Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 00:26

These are suggestions after installing Debian 9.0 with GNOME Desktop. This article is divided into 4 parts: about system (including sources.list and sudo), desktop (including GNOME's network indicator & control buttons), daily life (including touchpad and shortcut keys settings), and special advice (for education, programming, and another fields).

I also mentioned a download manager and multimedia support to help you switch from Windows or Mac OS X to Debian GNU/Linux. And finally, I closed this article with some further references for you learning Debian. Be happy with Debian!

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This is a list of post-install advices for Debian. If you don't need this, we have a tutorial to install Debian 9.0.


1) Sources.list

Perhaps, your sources.list has not been configured properly. Don't worry it's easy, you just need to edit & save it:

Commands (if you want to use 'sudo', read below):
$ su
# gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

What the content should be (you just need 3 lines!):
deb stretch main
deb stretch-updates main
deb stretch/updates main

What the content should look:

2) Fix Time/Date

You can change your Time & Date setting from System Settings > Date & Time > press Unlock button & give your password > change your timezone from the atlas > see your clock changed on top-panel.

3) Reload

After fixing your Sources.list, now do the usual command: $ sudo apt-get update . If you don't know, this command downloads the index files of Debian repository, so later Debian can find and install software for you.

4) Install Sudo

By default, 'sudo' command is not installed. To install it:
$ su
# apt-get install sudo

5) Add Username to Sudoers

By default, Debian forbids nonroot user to use sudo by saying "your username is not in the sudoers file". Then, to make yourself at home, you should configure Debian to allow your account (nonroot user) to use sudo command. Edit Sudoers file to achieve that:
$ su
# gedit /etc/sudoers.d/username

and add this single line inside that file (change 'myusername' with your username):
myusername ALL=(ALL)ALL

and it should look like this:

6) External Repositories

If you're used to PPA on Ubuntu, you may look for similar thing on Debian here:


1) GNOME Extension: NetSpeed Indicator

Read more on UbuntuBuzz's recommended GNOME Shell Extensions.

You can put download/upload speed indicator on GNOME top panel by installing NetSpeed extension.

2) Show Control-Buttons 

You would ask "where are minimize & maximize buttons?" now. By using built-in GNOME Tweak Tool, go to Windows > Titlebar Buttons > switch minimize=ON and maximize=ON > now every window has them.

3) Activate AlternateTab

Switching between running apps could be annoying by default because it groups same apps. To revert it back to a "normal switching", go to GNOME Tweak > Extensions > switch AlternateTab on. To make it more comfortable, uncheck "Show only windows in the current workspace".


Here are some suggestions around browsing, downloading, multimedia, and some important convenience on using a normal GNU/Linux desktop.

1) Touchpad Convenience

If you use a touchpad, enable tap to click & disable natural scrolling:

2) Shortcut Keys

Default setting doesn't enable Terminal or File Manager invocation from keyboard shortcuts. So you need to add them from System Settings > Keyboard > scroll down > press "+" button > add new entry. 

Assign Terminal to Ctrl+Alt+T:

Assign Nautilus File Manager to Super+E:

3) Firefox Addons

Note: if you're looking for source code, just extract the .xpi file of each addon.

4) Download Manager

Did you use IDM on Windows? Then replace it with PDM (Persepolis Download Manager) on Debian. PDM is a free software licensed under GNU GPL.

5) Multimedia Support

Debian 9.0 already supports MP3/MP4 playback by default. It supports OGG/WEBM playback as well. However, if you want, install VLC Media Player:
$ sudo apt-get install vlc


Here are my recommendations for specific fields:

1) For schools (students & teachers):

There are GCompris for preschool students, KAlgebra and Kig to learn math for any degree, Marble to learn geography and world map, and also Scilab to replace MATLAB. They are just few examples of free software that are useful for education.

2) For programmers: 

Install Qt Creator, an IDE for C++ language and Qt Framework (worthy to switch completely from Visual Studio, Visual Basic, or Delphi). This installation is automatically completed with a compiler (GNU g++).
$ sudo apt-get install qtcreator

3) For graphic designers: 

Read more on UbuntuBuzz's big list of image editors for GNU/Linux.

Install Inkscape (vector editor, replacing CorelDRAW), GIMP (image editor, replacing Photoshop), or Scribus (desktop publishing, replacing PageMaker).
$ sudo apt-get install inkscape
$ sudo apt-get install gimp
$ sudo apt-get install scribus

4) For users who need games: 

Look at LibreGameWiki and install some game such as Warzone 2100.

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