Thursday, 6 September 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS - quick notes

Generally very impressive.  Good clear fonts, quick response on my old Dell Latitude D620 laptop.

Just a few tweaks to make. I'll add to this page as I use it more...



  • To ditch the default Unity GUI (fine for home users - not for techies), I used: sudo apt-get install gnome-panel .  Sane GUI restored :-)   
  • To remove the messaging (IRC etc) icon from the top-right panel:
    sudo apt-get remove indicator-messages
  • To secure the login screen so that it doesn't list all valid login names (so that people have to guess username as well as password) and to remove the insecure Guest Mode, edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf and add two lines at the end:
    • greeter-hide-users=true
    • allow-guest=false
     Finally run sudo restart lightdm to restart your session.
  • To turn off the AVAHI (multicast DNS?) service, and Bluetooth, make sure you have rfkill installed (apt-get install rfkill, or apt-get install wireless-tools) and stuff the following into /etc/rc.local :
        /etc/init.d/bluetooth stop
        rfkill block bluetooth
       /etc/init.d/avahi-daemon stop
       exit 0
  • Even better, for stopping Avahi... "apt-get remove avahi-daemon"
  • To stop Ubuntu from phoning home with GeoIP each time a network interface comes up... "apt-get remove geoclue".   This will also remove the date/time applet from the taskbar.
  • To stop Ubuntu running a fairly pointless local dnsmasq resolver... Edit /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf and comment out the line "dns=dnsmasq" by using a hash sign (#).
  • It's worth installing the "HPLIP Toolbox" package (e.g. from Ubuntu Software Centre) if you have any HP printers.
  • To stop "whoopsie" trying to report system/app errors to Canonical, edit /etc/default/whoopsie and change 'report_crashes=true' to false.  Or edit this via the System Preferences / Privacy tab.
  • To remove the workspace switcher from the bottom right hand corner of the screen, hold Windows Key + Alt Key and right click on it, then click "Remove From Panel".   To put it (or another panel application) back, hold Windows Key + Alt Key + Right Click and click "Add to panel....".
  • Also, install the Synaptic Package Manager from Ubuntu Software Centre (this is always handy, and not installed by default on 12.04).
  • To restore syntax highlighting in the Vi editor, you need: sudo apt-get install vim-gnome .   The default colour scheme (coloured text on black background)  is far too dim.  But if you create a file called .vimrc in your home directory, containing the line set background=dark, then all will be well - the text will be much brighter next time you edit a file.
  • To enable a boot-time menu of kernels:-
    •  sudo vi /etc/default/grub
              - comment out 'GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0'
              - uncomment 'GRUB_TERMINAL=console'
    • sudo update-grub
  • To fix "network connection is not managed":-
    • sudo vi /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf
      • Change managed=false to managed=true
      • While you're there, comment out dns=dnsmasq (i.e. start that line with a # sign).
    • Alternatively you can remove the /etc/network/interfaces definition for the network interface you used during installation. Remember to back up the file first.  Then restart the network manager daemon: /etc/init.d/network-manager restart.

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