The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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Last edited 05/03/2010

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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38 Comment(s)

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From: Sergei at: 2010-05-04 03:17:54

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)



From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-05 08:40:43

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.

From: nochids at: 2010-07-08 03:52:29

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.

From: Gin Blogger at: 2010-05-04 08:31:33

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.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-06 17:39:47

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.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-07-23 22:52:13

"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.

From: Tux Torch at: 2010-05-04 21:17:58

I like PCLINUXOS 2010 much better thank you.

It is a lot easier than Ubuntu.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-09-20 07:48:49

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!

From: Ken at: 2010-05-04 21:23:54

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

From: Ron at: 2010-05-05 00:43:42

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.

From: lunazzi at: 2010-05-22 18:39:22

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.

From: Sofie Ubuntue at: 2010-05-16 11:02:35

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

From: karl at: 2010-05-15 14:07:53

i just installed it , so fancy it is

From: Jeff P. at: 2011-02-06 20:05:36

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 |

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-25 23:01:38

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. 

From: Aaron at: 2010-05-27 02:13:58

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.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-28 21:11:44

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!

From: lunazzi at: 2010-05-22 18:46:03

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?


From: Rashminda at: 2010-06-12 03:05:40

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.                                

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-09 13:42:35

Great tutorial, but already useless to me and most other people who live in the twenty-first century.  Setting up wireless is still hopeless in Lucid.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-24 21:09:29

Funny.. .I had no problems.. worked like a charm right away. Try not to make sweeping generalizations.

From: The Mod at: 2010-06-29 19:21:36

Never problems with wireless at Ubuntu....

From: Anonymous at: 2010-10-05 07:06:40

Mine works perfectly in 10.04. How could it be easier?

From: helius at: 2011-09-16 00:04:27

I use Backtrack 5 r1 and i have no problems whit my WIFI (bt5 r1 is based on ubuntu 10.04 lucid )

From: Anonymous at: 2010-06-22 06:26:36

Perhaps you're just a complete retard. . . have you ever considered that?  Are you trying to imply that everyone "in the 21st century" is a retard who can't click a button?

From: Anonymous at: 2010-07-16 01:35:53

People will not appreciate your effort in making a fool of yourself. Stop trying so hard. We know you are one already.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-09-23 09:57:48

My wifi works well in Ubuntu. If you would document your problem, perhaps someone would help you resolve it.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-09-25 05:52:50

My wireless network works like a champ, I just plug in the cable and it connects right up.

I really can't imagine what could be simpler.

From: Anonymous at: 2012-02-10 23:18:25

Here are few things that u should try to boost up your WLAN.

1- First Method:  A second solution for this issue can be by using the following :

Open terminal and enter the following command:

sudo -s
gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf
add the following line to the file
options ath9k nohwcrypt=1

Save an restart your OS.

If you still have the issue, then try instructions on step 2.


2- Second Method:

This method involves forcing iwlagn to not use n, the commands will disable n on the device without making it a permanent change, check first if this work for you, if you notice that the speed improved then continue to make the change permanent. If this solution didn`t work for you, then reboot your computer to revert the changes.

sudo rmmod -f iwlagn
sudo modprobe iwlagn 11n_disable=1

If you notice that the wifi speed improved, then make the change permanent :

gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/iwlagn-disable11n.conf

and add this line to the file:

options iwlagn 11n_disable=1

save & quit


3- Third method : You need to disactivate IPv6, to do that, open terminal and enter the following commands:

echo "#disable ipv6" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf echo "net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf echo "net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf echo "net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf

Then restart your system.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-04 03:02:33

Even better, why not just type "sudo apt-get install amarok gimp flashplugin-nonfree amule audacity vuze banshee bluefish dvdrip filezilla ttf-mscorefonts-installer gnucash gstreamer* gtkpod-aac sun-java6* (except sun-java6-doc) k3b kino mplayer smplayer quanta kompozer scribus vlc* mozilla-plugin-vlc xchat-gnome xmms2* sound-juicer realplayer googleearth acroread non-free-codecs ubuntu-restricted-extras libdvdcss2 xine-ui xine-plugin thunderbird virtualbox-ose"?

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-08 18:00:34

Yeah.... staying clicking and searching all those packages would take too ages. Although I don't believe apt would understand the '(except sun-java6-doc)' :)

From: Fredl at: 2010-06-18 16:52:09

Sure it would if you put it in the "install"-line this way: sun-java6-doc- (notice the trailing hyphen?)

From: Joseph at: 2010-08-04 03:00:39

 I had to use this:

sudo apt-get install amarok gimp flashplugin-nonfree amule audacity vuze banshee bluefish dvdrip filezilla ttf-mscorefonts-installer gnucash gtkpod-aac sun-java6*  k3b kino mplayer smplayer quanta kompozer scribus vlc* mozilla-plugin-vlc xchat-gnome xmms2* sound-juicer acroread ubuntu-restricted-extras xine-ui xine-plugin thunderbird virtualbox-ose

 Just take out the ones that error and do them manually thru synaptic

From: Andreea at: 2010-05-04 14:06:44

This rocks! It works out of the box (and I even love the violet colour :-)

Thanks Falko!

From: Paul at: 2010-05-05 00:54:20

Nice post, lots of detail.  For those who do not want to work so hard there are several scripts that do the trick.  I develop one for my students called BleedingEdge:



From: Sambuntu at: 2010-05-14 02:42:26

@Paul, as much as your script is nice.


I think a more practical look at ubuntu-tweak would be a better option for most mainstream people.

From: Glenn at: 2010-05-28 13:48:03

Hi, thanks for a nice simple tutorial.

 The same link where you get the install for Picasa, you can download the .deb file from the same sight, then install it using the graphical engine, then it will automatically put the links in for you, under graphics.



From: Saud at: 2010-09-17 05:36:10

This is the best ,  most useful and straight to the point tutorial I ever used in my life :) it's so good I even recommend it to non-ubuntu users.