Top 10 Things to Do after installing Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

Ubuntu 14.04 laptop

Ubuntu 14.04 running on Dell XPS laptop

First Thing to do after installation:

 Find out about all of the new features.

There are several guides on the internet about things to do after upgrading, and this seems to be a common one. I’ve done a post regarding the features I’ve seen and read about, it went up yesterday. You can read OMG! Ubuntu’s write-up, it’s pretty similar to mine, but that’s because they took the good ones. They’ve also put together a great video, which I featured on my review post.

Second Thing to do after installation:

Enable local menu integration:
nautilus with locally integrated menus

Nautilus in Ubuntu 14.04 with locally integrated menus

I mentioned in my review that local menus had been integrated in 14.04. Basically, this means that the menus can be placed on the window’s title-bar instead of at the top of the screen like in the past. Enabling it is relatively simple.

  • Open up System Settings > Appearance
  • Select the ‘Behaviour’ tab
  • Go to section titled ‘Show Menus for a Window’
  • Check the box next to ‘in the window’s title bar’
  • In case you get lost, this is where you are trying to get:
Locally integrated menus option

The settings page to enable locally integrated menus

Third Thing to do after installation:

Enable the Launcher click to Minimize app functionality:

One oft-requested feature that made its way, albeit undercover and experimentally, into the 14.04 release is the ability to click on an application’s icon to minimize it, just as you can do in Windows. For this feature, you’ll have to be brave enough to use Ubuntu Tweak, a great app for, well, tweaking Ubuntu! If it isn’t already installed, you can download and install it, and another incredibly useful tool focused directly on Unity – Unity Tweak Tool, via the command

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool ubuntu-tweak-tool

Once it’s done downloading/installing you should fire up Ubuntu Tweak. It’s quite a powerful program, so don’t be worried when it takes a bit to load. Once it loads up, search for minimize. Click the result (should only be one) and it will load a screen like this:

Ubuntu Tweak option

Ubuntu Tweak with Minimize option highlighted

Toggle the Launcher click to minimize app option to ON, as it is in the picture.

You should now be able to click on app icons to minimize them, a nice feature in my opinion.

Fourth Thing to do after installation:

Install third-party drivers and Media codecs

Because Ubuntu is Open-Source and because of legal issues, third-party/non-free drivers, software, and codecs like Flash, DVD/music/video decoding software, and drivers for hardware aren’t pre-installed with Ubuntu. This is easily remedied though, just keep reading.

To enable the drivers it is really simple, just fire up the Software and Updates tool (you can search for Updates in the dash) and click on the ‘Additional Drivers’ tab. Just follow the prompts that will come up as it checks for drivers, choose the ones you want to enable.

Flash and media codecs (Flash being required for many online things, Youtube being the most commonly known, and media codecs required for reading DVDs and popular/proprietary audio and video formats, like MP3s/MP4s. Thus, if you want to be able to listen to your favorite music, watch DVDs, and use anything requiring Adobe Flash, you’ll want to install the restricted extras package.

The folks behind Ubuntu understand you’re going to want to be able to do those things, so they combined what you’ll want in a neat little package, for easy installation. Just run the command

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras libdvdread4 && sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

You will get various prompts for confirmation throughout the install process, this is normal, as the ubuntu-restricted-extras package is actually a package containing several pieces of software instead of a single one.

To install flash, just run

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

Follow the prompts, and you should have flash installed, as well as the previously installed media codecs and proprietary drivers, and thus have a happy, working system!

Fifth Thing to do after installation:

Check out Web apps

Although technically not brand new to 14.04, they were introduced 12.10, they have really become integrated with Ubuntu in 14.04. Previously they would open a tab in Firefox of Chromium, now they open up in Ubuntu Web Browser, the browser for Ubuntu Touch (Ubuntu for Phones and Tablets.) You can install more web apps from the Ubuntu Software Center, just search Unity web apps. You can get webapps for Gmail, for Grooveshark, for the BBC, for Launchpad, the list goes on and on.

Sixth Thing to do after installation:

Explore and find new software
Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu Software Center – Hub for all sorts of stupendous software

While the default software for Ubuntu is great, you can find all sorts of awesome software in the Ubuntu Software Center. Just open it up and it provides randomly suggested software based on what is popular at the time, or, if you so want, you can have the suggestions tailored to follow what you search for and install. Some of the great software that is available is listed below, complete with links to the Ubuntu Software Center link for the application:

  • VLC – Your all-around best, play-anything you throw at me, media player.
  • Steam – PC gaming platform, plenty of games have been or are being ported to Linux
  • Dropbox – Popular cross-platform, cloud storage service
  • GIMP – Popular, Powerful, and Open Source graphics editor, could be considered a replacement for Photoshop
  • Chromium – Open Source replacement for Google Chrome, Chromium is the base of Chrome
  • Skype – Popular voice and video communication software. Can be installed through Software Center or through Skype’s website.
  • Spotify – Popular music streaming site. While no official software is available,  there is a workaround. One more thing, the guide is intended for 12.04, but it should still work with 14.04. Read how to on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Seventh Thing to do after installation:

Take control of your privacy
Ubuntu Security and Privacy settings

Ubuntu Security and Privacy settings

We all like Privacy, but it seems to be coming at a premium today. Luckily, you can easily lots of what is shared and used from the Security and Privacy section of the System settings.

You can

  • Choose what apps & files can be searched from the Dash
  • Whether or not to require a password on waking from suspend
  • Disable sending error reports to Canonical and/or anonymous system information (programs installed, specs, etc.)
  • Disable all ‘online’ search features of the Dash

Eight thing to do after installation:

Make the desktop your personal computing haven
Appearance settings

Ubuntu Appearance Settings – Control what wallpaper to use, what theme, and what launcher size

Each version of Ubuntu comes with a new set of community-supplied wallpapers, and each time they are just stupendous. 14.04 is the first one in a while to not provide a created wallpaper with the releases’ mascot on it, but that’s okay, as it has plenty of other great photos to make up for it. You can have a static one, or have it change throughout the day! My personal favorites are Ibanez Infinity, Ubuntu (the default one), and another one of which the name I’m not sure. It was definitely installed, it’s one that changes throughout the day apparently, and is blue and abstract.

Other options that you can configure other than the background include the theme, so long as it comes installed with Ubuntu. To install and use your own theme you’ll need to use Unity Tweak Tool. You can also change the launcher size, now all the way down to a tiny 16 pixels.

On the Behavior tab you can control the auto-hiding feature of the launcher, enable workspaces (multiple desktops, an awesome feature,) add show desktop icon to launcher, and whether or not to use the locally integrated menus.

Ninth Thing to do after installation:

Turn down the amount of results in the dash
dash plugins

Herd the massive dash plugin mess – Pretty simple to disable

Although the idea started in 12.04 with the occasional amazon search result, smart scopes really bloomed in 13.10. And by bloomed I mean got incredibly, excessively, expanded and began throwing tons of online results at you when-ever you searched for something. Thankfully, you can tone down the mess a bit with a few simple clicks.

Just open up the dash, go to the Applications tab and the click on Filter Results > Dash Plugins. You’ll see a whole list of the plugins. Click one and you can disable it by clicking on Disable.

Tenth Thing to do after installation:

Re-enable your third party PPAs

During upgrades all third-party PPAs are disabled, so they don’t interfere with the upgrade. While this is good, they don’t get automatically re-enabled when the upgrade is complete. So, you have to do it manually, which isn’t too bad, unless you’ve got a large number of them set up.

First, search for “updates” in the dash. Click the Software and Updates one and it should open a window that looks like this:
software and updates window

Software and Updates window – Just opened

Go to the ‘Other Software’ tab and it will look like this, albeit with less checked:

other software tab

Other Software – Third-party PPAs that need re-enabling

If you see any that say disabled on upgrade to trusty, then you need to re-check them. However, make sure you are re-checking only the ones that don’t say Source Code at the end, unless you are a developer and want the source code for software.

Eleventh Thing to do after installation

Yay! Extra free stuff!

How to enable the Apt terminal progress bar
apt progress bar

APT Fancy Progress Bar – Image from OMG! Ubuntu!

One thing I noticed during the upgrade is that if done via the terminal (as I did it) there is just an endless scrolling list of text and commands and you, unless you really understand the internals of Linux, have no clue where you are in the process.

Enter Progress Fancy. A brand new feature introduced in 14.04 allows you to have a progress bar at the bottom of your terminal, allowing you to see progress clearly. Note, this only applies when it is an actual APT command, such as apt-update, apt-install, or apt-upgrade and does not show up when running apt-get commands. It will only show up during the unpacking/installing phase, as that is when apt is actually used, apt-get being only the user-friendly front-end. Thus, during a release upgrade, you would see the progress bar.

To enable this handy feature, simply run as root (you have to be root root, not sudo – just run su) the command

echo 'Dpkg::Progress-Fancy "1";' > /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99progressbar

That’s all for this post. Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a comment down below saying what you thought of the post and/or some things I may have missed! Also, if you see a grammar error or something appears to be missing, comment down below. This is a long post and it’s kinda hard to keep track of everything as I’m researching and writing.

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One thought on “Top 10 Things to Do after installing Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

  1. hgind says:

    My most favorite feature — Apt terminal progress bar 😉

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