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Here is a list of things to do after you have installed Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn.

There is some discussion of whether or not you should upgraded to 14.10 here, but the short version is, for most people an upgrade from 14.04 is not necessary but not a bad idea, and an upgrade from any earlier version is a very good idea. Mostly, though, you should just upgrade.

One could ask the question, should you be installing Ubuntu with Unity. You have to like Unity. I personally like to have a wider range of desktop options than Ubuntu with Unity allows, but for a notebook or laptop where you are going to be using one application at a time, usually use GUI apps, and like to have your computer integrated fairly seamlessly to social networking services, etc., it is a good option.

But, as is always the case with any operating system, you can either use it out of the box or change a few things. Because of OpenSource related licensing things a few things need to be done by you that would normally be done by the provider of the OS (but this is a free OS so you don’t get that) but most of these changes are just to make the OS more like you like it. So pick and choose.

First, before you do anything…

Run these commands to bring your system up to date, even if you just installed Ubuntu 14.10.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Reminder: When you start a command with “sudo” you will be asked to enter your password. If you use “sudo” again soon after, the system figures a bad guy did not konk you on the head to take over your computer, and it is probably you issuing the command so it does not ask for your password again. After a while, the system figures you probably did get konked on the head and will attempt to verify your identity by asking for your password.

Also, for the various commands being suggested here (and I should say you are totally on your own and I take no responsibility if you muck up your system, good luck and have a nice day) you may have to enter a “y” (for yes) or do some other things, so keep an eye on your computer.

Install Better or More Appropriate Graphics Card Drivers

Using Software & Updates ~ “Additional Drivers” tab ~ Do what it says there

Install Ubuntu Restricted Extras

This includes some fonts, java, the flash plugin, DVD playback ability, and so on. You need some of this stuff. Use this command:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Install additional extras for multimedia

To install DVD playback ability:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

Some, many, users will want additional codecs:

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gxine libdvdread4 totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0 mpg321 libavcodec-extra

Adjust the degree to which the Ubuntu Unity Dashboard annoys you and violates your privacy

Method 1

System Settings ~ Privacy and Security ~ Turn stuff off, especially the online items.

Unity now has the settings people usually turn off unset by default, so you may not need this.

Method 2

If you do need to turn off all the settings check out Fix Ubuntu has a nice script that will maximally crack down on Unity. You can get the script and run it right away, if you are trusting (it looks trustworthy to me) with this nifty one liner:

wget -q -O - | bash

While you are addressing privacy, you may or may not want to disable system crash reports. Sending system crash reports to Ubuntu is probably the polite thing to do, but you may not want to. You will need to edit a file to do this.

Open the file with sudo because it is a file you can only modify and save as a quasi-super-user:

sudo gedit /etc/default/apport

Then find the line that says


and change it to


Save the file, close the text editor, and now at the terminal enter:

sudo service apport stop

Put your name back on the top menu bar panel

You might like the name of the user showing, especially if more than one entity uses your machine.

Name on:

gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.session show-real-name-on-panel true

Name off:

gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.session show-real-name-on-panel false

Put the damn menus where they are supposed to be

Ubuntu Macified their Unity experience a while back by moving the menus that go with applications to the menu bar on the top of the screen. This breaks the Linux Philosophy by requiring a menu bar in a particular place. Then, they made it even more useless by making the menus disappear until you run at them with the mouse. With 14.04 and now 14.10 you can undo this travesty.

System Settings ~ Appearance ~ Behavior ~ Show the menus for a window ~ In the window’s title bar

Resize menu bars and panels

Linux users apparently would not stand for having panels and menu bars unscalable. Another feature taken away by Ubuntu Unity, but now with 14.10, you can make this adjustment.

System Settings ~ Displays ~ Scale for menu and title bars ~ Use the slider thingies

Install TweakTools or Unity Tweak Tools

This will allow you to tweek things. TweakTools is a Gnome tool, Unity Tweak Tools is specificall for the Unity Desktop (that yo just installed). They are not the same, you may want both. They merely give you access to things that are already there that you can tweak.

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool gnome-tweak-tool

Turn off the most annoying scrollbars ever invented

Some say you let designers design your operating system, and users will later catch up. I say to them, Baaaaa.

The odd weird looking essentially useless scrollbars that plague Ubuntu Unity can be gotten ride of by typing this command:

gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal

If you realize you like these new fangled scrollbars later, you can put them back like this:

gsettings reset com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode

Turn Nautilus Recursive vs Typeahead Search Off and ON

After you play around with the newest version of the file manager Nautilus, you may find that you prefer one or the other behaviors in the search bar. I’ve not decided. Switch recursive search on:

Terminal Command:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences enable-interactive-search false

Switch to typeahead search:

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences enable-interactive-search true

Set up your online accounts (facebook, twitter, etc)

Seetings ~ Online Accounts ~ Then do obvious stuff there

Laptop users: Power Management

There are things one did with 14.04 to enable power management and related features, or to improve them. I am not certain what the best course of action is for 14.10, so I’m not going to suggest anything here. I’ll update this section at a later time. (Feel free to make suggestions below.)

Meanwhile, you may have a look at this, which covers 14.04 and other distributions.

Install a bunch of stuff

Ubuntu is a bit light on file archiving software. You may want to install more:

sudo apt-get install p7zip-rar p7zip-full unace unrar zip unzip sharutils rar uudeview mpack arj cabextract file-roller

Adobe Flash Plugin

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

Install the latest version of Google Chrome. I don’t think it will be found in the software center, so check here, or go here and press the right buttons. Then you can Watch Netflix on Linux!

Install Dropbox


Install Copy, which is similar to Dropbox. Slower, but you get more storage for free. I’ve been using it for a while and I like it. (I actually use both.)


Some people like to clean up after themselves. I tend not to, but I know I should. These commands will get rid of some of the chaff you may have created while messing around with your system.

echo "Cleaning Up" &&
sudo apt-get -f install &&
sudo apt-get autoremove &&
sudo apt-get -y autoclean &&
sudo apt-get -y clean

So, you totally screwed up your installation, what do you do now?

Not everything you broke above can be undone easily, but you can reset some of it. Use the following commands. Then see what happens. Good luck. Did I mention that you are totally on your own here and I take no responsibility for anything that goes wrong?

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
dconf reset -f /org/compiz/
setsid unity
unity --reset-icons


Other posts of interest:

Also of interest: In Search of Sungudogo: A novel of adventure and mystery, set in the Congo.


  1. […] NOTE: This may not be the blog post you are looking for. If you have installed Ubuntu 14.10 and want to tweak that, GO HERE. […]

  2. #2 Brainstorms
    October 24, 2014

    Rather than “sudo apt-get upgrade” you’re better off to always use “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade” instead.

    This form “intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions of packages” so that things get updated correctly (i.e., as you expect them to).

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    October 24, 2014

    Excellent suggestion. From the man page:

    “In addition to performing the function of upgrade, this option also intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions of packages; apt-get has a “smart” conflict resolution system, and it will attempt to upgrade the most important packages at the expense of less important ones, if necessary.”

  4. #4 Charles Sullivan
    October 25, 2014

    I thought Gnome.

  5. #5 Marcel
    October 25, 2014

    Actually I expected an uninstall of UBUNTU and an install of slackware and eight more tips to get along merrily with it

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    October 25, 2014

    Charles, you would want to install Ubuntu with Gnome rather than Unity for that to really work. Or some entirely different distro. I’ve got one machine with Debian Wheezy with Gnome 3.0 and it is OK.

  7. […] 10+ Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn […]

  8. #8 John Beast
    October 26, 2014

    Is this updated from version 14.04? I tried the ‘fix ubuntu’ thing and it said it was no longer necessary.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    October 26, 2014

    John, they should be turned off by default in a Unicorn.

  10. […] 10 Things to do after installing Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn […]

  11. […] 10 Things to do after installing Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn […]

  12. […] What to do when you finish upgrading to 14.10. […]

  13. #13 Gravitino
    November 14, 2014

    Set up your online accounts (facebook, twitter, etc)

    Seetings ~ Online Accounts ~ Then do obvious stuff there


  14. #14 Jason Nordwick
    December 19, 2014

    Installing MATE, as you described, with Ubuntu 14.10 on my HP EliteBook and it ruined by power management. The battery meter (no matter what I used) wouldn’t update, but the properties page was correct at least. It constantly thought it was on battery power no matter what I did. A number of other things like wifi had to be fixed. I gave up and am just reinstalling ubuntu-mate out o fthe box this time.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2014

    You installed MATE on top of Ubuntu 14.10 with Unity? If so, that may be the reason. I keep saying this, though many disagree; if you install Ubuntu default at 14 and above, with Unity, installing any other desktop can cause various problems exactly as you described.

    Installing ubuntu-mate out of the box is better, as you suggest. Then, later, you can certainly install other desktops if you like (and hopefully have few problems) such as xfce, kde, gnome 3, etc. (Not vouching for Unity, tough!)

  16. #16 Brainstorms
    December 19, 2014

    You’ll incur the fewest problems if you install from the Ubuntu edition that installs the desktop you want…

    But for desktop environments that don’t have an out-of-the-box Ubuntu installation image that provide them, you’re best off installing the Ubuntu Server Edition, then installing the desktop of your choice afterwards.

    This second method works for any (Debian-based) Linux desktop environment, and also works if you want a Linux window manager other than X-Windows (since the Server Edition does not install a WM by default).

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2014

    Yes, just a bit more complicated but you get to play around more under the hood.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2014

    Also, ubuntu server edition may not set up your network as cleanly. I have had the network part of that install not work at all, then everything had to be done manually.

  19. #19 Brainstorms
    December 19, 2014

    More complicated, maybe, but you’ll get what you want (without those troubling ‘system error’ messages).

    Good point about the networking. When you install the Server Edition of Ubuntu, it’s well-aware of the fact that you have no GUI, no desktop environment. So by default it sets up your networking using the “interfaces” file in ‘/etc/network’.

    After you install a desktop environment (such as MATE), you have a GUI and expect that NetworkManager (NW), which puts an icon in your notifications area for convenient configuration & status, will then be controlling your network… Only, it’s not!

    Sadly, installation of a GUI doesn’t automatically cause NM to become the active network manager… As you pointed out, Greg, you have to manually enable it.

    This is done by editing (using ‘sudo’) the ‘/etc/network/interfaces’ file and commenting out the entry for your ‘eth0’ network interface device. (Be SURE to leave in the ‘lo’ entry!)

    Then restart networking (or just reboot, which is what I do), and things will be as expected, with NM now controlling your network settings.

    …wish they would fix this! :^)

  20. #20 Greg Tippitt
    United States
    December 31, 2014

    derived from Greek “γρηγoρεῖν” “grēgorein” meaning “to watch”

    Thanks for putting all of these great ideas in a single collection. When helping Ubuntu friends with their UNITY problems, your webpage is where I begin when trying to fix their systems. For my own systems, I kept trying to minimize the headaches caused by UNITY, and finally realized the easiest way for me was to avoid UNITY completely by going a bit more old school. I have began using the MATE Desktop Environment instead. MATE is a continuation of GNOME 2, without the clutter of GNOME 3 or UNITY. You can read more about MATE at their website:

    For a fresh install, I start with Ubuntu server, which gets a system running with a text console (clean, polite, and quick). From the text console, you can log in and run the command below to install the MATE Desktop.

    sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

    Installing the MATE environment atop UBUNTU server provides the peace of mind of the Canonical supported Linux base, without the UNITY headaches. I have tried Xbuntu and Lubuntu, but I missed GNOME. Now I have a an up-to-date Linux system, with the “Breezy Badger” look-and-feel with which I first fell in love.

    I prefer LTS releases of UBUNTU since I’m normally using older recycled hardware, which doesn’t need the latest drivers and avoids the cuts of scrapes of bleeding edge UBUNTU updates. When using UBUNTU 14.04 LTS instead of 14.10, you must first add the MATE 1.8 repositories before running the install of the MATE desktop environment.

    sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
    sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

    They have done a very admirable job of taking the familiar GNOME 2 environment and updating it to GTK3. I now run the MATE desktop environment on all my home systems. This includes my HTPC/DVR running MythTV, some diskless systems with 8GB or 16GB USB flash drives and 1GB RAM, a Linux cluster with 168 CPU cores (AMD 2.4GHz), 2856 Nvidia GPU cores, and 200GB RAM, and a disk server with 12 terabytes of disk space. On my smallest to largest systems, MATE provides a graphical environment that is easy to use, without causing more problems that it solves. I haven’t yet tried MATE on my Android ebook reader (grin).

    Greg (the lesser) Tippitt

  21. #21 TacoBot
    January 4, 2015

    “The odd weird looking essentially useless scrollbars that plague Ubuntu Unity can be gotten ride of by typing this command:

    gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal”

    Thank you so much for this. You have changed my life.

  22. #22 Brainstorms
    January 4, 2015

    TacoBot, You don’t need to type in commands in a terminal to do this…

    After installing either “Ubuntu Tweak” or “Unity Tweak Tool”, you’ll have a nice GUI (or two) that will allow you to make this change (and lots of others, too) by good old point-and-click.

  23. #23 David Buluku
    NYC, NY
    February 11, 2015

    You are a genius bro, Thanx

  24. #24 Lijoosh
    February 12, 2015

    I upgraded my Ubuntu OS to 14.04. Everything was working perfectly, but the network icon is missing from the top title bar panel after installing vnstat (not sure if this is the cause). Is there any way to fix this?

  25. #25 Brainstorms
    February 12, 2015

    Lijoosh, see #19

  26. #26 Alejandro Garcia Fernandez
    February 18, 2015

    Thank you good sir… this Mac envy of some designers has made ubuntu worst.
    But this post is a good way to get it back.

  27. #27 Tony Q King
    See for this...
    February 21, 2015

    This just a quickie (I hope) question –
    I USED to be able to, on Ubuntu 14.04, and earlier versions, switch between Unity and several flavours of Gnome at login-time, merely by clicking on a small icon on the login-screen.
    On my new 14.10, this icon is no longer there.
    How can I easily switch back’n’forth as above?

  28. #28 Tony Q King
    See for this...
    February 21, 2015

    Wait! I finally found it!
    Just do a sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback and then reboot. The icon (now very small) will appear beside the “Next” button.
    You can switch to KDE also using this, At least you could in earlier Ubuntu versions- I haven’t tried it in 14.10 yet.

  29. #29 Prashanth Shetkar
    April 1, 2015

    I want to a panel with Application Places and System on it. I just hate it without this panel on top. please help me..

  30. #30 Angelo
    Denver, CO
    April 8, 2015


  31. #31 Greg Laden
    April 8, 2015

    NO IT SUCKS !!!1!