There is a new version of this tutorial available for Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn).

The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

This tutorial shows how you can set up an Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Ubuntu desktop to have the following software installed:


  • The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot - full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa - application for organizing and editing digital photos


  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 10
  • FileZilla - multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird - email and news client
  • Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule - P2P file sharing application
  • Transmission BitTorrent Client - Bittorrent client
  • Vuze - Java Bittorrent client
  • Empathy IM Client - multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client


  • OpenOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash - double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus - open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok - audio player
  • Audacity - free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer - media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player - audio player, similar to Apple's iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod - software similar to Apple's iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS - audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip - full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino - free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor - CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player - media player (video/audio)
  • RealPlayer - media player
  • Totem - media player (video/audio)
  • Xine - media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero - CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B - CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia Codecs


  • KompoZer - WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish - text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Quanta Plus - web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor


  • VirtualBox OSE - lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don't have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions

Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the Ubuntu community.

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera).

I will use the username falko in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.


2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Ubuntu installer doesn't offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the Ubuntu 10.04 desktop edition iso image from, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it:

Select your language and click the Install Ubuntu 10.04 LTS button to start the installation:

Then choose your time zone:

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Erase and use the entire disk is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you're doing. Erase and use the entire disk will create one big / partition for us:

Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password, and click Forward:

The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click Install to start the installation:

Afterwards, Ubuntu is being installed. This can take a few minutes, so be patient:

After the installation, you will be asked to reboot the system. Click Restart Now:

Remove the Ubuntu CD and press ENTER to boot into your new Ubuntu system:

Your new Ubuntu system starts. Log in to the desktop with the username and password you provided during the installation:

This is how your new desktop looks:

Now the base system is ready to be used.

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20 Comment(s)

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By: Sergei

First of all, thank you for your great (as usual) tutorial.

Desktop could be even more improved by adding the following packages typically useful for average user:

  • FreeMind - mind mapping sofware
  • Dia - diagram drawing 
  • OpenProj - project management software (alternatively - Planner could be used)



By: Anonymous

Another vote for Dia here.

While we're at it, F-Spot and Picassa are both quite toxic and best avoided. The former uses bad quality and Mono, the latter has no linux version available (WINE only) and, worst of all, spreads DX to undermine OpenGL. Keeping either of them kind of undermines the point of moving beyond Microsoft products, which both are in their own way, and the low Quality. Both undermine better Free and Open Source Software and Open Standards, both help extend Microsoft's lock-in. One of the most important installation steps for Ubuntu lately has become cleanup.

Fedora has Shotwell and it is available in Ubuntu. The new Digikam rocks, too, and should not be missed.

By: nochids

I come to this article every time I need to set up a box.  It is a perfect checklist for a newby.  Thanks for taking the time to put this out there.  I would be interested to see you add a section on security software and encryption.  Thanks.

By: Gin Blogger

This is great and complete review about this newest version of Ubuntu. Two tumbs up for Ubuntu 10.04 that more user friendly so we can use it easier than the older.

By: Anonymous

Picassa DOES have a linux version--see the later pages of this HowTo.  No WINE or lock-in required.  No DX spread--WINE simply maps DX calls to OpenGL equivalents, not undermine it.  Check your info more carefully.

By: Anonymous

"For Linux, Google has bundled Wine with the Windows version to create an installation package rather than write a native Linux version."


Check YOUR info more carefully.

By: Tux Torch

I like PCLINUXOS 2010 much better thank you.

It is a lot easier than Ubuntu.

By: Anonymous

Ehh, that is debatable. I agree in that PCLinuxOS 2010 is user friendly. A new user though is nearly forced to use the KDE  version w/o supported hardware. In my case, I couldn't use any other environment even with ndiswrapper. The environments are great...but w/o internet not so much.

Lucid is it for me at the moment. This is the first version of Ubuntu that worked with my current system. It is novice friendly, easy to navigate, offers more software/support than one really needs. It just works...and then some. 

Aside from finding a way to mess up my system so I had to reinstall 2 times, it (lucid) is nearly idiot proof  (granting the learning curve as a windows convert). Navigation is easy. For me converting was just trying to teach myself the file system structures/names, and having to once in a while open a terminal :) Other than that, I've only a couple of times experienced maybe 3 application hang ups, and had to reboot.

Ubuntu has come a long way, especially with regard to addressing hardware compatibility!

By: Ken

Wine seems to be working quite well with a few caveats. I have WINE/Office 2003 working fine, but I am not a power user. I PREFER OpenOffice anyhow. Its worth trying any windows app under WINE - I have had older 3D FPS games work FASTER in WINE that natively on Windows. On older Ubuntu (9.10), I have WINE/Cisco Network Assistant working great, but cannot seem to get it working on 10.04 however that is very specialized app, not generic desktop. just my waste of bits.... regards Ken

By: Ron

Lucid looks great. I hear it works great too. But far from being "perfect", it broke a lot of what had worked for years for me (and plenty of others). I was looking forward to settling in to the next LTS release, but serious video problems (i.e. incompatible with a number of video chips) is not going to allow that.

By: lunazzi

Ron made an advise to me, because Ubuntu 9.10 already lost compability capability with video and audio cards in many computers I tried, and with an old Wi-Fi notebook ACER card, never had.

By: Sofie Ubuntue

Thanks Falco. It is fine you're doing this everything. I use it everytime. Thanks.

By: karl

i just installed it , so fancy it is

By: Jeff P.

I have to agree it's a pretty good setup, easy to understand with pretty much everything you want on a clean install. Like some posts say, it's true that some stuff could be added, like Dia, but anyway, this setup is already pretty good as it is and nothing will ever be perfect! It's up to the user to play with it and complete it like he wants!

| Jeff |

By: Anonymous

I've done a fresh install onto a new 500GB WD HDD after having used other Ubuntu versions this past year dual booting. Since I only use Windows XP for about 1% of the time (because of proprietary programs that won't run properly in WINE) I decided to disconnect my XP HDD. The previous Ubuntu 9.10 was more stable than this one is right now. My desktop has crashed several times in the past couple weeks,then it reloads the desktop to the login.

Brasero  will burn a data cd,but not audio. In the previous Ubuntu it had no problem.

The file browser buttons on the upper left-hand corner can be easily moved to the "normal?" right-hand side.

I removed the "Switch-User" option because it caused a crash also.

I'm not going to try now, but I believe that Ctrl + Alt + Backspace restarts the desktop also.

The login screen back round is an improvement over the dark one that 9.10 has. Now I can login without having to turn up the lighting in my room.

When switching from 9.10 to 10.04 systems I had to adjust my desktop position on my monitor,which is something I didn't have to do with the previous versions of the past year.

 I know the developers are working on some, if not all of these problems and thank them for every improvement they make with each version.

Hopefully, people who are just "getting their feet wet" so to speak, regarding Ubuntu (Linux) perhaps having it pre-installed on brand new computers...don't become discouraged by these issues. 

By: Aaron

Why dual boot when you can have it as a window? Have you consider using Virtual Box?

Has anyone tested virtual box on Ubuntu 10? please share your experience because I believe it is a better option if it work well :-)

I am very happy with Virtual Box on Window platform not sure how stable it is on Ubuntu.

Thanks and have a great day.

By: Anonymous

I work with VirtualBox in Lucid.

It works fine. I have a virtual XP-device, SP3.

Even the Windows updates go well.

 So give it a try!

By: lunazzi

Many (most?) desires to have Windows as an option, even after ten years using Linux as main OS.Mainly because of video editing applications.

So that you must choose the manual partition way.

What about having two HDs, one for Ubuntu, one for Windows?


By: Rashminda

I received 10.04 LTS Desktop Edition from u....I want to thanks lot for it.But I can't believe it.Thanks thanks friends also can't believe it..Ubuntu is very help full for me to study (I'm learning now programing C) in my university..It's very beautiful now ..keep going..we wish u all the best.                                

By: Omar

Still using, this was or is the perfect ubuntu version (desktop/server).