Monday, April 13, 2009

Ubuntu 8.10 Standard Setup Guide

As some may know, Ubuntu released a new version of their Linux operating system in Oct of 2008. I've decided to write up a thread detailing some setup steps which might differ from my Ubuntu 8.04 standard setup guide. Please be sure to go over this previous blog post as it explains many of the basics and concepts which are the same in the newest version of Ubuntu.

The system that I use for testing is a self built, AMD Athlon64 X2 4600+, with 4GB of RAM, an Asus M2NPV-VM mobo with onboard sound and network, an Nvidia 7600GT video card with 256MB of RAM which was built in April of 2007.

This guide is specifically written for Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) using the 32 bit version of the desktop cd which you can download from

Initial Setup Notes
As expected, install was a breeze, took about 10-15 minutes to complete. Sound, network and video working at 1280x1024 to my 18" flat panel monitor

Updating to latest and greatest after install
sudo apt-get upgrade
Note: Be sure to reboot if instructed, as you may have a new kernel installed

Installing the proprietary Nvidia display driver
System, Administration, Hardware Drivers

My system found the Nvidia card and gave me the choice of 3 drivers, I choose version 177 which was recommended. Highlight the driver, click on Activate, the system will download and install the driver for you. Once completed, you will need to reboot to activate the driver.

Note: There appear to be some problems with Window title bars getting distorted, disappearing and such with Compiz and the latest versions of the Nvidia driver (173 or 177). I was able to work around by changing the theme to clearlooks for the time being until a new Nvidia driver is available. System, Preferences, Appearances, changed theme to Clearlooks

Adding Multimedia Repository support into Ubuntu
First, Ubuntu does not come with the ability to playback encrypted DVD's, MP3 files or other Windows codec stuff. The reason, is because these are not-open source, royalty free or have other license restrictions. The good news is that you can easily add this support on your own using the medibuntu repository (multimedia, entertainment, distractions in Ubuntu).

sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

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

Installing the Multimedia components in 1 step
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Playing back Commercial DVD's using VLC
I've chosen VLC because it's popular and it works well.

sudo aptitude install libdvdcss2 vlc
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/./
restart the system at this least I had to

Applications, Sound and Video, VLC media player.

Installing Opera Web Browser (optional...some people like it...I prefer Firefox)
First, enable the repositories; System -> Administration -> Software Sources -> Third-Party Software" and enable the line that says " intrepid partner

sudo apt-get install opera

MP3 Playback
Amarok is the player that i like the best, so that's the one I show here. There are many others which could be used.
sudo apt-get install amarok
Applications, Sound and Video, Amarok

FireFox and other websites look strange, like fonts are wrong!
First, make sure that you install the Microsoft Core True Type fonts package
sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

Then, go into Firefox, Edit Preferences and change the default font to Times New Roman

And finally, if you are on an LCD monitor or laptop, you may have a font smoothing issue causing problems. Go into System, Preferences, Appearance, Fonts and check the option for subpixel smoothing (LCD's)