Jeremy Smith's blog

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First Things to Do With Ubuntu

After installing Ubuntu, I started making my way down Mark Pilgrim's Essentials list. I got:

Then I realized I needed to change my sources.list to this. That let me install Brightside (which I was hoping would get me Exposé like functionality (no luck thus far)).

Then I became sick and tired of the ugliness. It seemed the font was off... or something. So I installed Automatix and used that to download every font under the sun (and a bunch of other stuff that happened in the background). I switched all fonts to Arial, 8pt; but things still look ugly. I jumped through this font hoop. Then I became convinced it was my graphics card driver, so I jumped through some of those hoops. It's looking better (or I'm just getting used to the ugliness), but it's still not good.

Next, I tried:

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts
sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig

And chose "Autohinter" and enabled "subpixel rendering" (which has something to do with me using an LCD monitor).

And that made it way worse. Not sure how to get back to where I had it before. Wish I could. Tried backtracking through the dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig options selecting different ones each time. No luck.

Then I had to get my mouse working — hoop #1 hoop #2 (why isn't this default?).

At this point, I returned back to Mark's Essentials list. This is an office desktop, so I don't need stuff like MPlayer or VLC (though, I'm pretty sure a Gig of all that got installed when Automatix did its stuff... *shrug*).

Installing java was relatively straightforward, though, I found a lot of conflicting reports on how to do so. What worked for me was:

sudo apt-get install sun-java5-jdk

That installed the "JRE." Now you need to install the "J2SE" (no, I've never really understood why these two don't just come together):

% sudo apt-get install gcc
% sudo apt-get install java-package
# download j2sdk-1_x_x_x-linux-i586.bin from

% apt-get install gcc
% fakeroot make-jpkg j2sdk-1_4_2_12-linux-i586.bin
% sudo dpkg -i sun-j2sdk1.4_1.4.2+12_i386.deb
% sudo update-alternatives --config java

# choose the one that's like "/usr/lib/j2sdk1.4-sun/bin/java"

% export JAVA_HOME=/usr

That pretty much covers round #1 with Ubuntu. I'm now converting from GNOME/Nautilus flavor of Ubuntu to KDE. Hopefully, the desktop won't be so ugly.