Guide to Setting Up the Perfect Karmic Desktop

Mostly for my own benefit I'm going to describe the process I go through to setup my desktop on a new install of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala). The benefit for myself is that if anything goes horribly wrong, a reinstall becomes incredibly easy as everything I've done is written down in one place.

1. Switch to Fastest Mirror

Go to System > Administration > Software Sources select Download from: Other and Select Best Server.

2. Graphics Card Driver

My current GPU (GeForce G102M) isn't very well supported by the open source driver (800x600 resolution on my 1366x768 screen is unacceptable) so grab the latest driver.

3. Remove Unused Programs

-Bluetooth - I don't have a device that uses it (or a computer that supports it).
-Empathy - Trying to integrate facebook chat with empathy hasn't worked for me, I don't use any of the video chat features and I don't like how the groups can't be reordered so I'll stick with Pidgin.
-Evolution - I worship at the altar of the all powerful Google.
-F-Spot - My photo editing is done through the much more capable (yet under appreciated) application fotoxx, check it out.
-Games (Solitaire, Blackjack, Five or More, Four in a Row, Iagno, Klotski, Mahjongg, Nibbles, Robots, Same GNOME, Sudoku, Tali, Tetravex) - I am so glad Canonical has decided to trim this list for Lucid.
-GIMP - While I think the application is a great alternative to Photoshop I don't do any graphic design work and have never really used it.
-onBoard - I unfortunately don't have a tablet.
-Orca - I am fortunately not visually impaired.
-PalmOS Devices - I don't have one.
-Rhythmbox - I prefer gMusicBrowser.
-Totem - I'm a VLC man.
-Transmission - I prefer Deluge.

4. Install Missing Programs

-BackInTime - Back ups have saved my ass so many times, I highly suggested you regularly back up to external media (I use an external harddrive) as well as use Ubuntu One or another online syncing service to back up things that change daily like a current project that you are working on.
-Cheese - Might as well have an app that uses the webcam in my laptop.
-Chromium - Fast, sandboxed and minimalist browser with extensions like: AdThwart, ChromeMUSE, fsdaily redirect, FlashBlock Google Mail Checker, Surf The Channel - Remove Ads, Xmarks.
-CompizSettingsManager - Ubuntu comes default with Compiz but without a decent settings manager.
-Conky - Systems monitor on your desktop, check out my current one: Day of Conky that goes great with the Day of Ubuntu transitioning wallpaper.
-DayPlanner - Handy little app to remember my schedule.
-DVDplayBack - Install libdvdread4 and run "sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/"
-Flash - The lastest version of 64 bit flash for Linux.

-Fotoxx - download here.
-Gnome Do - Handy app launcher.
-GnuCash - Finance Manager.
-gstreamer plugins - common codecs to play all your media.
-NTP - keeps clock up to date.
-PidginFacebookChat - It's in the standard repositories but here is the latest version.
-pptp - To connect to UBC's VPN.
-Preload - an adaptive readahead daemon (it looks at which apps you use most often and loads them into memory before you need them so that they start faster).
-Tilda - Drop down terminal, incredibly useful if you constantly switch between GUI and CLI like I do.
-UbuntuTweak - Handy to change some settings as well as install the repositories and latest versions of certain applications.
-vim - Much more fun than nano.

5. Apply Fixes

-Notification - All notifications should be in the top right corner.
-Panel Shadow - Transparent panels drop unsightly shadows.

6. Change Some Settings

-Basics - Compiz effects, default programs, keyboard shortcuts, language support (English, French and German), main menu layout, mouse speed, power settings.
-Bash - history searching, aliases and functions.
-Font - Hinting and sub-pixel smoothing.
-Panels - I like having just one panel at the top of my screen and one main menu.
-Startup Apps - Disable the GNOME Login Sound, Indicator Applet and add delays to most everything else to make login in faster (that link also has some other speed hacks, some safer than others).


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