Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Ubuntu System Installation - Checklist

May 2013

New Cinnemon Mint / Ubuntu System Installation - Checklist

I am switching back from OSX to ubuntu, because Apple OSX is moving towards retail customers, rather than pro customers. My full reasoning is explained here.  Long live linux ubuntu!

Here are my notes of how to install a new ubuntu system:


  • emacs and ess (note: ess may block emacs startup if R is not yet installed)
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cassou/emacs ; sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get install emacs24 emacs24-el
  • chromium and chrome
    deb stable non-free main ; wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable
  • terminator; rightclick for preferences; and, after you made any changes in preferences, in the now existing  ~/.config/terminator/config
          size = 900, 600
  • okular (remove sidebars, resize)
  • mplayer
  • Gstreamer-*
    the alternative is to install medibuntu:
    wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet updateapt-get -y update && sudo apt-get -y upgradeapt-get install app-install-data-medibuntu apport-hooks-medibuntuapt-get install w64codecs libdvdcss2apt-get install libdvdnav4apt-get install libdvdread4/usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/./
  • openssh-server
  • sshfs; fuse-zip
  • gufw and set rules against unauthorized access (night, invalid logon attempts)
  • backintime (exclude *.iso, .gvfs)
  • unison
  • mpg321 (mpg123 to play command line beeps)
  • unity-chromium-extension: these may not work.  the gmail panel always quits
  • indicator-multiload System Load Indicator (by Michael Hofmann for load status on panel).  then start it with the Unity menu (search System Load).  alas, this one does not work  under cinnemon mint, because it complains about missing gtop libraries
  • apcupsd (for UPS) and configure it according to the USB community documentation.
  • CanoScan LiDE 100:  libsane sane-utils xsane .  maybe it requires libsane-extras, too.  Thereafter, xsane works.  strangely, simplescan does not, even following this.
  • davfs2
  • flashplugin-installer; now in 12.10?
  • MyUnity (maybe kill --- too dangerous)
  • not used much: remastersys --- allows creating a dvd
  • not used much: RecordMyDesktop
  • not using much: gnome-gmail
Do not install either texlive or R through ubuntu. Their versions are seriously obsolete. Instead, follow the instructions below.
  • remove thunderbird

Do not run MyUnity or compizconfig-settings-manager (ccms).  They hose the panel-service.  if you do this, you probably need to remove a lot of the dot (.compiz, .gnome, ??) files to get them back.DONT USE: ubuntu-tweak (though MyUnity does the same):
  add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa ; apt-get update ; apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

For Adobe Acrobat, search for Software Sources, then enable "Other Software -> Canonical Partners". This also allows removing old repositories.  Then apt-get install acroread .  Also, acroread does not work on the command line, but the GUI starter for Acrobat works.

Beyond apt

  • vmware get vmware-player . then "bash VM*".  if you want,
       ln -s /usr/bin/vmplayer /usr/bin/vmware-player.Note: everytime the host kernel or any vmware item is updated, you need to drop to the shell and run vmware-player while su by hand.  somehow, the GUI authorizer is broken.
  • skype from skype's website.  note that ubuntu has trouble with some logitech webcams.
  • TeXLive, install from source, following  the main program is
    make sure to set path to /usr/local/texlive/2012//bin/x86_64-linux/. Next, we need to install lucida fonts.  so
        echo "Map" >> `kpsewhich updmap.cfg` ; updmap ; texhash
  • R installation instructions are at
    Basically, include
      deb raring/
    in /etc/apt/sources.list, add the signage
      sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys E084DAB9
    and execute
      apt-get update; apt-get install r-base
    and immediately install libatlas!!  R is 3 times faster with it than with the standard BLAS library that ships with cinnemon mint 15 olivia.  OSX has this already set.
  • Good ssh key instructions can be found at
    Make sure to choose good pass phrases. Basically, you need to do the following on your new client:
       client> ssh-keygen -t dsa -f ~/.ssh/id_dsa
       client> cat ~/.ssh/  | ssh name@server "cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys"
       client> chmod -R 0600 ~/.ssh ; chmod u+x ~/.ssh
       client> ssh-add
    and add a MaxAuthTries 5 and ServerAliveInterval 60 to /etc/ssh/sshd_config.
  • in /etc/default/grub, remove the "QUIET" from GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, and change the GRUB_TIMEOUT to 5, then run update-grub
  • change /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober to timeout 3 instead of 0 (to get a menu at boot)
  • for SSD, enhance disk checking but turn off journaling: tune2fs -c 1 /dev/sda1 ; unmounted, you should tune2fs -O ^has_journal /dev/sda1. Then add discard to the options in /etc/fstab
  • kdebugdialog (not as su, but as logged in) and then disable all debug output
  • link open to gnome-open to ~/bin/open
  • make anacron less quiet: change -q in /etc/cron.d/ ; possibly change daily exec time from 7am to 3am
  • transfer .bash* , .emacs, src/* bin/*, /usr/local/texlive/ ; also .ssh
  • google office (GWoffice):
  •   add-apt-repository ppa:tombeckmann/ppa ; apt-get update ; apt-get install gwoffice
  • Handbrake video converter:
    add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-snapshots
    apt-get update
    apt-get install handbrake-gtk handbrake-cli
  • not needed in cinnamon mint apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping
  • does not work: edit /etc/X11/Xsession : line 83: exec >>"$ERRFILE" 2>&1  should be exec >> /dev/null 2>&1
  • for extra security, hide sudo somewhere else
  • for the backup hard drive, use hdparm -S 12 /dev/sdb1 (60 seconds)
  • Grive --- doesn't seem to work too well:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install grive

settings---change timeouts.  hot corner on the right, not left.

  • calibre book reader
  • reinstate cron jobs

Much More Complete

debianhelp has posted .  In fact, it is so complete that finding one's way around it is painful.


The following apps live on my panel: chrome, Terminal, Homefolder, Ubuntu Software Center, Settings, Rythmbox, System Updater, Workspace Switcher, VMWare, Acrobat.

emacs, tex, and R are all usually invoked from my terminal.

Missing From Linux

A lightweight clean html editor and mailer.  even this blogger up produces nasty html markup that is difficult to correct with emacs.  kompozer has the wrong colors.
figure out backintime's scheduling and retrieval
how to move the menu from the top panel line to *both* the top pane line and to each window menu
improve terminal --- different colors for different machines, c-n, c-v, c-x.  add "open" to right click
Evernote -- maybe Everpad?
how to stop windows from snapping to the top panel??
alt-ctrl-hotkey on apple keyboard -- how do I abort X server and switch to virtual terminal?
create backup bootable own drive

try teamviewer for remote control.

write a script that checks all of the above and does whatever is still missing.

printer installation -- wonderfully easy.  alas, Ricoh copier printers do not work.  on ubuntu, the first print job worked fine to my lexmark usb printer; the next one produced garbage.

scanner installation -- xsane works for canon, but not the easier ones

Problem for Non-Linux Users

for some reason, 12.04.1 booted into a text login, instead of the gui login.  this persisted over 2 reboots and then disappeared.  go figure.  this would be a serious problem for a non-unix expert.  I don't know why.

there was also a problem where it would sometimes not automatically continue on restart, which was a problem for an unattended server.