Jan 24, 2008

10 Things You Should Do After Installing Ubuntu On Your Laptop

I recently installed Ubuntu Linux 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on my laptop and it went without a hitch. This OS is very responsive, relatively easy to use, very stable and has a remarkable user support. Ubuntu is undoubtedly an excellent alternative to MS Windows XP/Vista but new users coming from these operating systems may still find the transition quite drastic because of some minor annoyances:

  • the menu on the top window,

  • 'ugly' system default fonts,

  • the Ubuntu brown theme isn't quite aesthetically appealing, and

  • mouse 'skips' everytime touchpad is accidentally touched.

I have outlined some suggested things to install and configure to make Ubuntu experience feels “homey” for users coming form MS Windows XP/Vista. These suggested changes will absolutely make them go wow and not switch back to old Windows.

  1. Install CompizConfig Settings Manager

    Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that uses 3D graphics hardware to create fast compositing desktop effects for window management. The effects, such as a minimization effect and a cube workspace are implemented as loadable plugins.

    See Instructions

  2. Install Emerald Windows Decorator

    Emerald is the sister project of beryl, and while they don't require each other to run, they are developed in parallel so they may work as close together as possible. Emerald project is a window decorator that provides the borders to your windows normally provided by Metacity or Kwin.

    See Instructions

  3. Install MS True Type Core Fonts

    This package allows for easy installation of the Microsoft True Type Core Fonts for the Web including: Andale Mono Arial Black Arial (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic) Comic Sans MS (Bold) Courier New (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic) Georgia (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic) Impact Times New Roman (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic) Trebuchet (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic) Verdana (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)

    See Instructions

  4. Install Gnome Main Menu Applet

    A better alternative to Ubuntu's default drop-down menu. Clean, organized and it can get you around different applications within just two clicks of a mouse.

    See Instructions

  5. Disable Synaptics Touchpad While Typing

    For many of us, our laptop touchpads get in the way of our typing quite often and can actually cause us to highlight or minimize things we didn't intend. So, this will help to alleviate that by making a small delay in the response of the touchpad after typing.

    See Instructions

  6. Install & Configure WiFi Radar

    WiFi Radar is a utility for managing WiFi profiles. It enables you to scan for available networks and create profiles for your preferred networks. At boot time, running WiFi Radar will automatically scan for an available preferred network and connect to it. You can drag and drop your preferred networks to arrange the profile priority.

    See Instructions

  7. Install Java Runtime Engine

    The Java Runtime Environment (JRE), also known as Java Runtime, is part of the Java Development Kit (JDK), a set of programming tools for developing Java applications. The Java Runtime Environment provides the minimum requirements for executing a Java application; it consists of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), core classes, and supporting files.

    See Instructions

  8. Install TimeVault – A Version Control and File Restore

    By default, Ubuntu system doesn't provide a way to restore directory or file changes. Creating a backup of files and directories of files and restoring back to a specific version is a requirement every desktops should have. This is much like Mac's Time Machine or Microsoft's Previous Version.

    See Instructions

  9. Backup and Restore Your Ubuntu System

    Should you encounter problems on your Ubuntu system it is always wise to provide a way to restore your system to it's last working state. This guide provides a practical approach to setting-up one.See Instructions

  10. Know Where To Get Help

    Ubuntu's got lots of support. There were times I had problems on my installation and immediately searched the forums and voila – most of the things you need answered are there. If you need a more immediate support you can always go to #ubuntu IRC channel. Those guys there has been very helpful. Here's a link if you need some support:
    Ubuntu Forums: http://ubuntuforums.org/
    IRC Channel: Simply download the Hgnome chat and go to #ubuntu channel

NB: These are a compilation of resources on how to outfit your Ubuntu Installation for laptops. Different users have different requirements but this is, I believe, are the essentials for common laptop users on Ubuntu.

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