Top things to do after installing Karmic

Fabian Rodriguez magicfab at
Fri Oct 30 16:32:41 GMT 2009

Danny Piccirillo wrote:
> Hey everyone, 
> I put a lot of time into this post and i was wondering if you could give
> me your feedback: Top things to do after installing Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic
> Koala <>

Hi Danny,

I like your writing style and how you integrated screenshots in that
guide. I wish it was a wiki site, as some of it could be improved over
time. But there are many things I can't agree with the guide. Here are
my comments, I hope this doesn't sound negative, I think highly of you!

I just took notes as I read your document and skipped over a few parts,
but since you asked, I though I'd give you my honest opinion.

I noticed a few typos but also some technical terms (such as referring
to PPAs) which shouldn't be part of this kind of guide - assuming your
audience is "new to Ubuntu" or "new to 9.10". On one side it seems you
target new users, on the other you mention advanced stuff (such as
building Gnome Shell).

I loved how you talk about choosing a faster repo, then insist on
keeping one's system updated. Just another bit showing Synaptic or USC
linking to one of the existing guides on how to install packages would
have been perfect there. Otherwise it looks like the only way to install
 apps is clicking on your page or using command line. Command line ?
ewwww. PPAs and third party ? It's important to know risks associated
with that, otherwise we end up in Windows-like app
install/remove/purge/conflict/crash hell.

I'd also like to see where installed apps can be found in the menus
(specially knowing System > Prefs and Admin and such huge sand pits).

This being said, I don't agree with the "Restricted essentials" section.

New users will be proposed to install and download needed codecs, and
Flash (from within Firefox) "on demand", including legal warnings and so
on when needed. Installing all the non-free software just because you
can is not something I'd push for on such a guide.

It would be a good idea to at least link to some place explaining why
Ubuntu doesn't have DVD support or other non-free software. Is it legal
? I don't understand why people who are not lawyers and don't live next
door to you provide LEGAL ADVICE about this (in general). A big fat
warning that people should check if software patents and so-called
copyright law applies in their jurisdiction before using such software
should be there. You can guess my positions on those, but that's not the

Sounds nasty ? Will such a warning scare people ? Give your readers some
credit and let them choose. I usually link to sites such as or Wikipedia definitions to help in this
area. Finding the balance between promoting the freedom we seek, being
pragmatic on the Desktop and staying legal in you jurisdiction is not
easy. Providing technical advice on doing that isn't either. Because
this is about Ubuntu, I'd only briefly link to where there is loads
of information which keeps being updated, so as a side bonus you don't
need to worry about these moving targets making your document obsolete.

Somewhere in "Basic compositing" I read "If you're a CLI guy (relax
ladies, i did it for the rhyme)," - why assume everyone knows what is
CLI ? Don't. And please AVOID gender references. I don't think I need to
explain why, there's plenty discussion out ther about recent slips
regarding this. :(

In Extra Themes you refer again to PPAs assuming all know about it, and
the manual install command is cut by the website theme. What is "APT
Line: ppa:do-core/ppa" ?

APT line: deb
./ ?

It's not clear when you use PPAs vs. 3rd party repos vs. officially
supported (main vs. universe ?) to provide all the software you mention.
It won't be a happy situation when some of that disappears at upgrade
time, is broken, or breaks your system (as often happens with
development PPAs). I would have left all those extras for a follow up
article or post on 3rd party software.

In Security & Privacy I would've like to see more links to official
documentation, as subjects such as full-disk encryption, home
directories encryption and so on are well covered. I understand such a
big guide won't go into details, but linking to other resources seems in
order specially with more niche uses of Ubuntu. The Onion Routing
section has such a link. The virtualization paragraph really suffers
from this and may mislead people into thinking VB can only be obtained
via a 3rd party repo or site.

The overall problem I had with this article, is when installing and
adding functionality to Ubuntu is presented in such a way that will
easily make your system behave exactly like Windows. I don't mind doing
that, as long as some background or information is given about risks &
problems you'll face. Undo instructions also come to mind.

I can't stress enough that the single and most important trick to master
in Ubuntu is software installation and maintenance. Everything else
highly depends on good practices related to it - or will break because
of it. I partly wear my 3yr. "Ubuntu senior support analyst" hat here,
but this applies to every single install I've witnessed so far -
commercial or not.

I'd love to see a follow up for this, meanwhile I also highly
appreciated finding out about new packages and upcoming functionality.

Thank you - and please keep writing!


Fabián Rodríguez
Montreal, QC, Canada

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