5 Steps To A New Ubuntu Installation

By | 2007/02/07

This post is a response to a few previous posts and comments and based on some other questions that I’ve been asked recently. I wanted to outline the few steps I use on a new installation. Your usage might vary a bit, but I realize this is something that new users might be interested in.


After I install a new Ubuntu machine the first thing I do is make sure that I have all of the appropriate repositories enabled to give me the software I need. The simplest way to do this is using a GUI method to update your “Software Sources”.

System > Administration > Software Sources

ubuntu software sources update

When you’ve got this open you’ll want to make sure you’ve got each box checked as seen in the picture. I always un-check the source code option as I rarely do any compiling. You might notice that removing the source code inclusion speeds up your update time as it no longer has to ping generally unneeded repositories.

You can also select the Download From option to select your local mirror.

Security Updates

I then hit the next tab labeled Internet Updates. This allows you to set the options concerning your regular security updates. I always want my machine as up to date as it can be. That probably explains why I normally have at least one machine in perpetual alpha / beta. In any event, this will allow you to make sure your machine is up to date on the latest stable packages.updates menu for software sources

I generally make sure to include the important security updates (of course!) and usually include the recommended updates. Proposed and backported I haven’t been using, mainly because I’m not 100% on what they are for.

The major things that I update here are the automatic updates section. I update my machines daily, download automatically, and install security updates without confirmation. Again, I like to keep my machines up to date on security and the latest versions of my commonly used packages. Your usage here might vary, but this is what I have set.

Seveas Repository

After I have taken care of the above I add one third party repository. I generally don’t suggest using any third party repositories but this one has been very well supported and I trust Seveas. He works very closely with the main community and maintains, from what I can tell, a few of the official packages. He also maintains a few packages in his repository that I always end up installing. You can install his repository using the following:

You can add the following line within the Third Party tab (as seen in the screen shots) or use the second command to manually add it directly to your sources.list file.

deb http://mirror.ubuntulinux.nl edgy-seveas all (replace edgy with your version as needed)

echo "deb http://mirror.ubuntulinux.nl edgy-seveas all" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

You’ll also want to import his public key for authentication using the command below:

wget http://mirror.ubuntulinux.nl/1135D466.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Another option is to download the key directly and import it using the Authentication tab as seen in the screen shots.

Get up to date

After all of that fun stuff is out of the way I then make sure my new installation is updated. Whether you’re installing Dapper, Edgy or even Feisty your machine will have security and suggested updates available. Make sure that you’re using the latest versions and the latest security. You can do this in two ways.

The first is to use the command line, which is done using the command below. It can be cut and pasted into a terminal as needed. It will check against the above changed repositories for updates, upgrade to those packages and clean up unneeded packages afterwards.

sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude upgrade && sudo aptitude dist-upgrade && sudo aptitude autoclean

update manager GUI interfaceThis can also be done using a GUI method by using the graphical Update Manager. You can find that in the same menu area as the software sources (System > Administration > Software Updates) or launch it using ALT-F2 and typing the following in the resulting window:

gksudo "update-manager"

You’ll want to make sure and select the Check option to scan for updates. You’ll then be prompted to update your system based on what the update manager finds.

Any new system should have quite a few updates available. The time it takes to update your system at this point will depend on your internet connection.

Install The Goodies

Now that your system is up to date you’ll want to install the goodies. Your usage really might vary here but this is a list of packages that I always install on a new machine. Mainly codecs, media players and a few of my favorite apps.

sudo aptitude install gstreamer0.10-pitfdll gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-gl gstreamer0.10-plugins-base gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse libxine-extracodecs w32codecs
vlc beep-media-player flashplugin-nonfree sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin libdvdcss2 rar unrar mpg321 vorbis-tools liferea tilda glipper

Your packages might vary here as mentioned above but this list in combination with the instructions above will install all your needed media codecs, the VLC player, java, flash, DVD playback, windows codecs and my favorite media player, beep (as mentioned before in the gnome media players post.)

Have I missed any packages here? What else might be on your new machine setup list?

13 thoughts on “5 Steps To A New Ubuntu Installation

  1. Seveas

    No, I don’t maintain any official packages. I did patch/merge/create a few which were uploaded by others though 🙂

  2. Jonas Jørgensen

    I also install the non-free unrar and microsoft core fonts.

    I use this command to install it all in one go without needing any 3rdparty repos:

    sudo apt-get install -y gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-pitfdll gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse mplayer vlc flashplugin-nonfree msttcorefonts sun-java5-plugin unrar && wget -c http://www.debian-multimedia.org/pool/main/w/w32codecs/w32codecs_20060611-0.0_i386.deb && sudo dpkg -i w32codecs_20060611-0.0_i386.deb && rm w32codecs_20060611-0.0_i386.deb && sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/install-css.sh && sudo ln -s /usr/bin/unrar /usr/bin/rar

    Apart from that, I change nautilus to work in spatial mode.

  3. Alexander Kirillov

    You forgot to mention Acrobat Reader. Another thing that I always install is Widnows fonts (I use a CD with a large set of Windows fonts, copied from Windows XP, rather than use mscorefonts package).

  4. GermanyZulu

    Some of the might be in main by now, I’m not sure but on edgy (Gnome) I do:

    sudo apt-get install mpg123 beagle gkrellm lifearea tilda gnomebaker soundconverter htop glipper

    mpg123 – Sound Previews In Nautilus
    beagle – Desktop Search
    gkrellm – Spiffy System Monitor
    lifearea – Feed Reader
    tilda – Drop Down Terminal
    gnomebaker – Cd Burning
    soundconverter – Convert Music to OGG/MP3
    htop – A Text Based Process Manager, much better than plain top
    glipper – Clipboard Manager

  5. Andrew Ash

    “Proposed and backported I haven’t been using, mainly because I’m not 100% on what they are for.”

    Proposed is for updates to packages in the repositories that need QA testing. If you’d like to help test new revisions before they’re officially released to the updates repo, use the proposed repository.

    Backported is for new releases of programs from the latest version of (Ku|Xu|U)buntu that aren’t otherwise in the repositories. I’d personally recommend them, but it’s up to you.

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  7. Pete

    As a novice I appreciate your willingness to build these tutorials for the rest of us.

    However, do you have any advice on the following error:
    Kernel Panic – Not syncing – io-apic + timer doesn’t work!

    This is a newly constructed AMD x2 Windsor that currently has Vista installed.

    Any advice you could offer would be appreciated. Thanks.

  8. Xubu-Anon

    Wow…some guy asking for Win Vista advice in a Xubuntu forum. Must be desparate…LOL!

    “Yes, sir. The advice would be…download & burn the Xubuntu LiveCD, run it, choose to install it, and when the partition editor comes up, have it overwrite the partition you have Windows installed on. That will take care of ALL of your Vista problems…”

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