Ubuntu is a great operating system, especially the version 10.10. It comes with most needed software pre-installed. However, owing to licensing issues some packages are not installed by default. I recommend a few tweaks to polish your fresh installation. It takes lesser time and effort to prepare Ubuntu for a ride than it takes Windows 7 or Apple Mac.
1. Set up the repositories. Administration>Synaptic Package Manager>Settings>Repositories
a. Under Ubuntu Software enable all, except for Source Code
b. Other Software, select all. Here you can add needed [trusted] PPAs to install many more software.
c. Updates. Do not enable pre-release or unsupported updates, unless you are a dare-devil.
Avoid using the search Box, instead use the Search button and select "Name" in the Look In. Now search for "restricted". Select Ubuntu-restricted-extras and addons. Mark Apply. This step will install all needed codecs and drivers which were otherwise restricted due to licensing issues.
2. Ubuntu comes with Brasero CD burner, but you can install a much more advanced K3B, which will enable you to get many more options of burning DVDs and CDs.
3. Install GIMP. Even if Ubuntu comes with Shotwell photo manager, GIMP is a powerhouse and can fight with Photoshop, shoulder to shoulder. Install GIMP through Synaptic or Ubuntu Software Center.
4. If you are a big fan of desktop effect and 3D desktop, you may want to enable the additional desktop effects. Please install "Compiz configuration settings manager". Search for compiz in Synaptic and install it. Once installed, you can find it under System>Preferences. Enable the effects you want.
5. You might have noticed some vertical lines in videos playing under Ubuntu. Just go to "CompizConfig Settings Manager" and under 'General Option' go to Display Settings and tick "Sync To VBlank'.
6. If you need to take screen shots I would highly recommend 'Shutter' you can install it via USC. It is a very customizable tool offering you much more features than default TakeScreenshot tool.
7. If, unfortunately, you are an iPod, iPhone or iPad user, Ubuntu has decent support for these devices. Just search for gtkPod in USC and install it. You will have to set a device and it is good to go.
8. If you need to convert movies for uploading on Youtube or putting on your phone or iDevices, Avidemux is a very good software to convert movies in a desired format. Another handy tool is Arista Transcode, which supports many such devices.
9. If you are a Kindle or eBook reader, you would want to give Calibre a try which can convert any document into desired eBook format.
10. If, unfortunately, you are using some proprietary hardware, like Nvidia chips, I recommend running "Additional Hardware" from System>Administration. This tool will detect any such hardware and install it.
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