The Perfect Desktop – Xubuntu 12.04

The Perfect Desktop – Xubuntu 12.04

The Perfect Desktop – Xubuntu 12.04

This tutorial shows how you can set up a Xubuntu 12.04
desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e.
that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on
their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure
system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and
the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

The software I propose as default is the one I found easiest to use
and best in their functionality – this won’t necessarily be true for
your needs, thus you are welcome to try out the applications listed as

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Xubuntu desktop to
have the following software installed:


  • Pinta – open source drawing application modeled after

    • KolourPaint – paint application with
      elemental functions

    • MyPaint – paint application with a
      large variety of brushes
  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • Shotwell Photo Manager – full-featured personal photo
    management application for the GNOME desktop


  • Firefox

    • Opera
    • Chromium – Google’s open-source browser
  • Thunderbird – email and news client

    • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and
      task list management functions
  • Deluge – free cross-platform BitTorrent client

    • Transmission BitTorrent Client – Bittorrent client
    • Vuze – Java BitTorrent client
    • qBittorrent – free alternative to µtorrent
  • Marble – desktop globe similar to google earth

    • GoogleEarth – Google’s desktop globe
  • Flash Player 11
  • FileZilla – multithreaded FTP client
  • Pidgin IM Client – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Dropbox Client – cloud storage
  • Gwibber Social Client – open-source microblogging client
    (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)


  • Adobe Reader

    • Evince – document viewer
    • Okular – document viewer
  • LibreOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • LibreOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance
    similar to Quicken

  • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats
    and synchronize music with Apple iPods

    • Amarok – audio player
    • MPlayer – media player (video/audio), supports WMA
    • Rhythmbox Music Player – audio player, similar to Apple’s
      iTunes, with support for iPods

    • gtkPod – software similar to Apple’s iTunes, supports
      iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini

    • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports
      various audio codecs

    • Nightingale – audio player similar to Winamp, but not yet as feature rich (Songbird fork)
    • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
    • Clementine – Amarok 1.4 fork
    • Exaile – audio player
  • VLC Media Player – media player, plays all kinds of videos (video/audio)

    • Totem – media player (video/audio)
    • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play
  • Winff – free video converter

    • SoundConverter – free audio converter
    • Soundkonverter – free audio converter
    • XFCA – free video/audio converter and ripper
  • K3B – CD/DVD burning program

    • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program
  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio

  • Kino – free digital video editor
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Multimedia Codecs


  • KompoZer – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia
    Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)

    • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and
      markup languages
  • Eclipse Extensible Tool Platform and Java IDE


  • VirtualBox OSE – lets you run your old Windows desktop
    as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to
    entirely abandon Windows

  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions
  • gedit – simple text editor

Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu
repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by
the Ubuntu community. Some may also not be in the default repositories
and have to be downloaded from the internet or from extra repositories.

The software provided in the above list covers most of the basic
tasks one may need to do on their desktop computers, sometimes there
are multiple choices for same functionality. If you know which one you
like best, you obviously don’t need to
install and test the other applications, however if you like choice,
then of
course you can install more than one.

I will use the username howtoforge in this
tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.


2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the
Xubuntu installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you
cannot go wrong. if(typeof __ez_fad_position != ‘undefined’){__ez_fad_position(‘div-gpt-ad-howtoforge_com-medrectangle-4-0’)};

Download the Ubuntu 12.04 desktop edition iso image from,
burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it:

Select your language and click on the Install Xubuntu button to start the installation:

On the next screen you see a few requirements for the Ubuntu 12.04
installation (the system should have at least 4.4 GB available drive
space and should be connected to the Internet). Please check the Download updates while installing and Install this third-party software (this will
install the software necessary to process Flash, MP3, and other media
files) checkboxes and click on Continue: if(typeof __ez_fad_position != ‘undefined’){__ez_fad_position(‘div-gpt-ad-howtoforge_com-box-4-0’)};

Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Erase disk and install Xubuntu is a good
choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you’re doing. Erase disk and install Xubuntu will create one
big / partition for us:

Select the hard drive that you want to use for the Xubuntu

Then choose your time zone:

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password,
and click on Continue:

Afterwards,Xubuntu is being installed. This can take a few minutes,
so be patient:

After the installation, you will be asked to reboot the system.
Click on Restart Now:

At the end of the shutdown process, you are asked to remove the
Xubuntu installation CD from the CD drive. Please do this now and press

Your new Xubuntu system starts. Log into the desktop with the
username and password you provided during the installation:

This is how your new Xubuntu XFCE desktop looks:

Now the base system is ready to be used.

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