Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, January 5, 2018 at 22:24

This recommendation article is for you first-timers & beginners who use Trisquel 8 "Flidas" GNU/Linux. If you just switched from MS Windows to Trisquel, then this is for you. Here you'll find suggestions in setting the desktop, changing the theme, adding applications, knowing useful browser addons, and seeing a short list of good applications you can install on Trisquel. In case this maybe interesting, you also can customize the Terminal appearance so it looks more cool that way. Finally, this article wished to make your first days with Trisquel easy and happy. So enjoy Trisquel!

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This article continuing the Trisquel 8 Installation Guide.


1. Change Desktop Menu

Make it opens with Super key and have a search bar. This way it will be more familiar for majority of users coming from MS Windows. To do so, install the program & setup the MATE Tweak.
$ sudo apt-get install mate-menu

Trisquel menu with search bar + accessible with 'Windows' key

2. Put Icons at Desktop

Put your frequently used programs at desktop. For example, LibreOffice, Rhythmbox, and VLC. To do so, open the menu > find a program > drag and drop the program to desktop area > done. You can also put PDF or ODT files at desktop just by the same way but from the file manager.

3. Put Icons at Panel

Just like icons at desktop area, you can also put them at panel. To do so, open the menu > find a program > right-click > Add to Panel > done.

3. Show a Network Indicator

Put a download/upload speed indicator at panel (so you can examine bandwidth usage everytime). To do so, right-click at blank area on panel > Add to Panel > find "Network Monitor" > drag and drop it onto panel > done.

4. Enable Touchpad

Open the desktop menu > find "Mouse Preferences" > go to 'Touchpad' tab > check the Enable Touchpad option on > select "Two-finger scrolling" > empty "Enable natural scrolling" > select "Enable horizontal scrolling" > close > done.

5. Install Redshift

It's for our health, particularly eyes health, to reduce eyestrain and sleeplessness (it really helped myself), so it's important to install Redshift if you're a durable desktop user (e.g. 10+ hours per day). 
$ sudo apt-get install redshift

6. Show Workspace Switcher

Workspace is a multiple desktop feature so you can work in many monitors but with only one monitor. Different workspace is like different monitor, changing workspace is like changing between monitors.

The 2x2 boxes at panel is the Workspace Switcher

7. Change Desktop Theme

You can change the theme into "Windows 98" or "Ubuntu". Basically, to change theme, right-click at desktop area > Change Desktop Background > a dialog showing > go to 'Theme' tab > choose a theme > OK > done.

Trisquel with Ubuntu "Ambiance" theme

To make it looks like Windows, still at 'Theme' tab, click Customize > go to 'Controls' tab & choose "Redmond" > go to 'Window Border' tab & choose "WinME" > done.

Trisquel with classical MS Windows theme


1. Reload

Do this command to get all "repository maps" so you can install any program later (if your internet is limited, read first Subpart 4 below):
$ sudo apt-get update

2. Install Synaptic

Unfortunately, Trisquel 8 doesn’t bring Synaptic Package Manager, an important program for easy applications installation. But you can install it yourself by issuing command:
$ sudo apt-get install synaptic apt-xapian-index
Synaptic, the tool to easily install apps, with search bar

3. Disabling Unnecessary 'Translation' Download

Every time you use Reload command, it downloads huge "Trisquel" index files that are mostly unnecessary for home users. You can disable it by issuing this command:
$ echo 'Acquire::Languages "none";' | sudo tee --append /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/00aptitude

4. Disabling Unnecessary Repositories

Home users needs 'deb' repos and will not use 'deb-src' repos. Enabling 'deb-src' will waste your bandwidth. Edit your sources.list from before into after below:

deb [arch=amd64] flidas main
#deb-src flidas main
deb flidas-security main
#deb-src flidas-security main
deb flidas-updates main
#deb-src flidas-updates main
deb flidas-backports main
#deb-src flidas-backports main

deb [arch=amd64] flidas main
deb flidas-security main
deb flidas-updates main
deb flidas-backports main


1. Change Search Engine to

Personally, I feel StartPage is better than DuckDuckGo, because it's the same privacy-respecting search engines, but StartPage gives Google results + web proxy. So, for maximum convenience, I recommend you to use instead of and I recommend you to read more at PRISM Break.

To make StartPage your default search, go to > press 'Add to Firefox' link > press 'HERE' > check "Make default search engine" > press OK > done.

Alternatives: beyond (and, of course), there are and also privacy-respecting search engines.

2. Install Security & Privacy Addons

I recommend you these addons for Abrowser or IceCat (web browser based on Firefox):
  • uBlock Origin: blocks ads, memory friendly
  • HTTPS Everywhere: forces all connections in every webpage to be encrypted
  • Disconnect: cuts trackers and and many links hidden behind most websites 
  • Decentraleyes: protects your privacy by bringing many important files built-in so your browser won't need to re-download those files again-and-again from many CDNs (read great explanation here and here)
  • Search Link Fix: replace every link to be real link (enable you to directly "Copy Link Location") instead of garbage ("tracker") link at Google Search Result Page
  • DownThemAll!: not necessarily for privacy, but it's a great download manager

For you having expensive or very limited internet bandwidth, if you want to save your bandwidth, I recommend you these addons:
  • Image Block: blocks images, you can turn on/off at any time
  • Load from Cache: forces the browser to load images etc. from saved cache, not to re-download everything
  • Decentraleyes: yes, it also saves your bandwidth while protecting your privacy
  • Disconnect: yes, it also saves your bandwidth (uBlock = blocking ads, Disconnect = blocking trackers, Decentraleyes = 'blocking' CDNs)

3. Show Menu Bar

By default, Firefox and Abrowser and IceCat don't show menu bar. To show it permanently, right-click empty area at tab bar > select "Menu Bar" > done.


1. Sort by Date & Reversed Order

You will be happy if you always see newest folders/files on top at your file manager. To set it up, go to View > Arrange Items > select "By Modification Date" > repeat it > select "Reversed Order".

How to make 'newer on top' sorting

2. Show File Size

By default, Caja doesn't show each file's size. To show it, go to Edit > Preferences > go to 'Display' tab > you see 3 selections on "Icon Captions" section > select "Size" for first selection > see the changes at Caja > done.

How to make file size always showing


1. Enlarge Text Size

Some users can find the text at Terminal is too small. If this affects you, you can enlarge the text size to 12 or 14 or 18 or any number you feel comfortable for your eyes. Go to Edit > Profile Preferences > uncheck the "Use the system fixed width" > click the "Monospace | 12" button below it > choose the size from the most-right column (12, 14, or 18, or even bigger) > press OK.

2. Custom Bash Prompt

The default Trisquel bash prompt is not appealing. You can create custom bash prompt as you wish (add time, color, bold, etc.) at in very easy way! You will get the command line to run on your Terminal and it goes.

Try it first: go copy-paste this long command line to Terminal:
export PS1="\[$(tput bold)\]\[\033[38;5;2m\][\u@\h\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[\033[38;5;15m\] \d \[$(tput bold)\]\t\[$(tput sgr0)\] \[$(tput bold)\]\w\[$(tput sgr0)\] \[$(tput bold)\]\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[\033[38;5;1m\]\\$\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[\033[38;5;2m\]]\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[\033[38;5;15m\]\n\[$(tput sgr0)\]"

Your prompt will change like picture below.

Custom bash prompt: with colors, more informative, more usable
Command line above is not permanent. If you restart the Terminal, the prompt goes back to its default. To make it permanent, add that long command line into a last line at ~/.bashrc file.

3. Terminal Backgroud Color

Default Trisquel Terminal color is white and that's not good for many users. You can turn it black by going to Edit > Profile Preferences > go to 'Color' tab > uncheck the "Use colors from..." selection > choose built-in schemes: "White on Black" > close.

Terminal with black background


Here are a few home user’s applications for daily needs such as image editor and download manager. If you want more complete list, we have Privacy Apps List , Image Editors List, and Recommended Apps Long List. To install any of them below, just add each 'package name' mentioned after 'sudo apt-get install' command.

  • Shotwell (package name: shotwell): for cropping images quickly
  • GIMP (package name: gimp): a replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • Inkscape (package name: inkscape): a replacement for CorelDRAW
  • Scribus (package name: scribus): a replacement for Adobe PageMaker
  • Kdenlive (package name: kdenlive): a user-friendly video editor
  • GNU Emacs (package name: emacs): a flexible, powerful text editor for all purposes
  • WinFF (package name: winff): a replacement for Any Video/Audio Converter 
  • Transmission (package name: transmission-gtk): a worldwide popular BitTorrent client
  • Persepolis Download Manager (follow this installation guide)
  • Abrowser 57 (follow this upgrade guide)
  • GNU IceCat (follow this installation guide)

About Trisquel

Trisquel is a user-friendly and easy to use, 100% free GNU/Linux operating system certified by the FSF. Trisquel is based on Ubuntu and the version 8 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Trisquel uses Linux-libre kernel, which is the original Linux kernel with all proprietary software removed. Being 100% free means Trisquel includes only free software both in its system and its repository and it will never include any nonfree software. Trisquel can be downloaded gratis from the official website

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.