Ubuntu is a great distro, but it still needs some slight tweaking to get it just right. I’m going to show you how to use Automatix2 to get your OS perfected. For those of you unfamiliar with Automatix2, its basically software that makes installing add-on software easier in Ubuntu. There are ways to grab these packages without Automatix2 but you might have to get your hands dirty, so for simplicity’s sake bear with me. In random order:
1. Install Non-Free Audio/DVD/Multimedia Codecs
For legal reasons Ubuntu cannot play MP3’s or other proprietary formats by default, so have Automatix2 install them for you, and go back to listening to music
that you pirate using Deluge. You might be wondering why I install codecs when Feisty does them for you? Well Feisty is missing some packages – check out the Automatix wiki for more info!
2. Install Extra Fonts
We live in a Microsoft dominated world. Most webpages use Microsoft Fonts like Arial, Tahoma etc. which don’t come standard in Ubuntu. Luckily Automatix2 lets you install the msttcorefonts package so you can view your webpages without feeling alienated.
If you want to go the extra mile and smoothen out your fonts, go to System > Preferences > Fonts and enable sub-pixel rendering for anti-aliased goodness.
3. Install Swiftfox and Plugins
Swiftfox is an optimized version of Firefox that is tuned to your specific processor. The web is chock full of plugins, like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash, Java and the works which require manual installation. Why not get them all and spend time browsing the web instead of individually installing these plugins (I’m looking at you non-Linux users)?
4. Install Unarchiving Tools
Most of us just unarchive zip or tar.gz files most of the time, but sometimes you get those funky formats like ace, or rar
when you’re pirating software when working with certain files. Automatix will set up all the right packages so you can extract just about any file with your eyes closed.
5. Install Nautilus Scripts
Power users will agree with me, you get things done faster with the terminal. Its command-line country in the Linux world and sometimes you just need to fire up the trusty shell. I like to have the best of both worlds – use Nautilus to navigate to some deep directories and then go straight to that location in the shell. How is that possible? Nautilus scripts baby.
6. Install VLC
Ultra lightweight media player. Plays any format you can think of. Period.
7. Install Audacity
We live in a mobile world, and having cool cell phones with fun ringtones higher your social status amongst many. Audacity is a sweet audio editor, but I like to use it to make 15-30 second ringtones out of my music
that I pirate.
8. Install Video Drivers
Intel chipset users can install auto915Resolution. This one isn’t in Automatix2, but here is a link from Roland Lopez’s blog that tells you how to set it up. If you’ve got an Intel 8xx-945 chipset, and want to bump up your resolution the above script will adjust Ubuntu’s settings so that you can choose a resolution higher than 1024×768.
NVidia and ATI drivers can automatically be picked up by Feisty’s Restricted Drivers Manager, however they can be installed from Automatix2 as well.
9. Install AbiWord and Gnumeric
These files are in the universe, so they can be easily installed by using Ubuntu’s Add/Remove Software feature. Open Office is a great document and spreadsheet editor, but sometimes you just want to view a file. I’m too impatient to wait for Open Office to load up, just so I install AbiWord and Gnumeric – two very light weight apps that make opening docs and spreadsheets a quicky.
10. Uninstall Apps That You Won’t Use
I keep things clean. Get rid of some of the bundled apps you know you won’t use. I know I’ll never use Ekiga Softphone so to oblivion it goes.
If you have any additional tips, please feel free to share!