5 things to do first with Ubuntu

Start off your life with Linux on the right foot by following these few beginning steps.

Ubuntu 10.10, or Maverick Meerkat, is proving to be one of the best, most user-friendly distributions of the Linux operating system ever seen, so it's no wonder that businesses and individuals are adopting the new operating system in growing numbers every day.

Though Ubuntu is now right up there with Mac OS X and Windows in terms of usability, it is still a bit different from those proprietary counterparts. Besides watching out for a few missteps common among first-timers, there are a few things newcomers should do to maximize their enjoyment of Ubuntu.

Particularly if you're new to Linux, here are a few things you should do first with your new operating system.

1. Customize the Look

Few things will help you make Ubuntu feel like home better than customizing the appearance of your desktop, and there are virtually limitless possibilities for doing that. You can try out different themes, backgrounds, and desktop effects, and you can even replace the GNOME interface that currently comes standard with Ubuntu with a different one altogether, such as KDE.

Customizability is one of Linux's key strengths, and you should explore for yourself just how much you can do. In Maverick, start under the "System" tab and choose "Preferences" and then "Appearance"; there, you'll get options for Themes, Background, Fonts and Visual Effects. Once you've exhausted the possibilities listed there, you can also try visiting the Ubuntu Software Center (below) for more options.

2. Check Out the Software Center

One of the biggest things to get used to for veterans from the Windows world, in particular, is that you don't need to hunt around on the Web and then haul out your credit card to get new applications. Rather, there's the Ubuntu Software Center for that, and its power is breathtaking.

The Ubuntu Software Center is what's known as a package manager, and it shows by category a raft of (usually open source) applications that you can download, generally for free. So, when you want to get an application of some sort, you should begin there. Go to "Applications" on the main Ubuntu page and you'll see it listed at the bottom of the drop-down menu that follows.

Once you're there, you'll see apps categorized into several sections, including Accessories, Education, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office, Sound & Video, Themes & Tweaks, and System. Click on the category you're interested in, and you'll see a variety of choices listed that are available for download. Click on one, and it is yours. Couldn't be much easier.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Linuxoperating systemsunixsoftwarenon-Windows1-800-Flowers.com

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?