Cheap VPS & Xen Server

Residential Proxy Network - Hourly & Monthly Packages

The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu Studio 11.04


This tutorial shows how you can set up an Ubuntu Studio 11.04 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 Studio desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

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

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Chromium – Google’s open-source browser
  • 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
  • Transmission BitTorrent Client – Bittorrent client
  • Vuze – Java Bittorrent client
  • Empathy IM Client – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC – IRC client
  • Gwibber Social Client – open-source microblogging client (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Office:

  • LibreOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • LibreOffice 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)
  • RealPlayer – media player (available for i386 systems only)
  • 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:

  • 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

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

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don’t need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera, Chromium).

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 Studio installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the Ubuntu Studio iso image from http://ubuntustudio.org/downloads, burn it onto a DVD, and boot your computer from it. Select your language:

1

Then select Install Ubuntu Studio:

2

Choose your language again (?):

3

Then select your location:

4

5

6

If you’ve selected an uncommon combination of language and location (like English as the language and Germany as the location, as in my case), the installer might tell you that there is no locale defined for this combination; in this case you have to select the locale manually. I select en_US.UTF-8 here:

7

Choose a keyboard layout (you will be asked to press a few keys, and the installer will try to detect your keyboard layout based on the keys you pressed):

8

9

The installer checks the installation CD, your hardware, and configures the network with DHCP if there is a DHCP server in the network:

10

You can accept the default hostname or specify your own one:

11

Please check if the installer detected your time zone correctly. If so, select Yes, otherwise No:

12

Now you have to partition your hard disk. For simplicity’s sake I will create one big partition (with the mount point /) and a little swap partition so I select Guided – use entire disk (of course, the partitioning is totally up to you – if you like, you can create more than just one big partition, and you can also use LVM):

13

Select the disk that you want to partition:

14

When you’re finished, hit Yes when you’re asked Write the changes to disks?:

15

Afterwards, your new partitions are being created and formatted.

Now the base system is being installed:

16

Create a normal user account:

17

18

19

20

If you like, you can set up an encrypted private directory. The default is to not set this up:

21

Next the package manager apt gets configured. Leave the HTTP proxy line empty unless you’re using a proxy server to connect to the Internet:

2222

23

On the Software selection screen, I select all package groups and hit Continue:

25

The installation continues:

26

You might see the following message (Configuring jackd2). If you want to use jackd with realtime priorities, select Yes, otherwise No. I don’t intend to use it, so I select No:

27

The GRUB boot loader gets installed. Select Yes when you are asked Install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record?:

28

Select UTC unless this is a dual-boot system with other operating systems (such as Windows) that expect the system clock to use local time:

29

The base system installation is now finished. Remove the installation DVD from the DVD drive and hit Continue to reboot the system:

30

The new Ubuntu Studio system is booting. Log in to the desktop with the username and password you provided during the installation:

31

32

This is how your new desktop looks:

33

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 the Update Manager in the top panel, you can start the Update Manager by clicking it…

35a

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 the Update Manager in the top panel, you can start the Update Manager by clicking it…

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

34

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

35

Type in your password:

36

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

37

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 Restart Now button. Click that button to restart the system. (If no restart is required, click the Close button to leave the Update Manager.)

38

The system is now 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:

39

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] Shotwell Photo Manager
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[ ] Chromium
[ ] Flash Player
[ ] FileZilla
[ ] Thunderbird
[ ] Evolution
[ ] aMule
[ ] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[ ] Vuze
[ ] Empathy IM Client
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[ ] Xchat IRC
[x] Gwibber Social Client

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

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

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

Other:
[ ] VirtualBox
[ ] 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 Studio 11.04.

 

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 (Accessories > Terminal):

40

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

gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

… and enable the natty 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 natty partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu natty partner

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Ubuntu's
## 'extras' repository.
## 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 natty main
deb-src http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu natty main

Then save the file.

Next we create the file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/opera.list

gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/opera.list

… and add the Opera repository to it:

deb http://deb.opera.com/opera/ stable non-free

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.

6 Install Additional Software

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

41

Type in your password:

42

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 the checkbox in front of it and select Mark for Installation from the menu that comes up:

43

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

44

Select the following packages for installation (* is a wildcard; e.g. gstreamer* means all packages that start with gstreamer):

  • amarok
  • opera
  • chromium-browser
  • skype
  • empathy
  • flashplugin-installer
  • amule
  • amule-utils-gui
  • vuze
  • banshee
  • bluefish
  • dvdrip
  • filezilla
  • transmission
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer
  • libreoffice
  • gnucash
  • gstreamer0.10*
  • gtkpod
  • openjdk-6*
  • icedtea-plugin
  • k3b
  • mplayer
  • smplayer
  • quanta
  • kompozer
  • vlc*
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • xchat-gnome
  • xmms2*
  • sound-juicer
  • rhythmbox
  • acroread
  • non-free-codecs
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • libdvdcss2
  • xine-ui
  • xine-plugin
  • thunderbird
  • evolution
  • scribus
  • audacity
  • kino
  • googleearth-package
  • virtualbox-ose

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

45

Confirm your selection by clicking Apply:

46

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

47

48

You might be asked to accept a few licenses:

49

50

52

After all packages have been installed, click Close:

53

7 Flash Player And Java

To see if the Flash Player and Java have 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 10.2 r159)…

54

… and the IcedTea (Java) plugins among them:

55

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:

56

9 Google Earth

In chapter 6, we 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 (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and become root:

sudo su

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

make-googleearth-package –force

[…]
Package: googleearth
Version: 6.0.2.2074+0.6.0-1
Section: non-free/science
Priority: optional
Maintainer: <root@falko-virtual-machine>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: ttf-dejavu | ttf-bitstream-vera | msttcorefonts, lsb-core, libqtcore4, libgl1-mesa-glx, ia32-libs (>= 20080808), lib32gcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1), lib32stdc++6 (>= 4.1.1), lib32z1 (>= 1:1.1.4), libc6-i386 (>= 2.0), libc6-i386 (>= 2.1.3), libc6-i386 (>= 2.2), libc6-i386 (>= 2.3), libc6-i386 (>= 2.3.2), libc6-i386 (>= 2.4) , ia32-libs-gtk
Suggests: nvidia-glx-ia32
Description: Google Earth, a 3D map/planet viewer
Package built with googleearth-package.
dpkg-deb: building package `googleearth’ in `./googleearth_6.0.2.2074+0.6.0-1_amd64.deb’.
Success!
You can now install the package with e.g. sudo dpkg -i <package>.deb
root@falko-virtual-machine:/home/falko#

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

ls -l

root@ubuntu:/home/falko# ls -l
total 34280
drwxr-xr-x 2 falko falko     4096 2011-05-16 15:17 Desktop
-rw-r–r– 1 root  root  35093866 2011-05-16 16:46 googleearth_6.0.2.2074+0.6.0-1_amd64.deb
-rw-r–r– 1 falko falko     3597 2011-05-16 16:47 setup.txt
root@ubuntu:/home/falko#

Now you can install Google Earth as follows:

gdebi googleearth_6.0.2.2074+0.6.0-1_amd64.deb

 

10 Inventory (II)

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

57

 

Our inventory should now look like this:

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

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Chromium
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[x] Vuze
[x] Empathy IM Client
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC
[x] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[x] LibreOffice Writer
[x] LibreOffice 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
[ ] RealPlayer
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

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

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

11 Google Picasa

Go to http://picasa.google.com/linux/download.html#picasa30 and select the right .deb package for your architecture (i386 or amd64):

58

A download dialogue should come up. If it offers the option Open with Ubuntu Software Center (default), choose that one and follow the installation wizard. If you just see Open with and a Browse… button, select that option and click on the Browse… button:

59

Select /usr/bin/gdebi-gtk from the Choose Helper Application window:

60

In the Firefox download dialogue, you should now see Open with gdebi-gtk – select that option and click on OK:

61

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

62

Type in your password:

63

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

64

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

65

12 RealPlayer (For i386 Systems Only)

(RealPlayer is available for i386 systems only. If you are on an x86_64 system, please skip this chapter.)

Open Firefox and go to http://www.real.com/realplayer/linux. Click on the Download the DEB Installer link:

66

A download dialogue should come up. If it offers the option Open with Ubuntu Software Center (default), choose that one and follow the installation wizard. If you just see Open with and a Browse… button, select that option and click on the Browse… button. Select gdebi-gtk and install the package exactly as shown for Picasa.

67

13 Inventory (III)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

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

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Chromium
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[x] Vuze
[x] Empathy IM Client
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC
[x] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[x] LibreOffice Writer
[x] LibreOffice 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] RealPlayer
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

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

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

 

  • Ubuntu Studio: http://ubuntustudio.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

comments