It’s not just you and me. Almost everyone, including the Linux gurus, will prefer to have a curated list of steps to follow after they install Ubuntu to make a new working environment. We are going to describe all the things in this article, according to Ubuntu 18.04. And if you are a newbie in that particular distribution, this is more like a must! Thereby we all should know what to do in the best way.
Things to Do After You Install Ubuntu Fresh
This guide has been written having Ubuntu 18.04 in mind. However, you will most likely be able to follow along with other versions too. None of them are mandatory steps but recommended for most people. It is to mention that the commands are written in italic font.
1. Make System Ready to Go
You will get a brand new fresh look after you install Ubuntu 18.04 with all of its default system configurations. We will need to check and make some adjustments in some areas of the system to do further steps smooth and easy. We need to enable all sources from where the software will download, update policy and security and add a package manager. Let’s go!
Enable Additional Repositories
Package management is one of the most fundamental things that differentiate Linux distributions. Before we proceed to update or install any part of the system, we should enable the additional repositories. Open up the software & updates and make sure we have allowed the ‘Main,’ ‘Universe,’ ‘Restricted,’’, and ‘Multiverse‘ repositories. It will give access to many closed source, proprietary software, including the device drivers.
Make Sure You are Updated
It will search in the available repositories to list the packages that need ‘upgrading’ and also list the new packages that are available to install. So it doesn’t update the software themselves but updates the list of software by fetching the latest metadata.
Now we can run a system upgrade in Ubuntu 18.04 with the following command line:
sudo apt-get update [It fletches the full list of available updates of Ubuntu 18.04]
sudo apt-get upgrade [ It upgrades the present packages strictly]
It will install the new versions of the software that are established based on the updated package information. We should do this because there might always be more different bug fixes, patches, and so on even you have installed the latest release.
Install ‘Synaptic’ GUI Package Manager
Sometimes it’s counter-productive to use the terminal for all tasks. Synaptic is the GUI for the APT package manager. You can do the same things with a graphical user interface that you would instead do with APT commands.
sudo apt-get install synaptic
2. Install Necessary Software
After you install Ubuntu, you will need to install some necessary software to make a working environment. You can find most of the software by searching in synaptic. Synaptic will give you a graphical interface based on APT to search and install the software in Ubuntu. But We will add the terminal-commands as well.
Chromium is the mother-project of google chrome. It’s chrome without the secret google codes that few people trusts. The only drawback I see with chromium is the logo looks so pale. That is not a problem at all! You can change it anyway.
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
One of the most important things after you install Ubuntu 18.04 is to have a media player to play music or video. The VLC media player with a very few haters and a lot of rock-solid stable features. I was never in need of anything other than this. And of course, lots of people love this open-source player.
sudo apt-get install vlc
Dropbox is the most renowned sharing app, and it does not have scandals like Mega and all those Chinese Giga & Tera space providers. With the free version, it is not providing the largest of spaces, but it’s very stable. It works seamlessly with Ubuntu’s default Gnome desktop environment and another desktop environment s well. It is the best part.
Well, LibreOffice is excellent, but we all work with windows guys who use Microsoft Office and end up with incompatibility issues. Only Office is a minimal, free Office suite that works with Microsoft Office seamlessly. Use this command to install Libre Office easily.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libreoffice
XDM or Uget
XDM does not fit well with the GTK environment, but it supports up to 32 segments in a download, which probably makes it the fastest among its competitors in Linux. I hate how bad it looks with all those native applications but could not replace it considering its speed.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/apps
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xdman
You can also find a Uget GUI, which suits very well with the Gnome desktop.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:plushuang-tw/uget-stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install uget
It’s a backup tool. Trust me; you need this! Trust me; it’s just a few clicks! Most of us ignore the need for a proper backup strategy, and the rest of us panic about the complication. However, with Timeshift (a rsync GUI) It was just a few clicks for me. Do not risk losing all your configurations and setups, Never!
sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install timeshift
You’ve moved to Linux, and I know you’ll frequently taste a lot of distros and other OS. Etcher is the simplest for me with a modern GUI and windows ISO support.
echo “deb https://dl.bintray.com/resin-io/debian stable etcher” | sudo tee
sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys 379CE192D401AB61
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install etcher-electron
Franz / Rambox
Get all your messaging applications in one single application! What it does is, it integrates all the messaging applications that have a web-client.
chmod +x Rambox-0.5.3-x64.AppImage
There is no official Evernote client for Linux. However, the community has got your back with ‘Whatever.’ As beginners to gurus, everyone should live with a community.
sudo dpkg -i Whatever_1.0.0_amd64.deb
sudo apt install -f
You may need a torrent client like Transmission, a desktop-recorder like simple-screen-recorder, a code editor of your choice like Atom, a mail client like Thunderbird, a video editor tool like Kdenlive. You can get any other software just by searching its name. You will find some apt command, paste them in your terminal, and it is done!
3. Tweaking Functionalities
In this part, we will keep our discussion on the Gnome desktop only to keep things simple. Ubuntu 18.04 supports many desktop environments, and every desktop has its tweaking functionalities.
First of all, let’s install the gnome tweak tool.
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
Gnome tweak tool will allow us to tweak the Gnome Desktop Environment in greater depth than the default system settings does. You can manage extensions, appearance, and so on. We will not talk about its functionality, as most of them are self-explanatory.
After that, we will install some popular shell extensions. In doing that, go ahead and open up extensions.gnome.org in your browser. You can click on any of the listed extensions, and it will be installed right away. I will recommend installing the browser extension for managing gnome extensions. You can find it in the chrome web store or the Firefox extension library.
Some ‘must-have’ extensions are:
- User Themes
- Dash to Dock
- Desktop Icons
- Icon Hider
- Logout Button
- No Annoyance
- Quick close in the overview
- Remove drop-down arrows
4. Theme Things Up
Here comes the aesthetics part after you install Ubuntu 18.04, the one we all love to play with. You can put your themes in things like GRUB (the bootloader that offers you which OS to load), the Plymouth (where you put the boot animation), the icons (system & application icons), the shell (all the windows and system popups will be affected by this), applications (the inside appearance of applications) and even the sounds & cursors. You can theme them all!
However, in this post, we will use the gnome tweak tool to do some essential upgrade of the appearance of the system. We recommend installing these themes to get started.
- Flat Remix
- La capitane
You may visit the gnome-look.org website to find more options.
5. Install Other Desktop Environments
It is one of the best things after install Linux; you have so many options to choose in terms of desktop environments that you never knew when you were in windows or mac. Gnome is the default for Ubuntu 18.04, but the Linux spirits don’t always stick to defaults! You can also choose a suitable desktop environment by comparing it from here.
It was the default DE for many years in Ubuntu. Canonical might have stopped feeding the Unity project, but don’t worry. The community is not going to let it die anytime soon. You can check the excellent environment by installing it with the following command line.
sudo apt install ubuntu-unity-desktop
Unity & Gnome tries to keep things a bit minimal; they have their reasons behind it. The more minimal you are, the fewer bugs you have to deal with. But not every one of us is of this school of thought. Some of us prefer having as many features as we can. KDE is the one then! However, this distribution is a bit heavier than the others. It also lacks the level of stability that Gnome offers.
sudo apt install tasksel
sudo tasksel install Kubuntukubuntu-desktop
Gnome has grown a lot over the years but also hurt many hearts in its way. Some people did not like the move from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3; they felt some top developers are autocratic and not listening to the opinions of many others. So they decided to make a new formation and continued with Gnome 2 to make the MATE Desktop we have today. If you have shifted from a windows background, you may feel better in MATE. It also uses fewer hardware resources than KDE & Gnome.
sudo apt update
sudo apt install ubuntu-mate-desktop
Simple, Lightweight & Stable. XFCE is simply elegant. And If you have an oldish computer, you’ll likely find yourself using this DE at the end of the day.
sudo apt install xfce4
Did you know some people do not use any DE? No, I am not talking about terminal habitats. But some tiling window managers are top-rated these days. Not recommended for beginners, though. You may try:
Desktop environments are consist of a window manager, display manager, Panel, Menu, and so many things. The DEs that we discussed above all have floating window managers. On the other hand, while the tiling window managers can be more productive in some use cases, they are hard to get started with.
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6. Optimize Battery Usage
Now we are going to work with system optimization after installing Ubuntu. The first thing is the battery usage. There are so many complaints about Ubuntu using too much power. However, optimized Ubuntu 18.04 can provide you way better battery backup than you imagined. Just follow the steps and chill!
Built-in Power Settings
You can use the built-in power settings to reduce the screen brightness, turn off the Bluetooth, and automatic suspension.
Stop Unused Services Like Bluetooth from Starting on Boot
Many unused services are running in the background who are consuming power. Please be highly cautious when stopping and disabling a service. Otherwise, you may disable a genuinely important service. We can list them by:
systemctl list-unit-files | grep enabled
Next, we need to ‘stop’ and ‘disable’ the unnecessary ones
sudo systemctl stop Bluetoothbluetooth.service
sudo systemctl disable bluetooth.service
The difference between stopping and disabling is simple. First, we stop the app from running. Then we disable it from running on boot so that it never starts automatically during boot.
TLP can make a whole bunch of improvements to decrease power consumption. You will see power usage statistics once you run it with the ‘sudo powertop’ command. Then you can analyze which processes are using too many powers and try to manage them accordingly.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw
Use powertop to analyze power usage
sudo apt-get install powertop
7. Optimized Disk Usage
When we use a computer and work on it, it generates any temp files. Also, the filesystem keeps files here and there according to the usage of the user. We need to clean them up and analyze disk time to time to keep disk optimized. So your system will run healthy and smooth.
You may have heard of CCleaner if you have used Windows machines. Bleachbit is the CCleaner for Linux. Although Linux 18.04 does not generate as many useless files that windows do, it is still handy to have a one-click tool to clean up your system. However, removing critical things can be catastrophic with bleachbit. Be very, very careful, and make sure you know what you are doing.
sudo apt install gdebi
sudo gdebi bleachbit_1.12_all_ubuntu1604.deb
Disk Usage Analyzer
You can use a disk analyzer after you install Ubuntu. It can be beneficial when you are trying to investigate what files are taking up spaces. It will give you a tree-like view, and you can find the culprits very easily. Use the following command line to install a disk analyzer application.
sudo apt install baobab
8. Speed Up Your System
Who doesn’t want a hi speedy system! In this part, we are describing the speed up system after you install Ubuntu. To speed up Ubuntu 18.04, we will use system monitor, control startup the application, use a lightweight desktop environment, and modify swape.
Use the Default System-Monitor
Linux machines can work smoothly, even on much older/weaker devices. It can be tricky, on the other hand, to figure out processes that are making the system slow. The first thing you need is system-monitor. You can find out which resources are being busy or which methods are making them active. Gently kill them, if possible.
Restrict Startup Applications
Too many startup applications or one greedy application can take up all the resources right after boot and make the system slow. You can find the startup applications in Gnome Tweak Tool > Startup applications
Use A Lighter DE
If you can say goodbye to Desktop environments like KDE/Gnome when you have a low configuration build, it will help. There are slimmer cool DEs too (For example, XFCE)! Check them out!
Increase / Decrease Swap
RAMs are faster; swaps are not. So If you have enough memory, it’s better to keep things in RAM. RAMs have become cheaper these days, so most people have enough RAM.
Swappiness value says when you move your RAM content to your swap space. You can find yours with this command
By default, the value should be 60 in Ubuntu, which means Ubuntu will try to move things from RAM to swap when the RAM reaches 40% capacity. For me, I have an eight gigabyte RAM, and I barely run out of memory. So I would rather take the swappiness in a lower level, something like 10. It means, now it will move things from RAM when the RAM reaches 90% capacity. Let’s do it by these commands:
sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=10
It should do the trick for the current session. But the value will be set back to 60 on reboot. You can make the change permanent after you are sure that the new settings are ok with you. Open the /etc/sysctl.conf file and edit or add vm.swappiness=10
9. Media Codecs
Many media codecs are copyright property. Ubuntu does not install many media codecs by default due to copyright issues. It means you will not be able to play popular files like MP3 / Flash etc. Don’t worry! This installation is possible with the following command.
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
10. Install Additional Drivers if Needed After Installing Ubuntu
Although you are likely to find all the necessary drivers installed already, there might still be some proprietary drivers left out (like NVIDIA). Or maybe an external device driver. You can install them easily by:
Software & update > Additional Drivers > and then follow the instructions
So that’s the end of today’s brief guide. We will be back with more Ubuntu tips & tricks, stay tuned!
11. Always Stay Updated After you Install Ubuntu
Updates, after you install Ubuntu, are important, fine, free, and useful. Usually, you should be in an LTS version of Ubuntu. LTS Ubuntu versions mature over time with versions like XX.04.1 , XX.04.2, XX.04.3 . For example, Ubuntu 18.04.3 will be optimized than Ubuntu18.04, which means you will have improved performance and fewer bugs.
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After you install Ubuntu fresh, it is almost ready to work. But we need to do some touch up to run it in production. However, in this article, we describe some essential things to use ubuntu 18.04 personal use. You may do an activity in your office also with this advice setting. I test all of the described commands at the time of writing this article. You should use them all in the mentioned version of Ubuntu.
However, besides the personal desktop environment, you can make your system graphics or developer-friendly also. You will need to have some different sets of software according to your requirements. Most of the things will be the same after install ubuntu fresh.