Ubuntu Tips and Tricks

The migration from Windows and/or the start with Ubuntu brings some challenges. Within this section you find some Tips and Tricks which shall help you to have a smooth start into the world of Ubuntu.

Use Virtual Box to run Windows within Ubuntu

If you want to run alternative operating systems within Ubuntu (such as Windows or Solaris) you can use Virtual Box. After the set-up of virtual box and the configuration of operating systems, you can run their applications too (alternative to WineHQ).

Always check the Ubuntu documentation before you buy new hardware

Frequently I'm meeting Ubuntu users who bought new hardware and then realised that the installation of their devices is either very troublesome or in rare cases, not possible at all. To avoid such or similar unpleasant experiences, always check the Ubuntu documentation first. Hardware either a) works on the spot and is thus recommended, b) needs some extra installations/configurations or c) works only partially or not at all with Ubuntu. Optimally you buy recommended hardware components that work on the spot.
Usually you find guides at ubuntu.com. Examples:

Ensure full multimedia support (mp3, flash videos, DVD) after the installation of Ubuntu

To ensure full multimedia support (mp3, avi, flash videos, DVD, etc.) it is highly recommended to do the following: 1. Install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras during the installation and
2. Enable the Full DVD Playback after the installation.

If you are migrating from Windows, consider to start with dualboot and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

The migration from Windows to Ubuntu is not very difficult, but also not very easy. It's like moving house, everything feels a little out of place for a while. For a smooth migration I suggest the following: 1. Install Ubuntu first as dual boot beside your Windows installation or 2. Start with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Use Calibre to read, convert and manage ebooks

If you need an application to read, convert and manage ebooks, I recommend you Calibre. Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. As a complete e-library solution it includes library management, format conversion, news feeds to e-book conversion and e-book reader synchronization. Currently the supported input formats are: MOBI, LIT, PRC, EPUB, ODT, HTML, CBR, CBZ, RTF, TXT, PDF and LRS.

Ensure that Ubuntu is up-to-date after the installation

When installing Ubuntu it is important to ensure that it is up-to-date. Although you might have downloaded the latest available package, there might be important updates. To ensure that your installation is up-to-date you can (1) select the option "Download updates while installing" during the setup or (2) update the repositories and install the latest updates after the installation.

Use OpenSSH to control remote Ubuntu desktops

OpenSSH is a freely available version of the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol family of tools for remotely controlling a computer or transferring files between computers. Traditional tools used to accomplish these functions, such as telnet or rcp, are insecure and transmit the user's password in cleartext when used. OpenSSH provides a server daemon and client tools to facilitate secure, encrypted remote control and file transfer operations, effectively replacing the legacy tools.

Ask questions to the community

If you have a problems or questions get help from the Ubuntu community. The maybe most advanced sites are Ubuntu Forums and Ask Ubuntu. Both provide question and answer services for Ubuntu users and developers. There you can 1. check whether there is already an answer to your problem and 2. ask a question if there is not.

Google is your best friend

If you have a problems or questions related to Ubuntu it is usually quite easy to find the required help online. Copy and paste the exact error message, and consider putting the search term inside double quotes so that Google does a literal search. Alternatively you can ask a question like "Ubuntu how to run virtual machines".