Welcome to the Owlcroft House
Ubuntu Help & Advice Pages


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These pages on the Ubuntu Linux operating system are brought to you by The Owlcroft Company, an internet publisher. While we make no claims whatever to be computer gurus in general or Ubuntu experts in particular, we are, we think, pretty good at "data mining", and have accumulated a lot of valuable Ubuntu-related information from all across the web. Moreover, this is not unqualified scraping: everything here is something we have actually done on several different Ubuntu systems; in many cases, that meant weeding through a lot of well-intentioned but partly or wholly incorrect advice by trial and error.

We assume that those coming here already know why, of the available flavors of Linux, Ubuntu already--and rightly--has the lion's share, and is still growing, in both absolute and percentgae-share terms. But if you aren't sure, you can and should look at the Ubuntu home page, as well as the Wikipedia article on Ubuntu.

These procedures were tested on several diverse sets of hardware; nonetheless, they may not have universal applicability. Further, these procedures apply to one specific flavor of Ubuntu: Ubuntu desktop 64-bit version 10.10 ("Maverick Meerkat"; though they do not necessarily apply to Kubuntu or 32-bit systems or older versions, they by and large will (and will certainly be illustrative of general methods and concepts). This is also all about a complete, fresh, single-OS system: if you want to have Ubuntu co-exist on your system with some Other Operating System, you will need advice from elsewhere.

All said, we hope and believe that there is an awful lot here of usefulness to any user of any version of Ubuntu. We have the solutions for problems from no logoff sound playing to getting a TIFF-format doc viewer for Firefox; we show how to successfully install a Canon iP1800 printer, and how to avoid deadly Thunderbird mail bloat. Take a look--you'll probably find something of use no matter how experienced you may already be in Ubuntu.


Table of Contents

This set of pages "jes' growed",and is now of some length. We feel strongly that to get best value from it all, you would do well to--as the Red King famously said to Alice--"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop." Afterwards you can return to any particular place of interest. Nonetheless, as a convenience, and to indicate the scope of what we have here, we present this table. Or, if you prefer, you can instead now simply jump on to the start of the first "real" page here, on Pre-Installation Considerations.

Besides the main body of documentation idexed below, there is a small, short page of "miscellaneous" thoughts not yet integrated into the full document. As that suggests, this document is a living one, and will grow and change from time to time: if you find it of interest or use, it would pay to check back now and again to see if anything has been added or changed (something for which this index will be especially helpful).

Pre-Installation Considerations
   Backing Up
      On-Site
      Off-Site
   Which Ubuntu?
      Variant
         Base Ubuntu
         Kubuntu
         Edubuntu
         The Others
      Class
      Type
   Preliminaries
      Downloading
         Getting the ISO-Image File
         Verifying the Downloaded ISO Image
      Burning a Disk
      Testing
      In Case of Problems
         Connectivity
         Video
      Further Planning
         Partition Planning
         File-System Planning

Installation Procedures

Post-Installation Considerations
   First Things
      Adjust the mouse travel
      Turn off visual effects
      Root tools
      Move window buttons from the left back to the right
      Fix system swappiness
      Symlink some directories
      Set the screensaver and power controls
         Screensavers
         Power management
      Turn off power management
      Stop cache clutter
      Refresh the initially installed software
      Reboot for phase 2
   Phase 2
      Set up SSH
      Add Repositories
      Nautilus Augmentations
      Add Extra Fonts
      Add Multimedia Packages
   Phase 3
      Software Packages to Add
         The Synaptic Packages
            The Annotated Essentials List
            The Annotated Extras List
         Outside Synaptic
            Firefox Flash Plugin, 64-Bit
            Actually Install Google Earth
      Time Synchronization
      Activate the Nautilus Sound-Convert Script
      Set Your System Gamma
      Customize the Startup-Apps Menu
      Get Desktop Search
         About Desktop Search
         Installing Recoll
      Get a Clipboard Manager
      Get a Temperature Monitor
      Restore shutdown system sound
      Reboot
   Phase 4
      Toolbar Applets and Launchers
         Some introductory comments
         Choosing applets
         Customizing your applets
         Adding menus
      The Taskbar
   Phase 5
      Customizing the System
         Administrative Customization
         Preference Customization
      Customizing the Applications
         Nautilus
         Terminal
         Text Editor
            "Macro" Text-Editor Plugin
            "Line Edit" Text-Editor Plugin
            TextWrap Toggle-Linewrap Text-Editor Plugin
         Firefox
            Restoring backed-up stuff
            General Firefox stuff
            Firefox Add-ons
         Thunderbird
            Restoring backed-up Thunderbird stuff
            A crucial Thunderbird setting
   Phase 6
      Your directories
      Your hardware
      Restore "Kill X"
      Terminal aliases
      Scanner fixes
      Installing printers
         Supported printers
         Unsupported printers
      Tidying the main menus
      Tidying your packages lists
      System sounds
      Selecting screensavers
      Replacing Network Manager
      Customizing Bootup/Shutdown Screens
         Plymouth Problems
         Customizing the Default Screen
         Minimal Plymouth Screens
         Alternative Plymouth Screens
      Augmenting Synaptic
         New Custom Filters
         Using "Quick Search" Properly

Maintenance Considerations and Methods
   Updates
      Receiving Updates
      About Kernel Updates
   Upgrades
   Backups
      General considerations
      Backup scripts
         Storing and using backup scripts
         Rsync scripts in general
      Various particular methods
         Using a thumb drive
         Using a second hard drive
         Using a second computer on your local network
         Backing up to an offsite location
   Thumbnails
   Browser Privacy
      Killing "Flash Cookies"
      Selectively Clearing Standard Cookies
      Handling Third-Party Monitoring
      Blocking Ads







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