Welcome to our list of the top things to do after installing Ubuntu 17.10 ‘Artful Aardvark’.
Also Read: Ubuntu 17.10 Released, This is What’s New
You’re reading this because you installed the latest Ubuntu release on your laptop or desktop and are now wondering what to do next.
Below is a list of pertinent pointers and savvy suggestions; the sorts of things to do after installing Ubuntu that will help you get the most from it.
This list caters to both new Ubuntu users and long-time fans alike.
Unlike other lists that pop out online at this time of year we won’t suggest adding a bleeding-edge repository stuffed to the brim with unstable software, nor do we recommend anything else that could harm your general user experience.
That said, this isn’t a novel; you don’t have to follow every step in this list, just the ones that make sense to you. Do feel free to share your own post-install things to do in the comments section at the bottom.
1. Update your system
Whenever you do a fresh install of Ubuntu, update the system. It may sound strange because you just installed a fresh OS but still, you must run the updater.
I have experienced that if you don’t update the system right after installing Ubuntu, you might face issues while trying to install a new program. You may even see fewer applications to install.
To update your system, press Super Key (Windows Key) to launch the Activity Overview and look for Software Updater. Run this program. It will look for available updates. Install them.
Alternatively, you can use the following command in the terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T):
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
2. Enable Canonical Partner repositories
Another must do thing is to enable Canonical Partner repositories. Ubuntu has a number of software available from its repositories. You can find them in the Software Center.
But you get even more software in the Software Center if you enable the Canonical Partner repositories. This additional repository consists of third-party software, often proprietary stuff, that have been tested by Ubuntu.
Go to Activity Overview by pressing Super Key (Windows key), and look for Software & Updates:
Open it and under the Other Software tab, check the option of Canonical Partners.
It will ask for your password and update the software sources. Once it completes, you’ll find more applications to install in the Software Center.
3. Install media codecs
By default, Ubuntu doesn’t provide a number of media codecs because of copyright issues. But it does provide an easy way to install these media codecs so that you could play MP3, MPEG4, AVI and a number of other media files.
You can install these media codecs thanks to Ubuntu Restricted Extra package. Click on the link below to install it from the Software Center.
Or alternatively, use the command below to install it:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
4. Install software from the Software Center
Once you have upgraded the system and installed the codecs, it’s time to install some software. If you are rather new to Ubuntu, I suggest reading this detailed beginner’s guide to installing software in Ubuntu.
Basically, there are various ways to install software in Ubuntu. The easiest, most convenient and most reliable way is to use the Software Center to find and install new software.
You can open the Software Center to look for software to install in this graphical tool.
Alternatively, if you know what you are going to install just type the sudo apt install <program_name> command to install it.
It is up to you but I can surely suggest a few applications that are on my list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 17.10.
- VLC media player for videos
- GIMP – Photoshop alternative for Linux
- Shutter – Screenshot application
- Calibre – eBook management tool
- Chromium – Open Source web browser
- Kazam – Screen Recorder Tool
- Gdebi – Lightweight package installer for .deb packages.
- Mailspring – A modern, stylish email client
- Spotify for Linux – Music streaming service
- Lightworks Free – Professional non-linear video editor
5. Install software from the web
You’ll find plenty of applications in the Software Center. But you’ll also find that many applications are not included in the Software Center despite the fact that they support Linux.
Actually, a number of software vendors package their software in .deb format that can be easily installed in Ubuntu. You can download the .deb files from their official websites and install them by double-clicking on it.
Some of the main software that I download and install from the web are:
- Chrome web browser
- Slack communication tool
- Dropbox cloud storage service
- Skype (the new beta version)
- Viber instant messenger
6. Tweak the look and feel of Ubuntu 17.10
Ubuntu 17.10 uses GNOME desktop environment. While the default setup looks good, it doesn’t mean you cannot change it.
You can do some visual changes from the System Settings. Just search for System Settings in the Activity Overview and start it.
In the System Settings, you can change the wallpaper of the desktop and the lock screen, you can change the position of the dock (launcher on the left side), change power settings, Bluetooth etc. In short, you can find many settings that you can change as per your need.
Remember that there is no “set to default” button here so try to keep a track of changes you make to your system.
Let’s go further with tweaking the Ubuntu 17.10 system. You can install new icons and themes. But to change the themes and icons, you need to use GNOME Tweaks tool.
As some readers suggested, it is installed by default now. But if you cannoy find it, you can install it via the Software Center or you can use the command below to install it:
sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool
7. Prolong your battery and prevent overheating
One of the best ways to prevent overheating in Linux laptops is to use TLP. Just install TLP and forget it. It works wonder in controlling CPU temperature and thus prolonging your laptops’ battery life in long run.
You can install it using the command below in a terminal:
sudo apt install tlp tlp-rdw
Once installed, run the command below to start it:
sudo tlp start
No need for any configuration changes (you can do that if you know what you are doing). It will be automatically started with each boot and tweak your system’s power consumption.
8. Save your eyes with Nightlight
Another one of favorite things. Keeping your eyes safe at night from the computer screen is very important. Reducing blue light helps to reduce eye strain.
GNOME provides a built-in Night Light option and you can activate it in the System Settings.
Just go to System Settings-> Devices-> Displays and turn on the Night Light option.
9. Moving back to Xorg from Wayland (if needed)
I have separately discussed moving back to Xorg from Wayland in Ubuntu 17.10. As Ubuntu 17.10 moves away from the legacy Xorg display server, not all desktop applications are compatible with the new Wayland display server.
I faced issues with screen recording tool and apps that depend on geolocation such as RedShift. And for this reason, I switched to Xorg from Wayland. It won’t change anything from the end user’s point of view, so you can be sure that switching to Xorg won’t harm your system.
To switch to Xorg from Wayland, log out of your system, at the login screen, click the gear icon and select Ubuntu on Xorg option:
You can switch to Wayland in the same way,
10. Explore GNOME Extensions
GNOME Shell is incredibly customisable thanks to a native extension framework.
Just like web browser add-ons, GNOME Extensions allow you to quickly add new features and extra functionality to your desktop, without the need to install extra apps or mess around with configuration tools.
GNOME Extensions are very easy to install; all you need is a browser, the appropriate Firefox (or Chrome) extension, and the system helper (all of which you’ll be prompted to install when you visit the GNOME Extensions website).
When you’re set up you can load the GNOME Extensions website in your browser and install extensions.
Here you’ll find a bunch of free extensions available, ranging from useful utilities like Caffeine, which stops the lock screen from kicking in when you leave your desktop idle, to major workflow revamps like Dash to Panel, which changes the look and feel of your desktop entirely.
Some of our favourites include:
- Caffeine – stop the lock-screen from kicking in
- Arc Menu – A traditional desktop app menu
- Dash to Panel – Creates a single-panel desktop
- Frippery Move Clock – Move the clock/message tray
- Bing Wallpaper Changer – Changes your wallpaper every day
- Weather – Quickly view the weather forecast for any location
- User themes – Install custom Shell themes
11. Install Third-party Codecs & Extras
I always forget to install media codecs after a fresh install. I go to play music or video in Ubuntu and get an error that reads: “Legal issues mean Ubuntu can’t being able to play MP3, MP4 and other media files ‘out of the box”
But there’s a simple fix.
See, Ubuntu can play most audio and video files – you just have to tell it to do so.
The easiest way to do this is to check (tick) the ‘Enable Restricted Formats‘ box during installation. This will install all the required multimedia codecs automatically alongside the rest of OS itself.
I agree that it’s easy to overlook that option.
So, to install restricted media codecs needed to play certain media formats (and avoid frustration when trying to play a movie in Totem or sort through your music catalog in Rhythmbox) just grab the ‘Ubuntu Restricted Extras’ package from Ubuntu Software.
This package will pull in and install everything you need to play popular music and video formats on your desktop.
12. Install a Better GTK Theme
Ubuntu looks decent enough, but there’s no denying that it look a heck of a lot better if it wanted to! The distro has been rocking the same desktop theme (and icon set) since around 2010 — and boy does it show!
If you’d rather stare at something that looks a little more modern or happen to want something a bit different from everyone else, you can: there are hundreds of GTK themes available for Ubuntu (and other Linux distros, too).
Some of the best GTK themes include Arc and Numix, both of which you can install from Ubuntu Software.
If you install a GTK theme from Ubuntu Software you will need to use the Tweaks tool we mentioned in step #5 to apply it to your system.
13. Install Graphics Drivers
You’re running a modern Linux desktop so, to make sure you get the best performance, you should enable proprietary drivers.
This step is important if you plan to play the latest Linux games, need the best speeds from an obscure Wi-Fi card, or use certain advanced processor features.
To see if proprietary drivers are available for your hardware go to the Additional Drivers tab in the Software & Updates app and follow the on-screen instructions.
What do you do after installing Ubuntu?
That was my suggestions for getting started with Ubuntu. Now it’s your turn. What steps do you recommend as things to do after installing Ubuntu 17.10? The comment section is all yours.