ubuntu.jpgThe new Ubuntu 12.04 codenamed Precise Pangolin has been released! As you all know Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution since it aims on usability and ease of installation. Most probably Head-Up Display (HUD) is the most anticipated feature. HUD allows you press Alt and start typing what you want to do. A list of functions will start appearing on screen depending on what program you are currently running! With the new Video Lens you can search for videos through Dash in your computer and on the Internet as well, such as in YouTube. The Home Lens is also redesigned. The login screen is now personalized allowing each user to have a different background image. Enough for now, download Ubuntu 12.04 install it and let's see a few tips, tricks and tweaks!


  1. Restricted Extras
  2. Tweak Tools
  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. Install Synaptic
  18. Install LibreOffice Global Menu

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, 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. Tweak Tools

Ubuntu Tweak

Ubuntu Teak is an application to make configuration of  Ubuntu easier.  Among other things you can change the login wallpaper. To install Ubuntu Tweak open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tool 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. However have in mind that using libdvdcss2 is illegal in some countries because of copyright issues, so continue on your own.
sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
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


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


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


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.

sudo apt-get install devede

For more information on how to install it and use it read my How to create a custom DVD using DeVeDe .

4. Java

Ubuntu 12.04 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-7-jre icedtea-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 12.04 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


Empathy is the default IM application. It allows you to chat on MSN, Google Talk, Facebook and many other networks. To install it type:

sudo apt-get install empathy


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 12.04 open a terminal and type.

sudo apt-add-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ $(lsb_release -sc) partner"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install skype

8. Torrent clients

Transmission is the default BitTorrent client in Ubuntu 12.04. 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

If you can't launch it after install type:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/hal/fdi/policy

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 Sushi 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

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

17. 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

18. Install LibreOffice Global Menu

The default office suite in Ubuntu doesn’t not integrate with the application menu bar by default. To enable it open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install lo-menubar
I hope the above information have made a little easier your experience with Ubuntu 12.04. 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 (4)

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NTFS read/write support
Thanks for this guide and for NTFS read/write support tool
I wasn't able to make backups to another partition

Also because my music folder is in another partition I had to rescan the music folder every time I was booting up the computer

CGA , April 30, 2012
Awesome work
Thanks for all the info!

I'm still trying to figure out how to change the login wall paper and theme... Also, I do not see how to activate effects on Desktop. If you have an idea or hint smilies/smiley.gif

Chip , May 01, 2012
Hi Chip,

In Ubuntu 12.04 the login wallpaper is automatically set to your desktop's wallpaper. However you can separately change the login screen wallpaper by installing Ubuntu Tweak I mention in this guide.

To enable desktop effects try installing compizconfig-settings-manager
axel , May 05, 2012
Unable to log in in gtalk with clients
am in cameroon
i am new to ubuntu 12.04 and since some few days am unable to login in gtalk trough clients like
please if therès something you ca do don t hesitate.
mcsteano , October 01, 2012

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