Customized Ubuntu 14.04 – Starting fresh

Starting fresh is a great thing and after having upgraded from about 3 Ubuntu distros in the same HDD now its time to move to a fresh hard drive and reconfigure stuff back to my liking.  I could move everything to the new 2TB drive but that would imply bringing in some of the mistakes I have done and not been knowledgeable enough to correct.  Being technical does not mean I remember the terminal commands for this type of tweaking or that I fully comprehend the man page of each of the things I am about to post here. What I will share is merely a recompilation of advice offered elsewhere and sometimes my rationale for choosing the said course of action. In doing this personalized list what I am really attempting to do is record my own decisions so as to be able to come back to this post and not have to perform a whole lot of research for the next installation  I do. With that follows a disclaimer  -if you do any of this in your own machine it is at your own risk.  Also, I will not count the steps cause I know this will be changing.

Warning: As I started this I thought it would take some time… actually it takes a lot of time going through all the paces. So I will consider another post of an attempt to make my own distro to save future time allocation.

Top down approach-

First things first


You already installed a fresh copy of Ubuntu 14.04

Go to Software & Updates and activate Canonical partners, reload and update all.

Open Firefox –> Edit –> Preferences

  • In General tab change “When Firefox starts” to “Show my windows
  • In Security tab modify as wanted. I uncheck the “Remember passwords for site”option.

Install from Ubuntu Software Center

  •  gksu

Install various installers and package managers as suggested here in step 2.

sudo apt-get install aptitude synaptic gdebi gdebi-core software-properties-gtk

Get ready for trouble.  Grub is your first menu and sometimes needs repairing. Press Crtl+Alt+T to open a terminal window and  follow steps in 2nd option from  install Boot-Repair to to install and repair if necessary. Copy and paste to Terminal line by line (Use Shift+Ctrl+V to paste)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
sudo sed 's/trusty/saucy/g' -i /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yannubuntu-boot-repair-trusty.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (boot-repair &)

When this finishes copy all text in the window and send in an email to yourself so you can use it in case of problems.

Lets now install a customizer for the Grub login. Install Grub customizer as follows.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

Use Dash to open Grub Customizer, change the timeout period as you wish and Default Entry to previous entry.   We will come back to this tool later to customize login image. Save and exit the customizer.

Go to System Settings–> Security and Privacy –> Search tab — and turn off online search when searching with Dash

wget -q -O - | bash


Get rid of (disable) of Overlay bars as suggested here:
Enter following command in terminal to disable overlay scrollbar:

If you want to get back overlay bars, enter following command:

Install Restricted and unrestricted codecs

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

This will download and install a whole set of softwares for ubuntu in single command. It will take some time depending on the speed of internet connection. Keep the terminal live until the process finish.

Install the unrestricted version of libavcodec . It will keep away from any issues or missing codecs in video editors or transcoders. Install unrestricted version of libavcodec by the command below.

sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra

Play encrypted DVDs as suggested here

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4 
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

Install Java as suggested here (non development used)

sudo apt-get install icedtea-7-plugin openjdk-7-jre

Restart Firefox

Install the 4 tweakers. Unity runs in gnome even as I will choose not to install Gnome 3 directly the gnome tweaker will allow me to personalize some settings

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak gnome-tweak-tool unity-tweak-tool
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Dash to Unity Tweak and personalize the hotcorners and workspaces. Check the Switcher – between workspaces option if desired.

I don’t like having the workspaces icon at the launcher bar but this is hardcoded. There is a tweak here, suggested by pepper_chico as with everything else in this post, follow at your own risk.  **To just remove the icon but still preserve workspaces**

  • Open the terminal and execute:

To remove the workspaces icon from the dock you should just take out 'unity://expo-icon' from that list. Taking it out, for this case the command should be:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites "['application://nautilus.desktop', 'application://chromium-browser.desktop', 'application://ubuntu-software-center.desktop', 'application://ubuntuone-installer.desktop', 'application://ubuntu-amazon-default.desktop', 'application://UbuntuOneMusiconeubuntucom.desktop', 'application://gnome-control-center.desktop', 'unity://running-apps', 'unity://devices']"

(Don’t forget the last double quotes for the list on gsettings set  command above) This will clear some other launcher icons you will add again later after restart. This is why this is done in the firsts stage of customization.

Dash to Ubuntu Tweak and in the sounds tab turn off the login sound.


sudo apt-get install gufw

Dash to firewall and just turn it on for now.

Install compression and uncompress tools

sudo apt-get install p7zip-rar p7zip-full unace unrar zip unzip sharutils rar uudeview mpack arj cabextract file-roller


Additional drivers: Dash to additional drivers and select appropriate proprietary video driver. Apply and restart.



After restarting twice and check video driver installed completely

/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p

Check for updates and upgrade Dashing to Software Updater

Dash to Displays and personalize as desired for two screens. Later I need to test if starting up with TV off  or just a restart will doom all this effort and go back to default settings. (Not desired). Also, having two non-mirrored display will upset the hotcorners and window spread functionality. I need to find a way around this.

Dash to Language Support, this will prompt to install languages, allow and setup as desired.

Enable H.264 support for Firefox as suggested here

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/trusty-media
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg

Install Chromium and some  stuff for it as suggested here.

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree
sudo update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --install
sudo apt-get install chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra

Make necessary installs to allow viewing Netflix as explained  here.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi
sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight

Wait a while and accept conditions, say yes, etc.

sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

Dash to Netflix and run it to have a first run that installs some Wine Mono stuff. (Say yes and wait, it takes some minutes)

Netflix should open, login and click on the “Activate Silverlight” link. A pop-up will appear, allow and remember. Now, take a break, watch something, eat, stretch, you’ve been at it for a while.

Update again and autoremove

sudo apt-get update && apt-get autoremove 
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install classicmenu-indicator

Installl Skype 4.2 and fix the 64 bit look as suggested here.

sudo apt-get install skype
sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-murrine:i386
sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-pixbuf:i386

Install from Synaptic or software center

  • Inkscape, Gimp
  • VLC, VLC-plugin-pulse, mplayer, smplayer, gnome-mplayer
  • Gmusicbrowser, EasyTag, RadioTray, Pithos, abcde
  • Openshot, Cheese, Video4Linux
  • Deluge
  • Calibre, Lyx, Texmaker, Scribus, Dia, Tomboy
  • Stardict, Goldendict, Wordnet, Artha
  • Download and install Trelby
  • Dropbox, Diodon
  • Vidalia, Tor

Make sure Gimp extras were installed

sudo apt-get install gimp-data-extras 
sudo apt-get install gimp-plugin-registry

Add stuff for Libre Office

sudo apt-get install libreoffice-pdfimport

Enable hidden Startup Application Manager settings as suggested here.

sudo sed -i 's/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g' /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

from same site above Auto Mount Windows NTFS Partition in Ubuntu 14.04

sudo apt-get install ntfs-config
sudo mkdir -p /etc/hal/fdi/policy

To install Open-as-Administrator as explained in here.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/apps
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions
sudo apt-get install open-as-administrator
*this is not working

After installation restart Nautilus:

nautilus -q

Install Calendar Indicator, Caffeine, Recent Notifications, Multiload, Diodon and Keylock indicators

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jconti/recent-notifications
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tsbarnes/indicator-keylock
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:caffeine-developers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install calendar-indicator indicator-notifications
sudo apt-get install indicator-multiload diodon diodon-plugins indicator-keylock
sudo apt-get install caffeine 

Switch to recursive search in Nautilus instead type-ahead as done here.  Change to true to toggle back.

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences enable-interactive-search false

Install youtube-dl

sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

Install Stellarium

sudo apt-get install stellarium

Install Samba and Server configuration GUI open Terminal as done here.

sudo apt-get install samba system-config-samba

UPDATE  6/21/14: Nautilus is not quite making me happy.  Replace the File Manager with Nemo and give it a try while Canonical figures out what they will do. Instructions and comparisons to make your own mind are available here.