First Steps in Ubuntu 12.04

I just installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my main laptop.  Clicking the buttons to walk through the Ubuntu install wizard is only the tip of the iceberg.  Now comes the job of installing all of the programs and tools to make it what you want.

Read on to see what I did first with my new installation…


I was amazed that I was able to get wireless working even before I installed Ubuntu.  I have a Broadcom wireless card, and that used to involve installing proprietary drivers and rebooting.

This time, I was able to use the dialog to enable the driver and use it right away.  The dialog said I needed to reboot, but my wireless network showed up in the list without rebooting!

Here’s where I installed the driver:

Next, I simply enabled the driver in this dialog.

By activating wireless in the Live CD, I was able to tell it to download updates as it installed.  The cool part was that it remembered my wireless network after the install and I didn’t have to re-enter my wireless password on my new installation.  It just automatically connected!

Installing Shutter

If you are going to document your install, you need a good screenshot tool.  Ubuntu comes with a Screenshot program that works, but I like Shutter better.  You can easily install it from the Software Center:

Before running shutter, you need to run this command in the terminal.  This will allow the icon to show up by the clock. (from Ask Ubuntu: Application Indicator for Shutter)

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "$(gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist | sed -e "s/]$/, 'shutter']/")"

Then, I like to create a separate folder for screenshots.  By default, Shutter uses the Pictures folder, but I want to keep photos there.  So, I just add a screenshots folder in my home directory.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences.  You can select the screenshots folder there.

Next, I wanted it to start on bootup.  So, I set that on the Behavior tab.


Ubuntu comes with Firefox pre-installed.  It works great, but I have become a Chrome fan and see no need to switch at the moment.

If you want to install from the Software Center, youi’ll have to use Chromium.  There are some privacy issues that you avoid by using it, but you also sacrifice a few Google-added convenience features.   The big one for me is the built-in PDF viewer plugin.

To install Chrome, you’ll need to go to:  Then, click on the Download link:

The download should be Deb file.  It should open with the software center:

Finally, after installing, I restored my settings from my backup.  That way I would have my bookmarks, etc.  For the password, I had restore to my gnome keyring from my backup.  These are the two directories:

  • ~/.config/google-chrome
  • ~/.gnome2/keyrings

When I started up, it seemed to work great.  It even kept open the tabs that were open before.  Most of them crashed, but I just reopened a new tab and copied the URL to the new tab:


You can make a number of Settings changes with the “System Settings” application.  These are the one that I made.

My touchpad has a horizontal scroll area, so I wanted to enabled it.  You can do so with System Settings > Mouse and Touchpad > Touchpad tab.

The other setting is a power setting.  I like to move my laptop around, and I close the lid as I carry it.  I don’t like it hibernating if I am just walking from one room to another.  So, I disable that option.  I can still explicitly tell it to hibernate if I want it to.  You can change it on System Settings > Power.

I also changed the background to the Live Wallpaper.  I like it changing periodically because I can’t make up my mind on a single Wall Paper.  System Settings > Appearance.

Ubuntu Tweak

I remember hearing about Ubuntu Tweak in the past, but this is my first use.  I am downloading it from their website:

Again, the download is a Deb file.  When you open it, it opens in the Software Center, and you can easily install it from there.

For now, the only tweak that I used was the Workspaces mouse corner.  I went to Tweaks > Workspace.  I like to see all of the windows by moving the mouse to the lower right-hand corner.  You can easily configure that here:

Adjusting the Launchers on the Left

In my mind, the launchers that stay on the left are for applications that you use regularly.  So, I need to remove a number of the ones that go there by default.  You can right click on items you don’t want and choose “Unlock from Launcher”.

Shutter has a number of shortcuts from the launcher, but you can decide for yourself.  I use the notification icon near the clock instead.

Since I use Chrome, I wanted to pin Chrome to the launcher:

Then, I removed Firefox:



Stay tuned for more later…

5 thoughts on “First Steps in Ubuntu 12.04

  1. Let me thank you first for your interesting post.
    I have a question for you 🙂

    If I understood you are installing 12.04 on a Dell Inspiron 1721, right?

    I also own the same laptop and I’d like to update to 12.04.
    I am currently using Ubuntu 11.04 and it is working just fine.
    Starting from the version 11.10 (and all the 12.04 Betas) I noticed bad graphical performances.
    In 11.04 I can use Unity 3D with no problem and the system is very responsive. In 11.10 (and all the 12.04 Betas) the system is not as fast as before and if I use Unity 3D I cannot even watch a video smoothly with Totem (not even on You Tube). Switching to Unity 2D brings an improvement but still I’d like to use Unity 3D with 12.04.

    All this boring description just to ask your experience with 12.04. Is the system responsive and can you use Unity 3D?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Igor,

      Thanks for commenting. I am using an Inspiron 1721. I haven’t noticed poor video performance, but I haven’t used Unity 3D. I haven’t even used Totem that much. Now, Youtube I have done, and I haven’t had any issues.

      Do you know of a quick way to try out Unity 3D? It’s a gaming engine, right? I have a friend who told me about it as he uses it for game development, but I haven’t delved into it. I was thinking there was a way to run something off the web, but when I looked a bit ago, all I saw was download links. I’ll explore some more though.

      My one performance issue has been with VMware. I don’t do a lot of gaming. I previously had Ubuntu 11.10, and I had some bad issues with sound.

      I hope that helps. I’ll try to see if I can spend some time with Unity 3D, and I’ll comment back.



      1. First of all, thanks for your answer 🙂

        I’m sorry I didn’t realize that there was also a Unity Game Engine 😀
        I was referring to the Ubuntu new standard user interface:

        Unity is based on Compix plugin and it requires a good graphic card.
        For less powerful computer, there is a 2D version of Unity (based on Qt). During the installation Ubuntu should recognize if the system has a “powerful enough” graphic card and automatically decide which version of Unity to launch.

        My problem is that with 12.04 the system doesn’t work smoothly with the “Compix based” version of Unity (even though with Ubuntu 11.04 there was no problem).

        I was just curious to know if you had similar problem but I understand from your answer that your system doesn’t have issues from this point of view 🙂

        Thanks for the feedback, have a great day 🙂

        1. Igor,

          Sorry about responding so late. I am just now getting caught up on comment replies.

          I never did try to compare Unity 2D on that laptop. I did eventually upgrade my laptop to an Inspiron 17R. I think the additional memory (8G now) made the difference rather than the graphics card. I didn’t notice a difference in Unity performance before and after installing the NVidia driver.

          Anyhow, I did feel really silly about getting the Unity confused. I started an article about it and just now finished it:

          Sorry about that.

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