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The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)


This tutorial shows how you can set up an Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) 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.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. 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:

  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa – application for organizing and editing digital photos

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 10
  • FileZilla – multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird – email and news client
  • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule – P2P file sharing application
  • BitTornado – Bittorrent client
  • Azureus/Vuze – Java Bittorrent client
  • Pidgin – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC – IRC client

Office:

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

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok – audio player
  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • 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
  • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino – free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player – media player (video/audio)
  • Helix Player – media player, similar to the Real Player
  • Totem – media player (video/audio)
  • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B – CD/DVD burning 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
  • Quanta Plus – web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor

Other:

  • VMware Server – 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

Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the Ubuntu community.

You don’t need to install all of them – if you feel that having five media players is a bit of overkill, just pick the applications that you really want.

I will use the username falko 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 8.10 desktop edition iso image from http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select your language:

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Select Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer to start the Ubuntu live system:

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The system boots and starts a desktop that is run entirely in the RAM of your system (the Ubuntu installation CD is also a Live-CD) without changing anything on your hard disk. This has the advantage that you can test how Ubuntu works on your hardware before you finally install it.

Double-click the Install icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:

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The installer starts. First, select your language:

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Then choose your time zone:

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Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

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

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

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The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click on Install to start the installation:

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

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Remove the Ubuntu CD and press ENTER to boot into your new Ubuntu system:

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

12a

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This is how your new desktop looks:

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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. If you see a notification in the taskbar that new updates are available, you can start the Update Manager by clicking on the update icon…

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… otherwise you can start the Update Manager by going to System > Administration > Update Manager:

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The Update Manager tells you which updates are available (you can click on the Check button to refresh the list). Click on Install Updates to install them:

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Type in your password:

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The updates are being downloaded and installed (this can take a few minutes):

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When the update is complete, click on Close. If a new kernel was amongst the updates, a system restart is required to make the changes effective. If this is necessary, you will see a blue reboot icon in the upper right panel. Click on the blue reboot icon to restart the system.

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Confirm by clicking on Restart Now:

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After the reboot, the system is up-to-date.

 

4 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

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

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

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[ ] Flash Player
[ ] FileZilla
[ ] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[ ] aMule
[ ] BitTornado
[ ] Azureus/Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[ ] Xchat IRC

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

Sound & Video:
[ ] Amarok
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[ ] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[ ] gtkPod
[ ] XMMS
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Kino
[ ] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[ ] VLC Media Player
[ ] Helix Player
[x] Totem
[ ] Xine
[x] Brasero
[ ] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Bluefish
[ ] Quanta Plus

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

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Ubuntu 8.10.

 

5 Configure Additional Repositories

Some packages like the Adobe Reader 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.

First we open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

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First off, we edit /etc/apt/sources.list

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

… and enable the intrepid partner repository (because some packages such as Opera are available only in that repository):

[...]
## 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 intrepid partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu intrepid partner
[...]

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/intrepid.list -O /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

6 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, you can either open the Synaptic Package Manager (System> Administration > Synaptic Package Manager) or the command line.

There’s a bug in Ubuntu 8.10 which prevents Synaptic from displaying packages from third-party repositories. If you want to use Synaptic to install the additional applications, you must open a terminal first (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and run

sudo update-apt-xapian-index

Afterwards you can start Synaptic and install the following packages (please search for acroread first – if Synaptic doesn’t find it, use the command line; see below):

  • amarok
  • flashplugin-nonfree
  • amule
  • audacity
  • azureus
  • banshee
  • bluefish
  • dvdrip
  • filezilla
  • msttcorefonts
  • gnucash
  • gstreamer*
  • gtkpod-aac
  • sun-java6* (except sun-java6-doc)
  • k3b
  • kino
  • mplayer
  • mozilla-mplayer
  • quanta
  • kompozer
  • scribus
  • vlc*
  • xchat-gnome
  • xmms2*
  • bittornado
  • bittornado-gui
  • sound-juicer
  • helix-player
  • mozilla-helix-player
  • googleearth
  • acroread
  • mozilla-acroread
  • non-free-codecs
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • libdvdcss2
  • opera
  • xine-ui
  • xine-plugin
  • thunderbird
  • skype

If you want to install the applications from the command line, open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and install the packages with one single command:

sudo apt-get install amarok flashplugin-nonfree amule audacity azureus banshee bluefish dvdrip filezilla msttcorefonts gnucash gstreamer* gtkpod-aac sun-java6-bin sun-java6-javadb sun-java6-jdk sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin k3b kino mplayer mozilla-mplayer quanta kompozer scribus xchat-gnome bittornado bittornado-gui sound-juicer helix-player mozilla-helix-player googleearth acroread mozilla-acroread non-free-codecs ubuntu-restricted-extras libdvdcss2 opera xine-ui xine-plugin xmms2 xmms2tray xmms2-plugin-airplay xmms2-plugin-alsa xmms2-plugin-ao xmms2-plugin-asf xmms2-plugin-asx xmms2-plugin-avcodec xmms2-plugin-cdda xmms2-plugin-cue xmms2-plugin-curl xmms2-plugin-daap xmms2-plugin-faad xmms2-plugin-flac xmms2-plugin-gme xmms2-plugin-gvfs xmms2-plugin-ices xmms2-plugin-icymetaint xmms2-plugin-id3v2 xmms2-plugin-jack xmms2-plugin-karaoke xmms2-plugin-lastfm xmms2-plugin-m3u xmms2-plugin-mad xmms2-plugin-mms xmms2-plugin-modplug xmms2-plugin-mp4 xmms2-plugin-musepack xmms2-plugin-normalize xmms2-plugin-ofa xmms2-plugin-oss xmms2-plugin-pls xmms2-plugin-pulse xmms2-plugin-rss xmms2-plugin-sid xmms2-plugin-smb xmms2-plugin-speex xmms2-plugin-vocoder xmms2-plugin-vorbis xmms2-plugin-wma xmms2-plugin-xml xmms2-plugin-xspf vlc vlc-data vlc-dbg vlc-nox vlc-plugin-arts vlc-plugin-esd vlc-plugin-ggi vlc-plugin-jack vlc-plugin-pulse vlc-plugin-sdl vlc-plugin-svgalib thunderbird skype

(This must go into one line!)

 

7 Flash Player

To see if the Flash Player has been installed correctly, 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 10.0r12) among them:

30

8 TrueType Fonts

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

31

9 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far by browsing the menus again:

32

Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] BitTornado
[x] Azureus/Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

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

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Helix Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

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

 

10 Google Picasa

Open Firefox and go to http://picasa.google.com/linux/thanks-deb.html. A download dialogue should come up automatically. Select Open with GDebi Package Installer (default):

33

A Package Installer window comes up. Click on the Install Package button to install Picasa:

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Type in your password:

34

Picasa is now being installed. Afterwards, you can close the Package Installer window:

36

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11 Inventory (III)

Browse the menu again and check what you’ve got installed so far.

Your list should look like this now:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] BitTornado
[x] Azureus/Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

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

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Helix Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

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

12 VMware Server

With VMware Server you can let your old Windows desktop (that you previously converted into a VMware virtual machine with VMware Converter, as described in this tutorial: http://www.Kreationnext.com/vmware_converter_windows_linux) run under your Ubuntu desktop. This can be useful if you depend on some applications that exist for Windows only, or if you want to switch to Linux slowly.

To download VMware Server, go to http://www.vmware.com/products/server/ and click on Download Now:

38

On the next page, log in with your existing VMware account or create a new one:

39

Follow the on-screen instructions. At the end, you should receive an email with a link to your download page. On the download page, you should see two license numbers, one for Windows and one for Linux. Write down or save the one for Linux and scroll down.

40

Then download the VMware Server for Linux TAR image (not the RPM image!) to your desktop (e.g. to /home/falko/Desktop):

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42

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Then open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and run the following command to install some necessary packages:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` build-essential xinetd

Then go to the location where you saved the VMware Server .tar.gz file, e.g. /home/falko/Desktop (replace falko with your own username!):

cd /home/falko/Desktop

Unpack the VMware Server .tar.gz file and run the installer:

tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

The installer will ask you a lot of questions. You can always accept the default values simply by hitting <ENTER>.

When the installer asks you

In which directory do you want to keep your virtual machine files?
[/var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines]

you can either accept the default value or specify a location that has enough free space to store your virtual machines.

At the end of the installation, you will be asked to enter a serial number:

Please enter your 20-character serial number.

Type XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX or ‘Enter’ to cancel:

Fill in your serial number for VMware Server.

After the successful installation, you can delete the VMware Server download file and the installation directory:

cd /home/falko/Desktop
rm -f VMware-server*
rm -fr vmware-server-distrib/

If you have accepted all default values during the installation, root is now the VMware Server login name. On Ubuntu, root has no password by default, therefore we create a password now:

sudo passwd root

VMware Server 2 does not have a desktop application for managing virtual machines – this is now done through a browser (e.g. Firefox). You can access the management interface over HTTPS (https://<IP ADDRESS>:8333) or HTTP (http://<IP ADDRESS>:8222); the management interface can be accessed locally and also remotely. If you want to access it from the same machine, type https://127.0.0.1:8333 or http://127.0.0.1:8222 into the browser’s address bar.

If you’re using Firefox 3 and use HTTPS, Firefox will complain about the self-signed certificate, therefore you must tell Firefox to accept the certificate – to do this, click on the Or you can add an exception… link:

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Click on Add Exception…:

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The Add Security Exception window opens. In that window, click on the Get Certificate button first and then on the Confirm Security Exception button:

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Afterwards, you will see the VMware Server login form. Type in root and the password you’ve just created:

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This is how the VMware Server web interface looks. The structure is similar to the old VMware Server 1 desktop application, so the usage of the web interface is pretty straightforward.

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13 Inventory (IV)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] BitTornado
[x] Azureus/Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

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

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Helix Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

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

 

  • Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/

 

 

 

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