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The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal)


This tutorial shows how you can set up an Ubuntu 12.10 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

The software I propose as default is the one I found easiest to use and best in their functionality – this won’t necessarily be true for your needs, thus you are welcome to try out the applications listed as alternatives.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Ubuntu desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

    • Pinta – open source drawing application modeled after Paint.NET

 

  • KolourPaint – paint application with elemental functions
  • MyPaint – paint application with a large variety of brushes

 

  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • Shotwell Photo Manager – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop

Internet:

    • Firefox

 

  • Opera
  • Chromium – Google’s open-source browser

 

    • Thunderbird – email and news client

 

  • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions

 

    • Deluge – free cross-platform BitTorrent client

 

  • Transmission BitTorrent Client – Bittorrent client
  • Vuze – Java BitTorrent client
  • qBittorrent – free alternative to µtorrent

 

    • Marble – desktop globe similar to google earth

 

  • GoogleEarth – Google’s desktop globe

 

  • Flash Player
  • FileZilla – multithreaded FTP client
  • Pidgin IM Client – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Dropbox Client – cloud storage
  • Gwibber Social Client – open-source microblogging client (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Office:

    • Adobe Reader

 

  • Evince – document viewer
  • Okular – document viewer

 

  • LibreOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • LibreOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

    • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods

 

  • Amarok – audio player
  • MPlayer – media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player – audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod – software similar to Apple’s iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • Nightingale – audio player similar to Winamp, but not yet as feature rich (Songbird fork)
  • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
  • Clementine – Amarok 1.4 fork
  • Exaile – audio player

 

    • VLC Media Player – media player, plays all kinds of videos (video/audio)

 

  • Totem – media player (video/audio)
  • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs

 

    • Winff – free video converter

 

  • SoundConverter – free audio converter
  • Soundkonverter – free audio converter
  • XFCA – free video/audio converter and ripper

 

    • K3B – CD/DVD burning program

 

  • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program

 

  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Kino – free digital video editor
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Multimedia Codecs

Programming:

    • KompoZer – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)

 

  • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages

 

  • Eclipse Extensible Tool Platform and Java IDE

Other:

  • VirtualBox OSE – lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions
  • gedit – simple text editor

Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the Ubuntu community. Some may also not be in the default repositories and have to be downloaded from the internet or from extra repositories.

The software provided in the above list covers most of the basic tasks one may need to do on their desktop computers, sometimes there are multiple choices for same functionality. If you know which one you like best, you obviously don’t need to install and test the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install more than one.

I will use the username Kreationnext in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.

 

2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Ubuntu installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the Ubuntu 12.10 iso image from http://www.ubuntu.com/download, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it:

1

Select your language and click on the Install Ubuntu button to start the installation:

2

On the next screen you see a few requirements for the Ubuntu 12.10 installation (the system should have at least 4.9 GB available drive space and should be connected to the Internet). Please check the Download updates while installing and Install this third-party software (this will install the software necessary to process Flash, MP3, and other media files) checkboxes and click on Continue:

3

Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Erase disk and install Ubuntu is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you’re doing. Erase disk and install Ubuntu will create one big / partition for us:

4

Then choose your time zone:

5

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:6

Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password, and click on Continue:

7

Afterwards, Ubuntu is being installed. This can take a few minutes, so be patient:

8

After the installation, you will be asked to reboot the system. Click on Restart Now:

9

Your new Ubuntu system starts. Log into the desktop with the username and password you provided during the installation:

12

This is how your new Ubuntu 12.10 desktop looks:

10

Now the base system is ready to be used.

3 Update The System

Now it’s time to check for updates and install them. This is done using the Update Manager. Start it searching for Software Updater in the Applications menu:

11

Click on the Install Now button to install all available updates.

31

Click on the Install Now button to install all available updates.

32

Click on the Install Now button to install all available updates.

33

Afterwars, click Restart to finish the update:

13

The system is now up-to-date.

 

4 Flash Player

If you have checked the Install this third-party software checkbox during installation Flash Player should already be installed on the system.

To check this, open Firefox and type about:plugins in the address bar. Firefox will then list all installed plugins, and it should list the Flash Player (version 11.2 r202) plugins among them.

15

5 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now let’s browse all menus to see which of our needed applications are already installed:

16

You should find the following situation ([x] marks an application that is already installed, whereas [ ] is an application that is missing):

Graphics:
[ ] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager

[ ] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Flash Player
[ ] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[ ] Deluge
[ ] Skype
[ ] Marble

[ ] Pidgin

[ ] Dropbox

[x] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[x] LibreOffice Writer
[x] LibreOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[ ] GnuCash
[ ] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Kino
[ ] VLC Media Player
[ ] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

[ ] Winff

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Eclipse

Other:
[ ] VirtualBox
[ ] TrueType fonts
[ ] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

[ ] gdebi

[ ] Synaptic Package Manager

[x] gedit

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Ubuntu 12.10.

 

6 Configure Additional Repositories

Some packages are not available in the standard Ubuntu repositories. The easiest way to make such packages available to your system is to add the Medibuntu repository.

Open a terminal and edit /etc/apt/sources.list

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

…, enable the quantal partner and Ubuntu Extras repositories (if they are not already enabled):

[...]
## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository.
## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu quantal partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu quantal partner

## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by third-party
## developers who want to ship their latest software.
deb http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu quantal main
deb-src http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu quantal main

Then save the file.

To enable the Medibuntu repository, please do the following:

Import the repository:

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list –output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

Import the gpg-key and update your package-list:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update

Then run

sudo update-apt-xapian-index

to make Synaptic display packages from third-party repositories. To make sure you don’t get errors concerning the Mint repository, install its keyring next:

sudo apt-get install linuxmint-keyring

Finally install Synaptic:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

7 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, open the Synaptic Package Manager (System > Synaptic Package Manager):

17

Type in your password:

18

In the Synaptic Package Manager, we can install additional software. You can use the Quick filter field to find packages. To select a package for installation, click on the checkbox in front of it and select Mark for Installation from the menu that comes up:

19

If a package has a dependency that needs to be satisfied, a window will pop up. Accept the dependencies by clicking on Mark:

20

The following packages need to be installed if you want the applications of the above primary choice (* is a wildcard; e.g. vlc* means all packages that start with vlc):

  • flashplugin-installer (necessary only if you didn’t check the Install this third-party software checkbox during installation)
  • audacity
  • gimp
  • dvdrip
  • filezilla
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer
  • gnucash
  • k3b
  • kino
  • eclipse
  • scribus
  • vlc*
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • nautilus-dropbox
  • non-free-codecs
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • libdvdcss2
  • virtualbox-ose
  • skype (32 bit version only, leave it out for 64 bit)
  • banshee
  • icedtea-plugin
  • gdebi
  • shotwell
  • pinta
  • deluge
  • marble
  • libreoffice
  • winff
  • openjdk-7*

These are the packages for all the other possible alternative applications (you don’t need to install them if you are happy with the above selection):

  • chromium-browser
  • amarok
  • vuze
  • bluefish
  • gstreamer0.10*
  • gtkpod
  • mplayer
  • smplayer
  • xmms2*
  • sound-juicer
  • rhythmbox
  • xine-ui
  • xine-plugin
  • evolution
  • googleearth-package
  • totem
  • soundconverter
  • soundkonverter
  • kolourpaint4
  • mypaint
  • qbittorrent
  • okular
  • xcfa
  • brasero
  • clementine
  • exaile

After you’ve selected the desired packages, click on the Apply button.

21

Confirm your selection by again clicking on Apply:

22

The packages are now being downloaded from the repositories and installed. This can take a few minutes, so please be patient:

23

You might have to answer a few questions. Accept the licenses and proceed:

24

You might have to answer a few questions. Accept the licenses and proceed:

26

After all packages have been installed, click on Close.

 

8 TrueType Fonts

To check if the TrueType fonts have been installed correctly, open a word processor like LibreOffice. You should now find your new Windows fonts there:

34

9 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far. Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager

[x] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Deluge
[x] Skype
[x] Marble

[x] Pidgin

[x] Dropbox

[x] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[x] LibreOffice Writer
[x] LibreOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

[x] Winff

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[x] Eclipse

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

[x] gdebi

[x] Synaptic Package Manager

[x] gedit

10 Google Earth

In chapter 7, if you chose Google Earth over Marble, you have installed the package googleearth-package which is a utility to automatically build a .deb package of Google Earth. This means, Google Earth is not yet installed; we have to first build a .deb package of it with the help of googleearth-package, and then install the .deb package.

Open a terminal and become root:

sudo su

Now you can build the Google Earth .deb package as follows:

make-googleearth-package –force

[…]
Package: googleearth
Version: 6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1
Section: non-free/science
Priority: optional
Maintainer:  <root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: ttf-dejavu | ttf-bitstream-vera | msttcorefonts, libfreeimage3, lsb-core, libqtcore4, libgl1-mesa-glx , ia32-libs-gtk , msttcorefonts
Suggests: lib32nss-mdns, libgl1-nvidia-glx-ia32
Description: Google Earth, a 3D map/planet viewer
Package built with googleearth-package.
dpkg-deb: building package `googleearth’ in `./googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb’.
Success!
You can now install the package with e.g. sudo dpkg -i <package>.deb
root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~#

If you don’t see any errors, then you should find the Google Earth .deb package in the current directory:

ls -l

root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~# ls -l
total 67196
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 35118382 Oct 25 15:32 googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 33688483 May 19  2011 GoogleEarthLinux.bin
root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~#

I want to install the .deb package using gdebi which takes care of all dependencies.

gdebi googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb

 

11 Opera

If you like Opera more than Firefox or Chromium, you have to download it directly from their website. Open a browser and go to http://www.opera.com/browser/download/; select Ubuntu as the distribution and then default package and click on the Download Opera button:

35

A download dialogue should come up. Select Save File:

36

The package will be saved in your default download folder, which is the Downloads folder in your personal folder. Open a terminal and install it from there as follows (replace my username with yours and the version of Opera with the one you downloaded, if it has changed since this writing):

cd /home/Kreationnext/Downloads/
sudo gdebi opera_12.02.1629_amd64.deb

 

12 Kompozer

Unfortunately Kompozer isn’t available from the Ubuntu 12.10 repositories, therefore you have to install it as follows:

cd /home/Kreationnext/Downloads
wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/k/kompozer/kompozer_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_amd64.deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/k/kompozer/kompozer-data_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_all.deb

sudo dpkg -i kompozer*.deb

 

13 Nightingale

Nightingale is not available in the Ubuntu repositories and has to be downloaded from their website at http://getnightingale.com. Click on the big download button and open the downloaded archive with the archive manager. The application doesn’t need to be installed since it can be started directly from the downloaded directory.

37

38

39

14 Adobe Reader

Open a browser and go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/; click on the Download now button:

40

Click on the Save File button to store the Adobe Reader installer on your hard drive:

41

Open a terminal and go to the directory where the download was stored (e.g. /home/Kreationnext/Downloads):

cd /home/Kreationnext/Downloads

Run

ls -l

to find out how the file is named:

Kreationnext@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~/Downloads$ ls -l
total 64584
-rw-rw-r– 1 Kreationnext Kreationnext 42950036 Oct 26 12:04 AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin
-rw-rw-r– 1 Kreationnext Kreationnext 7858708 Apr 24  2012 kompozer_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_amd64.deb
-rw-rw-r– 1 Kreationnext Kreationnext 2145516 Apr 24  2012 kompozer-data_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_all.deb
-rw-rw-r– 1 Kreationnext Kreationnext 13176436 Oct 26 11:28 opera_12.02.1629_amd64.deb
Kreationnext@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~/Downloads$

In this case it is named AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin. Make the file executable and then run it to install Acrobat Reader:

chmod 755 AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin
sudo ./AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin

 

15 Inventory (III)

All wanted applications are installed now:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager

[x] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Deluge
[x] Skype
[x] Marble

[x] Pidgin

[x] Dropbox

[x] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[x] LibreOffice Writer
[x] LibreOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

[x] Winff

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Eclipse

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

[x] gdebi

[x] Synaptic Package Manager

[x] gedit

 

  • Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/

You are welcome to leave recommendations for software in the comments for the next issues!

 

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