Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, October 15, 2018 at 16:14

This is a traditional list of suggestions once a new comer has completed Xubuntu installation. This includes adding a network speed indicator & themes, setup Thunderbird for your Gmail account & have chat with #xubuntu community using Pidgin, and more. I really hope this list helps all beginners in using Xubuntu for their first time. Enjoy!

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  1. NetSpeed
  2. Language Support
  3. Themes
  4. Firefox
  5. Super Key
  6. Pidgin
  7. Thunderbird & Gmail
  8. Canonical's Snappy
  9. Notes
  10. Compiz!

1. Add NetSpeed Indicator

My favorite thing to do first on every new GNU/Linux distro is adding network speed indicator.
  • 1. Right-click panel > Panel > Add New Items
  • 2. Find Network Monitor and drag it onto panel
  • 3. Right-click Network Monitor > Properties
  • 4. Insert your network interface name* on Network device: section
  • 4. Select Present data as: Values
  • 5. Close and enjoy.

*) you can find this information from your Network Connections > Connection Information > Interface section. Just copy and paste it. See picture below.

How to set it up

2. Language Support

You perhaps will see "The language support is not installed completely" notification at each time you logged in. If you have a good internet access, it's better to follow it to install needed supports. What you ned to do is just fire up your internet access and press Install button.

3. Add New Theme

For example, as my review showed it few days ago, we can install Alienware theme.
  • 1) create .theme/ folder* in your user home folder
  • 2) extract a new theme in it
  • 3) open up start menu > Window Manager > Style > select Alienware from themes selection > OK > enjoy

*) press Ctrl+H to show hidden files and folders, press it again to hide them back
Installing a theme is just copying the folders...

4. Update Firefox

Built-in Firefox on Xubuntu Bionic is version 59. If you wish, you can upgrade to version 62. Command below will upgrade it for you:
$ sudo apt-get install firefox

5. Associate the Super Key

It's more convenient to open the "start menu" with a single Super key (people call it "Win key").
  • 1.Go to start menu > find System Settings > run it
  • 2. On System Settings: go to Keyboard > Application Shortcuts
  • 3. Find xfce4-popup-whiskermenu
  • 4. Associate it with Super L key: double-click it > press your Super key > OK
  • 5. Be sure it looks like picture below > Close

How to associate Super key

6. Setup Pidgin for Online Chatting

Pidgin is an all-in-one instant messenger. For example, you can use it to chat in IRC #xubuntu so you can join Xubuntu community.
  • 1. On the first run, or by going to Accounts > Manage Accounts, press Add
  • 2. Select protocol IRC
  • 3. Create your own username as you wish, for example, xubuntuuser2018
  • 4. Type server address
  • 5. Press Add
  • 6. A new window appears, then type there /join #xubuntu
  • 7. New tab of #xubuntu chat room appears, congratulations! 

You can join more rooms by typing command like /join #ubuntu, /join #linux, /join #xfce, /join #kde, and so on.

Chatting with the #xubuntu community!

7. Setup Thunderbird for your Email Accounts

Here's an example on how a Gmail account being setup in Thunderbird, the mail client of Xubuntu.

  • 1. First, turn on IMAP on your Gmail over web browser.
  • 2. Run Thunderbird: create a new account > select Gmail > enter your email username and password > select IMAP mode (rather than POP mode) > Done.
  • 3. A browser window ("OAuth2") appears to ask you login to Gmail once more and give permission to this program (Thunderbird) to access your account. Do it and OK.
  • 4. Enjoy!

How to setup a Gmail account

Thunderbird with my emails from Gmail server

8. Find & Install Snaps 

What is Snap, Snaps, and Snappy? Snappy is the future Ubuntu's package manager. Snap (plural: snaps) is the package format of each software application available, in other words, each application is called 'a snap' this way. Now, Snapcraft Store (the central site where people download snaps) claims that there are "thousands of snaps used by millions of people across 50 Linux distributions". The secret is: Snappy is already available built-in on all Ubuntu Flavors --including Xubuntu-- so we can try and love snaps right now. Excited? Let's go:

  • 1. Go to Snapcraft Store
  • 2. Find application you love, for example, Wire Instant Messenger
  • 3. Click the icon so you go to download page
  • 4. You will see the name, the logo, and the green 'Install' button
  • 5. Click Install button so it shows you 2 options: desktop store and command line
  • 6. Copy the command line to your Terminal and run it
  • 7. The snap installed (in this case, Wire)
  • 8. Find the program on your start menu and run it!

How to copy-and-paste the command to install a snap

The program appears on start menu, and you can run it!

*) you don't have idea about Wire? It's like Telegram, but it's recommended by FSF as full-privacy messenger, plus, it's one among many FSF's High Priority Projects  (plus more, it does not need phone number)

9. Add Desktop Notes

Everybody loves notes. You will find them really helpful. How about putting them on your desktop?
  • 1. Open your start menu and find Notes.
  • 2. Write what you want.
  • 3. Create a new note by clicking note icon on top-left > New.
  • 4. Switch between notes by clicking the arrows <- -> buttons.

10. Embrace 3D Desktop with Compiz!

How nostalgic to use Compiz in 2018. It's like going back 9 years to the 2009 era with Ubuntu 9.04. As my late review suggested, you can have it by installing the programs. But actually, it requires more adjustments like these:

  • 1. Install all packages: $ sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-plugins
  • 2. Run CompizConfig from start menu 
  • 3. Fist section: give check mark to Composite and OpenGL options > then go to General Options > Desktop Size > Horizontal size > give it 4 > Vertical size > give it 1
  • 4. Second section: give check mark to 3D Cube and Cube Reflection & Deformation and Wobbly Window options
  • 5. Third section: give check mark to Shift Switcher
  • See picture below for more detailed selections.
How to configure Compiz window manager

The results

End Words

That's all. If you want to explore Xubuntu more, read further links below. I hope this list helps new users to use Xubuntu for their first time. I hope you will like it!

Further Links

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.