Tag Archives: top 10

chrome-screenshot

10 Things To Do after installing Ubuntu 12.04

Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) is the LTS (Long Term Support) release and it’s a lot different from the last LTS (I mean the 10.04, which was based on Gnome 2.3). A lot of things has changed – including the Window Manager – Now it’s Unity (The default Desktop), based on Gnome 3. Anyway, it seems to be more beginner friendly – and that’s the reason why more number of people are migrating from Windows to GNU/Linux based operating systems such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.

So, if you’ve just installed the new version of Ubuntu i.e 12.04 LTS on your computer (if you got stuck during the installation process then go through my previous post about – installing Ubuntu 12.04) – then you may need to install some most basic applications/plugins/libraries in order to perform some common tasks such as watching videos, surfing websites (with multimedia content) or listening to your music (mp3) collection.

If you’re wondering – why doesn’t Ubuntu does that by default then you should know that Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distributions follow Configuration over Convention principle – there are lot of ways to do the same thing – so they leave it on the users choice; although Ubuntu does ship some cools applications by default – such as Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, Media Player, Bash, Ubuntu Software Center, Shotwell (Photo Manager), Document Viewer (for reading pdf file), Nautilus (File Manager) – most of the applications comes along with the package of Gnome Desktop. There are some licensing problem too, that’s why they can’t ship Ubuntu with proprietary plugins/codecs.

Few months ago (at the time of Ubuntu 11.10 release), I wrote the article – 10 things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.10 – it was very popular (and a lot of beginners appreciated that post). So this article is basically an update version of that, of course for Ubuntu 12.04. Most of the things haven’t changed much, but I wanted to make things more easier by putting together – all the simple things you need to do after a fresh installation (this time – it’s 12.04). So I suppose, it will be helpful for beginner Ubuntu users specially those who are trying it for the first time.

Top 10 things to do after installing Ubuntu 12.04

#1. Update Your System

It’s the first thing to do, just after the installation, to update the repository cache and packages you have installed (by default or custom (if you did)). You can start the update manager (and click on ‘install update’)

update-manager-12-04

or just open a terminal/shell (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute these commands to get the task done –

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

#2. Install Proprietary stuffs (Plugins/Codecs/Libraries)

To install the most commonly required plugins and codecs/libraries, just install the ubuntu-restricted-extras package, because most popular codecs/plugins are bundled together in this meta package. It has

  • Adobe Flash Plugin
  • GStreamer ffmpeg video plugin
  • Fluendo mp3 decoder
  • unarchiver for .rar files

Execute the following command to install the proprietary stuffs (described above) –

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

 

For Playing Encrypted DVD

If you want to play encrypted DVD then you should also install CSS (Content Scramble System) decoder/unscrambler. The free software library libdvdcss2 is very popular for reading the encrypted DVDs.

To install libdvdcss2, execute the following command(s) –

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

#3. Install Additional (missing/required) drivers

For Graphics/Video card

If you are using any graphics/video card or sound card or webcam then you must install the appropriate drivers/softwares for that. Ubuntu 12.04 can automatically detect graphics card and a pop-up window may appear with the suggestion but you need to make sure that you’re installing the right driver for the device. In the snapshot (below) – you can see I need to install Nvidia proprietary drivers in order to enjoy the power of graphics card.

Installing nvidia-drivers

Sometimes even it won’t be detected automatically, in that case you can install manually (go to System Settings -> Additional Drivers).  You need to do the same thing for sound card, otherwise you may be facing some sort of performance problem or instability.

Driver for Webcam

Cheese Webcam Booth

To use webcam, install cheese webcam booth. It’s a good software for webcam and it has some nice features like – cool funky effects which will increase the fun while taking pictures or recording videos on webcam. Using Cheese is simple to use – just select the mode (video, photo or burst) and start capturing photos/videos.

To Install Cheese, execute the command –

sudo apt-get install cheese

 

Drivers for Printer/Scanner

Go to System Settings -> Printing -> Add, then select your printer and follow the instruction and the driver will be installed within a couple of clicks. If you’re still not sure how?, then checkout this detailed step by step instruction on installing Printer in Ubuntu 12.04, I’ve written earlier.

#4. Install Gnome Shell and Gnome Tweak Tool

Ubuntu comes with Unity interface, by default. If you don’t like Unity for any reason – then you must try Gnome Shell. Although, both of the desktops are based on the Core – GNOME 3 but Gnome Shell is the default interface for Gnome 3 (the latest version of Gnome introduced months ago). Gnome Shell has lot of cool and exciting features. You don’t need to remove unity in order to use Gnome Shell – just install Gnome Shell –

gnome-shell-Desktop

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

and next when you log in, select Gnome as the desktop. It will automatically remember the option.

Customizing Gnome 3 has become weird as compare to the old version of Gnome (i.e 2.3) but thanks to Gnome-Tweak-Tool which has made customization of Gnome shell/3 a lot easier.

gnome-tweak-tool

Install Gnome Tweak Tool / Advanced Gnome 3 Settings

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Now, you can tweak a lot of advanced settings like themes, icons, fonts, windows behavior, desktop – icons  etc just in a couple of clicks.

If you don’t like Gnome Shell then there are other options too such as KDE Desktop or OpenBox (Lightweight and Fast) or XFCE Desktop (I haven’t tried yet, on 12.04 but seems to be a good option, if you don’t like these new fancy effects/changes in Gnome/KDE – it’s simple and easy – optimized for simplicity ‘n’ productivity).

For KDE Desktop (UI+ a number of cool applications from kde package)

sudo apt-get install kde-standard

More about installing KDE desktop on Ubuntu 12.04.

For XFCE Desktop

sudo apt-get install xfce4

#5. Install Synaptic Package Manager

synaptic-package-manager

Even though Ubuntu Software Center has improved a lot but it seems cluttered (and slow), I always find Synaptic Package Manager – easier and faster so if you miss it on latest versions of Ubuntu (including 12.04) then it’s time to install it now. It has been removed from the default applications but it’s there in package repository so open a terminal and execute –

sudo apt-get install synaptic

#6. Install VLC Media Player

vlc-snapshot

All in One Media player – The VLC Player, is a must have application on Ubuntu 12.04! The default media player in Ubuntu 12.04 is also cool but there is no reason why we shouldn’t install VLC. It can play a variety of multimedia formats that no other media players can. VLC version 2.0 is the latest one, with lot of new features, and in Ubuntu 12.04  – it’s included by default in the package repository (so you don’t need to add any external PPA).

sudo apt-get install vlc

#7. Install Pidgin

pidgin-snapshot

Pidgin is a simple and easy to use Chat client. It can connect to all the most popular Instant Messaging network/services such as Google Talk, IRC, MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, XMPP etc, so it’s also known as Universal Chat Client. The latest release is v 2.10 (for Ubuntu).

To install Pidgin, execute –

sudo apt-get install pidgin

#8. Install GIMP Image Editor

Image editing/creating program is a must have application, on Ubuntu 12.04 – you have many options such as GIMP, Pinta etc. It has lot of advanced features and it is almost equivalent to Adobe Photoshop.

gimp-snapshot

Installing GIMP

sudo apt-get install gimp

GIMP is very good and it has lot of complex features but it may be overkill for very simple tasks, specifically if you are new to image editing. In that case – you should try Pinta – another free image editing program that is very simple and easy to use!

Installing Pinta

sudo apt-get install pinta

#9. Install Google Chrome or Chromium

Firefox is cool but even if Mozilla Firefox is your favorite web browser it’s good to have a good alternative web browser. Chrome is a simple and fast web browser – and it comes along with the proprietary stuffs. You can als try Chromium – which is the base project of Chrome, and it’s already there in package repository/software center.

chrome-screenshot

To install Chromium execute –

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

If you want to install Google Chrome then refer my previous post about installing chrome on Ubuntu 12.04.

#10. Backup Plan

dejadup-backup

Backup is critically required in every situation, specially in Ubuntu :). So it’s a very good idea to have everything (at least critical files) backed up. Ubuntu 12.04 has a good backup application installed by default called – Deja Dup. You just need to configure it for frequency, target directory (and of course the directories you don’t want to backup), and the backup location. There are many options for backup location –

  • Ubuntu One – the default one and probably the easiest way to backup files on Ubuntu (you can access your files remotely from anywhere – the web interface or computer or from your Android Phone), you will get 5GB of free space. It nicely integrates with deja dup.
  • Dropbox – similar to Ubuntu One – but if you’ve been using it already then this is also a good option.
  • Custom (Amazon S3 or something else) – if any of the above option doesn’t suite you well then this is the option for you. You can easily configure Deja dup to upload backup files to AWS s3 or any custom server.

Update #1 :  I’ve written a simple shell script to automate the installation process of most important programs that you often need to install after a fresh install of Ubuntu. Download this programs-installer.sh script, extract it and execute it –

sudo chmod +x programs-installer.sh
./programs-installer.sh

or you could drop the script file at terminal. You may need to enter password once, after that it will install most of the useful programs and update the system.

That’s All. Have Fun with Ubuntu :-)

Update #2 : Fixed broken link to installer script.

Most popular-programming-language

Top 10 Most Popular Programming Languages of 2012

Are you an absolute beginner who wants to get started with programming or an expert one interested in trying new cool languages – you may find a great one from the top 10 list of programming languages which are popular now (it’s based on a recent Hacker News Poll about the favorite programming language, a couple of days ago). e.g if you’re new to programming – Python would be a great to begin with, on the other hand if you’re bored with imperative languages like C, Java etc then try something different – such as Haskell.

Some of the new programming languages has gained a lot of popularity – Scala, Haskell, Clojure, Erlang, CoffeeScript (similar to JavaScript, good for ruby programmer who want to write JavaScript in ruby way); specially the function programming languages like Haskell(appears in top 10). Scripting languages are on top, Python (1st) and Ruby(2nd) became more popular (while PHP and Perl seems to be loosing its popularity, although it’s a different fact that PHP has most of the share in server side language).

Most popular-programming-languages

Top 10 Programming Languages (in the order of Decreasing popularity)

  1. Python (Most Popular)    :   3026 points
  2. Ruby   :   1697 points
  3. JavaScript    :   1385 points
  4. C    :   959 points
  5. C#    :   814 points
  6. PHP    :    647 points
  7. Java   :   544 points
  8. C++    :   526 points
  9. Haskell   :   510 points
  10. Closure   :   449 points

Data Source – Hacker News Poll about the favorite programming languages, although there was more than just the 10 programming languages but I’ve shorted the list to top 10. Points are basically the thumbs up vote or +1 or like.

Credit : Hacker News Poll

10 Applications You Must Try on Ubuntu 11.10/12.04

Ubuntu has now become the most popular GNU/Linux distribution among the desktop users and developers, so now a days you can find almost any application for any kind of task, most of them are free softwares but some are commercial too.

At the time of writing this post – I’m using Ubuntu 11.10 (which is the latest sable release) – so the applications has been tested on 11.10; Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will be out, in next few months, I’ve tried alpha versions and I’m sure these applications would also work well on 12.04 (and earlier versions such as 11.04/10.04 …) or other similar GNU/Linux distro such as Linux Mint, Debian, etc. So I’ve made a top 10 list of some cool Applications that is worth trying!

10 Awesome Free Softwares for Ubuntu

10. Zim

zim-wiki-snapshot

Zim is a cross-platform desktop wiki application that just works. it is well suitable for taking/organizing notes, TODO list, brainstorming thoughts or innovative ideas. You might have used a notes management application such as Evernote or OneNote (which is quite popular) but the simplicity of Zim will make you a fan of it. The notes are stored on the desktop in a plain text format and it’s saved automatically. You can even create new page just by linking to non-existing page.

A lot of cool plugins are available to add some extra cool features to Zim. Go to Edit -> Preferences ->Plugins and enable the plugins you want to use. Some of the most useful plugins are –

  • Spellchecker
  • tags
  • Insert Equation
  • Insert Diagram
  • Insert Screenshot
  • Insert Symbol
  • Tray Icon
  • quick note
  • version control (Bazzar VCS)
  • Link Map (some sort of Mind Map)

Most of the above plugins are really cool! Here is a snapshot of Link Map view (first enable the plugin and go to View -> Link Map View) – representing the structure of my notes.

link-map-view in Zim

In Ubuntu you can install it in one simple command –

sudo apt-get install zim

Other users can get it from official download page.

9. Steadyflow

steadyflow

Steadyflow a simple and easy to use Download Manager based on GTK+. The GUI tends to follow minimal approach, in order to encourage simplicity, it’s pretty clean and straightforward. To begin the download process, enter the URL of the file, then locate the folder where you want to save it, specify a file name (although it will be automatically done by the application – so you can leave the field default if you don’t want any specific file name) then There is one great feature – that can be used to execute commands or trigger another application when the download is complete, by default leave to “Do nothing upon completion” if you don’t want to trigger any action on completion.

Pausing and Resuming download activities is very simple and there is one tray icon in bottom right corner to control the application.

tray-icon-steadyflow

To install Steadyflow Download Manager, execute the command or visit official page (for more detail) –

sudo apt-get install steadyflow

8. Pinta Image Editor

pinta-snapshot

Pinta is a simple and easy to use, beginner friendly image editing/drawing application, very similar to Microsoft Paint program. It is a free software, available for all platforms, the latest stable version is Pinta 1.1 (released few months ago). It has lot of cool features like Drawing Tools/Shapes, Customizable workspace, Unlimited layers, Full History etc, Adjustment and cool effects (e.g Artistic Effects for Oil Painting, Pencil Sketch and Ink Sketch), although it doesn’t have all sophisticated features like GIMP and Adobe Photoshop but still worth useful for quick editing, specially for beginners (probably due to its simplicity and ease of use).

Installing Pinta Image Editor in Ubuntu 11.10/12.04

sudo apt-get install pinta

or Download It (older versions or other GNU/Linux distro)

7. K3b

k3b - Disc Creator

K3b is a CD/DVD burning application for GNU/Linux based distributions. K3b is a feature rich /sophisticated disc creating application – so you can create different kinds of CD/DVD – very easily using K3b.

Important Features of K3b at a Glance

  • Create Audio CD
  • Create Data CD
  • Create Mixed Mode CD
  • Create Video CD
  • CD Copy
  • DVD Burning
  • CD Ripping
  • DVD Ripping
  • Write ISO Image

Full Features List (Official Website)

Install K3b on Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install k3b

6. Pencil

pencil - cartoon creator

Pencil is a Cartoon drawing program. It focuses on simplicity but it has a lot of features – that will allow you to create cool cartoons/hand drawings and animations. Pencil is very easy to use and it is available not only for GNU/Linux but also for Windows and Mac.

Install Pencil in Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install pencil

5. Synapse

synapse

Synapse is a semantic launcher that enables you to launch applications or find files/documents quickly using Zeitgeist Engine (a service that logs user activity and events, so it helps Synapse in searching stuffs semantically). Simply – start the application and kick start the apps or files you are looking for, and – it seems better than Unity’s Lens. If you haven’t tried any quick App launcher yet, then you must give it a try – as it may help you in boosting your overall productivity by cutting down the time you usually spends on searching files or starting applications.

Install Synapse in Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install synapse

Now, just hit Ctrl+Space and Enjoy! (or you can launch (Vow!, that’s a Meta Launch :)) Synapse from Applications -> Accessories -> Synapse). Some plugins are also available – which can even help you in finding and executing terminal commands, take a look at the preferences section for more options.

4. Mount Manager

mount-manager

Mount Manager is a simple and easy to use Disk/Partition management software for Ubuntu users. You can Mount/Unmount partitions, edit settings/mount point, change /etc/fstab (which contains FileSystems details and used by many programs including GRUB bootloader, for more info look at man page). It is a robust, stable and easy to use, and of course it is a beginner friendly because on top right you can also read documentation about the options/things you are customizing.

To install Mount Manager in Ubuntu, just execute the command –

sudo apt-get install mountmanager

3. Clementine

Clementine Media Player on Ubuntu

Clementine is a sophisticated Music Player and Organizer, inspired from Amarok 1.4. The Application focuses on speed and easy search/play of your music files/albums. It has a lot of cool features including Smart/Dynamic playlists, tabbed playlists with various import/export options, tag editing, visualizations, supports Ogg, mp3, Vorbis, FLAC, AAC etc, queue manager, desktop notifications, go to official site for more details about the features. It is a cross-platform application, in Ubuntu you can find it in Software Center. It integrates seamlessly with Grooveshark, Last.fm, Spotify and others.

Install Clementine Music Player in Ubuntu 11.10/12.04

Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute –

sudo apt-get install clementine

2. digiKam

digikam-snapshot

digiKam is an advanced digital photo management application. it’s a cross platform Application that allows you to manage/organize collections of photo effectively, in a professional way. It is a cross-platform application. It has simple and easy to use interface.

digiKam will allow you to import pictures, organize, view, edit and share it in various ways. Check out the official site for Full List of Features and user guide/manual.

In Ubuntu 11.10/12.04 you can install digikam from terminal –

sudo apt-get install digikam

1. Miro

miro-snapshot

Miro is a Music and Video player, and you can play not only your local music files but also the internet TV, YouTube etc. Besides that, there is also an option to download the file if you want – so basically miro is a great application that will allow you to play all kinds of stuffs – from one place, it’s kind of ‘All in One’ Entertainment box. The user interface looks cool! and the application is available for all platforms.

Install Miro Music/Video Player / Downloader in Ubuntu 11.10/12.04

sudo apt-get install miro
vlc player on linux-mint

10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 12

Linux Mint 12 (alias : Lisa) released, now it’s time to configure and install some mandatory applications/packages to start working on it. Although, Linux Mint 12 has already made the desktop little more user friendly, specifically for beginner users (who are coming from the windows(XP/Vista/7) world) but still there few things that you need to do for a complete usable – Linux desktop.

I’ve already published a post about 10 things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.10 and most of the tips should work seamlessly with Linux Mint 12 (as it is based on Ubuntu 11.10). Anyway, this post is supposed to help you in getting started on Linux Mint 12.

#1. Install restricted packages

First of all, you should install some proprietary codecs (audio/video/flash)and plugins (e.g Adobe flash player) and packages. These packages includes –

  • Adobe Flash Player plugin for browser
  • proprietary audio/video codecs (don’t you want to play mp3 songs?)
  • java runtime environment etc

So open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the command –

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

If you want to play encrypted DVD then execute the following commands –

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

#2. Install VLC Player

vlc player on linux-mint

VLC is the most popular – ‘all in one’ open source media player, specially good for playing various video files. VLC supports variety of input formtas including – flv, avi, ogg, mp4, mp3, wmv, wma. mkv, ogm etc. To install VLC media player in Linux Mint 12, fire up a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the command(s) –

sudo apt-get install vlc

#3. Install Chromium or Google Chrome

chromium-browser

Firefox is installed by default but even if you use firefox as primary browser, sometimes you may need a secondary browser – then Google Chrome or Chromium seems to be a good alternative. Try Chromium or install Google Chrome on Linux Mint.

To install chromium, execute –

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Here is the detailed description about installing Chrome on on Linux Mint 12.

#4. Install Audacious Music Player

audacious on Linux Mint

Audacious is a simple and easy to use – cool music player. To install audacious, type –

sudo apt-get install audacious

#5. Install New Gnome shell themes

Gnome shell Themes for Linux Mint

Linux Mint 12 has Gnome Tweak Tool, installed by default, which allow you to configure advanced options for Gnome Shell desktop as well as for managing themes. To install icons, simply put the icon theme(downloaded packages) to ~/usr/share/icons directory. I’ve already covered a detailed post about installing Gnome Shell Themes on Linux Mint 12. (So you are supposed to refer the link)

#6. Install Ubuntu One

ubuntu-one in Linux Mint

Ubuntu One is a Dropbox like backup solution and the free plan offers 5GB storage which may be sufficient for a lot of users. Ubuntu One is well integrated with nautilus and so it will allow you to backup more easily. So whether you’ve used it earlier in Ubuntu or not, you should give it a try.

To install Ubuntu One execute following commands –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuone/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntuone-control-panel-gtk ubuntuone-client

#7. Configure GRUB options

grub-customizer

To customize grub menu or configure boot options there are two popular applications – startup manager (simple and easy to use) and second one is grub customizer (it has a lot of features and options).

customizing-grub-menu

Installing grub customizer,open terminal and execute –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

On the other hand if you want to try startup manager, then execute –

sudo apt-get install startupmanager

#8. Install Ubuntu Software Center

ubuntu-software-center

If you have used Ubuntu Software Center in Ubuntu 11.10 or 11.04, then you might have noticed that on Linux mint there is another programs installed by default, for managing applications. Software Manager is the default program for installing/removing applications in Linux Mint, Synaptic Package Manager is also there. If you are missing some of the cool features of USC then you can install that in one simple command –

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-software-center

#9. Try MATE if you don’t like Gnome Shell

Gnome Classic - MATE

If you don’t like Gnome Shell interface, with a bunch of cool extensions then MATE is probably for your – for Gnome 2 lovers. MATE is a fork of Gnome 2 project, it looks very similar to Gnome 2.3 desktop. You can see (above screenshot of MATE) the Gnome 2 style menu in Top left corner of the screen – appears like Gnome 2. It’s installed by default – just logout from the current session and select Gnome classic (with or without effects, whatever suits your computer hardware).

#10. Install Bleachbit to clean up

Bleachbit is equivalent to CCleaner(of Windows). It will allow you to remove/delete unnecessary files from your computer, in a couple of clicks. To install bleachbit, simply execute the command –

sudo apt-get install bleachbit

Reference(s)

Linux Mint Forums

Have Fun! :)

gnome-shell-screenshot

Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Ubuntu 11.10

Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) is expected to release on 13th of this month, I’ve tried the beta versions. Few months ago, just after the release of Ubuntu 11.04, I published a post on Ubuntu 11.04 Tips ‘n’ Tricks, and it was a big hit – I got a lot of positive feedback. In fact, it was lot useful for a beginner Ubuntu users – specifically those who are coming from the Windows background. Some of the tips explained there are also valid for 11.10 (perhaps for all version of Ubuntu or may be for all Linux based OS) but most of the tricks are obsolete due to some major change like GTK 3 (instead of 2.3).

That’s why I thought to write an updated version of those cool tips ‘n’ tricks, and the expected users are absolute beginners but intermediate and advanced users might benefit from it. If you’ve just installed a fresh version of Ubuntu 11.10 then first go through this post – 10 things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.10, then come back here and apply some tips/tricks  to customize the Ubuntu in your way.

So here is my most favorite collection of Tips and Tweaks, for a beginner Ubuntu 11.10 user. If you have something to say (e.g if you want to add or improve an existing tips or you want to share you experience or have some feedback) then feel free to share with us (using comment box).

Top 10 – Ubuntu 11.10(Oneiric Ocelot) Tips ‘n’ Tricks

The tips and tricks described here, are primarily aimed for Ubuntu 11.10 users but some of the tips may works seamlessly with other Linux distributions (specifically Debian based) such as Linux Mint, Opensuse, Fedora, Debian, or other Ubuntu derivatives such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, MythUbuntu, Ubuntu Studio etc. So feel free to experiment but – always keep a backup to encounter any unexpected results.

1. Try GNOME Shell

Ubuntu 11.10 uses Gnome 3 (based on GTK 3) but the default user interface is Unity. Unity has improved a lot, but if you want to try something new or you like Gnome 3 (or you might be hating Unity), then it’s time to enjoy the next generation revolutionary desktop – GNOME 3. Gnome 3.2 is the latest version. It has a lot of new and innovative features.

gnome-shell-screenshot

GNOME 3 has been developed and designed from scratch rather than just adding some new feature in the predecessor version. The whole idea is to make desktop computing more fun and productive (switching between workspaces and windows takes very little time as compared to earlier max/min approach, distraction is also very less). So if you want to use Gnome 3 with Gnome Shell then you just need to install the second one i.e only the gnome shell (The User Interface for Gnome 3) because Gnome 3 is already installed by default (and unity is running on the top of it).

To install Gnome Shell, Open a terminal and Execute

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

I’ve already covered a post about Installing Gnome Shell in Ubuntu 11.10, so refer that for detailed instructions.

2. Mount hard drive (partitions) automatically at startup

When your computer starts, it won’t mount any other hard drives or its partitions other than the File System (The partition where you’ve installed the Ubuntu). It means the other partitions will not be available by default, so you will have to mount it each time you log in to your computer before you use it.

For example, if you are using Ubuntu in dual boot mode with Windows 7 or any other OS then you may have multiple other partitions (including NTFS, FAT or other EXT4), so in that case if you’ve any desktop links which points to such partitions or any playlists whose contents resides on that drive, then it’s better to mount such partitions when the computer starts so that it will be available for use without any manual mount.

To mount drives/partitions automatically at startup (during system boot) you can use a simple utility – PySDM, a Storage Device Manager. It’s a cool application written using PyGTK and very helpful in customizing mount points for your hard drive(s)/partitions.

How to Install PySDM ?

Open a terminal (press Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the command –

sudo apt-get install pysdm

storage device manager
Then start the application either by searching it in apps menu or press Alt+F2, type pysdm and hit Enter. Now you can customize it the way you want – Select the drive/partition, configure it and click on Apply. To avoid any possible loss from your silly mistake – Just Backup!

3. Advanced GNOME 3 Settings – using Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tool is a simple application that will allow you to change/customize Gnome 3 desktop in an advanced way. If Gnome Tweak Tool has lot of options such as Shell, Themes, Fonts, Desktop, Icons, etc to tweak the appearance and look. So it’s a must have Apps for Enthusiastic Ubuntu users.
gnome tweak tool
To install Gnome Tweak Tool, open the terminal and execute –

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

4. Sync Tomboy Notes using Ubuntu One Cloud

Tomboy Notes is a simple note taking application – with a lot of features. If you have been using Evernote on Windows or Mac OS X, then you will be disappointed to know that – it’s not available for Linux based OS such as Ubuntu. Tomboy is a great application – it doesn’t have all those features but it’s a good alternative to evernote or other note taking programs. The most exciting feature of evernote is Sync – it automatically synchronized your notes with the main copy (stored in the remote server/cloud), which can be accessed from any where -computer(Windows/Mac), iPad, iPhone or Android. Tomboy has all these features by default – you just need to configure it. The default functionality can be easily extended, using plugins(add-ins).

tomboy-notes
To enable sync feature in Tomboy Notes you can use Ubuntu One (it provides 5 GB free storage for everyone). Ubuntu One and tomboy both are installed by default in Ubuntu 11.10. So –

tomboy-preferences

To start synchronizing your Tomboy Notes, first configure Ubuntu One for backup, Then Open Tomboy Notes and go to Edit -> Preferences and select Synchronization tab. From the list of various sync option -select Ubuntu One!

5. Configure Boot Options – GRUB, using StartUp Manager

Startup Manager is a simple application that will allow you to customize GRUB and splash screen, in GUI mode. There are various options such as display size of GRUB menu(in pixels), default operating system to boot, timeout(in seconds) etc. To install startup manager, open a terminal and execute the command –

sudo apt-get install startupmanager

startup manager

6. Customize the appearance of LightDM Login Screen

The default background at LightDM login prompt isn’t cool, Right? Probably yes! Using a simple application or tweak you can’t only change the background image but also the logo. It’s Fun!
I’ve already discussed a lot about changing background screen in Ubuntu 11.10.

simple lightdm manager

7. Backup Your important Files using DejaDup

DejaDup is a simple, easy to use and fast backup program. In Ubuntu 11.10, DejaDup has been included in default programs installed with standard distribution package. So you got dejadup installed by default on your system but you need to configure it before it will start any backup job. DejaDup is a very powerful backup tool – it has lot of options to backup, e.g you can backup your data anywhere you want – local file system or remote location (on a standard server or Cloud such as Amazon S3).

dejadup-backup for Ubuntu 11.10

If you want more detailed explanation then refer the post – how to backup Ubuntu 11.10, where I’ve explained about different backup options, in detail.

8. Install Cool themes and icons

The default theme and icons is cool but you may want to try something else. That’s very easy because a lot of free Gnome 3 themes and icons are available free to use. If you aren’t sure about which themes or icons to try then refer these posts – best Gnome 3 themes or Top 10 Gnome Shell Themes (if you are using Gnome shell), where I’ve sorted few best and good looking themes for Unity and Gnome Shell interface.

How to install themes/icons in Ubuntu 11.10 ?

step 0 Open nautilus with root power. To do that, open a terminal and execute the command –

gksu nautilus

step 1 To install GTK 3 themes you just need to copy the theme package to the usr/share/themes directory.

step 2 To install gnome shell themes – First, copy the gnome-shell directory from the theme_package to usr/share/gnome-shell. Second, rename the existing theme directory to default-theme (for backup purpose). Third, rename the gnome-shell(the one you’ve copied) directory to theme. Finally press ALT+F2, type r and your new shell theme will be reloaded (or you can just logout from the current session, and on next login, you will be enjoying something new!).

step 3 To install icons – copy the icon package to usr/share/icons

gnome-tweak-tool

step 4 Finally You can select the theme or icon you want to use, through the help of Gnome Tweak Tool (see above if you don’t know)

9. Screencast Recording with Gnome Shell

screencasting in gnome-shell
Recording Screencast in Gnome Shell

screencast recording feature is built-in feature in Gnome shell interface. So if you want to record a screencast in Gnome shell, then you don’t need to install any application. You can start recording screencast just by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+r (press again to stop/start). When the screen recording will begin, you will notice a red dot at bottom-right corner of the screen. Finally the file will be saved in home directory of the user with the file name like this – shell_today_date.webm.

10. Cool shortcuts for productivity

Keyboard shortcuts are very useful for speeding up your productivity to some extent. Since Ubuntu is an open source OS, there is no limit on how much you can customize. If you have been using shortcuts for a while, then first thing you would want is to change the default(if it doesn’t matches with yours) keyboard shortcuts.

keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu 11.10

To set your custom keyboard shortcuts go to System Settings -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts and define your own shortcuts.

Bash Aliases are also cool if you play a lot with Terminal. For example, if you are a ruby on rails developer, and install a lot of gems using the command gem install gem_name, then you can save a lot of typing by defining an alias for that. I’ll make it more clear with an example.

Creating alias commands for Terminal

step 1 Open terminal and type

gedit .bashrc

step 2 Now, insert these lines at the bottom and save the file.

# My custom commands aliases
alias gi='gem install'
alias s5='sudo shutdown -h 8:00'

creating bash-alias

step 3 Next, reload the bash profile to propagate the changes, using the command –

source ~/.bashrc

terminal-shortcuts

step 4 That’s All..now you can see the command(defined in right side) in action – just by typing its alias name.

Have Fun!