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Ubuntu 16.04 will be available for download in a few hours and since many of you will be installing it as soon as it's released, here are some useful things you can do right after the installation.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS


Get some Ubuntu AppIndicators


Every Unity user needs some AppIndicators - the tiny icons that sit on the top panel, next to the clock. Below you'll find 3 such AppIndicators, two which add some missing functionality to the desktop and one for some eyecandy.


1. My Weather Indicator


My Weather Indicator Ubuntu

Probably my favorite indicator, "My Weather Indicator" displays the current weather on the Unity panel. From the Indicator menu, you can see a weather forecast and more. The application even supports adding desktop weather widgets.

To install it in Ubuntu 16.04, you'll need to use a PPA. Add the PPA and install My Weather Indicator using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt update
sudo apt install my-weather-indicator


2. Caffeine


Caffeine Indicator Ubuntu

Caffeine is a tool used to temporarily prevent the activation of the screensaver / lock screen / sleep mode, when using full-screen windows. The application is useful if you're using a video player that doesn't do this automatically, when listening to music, etc.

To install it in Ubuntu 16.04, click the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or install it from the command line, using:
sudo apt install caffeine
Note: After the installation, the command-line version of Caffeine is set to start automatically on login. If you want the indicator to start automatically, you'll have to add "caffeine-indicator" to your startup applications.


3. Variety

Variety Wallpaper Changer indicator

Spice up your desktop with Variety wallpaper changer! Variety is not just an indicator, but a whole app however, you don't really need to open the app to use it - simply configure it once, and then you can use the AppIndicator menu to change the wallpaper.

Tip: you can scroll up/down on the Variety indicator to change to the previous / next wallpaper.

To install Variety wallpaper changer in Ubuntu 16.04, you can click the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or, to install it from the command line, use:
sudo apt install variety


There are many other AppIndicators that you might find useful, like one that shows the system load (like System Load Indicator or Syspeek), an indicator that displays the CPU temperature (like Psensor) and even a simple todo list indicator.

You can browse our AppIndicator tag for more Ubuntu AppIndicators.


Tweak Unity


Some Unity options are available in System Settings, some in CompizConfig Settings Manager while others are only available via Dconf Editor (or from gsettings / the command line). To avoid having to switch between so many applications to find the settings you want to change, you can use Unity Tweak Tool.

Unity Tweak Tool

Unity Tweak Tool supports new Unity features like moving the Launcher to the bottom, as well as pretty much everything else you can change about Unity.

The application can be used to set the Launcher on autohide, change Unity Launcher size, set hot corners, change the number of workspaces, enable or disable minimize to click on Unity Launcher, change the GTK and icon theme, can be used to configure the desktop fonts and much more.

Unity Tweak Tool

To install Unity Tweak Tool, you can click on the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or install it from the command line, by using:
sudo apt install unity-tweak-tool


Install codecs, Java, and encrypted DVD playback


1. To be able to play most audio and video formats, install Ubuntu Restricted Extras by clicking the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or install it using the following command:
sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras

2. I suggest to also install the unrestricted version of libavcodec so you don't encounter issues with missing codecs when trying to use some video editors or transcoders - install them by clicking the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:
sudo apt install libavcodec-extra

3. You may also need Java, but you must figure out what you need. Most users will only need OpenJRE and the Java browser plugin which you can install by clicking the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:

sudo apt install icedtea-8-plugin openjdk-8-jre

For development, you'll also want OpenJDK which you can install by using the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:

sudo apt install openjdk-8-jdk

If for various reasons, you need Oracle Java (the package includes JDK, JRE and the browser plugin), you can install Oracle Java 8 from the WebUpd8 Oracle Java PPA, by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt update
sudo apt install oracle-java8-installer


4. Encrypted DVD playback can be enabled by installing the "libdvd-pkg" package.

I recommend installing this package from the command line, as it's an installer that automatically downloads and installs libdvdcss2, and you may want to see if something goes wrong. To install it, use the following command:
sudo apt install libdvd-pkg


Setup Cloud Sync (Dropbox or Google Drive), Skype, Telegram Desktop and Facebook Chat in Pidgin


1. Dropbox

Dropbox Ubuntu

Dropbox, one of the most popular tools for storing and synchronizing files in the could, is available in the Ubuntu repositories. If you use Ubuntu with Unity and Nautilus, you can install nautilus-dropbox, either by clicking the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or from the command line:
sudo apt install nautilus-dropbox

Then simply launch Dropbox from Unity Dash and follow the instructions.


2. Google Drive

If you prefer Google Driver over Dropbox, there are multiple ways of using it in Ubuntu 16.04.

There's no native Google Drive client for Linux, but the there is a native application that's as close to it as it gets: Insync.

Insync is not free though, but there's a 15-day trial. Check it out @ insynchq.com.

Google Drive Nautilus

Another way of accessing your Google Drive files in Ubuntu 16.04 is by using the new GNOME 3.18 feature that allows integrating Google Drive with Nautilus (Files) - or whatever file manager you're using -, via GNOME Online accounts. Check out our article about setting this up, HERE.


3. Skype

Like Dropbox, Skype can installed from the official Ubuntu repositories however, you'll firstly need to enable the Canonical Partners repository.

Skype Ubuntu

To enable the Canonical Partners repository, open System Settings > Software & Updates and on the "Other Software" tab, click the box next to "Canonical Partners":

Ubuntu Canonical Partners repository

... and make sure you click "Reload" when asked about reloading the information about available software.

Then, you can click the button below to install Skype:

Download for Ubuntu

Or, to install it from the command line, use:
sudo apt install skype

While we're at it, let's also fix Skype on 64bit not using the correct theme, by installing the missing dependencies using the following command:
sudo apt install gtk2-engines-murrine:i386 gtk2-engines-pixbuf:i386


4. Telegram

Telegram is another popular messaging tool that's available for Ubuntu.

Telegram Desktop Ubuntu

The official Linux Telegram desktop app is available to download on its website (but it's not offered as .deb). You can also a PPA to install the latest Telegram Desktop app in Ubuntu.

Add the PPA and install Telegram using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/telegram
sudo apt update
sudo apt install telegram

You may also need: Telegram plugin for Pidgin


5. Add Facebook Chat to Pidgin

Facebook shut down their XMPP service in 2015 and because of this, Pidgin/libpurple no longer supports Facebook Chat. For those of you who want to use Facebook Chat in Pidgin, there's a new plugin which makes this possible, called purple-facebook.

Facebook Chat Pidgin

The plugin has its own Ubuntu repository, but it wasn't updated to work with the latest Ubuntu 16.04. Until the repository is updated, you can download the deb files from here:

The deb files are for Ubuntu 15.10 but they should work with Pidgin in Ubuntu 16.04.

Once installed, add a new account in Pidgin (Accounts > Manage Accounts > Add) and in the Protocol dropdown, select "Facebook" (important: NOT "Facebook (XMPP)"). In the username field you can enter either your email, your Facebook username or phone number associated with your Facebook account.


Install GDebi GTK and Synaptic


GNOME Software (which is called "Ubuntu Software" in the final Ubuntu 16.04 release) is nice, but it doesn't display command line tools. And that's ok if you know the name of the tool you want to install, because you can simply open a terminal and type "sudo apt install APP-NAME", but if you don't know the exact app name, you're out of luck.

Furthermore, the application has two pretty important bugs:

  • right now it can't install deb files - bug HERE;
  • if you remove an application with GNOME Software, its dependencies are not removed- bug HERE.

Synaptic Package Manager

That's why I recommend the good old Synaptic Package Manager (and GDebi for installing deb files - see below), which you can install by clicking on the button below:

Download for Ubuntu

Or by using the following command:
sudo apt install synaptic

To install deb files, you can use GDebi GTK, which displays details information about the packages, including their dependency, deb contents and so on.

Gdebi GTK

To install GDebi GTK in Ubuntu 16.04, you can click the following button:

Download for Ubuntu

Or install it from the command line:
sudo apt install gdebi

Then, to open a deb with GDebi, right click it and select Open With > GDebi Package Installer.

To open / install deb files with GDebi GTK by default, right click a .deb file, select Properties and on the "Open With" tab, select "GDebi Package Installer" and click the "Set as default" button.


Enable working PPAs from previous Ubuntu releases


When upgrading to a new Ubuntu version, all PPAs are disabled. Y PPA manager comes with a feature, called "Re-enable working PPAs after Ubuntu upgrade", which re-enables all those disabled PPAs, but only if they are working for the current Ubuntu version.

Y PPA Manager

For those who upgrade in other ways or want to migrate PPAs, Y PPA Manager provides another feature, called "Update release name in working PPAs", which lets you replace the Ubuntu version used in the PPA .list file with your current Ubuntu version, but only if the PPA supports your current Ubuntu version.

To use these, along with other PPA-related features, like searching for packages in Launchpad PPAs, you'll need Y PPA Manager, which you can install by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/y-ppa-manager
sudo apt update
sudo apt install y-ppa-manager


[Dev tool] Install Ubuntu Make


Ubuntu Make is an official Ubuntu command line tool created for developers, to make it easy to install the latest version of various IDEs, like IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, Android Studio, etc., as well as other developer tools.

Ubuntu Make

Even tough Ubuntu Make is available in the official repositories, it's recommended to use its PPA so you always have the latest release. To add the PPA and install Ubuntu Make, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/ubuntu-make
sudo apt update
sudo apt install ubuntu-make
Then run "umake --help" in a terminal to see all the available options.


More


A few other things I personally do after each fresh Ubuntu installation:

You can discover new and interesting software in Ubuntu 16.04 by using the new Software app. For any questions regarding Ubuntu, you can use AskUbuntu.

WebUpd8 is also a source of new and updated applications and tweaks for Ubuntu, so you may want to subscribe to get all the new articles (via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+).

What do you install and tweak after a new Ubuntu installation?