Ubuntu 10.10: Things I must remember to do after installation

Every time I do a new Ubuntu installation I always try to remember what to install after the basic installation. So this post is simply a reminder so I don’t have to crawl through the web to find the stuff again. The list of things to do is not complete (and properly never will be) so I will add more items when I find it necessary.

Run Update Manager

Even though you have just downloaded the latest installation CD from Ubuntu you can not be sure to have all the latest updates and patches available. There are to ways to update either find Update Manager in the menu or write the following commands in a terminal:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Add Medibuntu repositories

Medibuntu is a packaging project dedicated to distributing software that cannot be included in Ubuntu for various reasons. But by adding Medibuntu repostories you will be able to install software such as Google-Earth, opera, Win32codecs, MSfonts and much more.

The installation can be performed by the normal command :

sudo apt-get install <software-name>

Now it is time to add Medibuntu repositories:

A. Add the Medibuntu repository by using this command

echo deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ karmic free non-free | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

B. Add the verification key

wget -q http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

C. Update your package list in the installation

sudo apt-get update

D. Now it is possible to install new software by using this command :

sudo apt-get install xyzwhere xyz is the name of the desired package

The second option (and the fastest) is to add Medibuntu repositories by copying and executing this command in a terminal :

sudo 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

I you want more information then go to: http://www.medibuntu.org/

Enable Repositories

To enable the repositories, open the Ubuntu Software Center and Edit > Software Sources. Under the tab Ubuntu, check the repositories. You do not need to check the one for source code unless you wish to do development under Ubuntu.

You might want to Change the “Download from:” location to a mirror server closer to you instead of the main server.

Enable the partners repository too from under the Other Software tab.

Restricted Extras

You have the option to install the non-free software you need like video codecs, Flash player etc. during the basic installation. If you did not install them during the basic installation, simply install the ubuntu-restricted-extras from the command line.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Playing encrypted DVDs

In order to play encrypted DVDs, the libdvdcss2 package is necessary. libdvdcss is a library designed for accessing DVDs like a block device without having to worry about the decryption.

If you have already added Medibuntu repositories as described above then you will be able to install the libdvdcss package by using the command :

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

Media player

My favorite media player is VLC media player. The reason for this is that VLC media payer plays almost everything, it runs on Windows as well, it has many configuration parameters, and I can use my Ipod Touch as a remote control.

Install VLC media player by using this command:

sudo apt-get install vlc mozilla-plugin-vlc

Add Dropbox

I know that Ubuntu comes with UbuntuOne online disk space but I like the fact that Dropbox can be used with Windows, Mac and mobile devices.

For installation instructions go to Dropbox for Linux

Add VirtualBox

From time to time I perform test and experiments with different operating systems and various alfa and beta software releases. Since I don’t want to spend all my time by doing reinstallations I can often save the situation by using a virtual machine.

Go to VirtualBox for further instructions

Install Skype

Skype has been added in the Ubuntu partners repository. You can install it by using the following command:

sudo apt-get install skype

Ubuntu Swappiness

The swappiness parameter controls the tendency of the kernel to move processes out of physical memory and onto the swap disk. Because disks are much slower than RAM, this can lead to slower response times for system and applications if processes are too aggressively moved out of memory.

  • swappiness can have a value of between 0 and 100
  • swappiness=0 tells the kernel to avoid swapping processes out of physical memory for as long as possible
  • swappiness=100 tells the kernel to aggressively swap processes out of physical memory and move them to swap cache

The default setting in Ubuntu is swappiness=60. Reducing the default value of swappiness will probably improve overall performance for a typical Ubuntu desktop installation. A value of swappiness=10 is recommended.

To check the swappiness value

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

To change the swappiness value A temporary change (lost on reboot) with a swappiness value of 10 can be made with

sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=10

To make a change permanent, edit the configuration file with your favorite editor:

gksudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

Search for vm.swappiness and change its value as desired. If vm.swappiness does not exist, add it to the end of the file like so:


Save the file and reboot.

Read more about swappiness here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq

Disable Login Sound

Each time when you login to Ubuntu, it plays a login sound. You can easily disable it.

Go to System > Preferences > Startup Applications.
Under the “Startup Programs” tab, untick “GNOME Login Sound”
Click Close

Install Sun Java Packages

Ubuntu uses OpenJDK by default, but some web services might need the Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed in the system for running the services properly. If you want to get the Sun Java packages for your system, you can download and install them from the Canonical Partner Repository with the following command:

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-fonts

Check the version of Java used in the system

sudo java -version

Choose or change the default Java to use in the system

sudo update-alternatives --config java

Install ClamAV Anti-virus

ClamAV is a command line virus scanner. It can only detect viruses; it cannot remove them from files. It detects viruses on all platforms, but due to the popularity of the platform, it primarily detects Windows viruses and malware.

sudo apt-get install clamav clamtk clamav-daemon

Enable ufw firewall
ufw – Uncomplicated Firewall. The default firewall configuration tool for Ubuntu is ufw. Developed to ease iptables firewall configuration, ufw provides a user friendly way to create an IPv4 or IPv6 host-based firewall. ufw is not intended to provide complete firewall functionality via its command interface, but instead provides an easy way to add or remove simple rules. It is currently mainly used for host-based firewalls.

Install firewall GUI with the following command:
sudo apt-get install gufw

The firewall GUI can now be found in the menu under System -> Administration -> Firewall configuration

Enable autostart for Empathy IM client
For some unknown reason it is not possible to enable autostart from within the Empathy IM Client.

So here is what you do:

sudo cp /usr/share/applications/empathy.desktop /etc/xdg/autostart
sudo chmod a+r /etc/xdg/autostart/empathy.desktop

You can now verify that Empathy IM client will autostart in System > Preferences > Startup Applications

PDF mod – Simple application for modifying PDF documents

You can reorder, rotate, and remove pages, export images from a document, edit the title, subject, author, and keywords, and combine documents via drag and drop.

Install PDF mod with the following command:

sudo apt-get install pdfmod