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The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu Studio 12.04


This tutorial shows how you can set up an Ubuntu Studio 12.04 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. Please note that Ubuntu Studio 12.04 uses Xfce as the default desktop environment.

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

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Chromium – Google’s open-source browser
  • Flash Player
  • 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

Multimedia:

  • 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
  • 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
  • gDebi – package installer taking care of dependencies
  • gedit – 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.

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 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 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://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntustudio/releases/precise/release/, burn it onto a DVD, and boot your computer from it. Select your language:

1

Then select Install Ubuntu Studio:

2

The installer is started afterwards:

3

Select the installer language:

4

On the next screen you see a few requirements for the Ubuntu-Studio 12.04 installation (the system should have at least 7.6 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:

5

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

6

Select the hard drive that you want to use for the Ubuntu-Studio installation:

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Then choose your time zone:

8

 

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

9

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

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

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After the installation, you will be asked to reboot the system. Click on Restart Now. At the end of the shutdown process, you are asked to remove the Ubuntu-Studio installation CD from the CD drive. Please do this and press ENTER:

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

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The base system is now 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 by clicking the red exclamation mark on the top bar and selecting Show updates (or start the Update Manager under System > Update Manager):

15

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:

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After you type in your password the updates are downloaded and installed (this can take a few minutes).

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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.)

18

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:

19

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

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

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

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

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Bluefish
[ ] Eclipse

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

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Ubuntu Studio 12.04.
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:

20

Then we edit /etc/apt/sources.list

gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

… and enable the precise 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 precise partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise 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 precise main
deb-src http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise 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 > Synaptic Package Manager):

26

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:

27

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

28

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

  • amarok
  • opera
  • chromium-browser
  • skype (only available for 32-bit systems)
  • empathy
  • icedtea-plugin
  • amule
  • amule-utils-gui
  • vuze
  • banshee
  • bluefish
  • dvdrip
  • filezilla
  • libreoffice
  • gnucash
  • gstreamer0.10*
  • gtkpod
  • openjdk-6*
  • k3b
  • smplayer
  • kompozer
  • vlc*
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • xmms2*
  • sound-juicer
  • rhythmbox
  • acroread
  • non-free-codecs
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • libdvdcss2
  • xine-plugin
  • evolution
  • scribus
  • kino
  • googleearth-package
  • virtualbox-ose
  • gdebi
  • eclipse
  • thunderbird
  • gwibber
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer

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

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Confirm your selection by clicking Apply:

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

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34

You might be asked to accept a few licenses:

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You might be asked to accept a few licenses:

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After all packages have been installed, click Close:

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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 11.2 r202) and the IcedTea (Java) plugins among them:

36

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:

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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 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 67180
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 35096726 May 10 11:21 googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 33688483 May 19  2011 GoogleEarthLinux.bin
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      284 Mar  6 15:58 precise.list
root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~#

Now you can install Google Earth as follows (use the name of the package the previous command gave you):

gdebi googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb

 

10 Inventory (II)

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

38

Our inventory should now look like this:

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

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
[ ] 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] Eclipse

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

[x] gdebi

[x] gedit

11 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://uk.real.com/realplayer/other-versions. Click on the appropriate .deb link:

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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 it doesn’t, click the Save File button:

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The deb. package will then be saved to the download location specified by your browser. Usually this is the Downloads directory in your personal folder. Open a terminal and change directories to that directory. Afterwards, install the package using gdebi (you can autocomplete the name of the package by typing in the first few letters and pressing TAB then):

cd /home/Kreationnext/Downloads
gdebi RealPlayer11GOLD.deb

 

12 Skype For 64-Bit Systems

Skype is only available for 32-bit systems in the Ubuntu repositories but there is a 64-bit version on their website. Go to http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/get-skype/on-your-computer/linux/ and select the Ubuntu 10.4+ 64-bit version from the Download now panel.

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Proceed with the installation just as for Realplayer:

cd /home/Kreationnext/Downloads
gdebi skype-ubuntu_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb

 

13 Inventory (III)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

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

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] Eclipse

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

[x] gdebi

[x] gedit

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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