What are the first things you do with a new Lubuntu installation?

What programs do you install? What customizations do you make?

Off the top of my head, here are some of mine:

Settings /Customizations

  • Mouse and Touchpad > Tick “Tap to click”.
    I have to do this first because not having tap-to-click working on a laptop drives me nuts! “Why the hell is nothing happening?!?
  • Windows, Themes & Icons etc
    But now I can’t remember exactly all I did. Neofetch says I’m using “Arc-Darker” theme and “Papirus-Dark” icons.
  • Wallpaper
    I tend to change to something simple/plain and dark. E.g. at the moment I just have plain dark blue, no image. Boring AF, but then what I want to look at is the programs and files, not the wallpaper.

Programs to install:
Mostly GUI programs, because I’m useless at the command line.

  • Wine
    Runs Windows software. For that one program I absolutely need for work. In my case, WeChat. Which is the second thing I install.
  • Ksnip
    For taking & annotating screenshots, and other basic image editing. Handy for tech support on a new installation.
  • Floorp
    Firefox-based web browser. Finally, a free-libre browser that allows me to be free-libre too! For example, free to put the tabs at the side of the browser to maximize vertical viewing space, no dodgy extensions or config trickery required.
  • KeepassXC
    Password manager
  • Dropbox
    App for file sync service. One of these days I’ll switch to something more libre, I promise!
  • QCalcFileHash
    Gives the hash/checksum for a file. Handy for making sure that download is correct.
  • QBittorrent
    Bittorrent filesharing. So that you can get that Lubuntu ISO without increasing their server costs, or needing to hash the ISO to verify its checksum.
  • Neofetch
    Command line program that sums up your basic computer system details in a pretty way.
  • Some voice recording program
    To check my sound setup/quality re online meetings & calls. I have used a Flatpak app called Reco, but now some online reviews say there are privacy problems with apps from that developer. (Yes I know I could probably use VLC to do it, because you can do almost anything in VLC… if you’re willing to pull your hair out at the convoluted user experience for anything other than simply playing a file. Sometimes you just want a plain knife, not a 73-tool Swiss Army Knife.)

Extensions to install in the browser
The browser is so important to many, installing several extensions to it is also one of the first things I do with a new installation.

  • uBlock Origin
    Ad blocker.
Re ad blocking ethics

Re the ethics of ad blocking, I have recently tried reading some articles from the Google news feed on my Android phone, which by default open in (unmodified) Chrome. It was my first experience browsing without an ad blocker in years, and it was… truly horrific! Multiple pop-ups, auto-playing videos, jiggling images, all distracting from or covering the barely viewable article. Yes, most of them provide an “x” to close the ad, but all in different places, tiny (heaven help you if your finger strays ever so slightly from the precise location) and when I saw no fewer than 6 "x"s on the phone screen at the same time, I noped out and closed the page, trying again in Firefox with uBlock Origin. If websites don’t want me using an ad blocker, don’t make sites that are an absolute nightmare without one. (Kudos to Inverse, for making webpages with a non-horrific ad experience.)

  • Privacy Badger
    Stops advertisers tracking you across the different websites you visit.
  • Dark Reader
    Makes web pages dark, easier on the eyes, especially at night.

And finally…
Things to uninstall
Sorry to those who made them or chose to include them, but then everyone’s needs are different.

  • Quassel
    IRC client. I mean, I suppose if I really wanted to download the latest Sopranos episode TV capture in .avi format from a bot in a Dalnet channel… (not that I ever did that :innocent: )
    But nowadays we have much better options than IRC, like Matrix. (Ooh, maybe a Matrix client should go on my install list… although it seems to work just as well in the web browser.)
  • 2042 or something like that.
    A game that provides no explanation of what the game is, and which I still don’t understand how to play even after DuckDuckGoing it. :grin:
  • Unwanted fonts
    In programs like Libre Office Writer, I hate having to scroll through a gazillion fonts I will never use just to find the few I am interested in. In my case, I want Latin fonts, and a few CJK ones. (And maybe Wingdings!)
    “Discover” allowed me to uninstall many Indic fonts, but I still have to scroll through Khmer, Arabic, Coptic etc.
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One more I forgot:

  • Meteo-QT
    System tray tool for showing the weather.
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Well, just a few days after posting that Floorp is one of the first things I install, I find out the developer decided to take it closed source. And then before I could even warn about that, I find out they’ve already backtracked.

It seems the developer is rather young and has been getting frustrated with people taking his code and just rebadging it with their own brand name. I’ve had some correspondence with them on Github where they were very helpful. Hopefully, they will be able to continue with developing Floorp as Free software despite the leeches.

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I needed to open an epub file yesterday, but double-clicking on it just made LXQT Archiver show the internal file structure. So I found:

  • KchmViewer
    Small and simple viewer of various document types. No fancy editing or library management overkill, no KDE or Gnome requirements, just QT.
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I’ll list some items on the ‘top of my head’ (I have a text file as a fallback, but I rarely use it anyway)

  • apt install nfs-common aptitude fortune cowsay figlet
    all my files are on NFS storage, so that is a must. I rarely use package managers, but if I do it’ll likely be aptitude from a terminal (and I only use that interactively on rare occasion)
  • mount my NFS share, so I can grab my fonts, themes, pixmaps, icons etc. which I store in system directories (ie. /usr/share/) as I only backup $HOME and don’t want those saved. This will include running fc-cache etc so they can be used.
  • include some local IP addresses on my /etc/hosts file, and make some other config changes with details now available from my NFS shares
  • depending on the device I may be using a text terminal here & thus logged out from GUI, copy a user config from the network share that will ease the config setup if I want to get operational quickly… but this is optional as it only saves a few mins; I login to GUI to check all works correctly (inc. pixmaps/icons on screen; they’ll stand out if I missed something in a prior step)
  • depending on install, I may also apt install hexchat fortune cowsay figlet as I’m still using hexchat for IRC, but its not installed on all devices as I use element-desktop or telegram-desktop on many devices only (hexchat on devices I consider important; I’ve not yet kicked that GTK2 app yet!)
    As for fortune/cowsay… if I need to throw a ‘splash of water’ on my face I used to walk to the water cooler (other side of the floor) when I worked in an office, these days I just run fortune|cowsay once or twice to blank my mind. Long ago (1980s) I used to see that on login on some unix boxes so it maybe triggers memories.
  • snap install chromium telegram-desktop element-desktop
    I use chromium for anything google related and not my preferred firefox browser that’s installed by default
    On most devices I also have telegram-desktop & element-desktop (for Matrix) for comms… esp. Lubuntu (some teams still rely on IRC though)
  • apt install clementine for music; my preferred player
  • apt install mousepad I use featherpad & mousepad for very different tasks; in different workspaces; each having multiple tabs open like my usage of multiple browsers. On many of my installs I will just apt install xubuntu-desktop instead here, as I have always liked Xfce too.
  • on some boxes I’ll have installed xfwm4 to be used instead of openbox as my monitor setup is unusual and I have a few issues with openbox on those boxes (if I didn’t install xubuntu-desktop)
  • run aptitude and search & install all prior releases wallpapers files for Ubuntu Desktop & all flavors… If the device has limited disk capacity I may not install all…

reboot & check everything is good…

If I’m going to be using bzr, git & many other tools I’ll have other things to setup… but I usually forget those & discover they were forgotten when they fail to run…

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There are really five things that are a must for me:

  1. tmux so I can have windows and persistent shells in terminal.
  2. A tiling window manager. I long used awesome but it’s been kind of buggy lately and I’ve been inclined to switch to i3 anyways, so that’s what I’m using lately.
  3. NoMachine so that I can work remotely.
  4. Nextcloud client.
  5. KeePassXC.
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