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16 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

 

app-tile-guide

But before you award yourself a well-earned pat on the back I heartily suggest you check out this list of the top 16 things to do after installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

16 things to do after installing Ubuntu 16.04
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You’ll find it jam-packed with common-sense tips, nifty tweaks and helpful advice. It doesn’t matter if you’re a brand new Ubuntu user (welcome!) or an experienced stalwart (how’s it going?) – you’ll find something of use.

Feel free to use the comments section at the bottom of this article to share you own post-install must-dos with other readers.

Ready to dive in?

1. See What’s New in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

ubuntu 16.04 lts xenial xerus

New options! New apps! New kernel! New… everything!

Some exciting new changes feature in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS so be sure to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what’s new and improved.

Whether you upgrade from 2014’s Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or waddle on up through the Wily Werewolf, you’re going to find the same neat new features and apps on offer.

For example, if you’re doing a fresh install then the Unity Dash no longer includes online search features by default.You will need to explicitly opt-in to see web links, shopping results and other cruft in the Unity Dash. In earlier versions of Ubuntu you had to opt-out.

Seasoned Ubuntu pros and fresh-faced newbies alike can peruse a full list of all the natty new features in our release recap post:

See What’s New In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

2. Check for Any Last Minute Updates

ubuntu update notification

Update notification in Ubuntu 16.04

Now that you’re up to speed on what’s new, next step is tocheck for updates.

Yes, I appreciate that this sounds like an odd thing to do after upgrading or installing but it’s important that you do it.

Firstly, not everyone is reading this list on release date. And even if you are, a few last-minute security, stability or bug fixes may have slipped out between the installation image being created and you installing from it — bugs don’t stick to the same deadlines that developers do!

How to check for updates on Ubuntu:

  1. Launch the ‘Software Updater’ tool from the Unity Dash
  2. Click the button to check for updates
  3. Install (if needed)

3. Install Linux Graphics Drivers

drivers

Install GPU drivers

Ubuntu supports most Nvidia and Intel graphics hardware out of the box, giving you a choice of free, open-source drivers or proprietary, closed-source drivers.

But to get the best performance from your Ubuntu PCyou will want to use the latest proprietary graphics drivers available for your hardware.

Ubuntu makes it easy to do this, and you benefit from a smoother Unity desktop experience as a result.  You’ll squeeze higher frame rates out of your favourite games, too. 😉

If you plan to play the latest Steam games on Ubuntu or use GPU heavy apps like Blender you should install the latest proprietary Linux graphics drivers available for your hardware.

To do this:

  1. Open up the ‘Software & Updates’ tool from the Unity Dash
  2. Click the ‘Additional Drivers’ tab
  3. Follow any on-screen prompts to check for, install and apply any changes 

Gamers using Nvidia hardware who are willing to trade a bit of stability for a whole lot of newness can use the Nvidia Graphics PPA to install newer Nvidia Linux graphics drivers.

 

Those of you on Radeon device should be aware that the standard AMD driver is NOT SUPPORTED in 16.04 at this time. A future point release is expected to bring support for the new AMDGPU driver. Expect a regression in system performance if you upgrade.

4. Install Media Codecs

rythmbox-in-ubuntu

Playing MP3s in Rhythmbox

Legal issues stop Ubuntu from being able to play MP3, MP4 and other media files ‘out of the box’.

Ubuntu can play your audio and video files, you just have to tell it to do so.

The easiest way to do this is to check (tick) the ‘Enable Restricted Formats‘ box during installation. This will install all the required multimedia codecs automatically, along with the OS itself.

If you forgot to do that (or upgrade from an earlier release) you can install the multimedia codecs manually via the Software app:

Install Ubuntu Restricted Extras

5. Enable ‘Minimise on Click’

unity launcher

Click on an app launcher icon to open an app. Click on the same icon again to minimise the app. Intuitive, right?

That may be, but it is not the default behaviour in Unity — which can be off-putting to new users. It’s also not obvious how to enable it.

Run the following command (or install/use Unity Tweak Tool > Unity > Launcher > Minimise):

gsettings set org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ launcher-minimize-window true

6. Move The Unity Launcher

2016-04-06 20_25_32

Ubuntu positions its app launcher on the left-hand side of the desktop by default.

Ubuntu 16.04 finally lets you choose where the Unity launcher is positioned.

If you want to move the Unity launcher to the bottom of the screen run the following command in a new Terminal (or install/use Unity Tweak Tool > Unity > Launcher > Position):

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

7. Install New GTK and Icon Themes

greybird and arc GTK themes

Ubuntu can be themed to suit your tastes

Ubuntu’s default look is nice enough, but it’s not to everyone’s tastes.

For those who switch to Ubuntu from Mac OS X, Windows 10 or a different design-led Linux distro like elementary, the stock Ambiance GTK theme and Ubuntu Mono icon set can seem humdrum and old-fashioned.

The good news is that it is easy to make Ubuntu look fantastic. You can do this in a number of ways.

The ‘Appearance‘ section in Ubuntu System Settings lets you adjust parts of the Ubuntu desktop to suit your needs, including:

  • Change the desktop wallpaper
  • Switch to a light theme
  • Adjust the size of icons on the Unity launcher

For more customization options, be it changing the desktop font or choosing which side window controls appear, install the free Unity Tweak Tool from Software.

Install Unity Tweak Tool from the Ubuntu Software Center

For a more thorough visual revamp you can install new GTK and icon themes, like our current favourite Arc.

Sift through our Themes section to find other ‘eye candy’, including desktop wallpapers, widgets and cool apps.

8. Decide Where App Menus Show Up

Do you prefer app menus to be in app?

Do you prefer app menus to show in-app?

Application menus appear in Ubuntu’s top panel by default and auto-hide after a set several seconds.

A great way to save space, but also a great way to confuse. When you’re using several apps it’s often hard to know which app the ‘Files’, ‘Edit’, etc. strip at the top of the screen belongs to — or where they’ve suddenly vanished to!

Ubuntu provides options inside the System Settings > Appearance pane that allow you to choose where app menus appear.

If you’d rather see menus inside the window of the app they belong to:

  1. Go to ‘System Settings > Appearance’
  2. Select the ‘Behavior’ tab
  3. Find the section headed: ‘Show the Menus for a Window’
  4. Check (click) the circle next to ‘In the window’s title bar’

To make application menus ‘Always Show’:

  1. Go to ‘System Settings > Appearance’
  2. Select the ‘Behavior’ tab
  3. Find the section headed: ‘Menus visibility’
  4. Check (click) the circle next to ‘Always displayed’

9. Explore The New ‘Software’ Store

software center new to ubuntu 16.04 LTS

A new software store ships as part of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

Direct from the department of “Long Overdue Changes”,  this all-new app store replaces the Ubuntu Software Center which has shipped in every Ubuntu release since Ubuntu 9.10!

‘Software’ (inspired name, right?) is a sleeker, snappier storefront letting you browse, install and update apps. If you’re used to the old Software Center then be prepared to relearn a few tricks.

The ‘Software’ tool is host to thousands of free apps, including:

  • Steam – Game distribution platform
  • GIMP – Advanced image editor similar to Photoshop
  • Corebird – Desktop Twitter client
  • VLC – Versatile media player
  • Chromium – Open-source web browser (differences)
  • Skype¹ – VoIP service
  • Shutter – Screenshot annotation tool

10. Install Your Favourite Apps

third party linux apps

Not every app you wish to use is available to install through the new Software tool. In fact, a wealth of awesome Linux software exists outside of the main Ubuntu repositories.

You won’t find these in the Ubuntu software store. Easy-to-install .Deb package downloads, which you double-click on to install, are available for most of the following apps:

The official websites of the apps mentioned are linked above to help you learn more about them and to download an Ubuntu installer.

If you want even more awesome app suggestions why not bookmark our Apps section?

View App Posts on OMG! Ubuntu!

11. Sync Your Cloud Account(s)

Dropbox

Dropbox

You know that having a backup of your important files, folders and documents is super important.

Whether you prefer to pocket your personal files in Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive, try to get everything in sync as soon as possible after your install.

Most major cloud providers, excepting Apple iCloud, can be used on Ubuntu. Some of these are easier to set up than others, though:

  • Dropbox provides a native Linux client that is regularly updated
  • OwnCloud lets you host your own personal cloud for ultimate control
  • OneDrive is accessible through third-party scripts
  • InSync offers unofficial Google Drive Linux support (for a fee)

Also keep in mind that not all of the apps listed integrate with Nautilus, the file manager used in Ubuntu.

12. Install Adobe Flash on Linux

Flash sucks, but for some sites you may not have the option of not using it.

Adobe officially stopped supporting Flash on Linux in 2012 and many web browsers are in the process of dropping support for its NPAPI architecture.

The overall best solution for using Flash on Linux is to download and use Google Chrome. Chrome comes with anup-to-date version of the Flash plugin built-in. In fact it’s the only way to get the latest Flash player updates on Linux — and it’s a PPAPI plugin, too.

But I appreciate that not everyone wants to use Chrome. Some of you may be using a 32-bit version of Ubuntu, which Chrome no longer supports. Whatever the reason you need it, here’s how to get it:

Install Flash Player Plugin

If you want to watch Amazon Instant Video, Hulu or any other sites that uses DRM through HAL, we’ve got a guide on that.

13. Supercharge The Unity Dash

search-settings

A lone toggle

The Unity Dash is the hub of the OS. You can search, preview and open recent files, folders, installed apps and media content.

But it can do so much more if you ask it to.

How does checking the weather forecast without leaving your desktop sound? What about sifting through Wikipedia articles, previewing music on SoundCloud, or browsing eBay? All possible when you enable Unity’s online search feature.

Head to the Privacy & Security section of System Settings. From there you can also:

  • Enable online search features in the Unity Dash
  • Choose which folders and files appear in the Dash
  • Turn on/off automatic error reporting

14. Pick a Gnarly New Wallpaper

wallpapers-in-ubuntu-1604

If the default wallpapers chosen for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS don’t quite meet your taste, feel free to change it.

The Xubuntu Community Wallpaper package from the Software store has a collection of 10 high-resolution nature photographs, including a cute nut-nibbling squirrel!

Install Xubuntu community wallpapers

Check our Wallpaper category for even more inspiration.

15. Install a System Cleaner

Caches and cruft accumulate as you use Ubuntu. To keep your fresh install feeling, well, fresh you should do a bit of basic housekeeping from time to time.

bleachbit running on ubuntu 16.04

One of my favourite system cleaning apps is BleachBit (free, open source). BleachBit can tackle menial tasks, from clearing your browser’s cache to deleting packages left over from installation, all at the push of a button.

If you upgrade from an earlier version of Ubuntu using a system cleaning tool (or command) is a foolproof way to claw back some precious space. You’ll also keep your system running lean ‘n mean — which is always bonus!

Just be careful about what you clean: don’t remove anything you’re unsure of.

Install BleachBit on Ubuntu

16. Tell Others About Ubuntu

xenial xerus mascot

If the 15 steps before this one are the bread, then this 16th idea is definitely the cheese! 😉

If you try Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and like it remember to tell someone about it.

There are plenty of ways to tell other people about Ubuntu (and open-source software in general). You might:

  • Burn a Live DVD/USB for someone you know to try
  • Share what you like about it on social media and blogs
  • Contribute to development by reporting bugs
  • Wear an Ubuntu t-shirt or put Linux stickers on your laptops
  • Join an Ubuntu LoCo team or Linux User Group

If you have your own top tips for spreading word about Ubuntu do share them in the comments section below.

Over To You: What Are Your Post-Install Tips?

Those are our action items post-release, but what are yours? Share your tips and tweaks in the comments section below.

A polite notice: This list is about things do after installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. If you don’t want to use Unity don’t install the regular version of Ubuntu. Several community flavors ship with other desktop environments installed and integrated by default. Save yourself the hassle of ‘uninstalling Unity’ by installing one that doesn’t include it!

¹Requires the Canonical partner repository 

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Released, This Is What’s New

ubuntu 16.04 lts desktop screenshot

It’s finally here: the stable Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release is now available to download.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (‘Xenial Xerus’) is supported for 5 years with critical security, bug and app updates from Canonical, the company that makes Ubuntu.

And as a ‘Long Term Support’ release this version of Ubuntu become the new recommended install, the one that new users should use.

Before you scroll down to see what’s new & improved you may want to start your download now, so let’s take care of that…

Download Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

To get your download faster, and help others get theirs quicker too, use the official Ubuntu Torrents:

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64-bit Torrent Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 32-bit Torrent

Remember: you do not have to do a fresh install to get the latest version. You can upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 from Ubuntu 15.10 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS using the Update Manager app.

Ubuntu 16.04 — New Features

Linux Kernel 4.4

TuxlogoUbuntu 16.04 LTS ships with a modified version of Linux 4.4 kernel.

It introduces numerable improvements to system stability, performance, power efficiency, and file system handling, and introduces support for newer Intel and AMD hardware.

  • Improved Intel Skylake processor support
  • 3D support in the virtual GPU driver
  • New driver for Corsair Vengeance K90
  • Support for TPM 2.0 chips
  • Journaled RAID 5 support

It also introduces drivers for the Logitech G29 racing wheel and enables support for hardware features on some newer Toshiba laptops.

ZFS

A bigger (and somewhat controversial) change is the addition of support for the Zfs filesystem on Linux — the first version of Ubuntu to support it natively, out of the box.

ZFS is best described as a combination of a volume manager (like LVM) and a filesystem (like ext4, which remains the default for Ubuntu installations).

Ubuntu has produced a reference guide to help those interested in filesystems take advantage of ZFS on Xenial.

Other System Changes

Python 3.5 is default in 16.04. Apps that are based on and/or use Python 2 remain available and will continue work as normal. Developers are advised to upgrade their software to take advantage of Python 3.

As we’ve previously warned, if you use a device with AMD Radeon graphics hardware you should NOT upgrade at present. The fglrx driver is now deprecated in 16.04, and although open source alternatives (radeon and amdgpu) are recommended, they do not deliver comparable performance.

Snappy

apps on ubuntu

Snappy is Ubuntu’s brand new packaging format. It aims to help app developers bring newer versions of their apps to the Ubuntu desktop, instantly, reliably and safely.

We took a look at the key benefits of Snap packages in an earlier post, which is well worth a read for a full rundown.

But the short of it is this: you will get to install new versions of your favourite apps in Ubuntu sooner than before, and without having to worry about missing or out of date dependencies.

New Keyboard Shortcuts

The default shortcut for opening the HUD (the ‘heads-up display’ that lets you quickly search for options in the menu of focus applications) changes from ALT to ALT+SPACE in this release.

The window control keybinding changes from  alt-super.

Unity 7.4

2016-04-06 20_25_32

Unity is Ubuntu’s default desktop shell. A host of bug fixesfor some long-standing issues feature in its latest outing.

Yes, as you may have heard by now, Ubuntu 16.04 finally lets you move the Unity launcher to the bottom of the screen — six long years after users first asked.

The ‘option’ to change the position is not exposed via the native system settings app, instead lurking in the nerdy nether regions of the dconf-editor. Third-party utilities like Unity Tweak Tool (available from Ubuntu Software) offer an easier, one-click toggle, however.

Ubuntu’s controversial online search features are now disabled by default for new installs.

A victory for the privacy conscious,you’ll no longer need to sift through  tangentially related eBay, Wikipedia and web results when hunting down a local file or app.

Session shortcuts have been added to the Dash to make it even faster to reboot, logout or shutdown your PC.

unity session shortcuts

Other changes in Unity 7.4:

  • Removable devices now have launcher shortcuts
  • ‘Format’ option added to device quicklist
  • Improved appearance of apps that use CSD
  • New app spread shortcut: Super + Ctrl + W
  • Window management fix for Trash
  • New HUD shortcut: Alt + Space (previously just ‘Alt’)
  • Option to ‘Always Show Menus’ in System Settings
  • Dash: new overlay scrollbars
  • Improved HiDPI support
  • Apps now show launcher icons while loading

LTS to LTS Changes

Easily create desktop shortcuts

Changes since Unity 7.2 (used in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS)

Since a good chunk of you will be doing an upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS we’ll mention some other notable tweaks to the desktop shell since the version you’re used to was released.

Among them:

  • App menus can be made to ‘Always Show’
  • Faster login & logout animations
  • New overlay scrollbars (no more thumb scrubber)
  • Drag and drop apps from the Dash to the desktop to create shortcuts
  • Computer can no longer be ‘shutdown’ when the screen is locked
  • Dash: Keyboard navigation improvements
  • New setting to control the show-now delay (when pressing Alt key)

The Sound Menu will show a microphone input volume slider on devices with a built-in (or connected) microphone. In earlier versions the input slider was only shown when the microphone was actively in use by an application.

sound menu microphone input

New Default Wallpaper

ubuntu 16.04 wallpaper

The new default desktop background

Almost every new version of Ubuntu comes with a new desktop background and a selection of new community-contributed wallpapers.

The default desktop background is a palatable mish-mash of purple, though far removed from the heady days of the Hardy Heron! Whether you keep it or change it, the new default desktop wallpaper will at least make it easier to spot Ubuntu in the wild! 

Application Updates

software center new to ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Several new apps ship as part of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, including a new desktop calendar app and a brand-new software store (pictured above).

Both are welcome additions to the desktop, with Calendar able to show your upcoming appointments and reminders in the Datetime Indicator.

The new Software app replaces the Ubuntu Software Center.  Use it to search for, browse and install from hundreds of thousands of free and open-source application, as well as a few non-open-source and paid apps, too.

It’s not perfect — it doesn’t always mark installed apps correctly, it leaves behind dependencies on uninstalls — but these bugs will be fixed in subsequent updates.

The Cheese webcam booth lets you — surprise — take screen-lit selfies using your webcam.

The latest releases of Mozilla’s Firefox web-browser and Thunderbird e-mail client are (naturally) also included, as are new versions of other key apps like LibreOffice, Evince and the Eye of GNOME image viewer.

software calendar and usb creator

Software, Calendar and USB Startup Creator

Two apps you will no longer find on new installs are the disc-burning utility Brasero and the instant-messaging client Empathy.

Both have been removed from the ISO image.

If you’re upgrading from an earlier release note that these apps won’t be uninstalled.

A Most Xenodochial Release

‘94% of readers say they plan to upgrade — it’s a must-have release’

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is a must-have upgrade.

And that’s not just my opinion — over 18,000 of you have so far voted in our intentions poll and 94% of you plan to upgrade.

Unity 7 once again removes ammunition for its critics to fire.

Xenial is an agreeable release. It’s a desktop operating system that’s as well suited for end users as it is developers as it is mainframes like the IBM LinuxOne.

Many often think of “convergence” as being solely a smartphone that becomes a PC. But from smartphones to supercomputers, Ubuntu is already converged.

With a support period of five years, the lure of new apps through the promising Snappy package system, and the very best hardware support, the case for not upgrading is pretty thin.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in a nutshell:

  • Improved Unity desktop
  • Online searches disabled in Dash
  • Linux Kernel 4.4
  • New Software store
  • Updated apps, inc. LibreOffice 5.1
  • New desktop calendar app
  • Support for ZFS
  • Python 3.5

Ubuntu 16.04 Download

Chances are you want a copy, so hit the button below to grab your Ubuntu 16.04 download.

Looking for Ubuntu 16.04 downloads? .ISO images are available to download direct from Canonical through your browser:

Download Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

If you want to get download faster — and help others do the same — use the official torrents:

Ubuntu 16.04 Desktop (64bit) Torrent Ubuntu 16.04 Desktop (32bit) Torrent

Upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 or 15.10

upgrading ubuntu trusty to xenial

To upgrade Ubuntu 15.10 to Ubuntu 16.04 you’ll need to be patient; you’ll get a notification prompt asking if you want to upgrade at some point in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS users will be notified of the upgrade in the summer, with the release of Ubuntu 16.04.1. DOn’t want to wait? We’ve got you covered.

How to clear the terminal command history

terminal

Clearing typed commands from terminal history: By default, up to the last 500 command lines a user types in the terminal window are saved into a hidden .bash_history file. The previously typed commands can be readily accessed by using the up and down arrow keys. This makes it easy to retrieve and reuse your recently used commands. However, maybe you want to clear the terminal command history list and start fresh?

This simple tutorial explains the process of viewing and then optionally clearing the terminal history.

Viewing the complete terminal command history:

To view the complete history of commands typed in the terminal “for the logged in user”, open the terminal and type history

How to clear the terminal command line history:

  1. Login with the user account whose terminal history you plan to clear
  2. Open a terminal window and type history -c
  3. Repeat the process if necessary for each user account