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

The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

This tutorial shows how you can set up an Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) 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
  • 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


  • 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 9.04 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 Use the entire disk is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you're doing. 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 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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38 Comment(s)

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By: Mike

For some it's free as in I can get my work done without my OS always being in my face about something.

The politics of software are transparent to some of us who are content with working with what's available to get our work, yes work, as in salary or by the hour, work, done.

 I don't know about anyone else, but for me it just works better than anything else I have access to; for me it (linux it's self) is perfect.

By: Don

I'm on a 6 yr old Dell, with 8.04.  I verified chksum, rebooted into CD with 9.10, selected Engish, then saw small, garbled chars at top screen, and waited for 10 minutes, then tried hitting keys, mouse, etc.  Mouse cursor worked, and disc light would blink after hitting keys.  I gave up and rebooted into 8.10. 

By: Anonymous

Same issue, with a 5 year old Dell. Garbled stuff in the middle of the screen.

Hardy enough, I downloaded the alt-install disk, and did an install. It boots, and kind-of-works, but the graphics still are failing. Any message screen will come up blank. Wasnt even possible to update / upgrade packages.

I am now using the terminal to manually update, with the hope that the right driver for the Integrated Intel Video 810 will come up and solve the issues.

This was supposed to be the version of Ubuntu, with zero installation problems...


By: Anonymous

I have a Dell D600 Laptop and with hardware this old I just download the alternate installation (.iso) and I had now problem installing it. I runs fast.  It's just a text based installation that very easy to use.

Use this link


I've read about these problems. As far as I know it is a problem with the Intel graphics drivers as they are overhauled at the moment. Ubuntu really should not have delivered the new drivers when they are not finished yet.

By: Carlo

Apparently the freezes can be worked around by upgrading to a 2.6.29 or higher kernel.

In standard Ubuntu, a mainline kernel can be installed.

I run the 'realtime' kernel, and fixed things by installing the 64studio kernel, as described in the UbuntuStudio post.

By: Anonymous

In my experience with Ubuntu 9.04 it is NOT the perfect desktop.  I have a HP XE783 desktop PC with 1ghz CPU 512mb ram Intel 810 motherboard graphics.  The version of XORG used in 9.04 installs a graphics driver that will not function properly.  It is unusable.  I tried Ubuntu 8.10 and pulseaudio broke the sound in it.  Flash player had no sound.  Searched the internet and Tried all kinds of command line fixes to no avail.  I guess if you have an old PC look elsewhere for a linux distribution.  I am not happy with the last 2 releases of Ubuntu.  I still have the 8.04 version on another partition so I'm using it at least the 9.04 install left the 8.04 install on seperate partition.  I have a BS in computer science and I can just imagine how flusterated an average computer user would be trying to get this stuff to work properly. Seems to me that ubuntu wants to only work with latest HARDWARE for this release. 

By: ben2talk

I have to agree with this post. I am happy to see positive input to the internet about Ubuntu. My desktop is excellent, stable, fully featured and - in my view - the best.

 However, this site does try to give the impression that it's perfect - and that's a very silly thing to do - this is what's called a 'fanboy' site. 

'Fanboy' psychology attracts schoolboys, not intelligent people - I'd prefer to see it toned down just a little.


In my view, Ubuntu can prove to be an ideal desktop for most people - depending to some extent on hardware. If it works, use it. If it doesn't, then report the bugs and then wait. I started a dual-boot with 7.04 and had a few nightmares, and learned a fair bit (in my opinion - actually it's not too much).

 I would say that generally, installation and most jobs are easier for me in Ubuntu than they were in Windows, I am not familiar with Mac (though the shell is surely very similar) - but when the system breaks, you should simply try something else. 

Calm down - we've got something great, but let's not cheapen it by overstating it. There are many bugs, there are (for some people) hardware problems, and not all problems are automagically fixed - not yet.

 Development is extreme - so much faster than any other OS - that it seems impossible that linux can stay on a back burner forever. Shouting won't help - just contribute and help.


For people using Ubuntu, I'd say PLEASE don't go to Evangelistic lengths to spread news. It worked for Microsoft because they had a very careful campaign for years - and now Winodws users themselves embody the culture of Evangelism (shouting from the rooftops about how amazing it is, when really there's nothing much there).


By: paul

hey mate , try mandriva 2009.1 spring on LXDE , works sweet on that machine , picks up everything , and since its lxde fast boot time on ext4 , u are only meeting minimum requirements for gnome as it is , hope this helps

By: Anonymous

I have had Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 for about a year, without any Flashplayer problems on a Dell emachine.  Recently I installed a SoundblasterLive! card, and even though I have sound on my desktop with MP3's & Movieplayer, I suddenly have NO SOUND with any of Adobe's downloads for Flashplayer, nor the new Synaptics Flashplayer 10.1, nor the Linux add-on for Flashplayer in Mozilla.  The site is developing one for x86_64, but the alpha version would uninstall Browser 3.5-3.6 !  Thank you for your post. :)

By: Brian S

I just finished a 9.04 install and everything went very well. Networking works just as well as it did in 8.10. You may have some other issues not related solely to 9.04.

By: entsu

The guide is great, thanks.

I agree that there would be copy-paste version of software list to be used with apt-get. 


After java (sun) is installed it is not enabled by default. At least in my case. You need to enable it by running 1-2 commands.

  • Open a Terminal window
  • Run sudo update-java-alternatives -l to see the current configuration and possibilities.

  • Run sudo update-java-alternatives -s XXXX to set the XXX java version as default. For Sun Java 6 this would be sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-6-sun

  • Run java -version to ensure that the correct version is being called.

By: Andy

The weird thing is that the working drivers ( well they work for me ) are on the AMD Catalyst driver download page. The version in the Ubuntu repository is older and broken, why don't they update them ?


By: brian

Like Falko said, there are many ways to achieve a perfect desktop, this is the one he chose and other than stuff I personally don't use it is a very good tute(just don't include the stuff you don't use, really its as easy as that)... If you don't want to use the video drivers, the codecs, browsers, whatever... You don't have to. While I agree that all the world should be free of proprietary software it's stupid to shout at a guy for teaching people how to start to free themselves of their shackles AND confuse those new to the whole idea. I recommend you take your rhetoric to a more appropriate forum. Oh yeah, take the guy who always screams in the comment section that GIMP is not a Photo Shop replacement(thats it's job). He is as daft as you! ;-)

By: markit

It's full of proprietary software!!!

If you want to stay in slavery and be dominated by proprietary software, just stick with Windows that is far better in this regards.

Really don't understand why one would want to use GNU/Linux to be free as in freedom, and then fill it with non-free software.

Maybe people don't value their freedom, and are looking just to something new to show to their friends? What about an amazing and new XP theme then?

By: Anonymous

To be fair, you haven't just outlined a replacement for a Windows desktop, you have replaced a Windows desktop PLUS a lot of additional programs.

I've used nothing but Ubuntu for over a year on two different home machines and am perfectly satisfied with it.

By: Pedro Saraiva

Yes, Jaunty is a very nice desktop.

However for the first time, I'm getting problems with an Ubuntu distribution.

The major one is really serious, as my desktop completely freezes, and the freezes appear to be random, where only the mouse cursor can be moved. If this doesn't get fixed soon, I have to find another distro.

Other annoying bugs, are:

Burning in Brazero is slow, and incapable of burning video dvds.

Writing files to USB pen drives is slow.

By: Carlo

I have an ATI Radeon Xpress 200M and was experiencing freezes. The custom package described in worked for me to fix the freezes.

By: Anonymous

I ran fglrx (radeon 1950) before I upgraded to 9.04 and I must say using the open source ATI driver is a real step up at least for none 3d applications and games.

This is actually the first Ubuntu release that I use compiz on as it's not dog slow as it was with fglrx. So for normal computer usage (not playing Open GL games etc.) I recommend upgrading any time.

By: Tony R.

Within the first week a number of users on the Ubuntu forums are reporting difficulties with USB devices that worked fine on earlier Ubuntu releases, as well as seriously broken network functionality, particularly getting Samba to work in a LAN for interoperability with Windows machines. I found the network performance to be unacceptable in a brief test, running perhaps at 1/10th to 1/50th the speed of Ubuntu 8.10 ("Intrepid Ibex") on the same machine over a wireless connection.  The Google home page ( loads in less than a second on 8.10, but takes nearly a minute with 9.04; the Weather Underground site comes up in less than eight seconds on 8.10, but doesn't finish in ten minutes (yes, 10 MINUTES!) on 9.04. Since the network ran so poorly out of the box, I never even got as far as trying to set up Samba on Ubuntu 9.04 ("Jaunty Jackalope"). I'm sticking with release 8.10 for the duration and shall see if 9.10 is any better this October. Release 9.04 is unusable, in my opinion.

By: Anonymous

Broken detection of devices operating in MSC mode rather than MTP is due to bugs in libgphoto and libmtp. I don't use any MTP devices, so this has been a bit of a pain for me. Surely, breaking MSC operation for the sake of MTP is the wrong way to go! I don't have any other real issues. My networking works just as well as always.

By: lvleph

If it is so perfect, then why is fglrx broken? Yes, I know it is ATI's fault, but I can't upgrade because of this issue.

By: elderlybloke

I am waiting for a month at least before upgrading to 9.04, as the Forum has a lot of those who have upgraded (or tried to ) have got problems .

 Some of them quite serious ones.

 So I am going to be patient and wait for a  few bugs to get fixed.

 It is not costing me anything so I wont moan about it.

By: crypt3m4

I suggest a wonderful WYSIWYG HTML editor in Programming section: Komodo Edit 5.

Thanks very much for this great tutorial!

By: AnonymousAlso

I found this guide really helpful. Thank you very much. Got my Ubuntu installed very well for a first-timer.

By: Anonymous

I either get black boxes (comedy central) or don't play at all (hulu).  Any ideas?

By: sladden


For a variety of reasons I just returned from 100% Ubuntu to dual-boot with winXP.

I discovered what I think is a serious fault in Ubuntu 9.04.

During boot it does not recognize a USB keyboard. Which means that you can only open into Ubuntu.

That caused me no major problem because I have several keyboards and I just swapped for one which plugged into the keyboard socket.

But I have noticed that nowadays a lot of people only use USB.

So inexperienced people coming across from windows who want dual boot will probably hit the panic button. 

By: derblack

I think the problem you're having does not have anything to do with ubuntu. Try enabling the following setting in your BIOS: "Enable USB Legacy support". It will now let you choose the options in GRUB.

I have had the same problem before, after my mainboard battery went dead.My BIOS options were all put back to default. After enabling this all is well.

Hope that helps.

Best regards, D.


I'm austin. This site has a lot to offer, so i signed up.

Plus I realized that otherwise, I could not take ownership for my bad comments or my "attitude problems". I will try to workup a more adequate comment than the 10 point list above. Its really just accessory issues that I have. My XP "fix/post-install list is over 100 items =(

Thanks for posting my long-winded business. I really hope some of that saves someone else time. In "gedit" you can go to preferences, plugins and add a snippet manager also for those who write repeating code or letters. Thanks!

By: austin

Great article! Love to review what I've found true as well. First, my random notes of simple things to do FIRST before getting nuts apps:

1) go-to applications menu -> accessories -> and: right-click on terminal and "add to panel".you can also go to system preferences then keyboard shortcuts menu item. I scrolled down and selected "terminal" and typed [Ctrl] [Alt] [T](or pick another combination of keys if you please!)

2) click terminal icon and update and upgrade before installing lots of apps:
sudo apt-get update **AND** sudo apt-get upgrade

3) fix vi (VIM) sudo apt-get install vim-nox

4) burn cd/dvd with either or both of these: sudo apt-get install k3b gnomebaker

5) Windoze migrators might want filezilla or putty
sudo apt-get install filezilla putty putty-tools

6) Winblows users familiar with streamripper (think winamp+streamripper) will find this handy:
sudo apt-get install streamripper tunapie ((you might look at streamtuner as well))

7) You can migrate from Peer Guardian2 to Moblock - points to

Add repositories for that:
deb jaunty main
deb-src jaunty main

gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 9C0042C8
gpg --export --armor 9C0042C8 | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install moblock blockcontrol mobloquer

8) Just like other OS, you have to get flash, Sun (or other) Java RE, etc separately and post-installation.
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre adobe-flashplugin

9) *** Visit Google: type "Ubuntu" and "application name"
Example: Ubuntu Kino
Kino is and excellent free DV video editor producing high quality low file-size ogg video or other output. The links you'll find there will show many ubuntu forums topics, along side this howtoforge site's tutorials.

10)as a "side", you might kill website adverts also: mozilla-firefox-adblock (this can be added apt-get, through synaptic, or directly in firefox under tools -> addons -> search "adblock"
[[HINT: the one you want has the BIG RED STOP SIGN icon!! ]]
On first load, configure subscriptions (If I was to use this I might always select the first listed item and be totally happy with my choice.)

I'm so sick of hearing people crap on linux and especially Ubuntu. People hiding in their caves often yell at the passerby in fear. Nothing more. It has always been this way with man and monkey. Don't fear freely available software. The alternative costs a lot but seem to be losing value. Viva la Ubuntu final touches. Karmic will be interesting all polished up. I already have that installed! woot!

I only disagree with ONE THING IN THIS ARTICLE!!!!
you mention “adobe reader” under office applications. WTF BBQ?

Ubuntu comes with a built in PDF reader. It generates thumbnails for PDFs. Open Office will create PDFs. Please correct or explain why that is included here as it is!

You're the boss! Have a great time playing with Ubuntu. Buy a faster processor and more hard drive space instead!


This is a well laid out tutorial and works very well - about 98% of the way through. By no means am I being critical of the author, but readers need to understand that this information was developed in the very sanitized environment of a virtual machine (though, admittedly, I'd probably do it the same way as there are simply too many permutations of machines out there).

Full disclosure - I have installed Ubuntu AMD-64 9.04 on a Intel Quad on an Intel DG965WH moboard with 8GB RAM, 4 x 500 GB SATA disk drives (non RAID), CD drive (IDE) and DVD drive (SATA). Video is from an nVidia GeForce 8500GT with dual monitors (TwinView used). Used this tutorial as the guide.

First piece of advice - with the above machine, probably due to BIOS issues, I have found using a disc-at-once CD in the DVD drive works far better than in the CD drive (which often has issues of slow reading). Second, update the system BEFORE thinking of installing any proprietary nVidia drivers (if one of the updates is a kernel - guess what, you're doing the vid card install again!). Not an issue yet as 9.04 is just out, but will be at some point.

In the main - this howto is definitely worth following (with that small grain of salt thing). Thanks!

By: RangerX_308

Go here, this should work for you:


Good luck.  It's a great laptop even with the audio eccentricities.....


By: Martin Petrov

Here you find more information for bulgarian languages-

By: Anonymous

Fantastic article!  All works well by following this article, particularly the adding of repository discussions.  Being a total nOOb with Linux, got me off to a great start!  


Thanks for your contribution for us fed up M$ converts!

By: Ramiro Arias

Your article is absolutely fantastic. You are in the rare group that believes that nothing is more explicative than a graph and put it in practice. My congratulations. It is very comforting to see an article like this. I followed your instructions and installed some software that I was needing in my computer.

 I have an HP Pavilion dv7t-2000 with Ubuntu 9.04.

By the way, sound in my computer does not work under Ubuntu, just under Windows Vista. I would appreciate if you consider to write an article just about sound.

Thanks and regards
Ramiro Arias

By: Jose Luis

I had the same problem on the quite same machine. Some data on the system I have:

[email protected]:~$ uname -a
Linux jose-laptop 2.6.28-15-generic #52-Ubuntu SMP Wed Sep 9 10:48:52 UTC 2009 x86_64 GNU/Linux

[email protected]:~$ lspci | grep Audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

1. Install ALSA UPGRADE SCRIPT see instructions below

2.Fix the bug more probably related to the Intel sound card HDA 82801I (ICH9 Family) than to HP Laptops acording to instructions:

1. edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and add the following line:

"options snd-hda-intel enable_msi=1"

It worked fine for me. 


By: Zakir

i have many codecs in my hard disk what is downloaded by my friend but i 'm unable to use this codes because i don't know how to use install this codecs. Also I don't know the commands of terminal that is why the problems r happening. Plz help me !

By: Disgruntled Dingo

While this operating system may in theory be able to replace windows, in reality it falls short of that.

Two major things that I've noticeinstalling this system:

- It seems to want to create a new wireless network as opposed to simply connecting to one.

- What kind of operating system has the turn off button right next to the close window button? That's just five star short sightedness.

Just thought I'd point this out.

Kind regards,


Disgruntled Dingo