Installing Ubuntu 11.04 and Testing Unity 13 comments

Well, all you guys must be very familiar with the new Unity interface of Ubuntu and some are finding it buggy, unsupportive DE and want to stick to Gnome. Perfect approach ? No, a little wrong coz Unity is now really stable and by the end of April, you will see it as a really good DE to work with. We in this post will cover the basic aspects of Unity and howto get it working on your Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop. Laptops have integrated cards so they might pick it up directly but when it comes to desktops and external Video cards, things get messy. We are going to cover every small bit so that your Ubuntu experience remains better as it was with Gnome 2.32.

Download Ubuntu 11.04 Beta


There comes the hardest part ! Is it really ? No, Not at all ! People (including most of my friends) believe that installing Linux (Ubuntu) is problematic and hard. We have covered Ubuntu Installation in detail in our previous post. Well, we are doing it again to remind you the actual simplicity and fun involved in the installation. Here it goes –

  1. Boot your Ubuntu Live via USB/CD and start the installer. Then choose your preferred language and proceed.
  2. Ensure the ‘3 requirements’ are satisfied and click forward.
  3. At the Installer menu, select ‘something else’ for Manual partitioner setup. (Else you can choose to Erase all your data and install dedicated Ubuntu)
  4. Select the rest free space and make a new partition of size 1GB and use it as ‘ext4 journaling filesystem’. Set mount point as ‘/boot’.
  5. After that select the next partition and st is as ‘swap area’. It should be double the size of your RAM.
  6. The partitioning is done, click forward and installation will start.
  7. Now select your TimeZone, Keyboard Layout, Username/Password and then wait for the installation to complete.
  8. Reboot your computer and there it is you Ubuntu 11.04.

Update Manager

After rebooting to your dedicated machine, browser to System>Administration>Update Manager, refresh lists and install all the updates listed. The update manager may ask you for an upgrade, run it but make sure you have enough disk space and good connection. After update/ upgrade is over, reboot your system for a better Ubuntu.

Installing Hardware Drivers

Hardware Drivers are very important for Unity as it demands 3D effects to be enabled to run Compiz and give the intended looks. What you need to do is to browse to System>Administration>Additional drivers and install and activate the drivers. After the install is over, reboot the system and Unity will be there to greet you.
If you have Nvidia card and you cannot see any drivers for your card, you can use this PPA to install them right away. (this PPA works on 11.04 also) –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-current-modaliases nvidia-settings

and restart the system. Everything will be done for sure. We will cover hardware driver installation in detail soon.

Fixing the Bootscreen

Do this if and only if your Ubuntu bootscreen shows up ugly text instead of regular Ubuntu bootscreen. Be careful while doing this :

Method 1 -> Simply install startup manager via terminal ‘sudo apt-get install startupmanager’. Logout and log back in. Now Browse to ‘System>Administration>Startup manager’ and set you preferences. Set color depth at 24 bit and resolution of your choice. Save and reboot. You bootscreen now should be like the one below πŸ™‚

Method 2 -> Step 1: Open the terminal and type :

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

– Now, Replace the following line :


with this one:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1024×768-24,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap”

– Replace the following line :


with this one:


Save the file and close it!
Step 2: Now, type

sudo gedit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules

When the text window appears, add the following line at the end of the file:

uvesafb mode_option=1280×1024-24 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap

Save the file and close it!

Step 3: Now,

echo FRAMEBUFFER=y | sudo tee /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash

Step 4: Now update grub using this command:

sudo update-grub
sudo update-initramfs -u

Reboot your computer. When the system starts, you should see a better looking Ubuntu boot screen.

Note – You can choose resolution sizes according to your computer capability and screen sizes.

Ubuntu Restricted Extras

Ubuntu Restricted Extras is a package that contains all the necessary codecs and plugins like flashplayer, mp3 and other restricted audio/video codecsΒ  all in one package. Install it from Software Center and Ubuntu is ready at its full power at your service.

Ubuntu Tweak

Ubuntu Tweak as we covered earlier is a very nice system tool for Ubuntu desktops and is now available for Natty too. Download Ubuntu Tweak from HERE and install it via Software Center. . The following PPA can also be used to install tweak on Natty.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

Configuring Ubuntu has never been so easy.

Basic Applications

GIMP, Multiget, Bleachbit, Chromium & VLC are the top 5 basic applications to have on Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

GIMP – Image manipulation program for Linux systems. Simple search it in Software Center or type ‘sudo apt-get install gimp‘ in the terminal.

Multiget – Multiget is a very nice and easy direct downloads manager for Ubuntu. Software Center is there but terminal lovers can use ‘sudo apt-get install multiget‘ to have it installed.

Bleachbit – Bleachbit is a system cleaner, cleans all the useless packages thereby clearing space in root file-system for better performance. Again it can be installed via Software center or simple ‘sudo apt-get install bleachbit‘ πŸ˜€

Chromium – Chromium is a faster browser and its a must have application. So, use this PPA to get it –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chromium-daily/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

and done.

VLC – VLC is a much have media player; no questions asked ! πŸ˜›

Time and Date

Since many of our users might not have completely migrated from Windows they probably be facing some time issues when they login into Ubuntu & then login back into Windows.
Well thats because Ubuntu treats your default time to be UTC (Universal Time Coordinated or GMT).

So to adjust the time such that the time remains same in both the cases do the following:

1) Press Alt+F2 (remember the shortcut)
2) Type (else copy paste)

gksu gedit /etc/default/rcS

3) Enter the password and a gedit (almost same as Notepad for windows) window will pop up.
4) Search for UTC and set UTC=yes or UTC=no (or accordingly how you wish)
5) Reboot and you are done..!!!!

Manage Startup Applications

There is a Startup Application manager to set the applications on boot. Check the ones you need and uncheck the ones you dont need This will help you boot your system faster. You can also add applications at boot time using that app.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts will help you getting things in Ubuntu quicker.


  • Super – Invoke the Launcher.
  • Alt-F1 – Put keyboard focus on the Launcher.
  • Super-1 or 2 or 3 and so on until 0 – Open or focus an application.
  • Super-T – Open the rubbish bin.
  • Ctrl-Alt-T – Launch a terminal window.


  • Super (tap) – A tap opens the Dash
  • Super-A – Open Applications place
  • Super-F – Open Files & Folders place


  • F10 – Open the first menu on the panel

Window Management

  • Super-S – Spread mode, zoom out on all windows in all workspaces.
  • Super-W – Spread mode, zoom out on all windows in current workspace.
  • Super-D – Minimize all windows; hitting it again restores them.

Window Replacement

  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 7 – Place window in top left corner of screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 8 – Place window in top half of screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 9 – Place window in top right corner of screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 4 – Place window on the left side of the screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 5 – Center/Maximize the window in the middle of the screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 6 – Place window on the right side of the screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 1 – Place window in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 2 – Place window in the bottom half of the screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 3 – Place window in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Numpad 0 – Maximize window.

We are sure you will find them useful.

For any queries regarding Ubuntu you can ask us here or our forums are always open for linux problems πŸ™‚

Njoy !


About Cell aka Abhishek

A Technology Fanatic, Open-source lover, a future Entrepreneur, & an Innovative thinker, is presently working as a R&D Engineer in the Wind Turbine Industry.