Apps boxout and a pop-up will appear asking you if you want to install the related Web App for extra features and quicker access. Click on the ‘Install’ button, and within a few seconds an icon will appear on the Unity Launcher. If you right-click the new icon and select ‘Lock to Launcher’, it will remain there and dynamically update you with feed information whenever something new comes in.

Install VLC Player

While the built-in Totem player is pretty good, it’s not as good as VLC. It’s true everyone has their favourite video player, but VLC is regarded as the top free player in existence and all round good guy. To install VLC, simply drop into a terminal as before, then type ‘sudo apt-get install vlc’ and press Enter.

Enter your password (if needed) and type ‘Y’ to continue the installation. Once it’s completed you can type in ‘vlc’ to bring the player up; otherwise launch a video file and enjoy.

Other desktop environments

Unity has come a long way since it was first introduced to Ubuntu a little while back, but it’s still not to everyone’s taste. Thankfully, one of the many pleasures of using Linux is the fact that you can configure it to just about anything you like, including what kind of Desktop Environment you fancy using.

We can’t name them all, but here are a few decent selections, which will keep you busy for a while at least.

XFCE

The super-lightweight desktop that’s growing in popularity by the day:

sudo apt-get install xfce4

KDE

The ever popular and fancy looking desktop:

sudo apt-get install kde-plasma-desktop

MATE

A relative newcomer and one that’s become popular with the Linux Mint crowd, press Enter after each line:

sudo add-apt-repository “deb http://packages.mate-desktop.org/repo/ubuntu quantal main”
sudo add-apt-repository “deb http://repo.mate-desktop.org/ubuntu quantal main”
sudo apt-get install mate-archive-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mate-core
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

Cinnamon

Another great new desktop, with some very nice looking features:

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

Become invisible

For those of you who prefer to remain anonymous on the internet, consider installing and using the Tor network. The Tor Browser Bundle package protects you by effectively bouncing your internet connection around a distributed network. It prevents sites and individuals from learning your location and stops any information collection goings-on.

To start, point your browser to goo.gl/kZW4O for the 32-bit Linux tarball. When it’s downloaded, drop into the terminal and navigate to the downloaded file. Next, unpack the tarball by typing ‘tar xzvf tor-browser-gnu-linux-i686-2.2.39-3-dev-en-US.tar.gz’ and pressing Enter.

Then change directory into the newly created Tor folder, by typing in ‘cd tor-browser_en-US’ and pressing Enter. Finally, to run the Tor Browser Bundle type ‘./start-tor-browser’ and press Enter.

The Tor settings manager and launcher will connect to the network and open up a protected version of Firefox with a message stating if you’re protected or not. After that, you’re free to surf anonymously. However, just because you can’t be seen doesn’t mean you now have a licence to be naughty and do nefarious things - be sensible, and be safe.

Install Conky

Conky is a lightweight system monitor that can display a wealth of information regarding the various ins and outs of your PC. It has a number of very nice themes and can display a clock, CPU usage, RAM usage, Disk info, Network bandwidth and loads more. To install Conky, drop into a terminal and type ‘sudo apt-get install conky-all’, and press Enter.

Press ‘Y’ to accept the installation. When that’s done, open up Firefox and navigate to here goo.gl/xDDoh. This is the Ubuntu documentation for installing and using Conky, setting it up so it runs at boot and configuring the various monitoring utilities.

Have fun

Finally, all that’s needed is a reboot, if you haven’t done so already. Then all that’s left is to simply sit back and enjoy the latest Ubuntu.

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