Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 20:54

There are common applications to install when you finished Ubuntu installation. Also, there are some common configurations you should do. I will give you a list of what applications and configurations with short explanations why you need them. I write this article based on my experiences in Indonesia Linux forums especially what people asks the most. This list is not a mandatory but people will need it for further Ubuntu usage. I write this article for beginners especially those who come from Windows.

Prepare Your System


A. Enable All Your Ubuntu Repositories

What to do: Open menu > look for Software & Updates > check all options except Source code option > choose your country server at Download from option > press Close button > press Reload button > let Ubuntu download all your repositories indexes > dialog windows will close after the download process completed. You need internet connection to do this.

Explanation: this activity is same with 1) editing /etc/apt/sources.list configuration file, activating Ubuntu restricted and universe repositories, and then 2) doing sudo apt-get update command. You just introduce your Ubuntu into what server it must use to download applications. Further, by just using Synaptic, you will do this easier.

B. Shorten Your Ubuntu Commands

What to do: press Alt+F2 > type gedit .bashrc > enter following text > save.

alias sagi='sudo apt-get install'
alias saga='sudo apt-get autoremove'
alias sagu='sudo apt-get update'
alias sagr='sudo apt-get remove'
alias acs='apt-cache search'
alias pg='ping'

Explanation: this activity is same with editing $HOME/.bashrc file. You give permanent instruction to your Terminal (your bash shell) to understand your custom abbreviation commands. So, according to my above abbreviations, typing sagi in Terminal is same with sudo apt-get install and typing pg is same with ping It simplify my life, saves my keystrokes, and I use it everyday. It is just my example so you can create your own. Remember, this configuration is only applied for current user. So another user will not able to use these abbreviations.

What To Do

1. Install Synaptic

What to do: type this command in the Terminal:
sagi synaptic
It is same with sudo apt-get install synaptic.

Explanation: my main rule so I create this article is my principle "install Synaptic first and you can learn what you want after that". I give package management system the highest place in Ubuntu learning for beginners. Canonical removed Synaptic, gave you Ubuntu Software Center (USC), but Synaptic is better to learn and far better to solve problems further. You can add / remove program, configure your repositories even PPA, you can fix broken packages, you can create Synaptic download script (for offline user) and you can configure proxy + authentication connection with Synaptic. You can not completely do those with USC.

Legendary Synaptic Package Manager
Extra: you should pin Synaptic into Ubuntu sidebar (launcher). To do it, open Synaptic > right click on the Synaptic icon on the launcher > Lock to launcher.

Add caption

2. Install GDebi

What to do: type this command in the Terminal:
sagi gdebi
This is same with sudo apt-get install gdebi.

Explanation: this will command apt to download and install GDebi. DGebi is an ultimate GUI helper for Synaptic. GDebi handles single DEB packages. GDebi used to install DEB package such as FlareGet or uGet you download from the its official site. GDebi has a sophisticated feature to read DEB package and search for the dependencies and install it automatically. You will need GDebi for further Ubuntu usage. Remember that you must did Preparation point A before installing GDebi because it is in the Ubuntu universe repository.

Extra: how to use GDebi? Just see picture below.

Right click on DEB file > Open With > GDebi

3. Install Multimedia Codec

What to do: type this command in the Terminal:
sagi ubuntu-restricted-extras
Explanation: Ubuntu can not play MP3 or MP4 by default. You should install the multimedia codecs by yourself. All codecs you need is available by installing the ubuntu-restricted-extras package.

Rhythmbox Playing MP3

4. Install Ubuntu Tweak

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak
If Terminal asks you something, answer by Enter button. 

Explanation: in Windows, you are maybe familiar with TuneUp Utilities. In Ubuntu, you get the same functionality by using Ubuntu Tweak. You can configure Ubuntu appearance, cleaning unused cache, change system behaviors, and even add/remove applications.

Ubuntu Tweak

5. Install Wine

What to do: type this command in the Terminal:
sagi wine
This is same with sudo apt-get install wine. When installing, a dialog inside your Terminal (ncurses) will appear asking for your agreement for EULA. You can not click it. To get the cursor into OK button, press TAB button. Then press Enter to click it.

EULA Dialog inside The Terminal
 After installing, search Wine in your menu.

Wine Programs in Ubuntu Menu

Explanation: this command will install Wine from official Ubuntu repository. Any Windows user in Linux usually needs Wine. Wine is a program to run Windows applications (office suites, multimedia, games, and so on) in Linux. Yes, you can run Windows applications in Linux by Wine.

Extra: how to use Wine? Once installed, look for your EXE file. Right click the EXE file > select Open With Wine Windows Program Loader.

6. Install GParted 

What to do: type this command in the Terminal:
sagi gparted
This is same with sudo apt-get install gparted.

Explanation: you will always need to manage your HDD partitions. Whether resizing, deleting, adding, manipulating the filesystem, formatting, or something else. One of the most advanced tool in Linux to do that is GParted. You should have it.


7. Install Alacarte

What to do: type this command in the Terminal:
sagi alacarte
This is same with sudo apt-get install alacarte.

Explanation: in Windows, you can easily edit Windows menu (taskbar) entry one by one. Whether adding a program icon or removing it. In Ubuntu, by default, you can not do it. The easiest way to edit Ubuntu menu is by using Alacarte. You can add, remove, edit, change icon, and so on for your menu. For example, you can add your own program and its icon so it appears in Ubuntu menu.


8. Install Wvdial

What to do: type this command in the Terminal:
sagi wvdial
This is same with sudo apt-get install wvdial.

Explanation: Wvdial is a program to connect USB modem to the internet. If you live at a country when USB modems usage (Mobile Broadband CDMA/GSM) is the majority among desktop users, then the biggest possibility is you need wvdial. There are so many USB modems need specific configuration in Linux, for example ZTE AC682. Almost all tutorials provided in the internet teach wvdial to the readers. So it is reasonable to have wvdial installed.


Each of you has different needs. I just write the most common preparations according to my own experience. As you can see, I do not write Java, sudo apt-get upgrade, and any download manager here. I assume they are your own rights to choose. That was all.