When installing Ubuntu, really any version, you need to have some things in mind. Security, power management, preferred applications, intended use, and appearance. These things make your experience good or bad. Knowing how to install what you need for work could make or break your future use of Ubuntu. So, why not accomplish all your needs in a general way? We will make sure you understand these fundamentals that will make you a Linux user, not just an Ubuntu user. As you can apply much of this to other distributions as well. Now let’s cut that claw to the quick and get into that meat.
Working with any operating system requires security. Do not drink the Kool-Aid that Linux is un-hackable or perfectly secure. It is however, immensely more secure out of the box than Windows or Mac even. Why? Because Windows is by far the largest desktop market share. They have a huge target on them. Also, because they are preferred by companies and governments. Thus, a target for hackers, after all they are the ones with the money.
I know what you’re thinking,” How is Linux more secure than Mac?” This is because we the people can look at the source code. Seeing if there is a quick reverse, she’ll set to give control to let us say the many alphabet agencies. We don’t have to trust Linus Torvalds. We can look at his work and the entire kernel base. On Ubuntu, we, here at Linuxman, would recommend UFW. There are two other blogs about both beginner and advanced use that can be found here and here, respectively.
2. Power Management
For most newbies to Linux, they may have heard that it can be hard on laptop battery charge times. This is actually true. If not managed properly your battery will not last but perhaps half the time. This is because Linux actually was not originally designed for laptops. It was for a drop in replacement of minix an open sourced school version of Unix. Though the goal was to bring this mainframe to your home on a x86-32 bit system. Lets just say, don’t mess with a man on a mission. This made history in 1991. Now, many years later, laptops are widely used and awesome. This author uses a Galago Pro by System76(Not a sponsor, but it would be cool). Even built for running Linux, this laptop needs to run software that will make sure my systems are not running hard at all times.
Stuff like your CPU/GPU can kill your battery in just hours. Stuff like backlights for screens and keys can also eat that battery. So you can use a number of programs. For my setup, this is powerprofilesctl. Which is a terminal level system control program that is friendly for scripting since, Sway is my preferred window manager. Though you can use other programs that are arguably more user-friendly complete with GUI. Take slimbookbattery for instance. It does the exact same thing as powerprofilesctl yet with the intuitive nature of a GUI.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:slimbook/slimbook sudo apt update sudo apt upgrade sudo apt install slimbookbattery
Now you can run these commands, and you should see an indicator on your top right. Explore it, it’s great!
3. Preferred Applications
When working with Ubuntu, you may wish to have applications that you are familiar with. Firefox is a part of many peoples’ workflow. The way that Ubuntu will try to provide Firefox is as a Snap. Currently, the Snap is not launching as fast as the provided tarball itself. All you need to do is go to Mozilla and download the tarball here. Now, all you need to so is run a few commands and we are there.
mkdir .mozilla && cd .mozilla && mv ~/Downloads/firefox-111.0.tar.bz2 ~/.mozilla && tar jxvf firefox-111.0.tar.bz2
Make sure that you take Firefox’s version number into account. Now that we have the directories in place and the application unloaded, we need to add Firefox to our path or we will have issues executing it. This way we don’t need to address the directory every time in the command line. We can do this by exporting the path like this.
This should give you a fully functioning version of the application. File location and Firefox versions will change over time, so keep that in mind if you run into trouble.
4. Intended Use
Not everyone knows what they want their Ubuntu setup to be when they first start. Some like the easiest way to install it and just use it, all the way to custom window managers. Are you a programmer or are you a newbie? That is for you to decide, but you need to keep in mind all the things you may want to use. If you develop an application, there may be a need for a tool or library. Make sure the variation of Ubuntu has that preinstalled if you can. Ubuntu comes in so many flavors, it is wise to read up on what the flavor does before you decide to distribution-hop to it.
For instance, if you love to play with audio, you may want to try out Ubuntu Studio. The programs may not replace every Mac audio studio software out there, but you will have a fair start. This is just one flavor. Perhaps you would just like an alternative to Gnome desktop, you can just use the Budgie version. Still use familiar application, but not be in the same styling box. To get an idea of how you can work with Budgie, check out a blog by my fellow author Christian called “Using Budgie to give Arch a Windows 11 styled facelift” which can be found here.
We mentioned different Ubuntu flavors in the last section. This is the primary way you can get a sure desktop environment change. You can actually add any desktop you like. And with a nice session manager like GDM or SDDM, then you should be able to log into any of them when ever you wish. One important thing to consider is workflow and how you want that to look. Not just how will my desktop wallpaper look. However, when using Gnome, you have a particularly easy time with both of these things. You can install Sway or whatever other WM/DE you wish.
sudo apt install gnome