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

The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)

Version 1.1
Author: Falko Timme

This tutorial shows how you can set up an Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) 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
  • BitTornado - Bittorrent client
  • Azureus/Vuze - Java Bittorrent client
  • Pidgin - 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)
  • Helix Player - media player, similar to the Real 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


  • VMware Server - 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.

You don't need to install all of them - if you feel that having five media players is a bit of overkill, just pick the applications that you really want.

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 8.10 desktop edition iso image from, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select your language:

Select Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer to start the Ubuntu live system:

The system boots and starts a desktop that is run entirely in the RAM of your system (the Ubuntu installation CD is also a Live-CD) without changing anything on your hard disk. This has the advantage that you can test how Ubuntu works on your hardware before you finally install it.

Double-click the Install icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:

The installer starts. First, select your language:

Then choose your time zone:

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

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

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

The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click on 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 on 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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18 Comment(s)

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By: Anonymous

Would you be confused to find realplayer, quicktime and windows media player on a windows system, too? Let alone WinAmp and Media Player Classic, VLC? Or does it confuse you, that you get them all for free and have to take a look which one suits you best? If so, I recommend you not to go out and buy a car...and just take the one from the advertisement, the one where people seemd to be happy with.

By: agus

I thing I have to try this one :)

By: dai

I did!!!

But my sound system is down now. I will have to figure it out.

Love oo-bun-too!

By: Anonymous

To fix, open a terminal, enter sudo alsamixer. Navigate to external amplifier with the horizontal arrow keys. Press M on your keyboard to mute.

By: TV Guide

Same reason 3 browsers isn't enough for everyone (coz they can).

By: Matey


Does anyone know how to switch between 2 languages ( and without having to reboot every time)?
I did it the other day, and I actually could use the 2nd language without having to reboot the system as I was asked to.

I did finally reboot but now I cannot find the option or the place I used before?(It even had an icon in the systray where you could switch)...

Oh and when I change my keyboard layouts now, the stuff in command line changes but not in my GUI>? (like gedit does not change and stays in English)!

I am new so it may be still here on my desktop but cannot find it?

I AM Using Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy and Xdm GUI

By: Anonymous

What do you mean, "like" 5 audio players? Idiot. It's called choice. Use what you like, don't use the others.

By: Anonymous

I upgraded from 8.04 to 8.10.  adobe flash 10 addon for firefox 3 was working in 8.04.  In 8.10 the audio doesn't work for flash 10.  Pulseaudio makes no sound when i click the test button.  autodetect sound doesn't work. Tried different sound settings and Tried different internet searched solutions to no avail.  Unfortunately, the internet has lots of flash media content.  My experience has been sound is flaky in ubuntu 8.10, for my upgraded pc.  I'm considering wiping 8.10 off my pc and loading 8.04 back onto it.  I should have used the live cd version of 8.10 to make sure it behaved ok on my PC.



By: lordnino

yes we got the same problem. i can use sound on my desktop players at any file types but through internet i got no sound!!!! i hope somebody will help!!!

By: Anonymous

I had huge problems with Pulse for ages but then eventually I worked out that it refused to comply with the Ubuntu directive to find SBLIve even though it was set as a the default sound card.  I disabled the onboard AC97 (Via) and Pulse works like a charm.  I'm not saying it's a solution to your problem but it's just how I eventually sorted it out.

By: Anonymous

You should have gone to ubuntu forums, the problem your having is a libcanberra bug theres a fix for it, I havnt had any problems with intrepid since i fixed it, you can also go to launchpad where they explain how to obtain this bugfix.

By: Streetdaddy

With a little extra setup, the default text editor for Gnome (gedit) is a fantastic for light weight code cutting whilst still having all the useful bits like syntax highlighting...  Definitely my choice over those you've mentioned above.

  • VERY STABLE! You won't lose your work due to a crash!
  • Syntax highlighting for PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and just about any other language you'll use as a web developer.
  • Line numbers.
  • Right margin guide.
  • Auto Indentation
  • Indent/Unindent selected block of code
  • Spaces or tabs with cusomizable tab width and optional modeline support.
  • more...  :
I've used many bloated and lightweight editors for LAMP development on different platforms over the years, and I find gedit the most productive for me by far.

By: Anonymous

The base ubuntu install doesn't - It only comes with Rhythmbox.

By: Anonymous

why does it come with like 5 audio players?

 confusing pile of shit

By: Anonymous

Don't use XMMS. its deprecated

Audacious is  a better Winamp replacement with gtk2

By: Anonymous

its actually installing xmms2 in this tutorial, but id rather compile xmms as its still the best winamp clone, at least until i can get another audio player that can use an EQ properly.. every other player just gives flat horrible sound (im on a laptop, speakers are decent with a decent EQ).  Audacious would be nice if the EQ worked properly, as when i switch it on i get a "fuzzyness". Only xmms1 gives me nice results, and can import my winamp presets too..


By: Anonymous

Does this HowTo work to Ubuntu 8.10 AMD64 ???

By: dekaru

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. --Antoine de Saint-Exupery