ubuntu.jpgThe new Ubuntu 11.10 codenamed Oneiric Ocelot has been released! As you all know Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution since it aims on usability and ease of installation. The Unity has a few changes. First of all LightDM is the new login manager. “Places” are renamed to “Lenses”. This feature now also integrates multiple sources and advanced filtering options like ratings, range, and categories. The new version of Ubuntu comes with a new redesigned Ubuntu Software Center which gives you instant access to thousands of apps. You can see the top-rated apps, compare apps by rating and user reviews, keep track of what you’ve installed, and sync your apps between all your Ubuntu computers. The Alt + Tab switcher has also been redesigned. Enough for now, download Ubuntu 11.10 install it and let's see a few tips, tricks and tweaks!


  1. Restricted Extras
  2. Gnome Tweak Tool
  3. Multimedia
  4. Java
  5. Google Earth
  6. Google Chromium
  7. Internet
  8. Torrent clients
  9. NTFS read/write support
  10. PlayOnLinux
  11. Unity shortcuts
  12. Flash player
  13. Disable Overlay Scrollbars
  14. Sushi file previewer
  15. Disable Global Menu (AppMenu)
  16. Configure Unity
  17. Change Login Background
  18. Install Synaptic

Note: In the rest of this tutorial I will be using the terminal to install some applications. However you can use the Software Center, search for those applications and install them with a single click.

1. Restricted Extras

The Ubuntu Restricted Extras will install Adobe Flash Player, Java Runtime Environment (JRE) (sun-java-jre) with Firefox plug-ins (icedtea), a set of Microsoft Fonts (msttcorefonts), multimedia codecs (w32codecs or w64codecs), mp3-compatible encoding (lame), FFMpeg, extra Gstreamer codecs, the package for DVD decoding (libdvdread4, but see below for info on libdvdcss2), the unrar archiver, odbc, and cabextract. It also installs multiple "stripped" codecs and avutils (libavcodec-unstripped-52 and libavutil-unstripped-49). This is a single command approach. 
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Note: Installation only works completely and properly when done from the command-line Terminal. The entire package will not usually install completely from within a Package Manager.

2. Gnome Tweak Tool

Ubuntu Tweak is an application to make configuration of Ubuntu easier for everyone. It provides many useful desktop and system options that the default desktop environment doesn't provide. 
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Once installed, Gnome Tweak Tool should show up as "Advanced Settings" in the menu. Besides changing fonts or themes, Gnome Tweak Tool can also be used to enable/disable Shell extensions, tweak the desktop, various windows behavior or Gnome Shell.

3. Multimedia

Audio and Video Playback

Playing a Video (XVid, DivX etc.) or Audio (MP3) file has become pretty easy. Just double click the file you want and allow Totem to automatically download the needed codecs. But you could also do this by yourself very easily by installing a package which contains all the needed codecs and more. Just look above at Ubuntu Restricted Extras.

DVD Playback

To play encrypted DVDs you must install libdvdcss2. In Ubuntu 10.10 there is no need to manually configure the Medibuntu repository. If you have previously installed Ubuntu Restricted Extras skip the following command. If you haven't open a terminal and type: 
sudo apt-get install libdvdread4

Next type:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh


Personally I prefer mplayer and smplayer (mplayer's GUI) for video playback. It supports almost any video type, external subtitles as well as DVD playback as long as you have the needed codecs installed as shown previously. To install it type: 
sudo apt-get install mplayer smplayer

You will find it under Media Apps > SMPlayer


Many users prefer the Video Lan Client (VLC) as their multimedia player. VLC supports many formats without need for additional codecs. Simply install it by typing:

sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse


K9copy is a free open source DVD backup, copying, compression, and authoring utility that requires libdvdcss. For other info, see this or this guide. You can easily create MPEG-2. MPEG-4, or DVD videos with this utility. To install it type: 
sudo apt-get install k9copy

For more information you can read my How to backup your DVDs (in dvd, xvid, mpeg-4, x264 formats) using k9copy guide.


DVD::Rip is a DVD backup/copy program, written in GTK-based perl, that uses the transcode video/audio processing and conversion tools. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install dvdrip

For more information you can read my How to rip a DVD to DivX/XviD/H264 using DVD::Rip


2ManDVD is a GUI utility for creating DVD videos. It is the successor of ManDVD. For more information on how to install it and use it read my How to author a DVD using 2ManDVD in Linux guide.


DeVeDe is a program to create video DVDs and CDs suitable for home players (i.e. VCD, sVCD or CVD) from any source video file that is supported by MPlayer. For more information on how to install it and use it read my How to create a custom DVD using DeVeDe .

4. Java

Ubuntu 10.04 uses OpenJDK, which mostly derives from Sun's JRE, as its default flavor of JRE. Moreover Icedtea is the default browser plugin to run Java applets. Most users should be fine with those JRE versions. If you don't have them installed simply type:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jre icedtea6-plugin

5. Google Earth

Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install googleearth-package
make-googleearth-package --force
sudo dpkg -i googleearth*.deb

6. Google Chromium

Chromium is Google's open source web browser and it's fast! You should give it a try. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

7. Internet


XChat is an IRC chat program for both Linux and Windows. It allows you to join multiple IRC channels (chat rooms) at the same time, talk publicly, private one-on-one conversations etc. Even file transfers are possible.

sudo apt-get install xchat

Ubuntu 11.10 uses empathy as its default IM (Instant Messaging) client. A few others IMs are:


Pidgin is an open source IM application. It is the previous default in the Ubuntu (Gnome) desktop.

sudo apt-get install pidgin


aMSN is an MSN Messenger utility that functions like the original client. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install amsn


Emesene is an MSN messenger client that uses a simplified interface similar to the original client. To install it type

sudo apt-get install emesene


Skype is a proprietary integrated VOIP and video conferencing program similar to Ekiga. To install skype on Ubuntu 11.10 open Software Center, search for Skype, click on Use This Source and install it.

8. Torrent clients

Transmission is the default BitTorrent client in Ubuntu 9.10. Here are some additional clients if you want to try them.


Deluge is a lightweight, Free Software, cross-platform BitTorrent client.

sudo apt-get install deluge


Vuze is the next version of Azureus. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install vuze

9. NTFS read/write support

Ubuntu has a graphical configuration tool for enabling read/write on NTFS partitions, either from a Windows/Linux dual boot system or from external hard disks. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install ntfs-config

NTFS-Config will auto detect your NTFS partitions and afterwards you can enable write support for them. The will be mounted under /media.

10. PlayOnLinux

PlayOnLinux is a piece of sofware which allows you to easily install and use numerous games and softwares designed to run with Microsoft®'s Windows®. Call Of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Need For Speed, Starcraft, Steam, Age Of Empires, Warcraft and AutoCad are only some of those. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install playonlinux

11. Unity keyboard shortcuts and mouse tricks

Here is a previous article I've written with many Keyboard shortcuts and mouse tricks for Unity

12. Flash player

To install the latest Flash player open a terminal and type

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

This will install flash player no matter whether you have a 32bit or 64bit installation. Now restart Chromium or Firefox and go to YouTube to test if everything is ok!

13. Disable Overlay Scrollbars

Did you like the new overlay scrollbars? I didn't. If you want to disable them just type
sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0

Log out and log back in. If you want to revert that change simple install them again.

sudo apt-get install overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0

14. Sushi file previewer

A missing feature from Nautilus for both Gnome Shell and Unity is the Sush file previer. It is capable of previewing documents, PDFs, video and audio files. To activate the preview left click on a file and hit space. To close it hit space again or escape. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install gnome-sushi

15. Disable Global Menu (AppMenu)

If you don't like the Global Menu (File Edit etc. appearing on the top bar instead of the application bar) you can uninstall it like this:

sudo apt-get remove appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-gtk appmenu-qt

Log out and log back in. If you want to revert that change simple install them again.

sudo apt-get install appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-gtk appmenu-qt

16. Configure Unity

The default installation of Ubuntu Oneiric doesn’t come with any option to configure the Unity desktop. You can, however, install CompizConfig Settings Manager to access the configuration menu. Once installed, run the app and scroll down the list till you see the Ubuntu Unity Plugin. Click on it. From here, you can configure the behaviour of the launcher, the shortcut key, the switcher and some experimental features.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

If you are using an old computer that doesn’t support Compiz, most probably you are running Unity 2D instead of the usual Unity desktop. To configure Unity 2D, you have to install dconf-tools, run dxonf-editor and navigate to Desktop > Unity

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

You can also install MyUnity which allows you to customize Unity Launcher, Dash, Panel, Desk and Font, through a Graphical User Interface.

17. Change Login Background

Although I find the background of the new LightDM pretty nice you may want to change it. To do so open a terminal and type:

sudo nano /etc/lightdm/unity-greeter.conf

At the field starting with “background=…“, change the background path to your favourite wallpaper.

18. Install Synaptic

If you don't like the new Software Center you can use the old, good Synaptic Package Manager.

sudo apt-get install synaptic
I hope the above information have made a little easier your experience with Ubuntu 11.10. If there is something else you would like me to post in this guide feel free to drop me a comment! If you liked this article you could digg or twit it so that more users will read it! Enjoy!

Comments (9)

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thank you for the awesome tips smilies/smiley.gif
amgadelsaiegh , October 16, 2011
i got the following error on using this command..

user@user-desktop:~$ sudo apt-get install synaptic
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Package synaptic is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
user , October 27, 2011
Hi, thanks for the hints. Found this while searching for how to install 2mandvd, but the linked article is just a tutorial, and it's not in the repositories. This page has instructions on install: http://pkgs.org/ubuntu-11.10/g...l#download
Andy S , December 11, 2011
Great article! Only one thing missing (unless I just missed it) is how to get rid of the stupid sidebar menu boxes and go back to the "Classic" display with the Applications Places and System on the top toolbar. I went back to 11.04 just for that reason alone. My other half loves it. It should be voluntary, not forced on people.
GrumpyOleMan , January 15, 2012
Thanks! The new interface on 11.10 is called Unity. Some people like it and others don't. Anyway in the login manager of 11.10 you might have an option called GNOME Classic. I think this is the option you want. If there isn't check this article. There are a couple of screenshots to understand better what I am talking about.

How to install Gnome Shell on Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot
axel , January 15, 2012
Ok so i installed pidgin for ubuntu and it said it worked and that it went through but it dissapeared. I cant find it on my computer and i dont really know where to go from here. Any advice is apprectiated
Kayla , February 11, 2012
Hi Kayla, to run pidgin open dash (click on the top left of your screen) and type pidgin. It's icon should appear.
axel , February 12, 2012
Compiz Fusion

What about Compiz Fusion installation guide that you had in previous versions?
Newbie , February 28, 2012
Nice article
Nice article
Jayneil , March 05, 2012

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