Re: 30 Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (all-in-one video)

Average Linux User has created a Youtube video on 30 This to do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. It is a well-prepared, high-quality, informative video. I recommend watching it. There are a couple of nitpicks though, and in this post I go into detail about them. See the Discussion below.

First, here is the Youtube video,

30 This to do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, by Average Linux User (ALU)


We comment on the 30 things to do after installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

  1. The Canonical Partners repository is indeed not really used anymore. Correctly, it has just the Adobe Flash plugin, the Google Cloud SDK and IBM Java 8.0.
    The Adobe Flash plugin, as provided there, can be used in Mozilla Firefox and Chromium. Chrome keeps (and updates) its own copy of the Adobe Flash plugin. I suggest to install Chrome if you require to visit a website that requires the Flash plugin. It is not worth in terms of security to use a browser that has always-on the feature to run Adobe Flash. Adobe is stopping the support of the Flash plugin by the end of 2020.
    The Google Cloud SDK has not been updated since 2018. It is probably better to retrieve it from the source than use the packaged version.
    IBM Java 8.0 is being updated, though you must have very specific needs to use it.
    Therefore, enable the Canonical Partner repository only if you really need any of the above. Traditionally, software like Skype used to be provided in this repository, but not anymore. Those are now provided from the Snap Store.
  2. The Linux kernel contains all the necessary device drivers. Contrary to Windows where you install drivers for most hardware, in Ubuntu you are shown here to install only closed-source/proprietary drivers that cannot be included in the Linux kernel. In practice, you will see here the NVidia graphics driver (AMD and Intel produce a free/open-source driver, hence it is included already in the Linux kernel).
  3. I do not recommend installing the Synaptic Package Manager (caveat: some things cannot be done in 18.04’s Ubuntu Software). According to the source code, it is not developed anymore. The chances in making a mistake, if you are a new user, are too damn high. The common mistake is to remove a package that somehow pulls a lot of other packages and makes your Ubuntu unable to start again. And when you want to install a package, how do you decide which package name is the most appropriate?
  4. Regarding the additional restricted video codecs, it is better not to install them. But have them installed on demand, when you really have such a video to play. The Video player in Ubuntu (totem) has been adapted so that when you try to play a video with an unknown codec, it will look for, and request to install the restricted codecs package. Same with DVD player support.
    The package flashplugin-install is not the package that comes from the Canonical Partner repository. The package from the Canonical Partner repository is called adobe-flashplugin (last update 11 March 2020), and this package has both the NPAPI and PPAPI versions of the plugin. The flashplugin-install just grubs the NPAPI version of the plugin from the Canonical Partner repository and installs it specifically for Firefox. More on sorting out the Flash Plugin mess in Ubuntu. As above, if you really need Flash, I suggest to put up with having Chrome installed on your Ubuntu, and use it for those websites that happen to require Flash.
  5. The CPU microcode installer package should have been installed and updated automatically. If it is not installed automatically, then it is a bug. Both the Intel and AMD packages should have been installed automatically, and the Ubuntu should auto-detect the CPU. See /etc/kernel/preinst.d/ and verify that the appropriate script for your CPU is correctly selected. If you install Ubuntu in a virtual machine, then the microcode package is not needed, and is not installed.
  6. The click-to-minimize tip for the icons on the dock is handy. The default is to show the list of open windows of that program, therefore, if you have more than one browser open and click on the browser icon on the dock, it shows thumbnails of those windows. So, if you enable click-to-minimize, and want to switch between the open windows of an application, you need to right-click on the icon, then go to the menu item All windows.
  7. In general, a low value for swappiness is specifically useful to servers, such as database servers. On a desktop system the applications do not tend to get swapped out if you have lots of memory anyway. It would be good to check this one in practice.
    I did not know feature, instead of gksudo gedit /etc/passwd (is there gksudo anymore?), you can do instead gedit admin:///etc/passwd (you are asked for the password, note that there are three /).
  8. You can check whether the WriteCache is enabled on a disk by running sudo hdparm -i /dev/sda. I think the default is enabled. The Disks utility has the option grayed out to indicated that it is not handling it. If unsure, check with hdparm for the value of WriteCache before making a change in Disks.
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  16. You can now install deb packages with sudo apt install ./mypackage.deb. That is, apt can now install directly deb packages and sort out at the same time any dependency. You need to put the slashdot ./ though.
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  19. The package libreoffice-style-sifr cannot be installed in the Ubuntu Software (née GNOME Software). In the original Ubuntu Software (by Canonical), there was a link there in the search results if you were actually searching for non-GUI packages. In that respect, it is handy to have the Synaptic Package Manager as the only GUI package manager available. In Ubuntu 20.04 LTS there will likely be the Snap Store (based on GNOME Software but forked) and I wonder whether such a feature will get reintroduced.
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  24. The universe repository of bleachbit for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has BleachBit 2.0. The current version (4/2020) is BleachBit 3.2.
  25. When you visit apt://vlc in the browser, it installs the package from the repositories. Same as sudo apt install vlc or install from a GUI package manager. The VLC package from the universe repository is updated often, and it is good to use. The alternative would be to install the snap package of VLC. However, there is not version difference, therefore, it is fine to use the deb package of VLC. You would probably prefer the snap package if you also wanted to easily test the development package of VLC 4.0.
  26. Apart from Chrome, there is also Chromium, the free/open-source distribution. Chrome is based on Chromium but has more media codecs, Flash Player, PDF viewer and other nice things. Chromium can be installed either with apt://chromium-browser or sudo apt install chromium or from the Ubuntu Software package manager.
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  28. Skype is now available only as a snap package. It is slow to start for the first time due to how snap packages are implemented. This issue is being addressed. Microsoft is developing Skype as a snap package themselves.
  29. Same with Spotify, it is developed directly by Spotify as a snap package.
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Thanks for creating this video for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. It is immensely useful to both new and experienced users. I am looking forward to seeing the new video for Ubuntu 20.04. I think that Ubuntu Software (which is very closely related to GNOME Software but with snap packages) is to be replaced with the Snap Store (also based on GNOME Software + snap packages, but with some more changes). Currently, the beta version of Ubuntu 20.04 has both of them installed.

There is work to increase the performance of GNOME Shell. In the Ubuntu 20.04 iteration, the focus is on performance on high-end systems. For Ubuntu 20.10, the focus is not low-end systems. While testing the development version of Ubuntu 20.04, it feels more responsive/snappy. However, it is important to view benchmarks in order to make the case.

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