Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Desktop HOWTO

This tutorial describes how to configure a Ubuntu/Kubuntu Desktop for daily use.

Ubuntu Tweak
Ubuntu Tweak is a GUI tool that allows you to add software sources and applications very easily.
# add key
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com FE85409EEAB40ECCB65740816AF0E1940624A220
# add this software source
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu karmic main
# install
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

You can use Ubuntu Tweak to install the following software sources, on the "Third Party Sources":
  • Medibuntu
  • Opera
  • Google
Don't install other "Third Party sources" from the ubuntu tweak list, since all of them are already included in medibuntu or ubuntu karmic sofware sources, press refresh button to reload the indexes you just added.
You can now move to the "Add/Remove" section and select:
  • Audacity
  • Avant Window Navigator
  • Avidemux
  • Cairo-Dock
  • Googleearth
  • Gnome Partition Editor
  • gtk-recordMyDesktop
  • Inkscape
  • Kino
  • Lastfm
  • Miro Internet TV
  • Opera
  • Skype
  • Ubuntu restricted extras - multimedia codecs, java, flash
  • VLC media player
  • Wine

Pick any other application that you find interesting, and select apply.

Applications Dock

  • Enable "Visual Effects" in Appearance Preferences
  • Use Ubuntu Tweak "Desktop->Compiz Fusion" to enabled action corners and wobbly windows.
  • Use "GNOME Do" with Docky theme to enable a application dock bar, you can also use "Avant Window Navigator" as another application dock bar.

VirtualBox - running windows and other linux inside ubuntu

# Fast Virtual Machine (faster than VMWare) with a simple interface
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.1

With VirtualBox you can connect USB devices directly to your VM, and you can browse your host file system inside your VM.

Your user should belong to the group "usbusers"and "vboxusers". You can use the tool available on System->Administration->Users And Groups. You might need to log-out and log-in to make this settings active for the VM.

Configure repositories for extra Applications

If you prefer to add the repositories manually without using Ubuntu tweak goto to System->Administration->Software Sources->Third Party Software and select "Add".
# Canonical repository (Acrobat, Flash, VMWare and DB2 Express)
# enable this on the Software Sources Management tool (tab thir-party) from ubuntu/kubuntu menu

# Google Linux repository, add both to get picasa
deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable non-free
deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ testing non-free

# Virtual Box
deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian karmic non-free

# medibuntu repositories
# run this command to add this repository
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/karmic.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

To get the GPG key for Picasa and Virtual Box
# Google Key
wget -q -O - http://dl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub | sudo apt-key add -

# Virtual Box Key
wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -

# medibuntu Key
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update

Java, Skype, Acrobat, GoogleEarth, Proprietary and Others

If you prefer to install apps on the command line, execute the following commands:

# Update the index of your repositories
sudo apt-get update

# google earth, libdvdcss2, codecs, skype, ffmpeg, amarok, lastfm, picasa, wine acrobatreader gizmo5virtualbox pidgin
sudo apt-get install googleearth libdvdcss2 ffmpeg non-free-codecs ubuntu-restricted-extras skype miro amarok libtunepimp5-mp3 lastfm picasa wine gizmo5 virtualbox-3.0 pidgin

For other very usefull apps:

# Some cool games
sudo apt-get install frozen-bubble warzone2100 chromium nexuiz
# Amarok media player, Lastfm music client
sudo apt-get install amarok libtunepimp5-mp3 lastfm

# The ubuntu-restricted-extras (installs flash, java, multimedia codecs)
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

# The kubuntu-restricted-extras (install this one if you use kubuntu)
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-restricted-extras

# Mediatomb UPnP MediaServer with a nice web user interface. Share your media with PS3 and XBOX devices.
# cat /var/log/mediatomb.log to see what url is the server running point you browser to that url to configure
sudo apt-get install mediatomb

# Acrobat Reader
sudo apt-get install acroread

# Google Earth, Picasa
sudo apt-get install googleearth picasa

# Skype
sudo apt-get install skype

# Miro - The free open-source video platform.
sudo apt-get install miro

# KDE download manager
sudo apt-get install kget

# OSS voip, softphone, video conference tools
sudo apt-get install ekiga twinkle gizmo5

# image and publishing tools
sudo apt-get install krita scribus inkscape karbon

# Kexi is considered as a long awaited Open Source competitor for Microsoft Access, Filemaker and Oracle Forms.
# Kivio is an easy to use diagramming and flowcharting application
# KPlato is a project management application.
sudo apt-get install kplato kivio kexi

### Advanced usage

# visual partition editor
sudo apt-get install gparted

# To change the default JVM run the command below and select the relevant version.
# If you only have one JVM this step should not be required.
sudo update-alternatives --config java

# remote login using ssh
sudo apt-get install sshfs openssh-server

Restart, enjoy


  1. You are doing stellar job showing the benefits of Linux.
    Thank you for the hard work and keep at it, your effort is appreciated.

  2. thanks for this great post! i have one question... following you config above... when running the following command -- deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/tualatrix/ubuntu karmic main -- to load ubuntu tweak i get the foollowing error..

    No command 'deb' found, did you mean:
    Command 'debc' from package 'devscripts' (main)
    Command 'derb' from package 'libicu-dev' (main)
    Command 'dab' from package 'bsdgames' (universe)
    Command 'debi' from package 'devscripts' (main)
    deb: command not found

    I am a linux noob, but it appears that i need to (install that command??) any help is appreciated!

  3. this is not a command you need to add this to System->Administration->SoftwareSources -> Other software

  4. Hey, nice compilation.
    I'm in the UAE and 'our' proxy blocks a whole lot of things - Skype, Flikr, VPN providers, Torrent search sites ...

    Anyway, I finally managed to get Skype up & running by mangling the repository address in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/skype.list
    - deb http://download.skype.com.nyud.net/linux/repos/debian/ stable non-free
    - #Skype

    the 'fudge' is the Coral Content Distribution Network [http://www.coralcdn.org/] addendum to the path ".nyud.net"
    You can also use the "System>Administration>Software Sources" to add this under set this on the "Other Software" tab.

    Separately - Any pointers on VPN services looks like UltraVPN has gone payway :-( and HSS is proving difficult as it seems the iPhone account fudge is no longer working

    Lastly, Nice clear instructions are great as is the combo of GUI & cmd samples. I'm now subscribed to your feed :-)


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