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10 Ways to make Elementary Os even better

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Freya-libre-office

LibreOffice on Elementary OS Freya.

So you’ve installed Elementary OS Freya and found it pretty rock solid. The more you use it, the more you like it. There’s a reason for that…Elementary OS Freya is one of the hottest Linux distributions available at the moment. It’s rock solid, elegant, and easy enough for anyone to use. But as you dig a bit deeper, you find there are certain aspects that require a bit of tweaking or additional software.

If you want to skip the exploration phase and get right to the tweaking of Elementary OS Freya, I have a short list of things you should immediately do, upon finalizing your installation. These tweaks and installations will cover a lot of ground and help your installation go from great to incredible in just a few short steps.

Let’s get to the tweaking.

Enable Canonical Partners repository

There’s plenty of great software available… but from a repository not enabled by default. Enabling this particular repository will add a number of important software titles to your Software Center, such as Skype, adobe-flashplugin, and even media codecs.

In order to enable this particular repository, do the following:

  1. Click on Slingshot (the Applications menu in the upper left corner)

  2. Type Software

  3. Click on Software & Updates when it appears

  4. Click on Other Software

  5. Click to enable Canonical Partners (Figure 1)

  6. When prompted, enter your sudo password and click Authenticate

  7. Click Close.

Figure 1: Adding the Canonical Partners repository.

Figure 1: Adding the Canonical Partners repository.

When you click Close, apt will update so the new repository (and its software) is available.

Install additional drivers

Should your machine make use of graphics (such as NVidia) or networking (such as BCM) hardware that doesn’t work well with open source drivers, you may need to install additional (proprietary) drivers to get the most out of your system. If you’re not even sure what hardware your system has (and if it needs special software to improve performance), you can find out in the same tool used to add the above repository.

In the Software & Updates tool, you’ll find a tab for Additional Drivers. Click on that tab. If the system has determined there is software available for your particular hardware, it will be listed here and ready to be enabled (Figure 2). Select the option you want to use and then click Apply Changes.

Figure 2: Installing additional drivers for graphics, sound, or wireless.

Figure 2: Installing additional drivers for graphics, sound, or wireless.

Do note, that installing proprietary drivers isn’t always the best option. You might want to do a bit of research to see how your particular hardware will respond with the combination of Elementary OS Freya and a proprietary driver.

Enable restricted codecs

Out of the box, most things work. Due to regional restrictions, however, some multimedia files may not play. To get around that, you must install extra codecs. Once you’ve installed the Canonical Partners repository, this is actually a single command away. Open up a terminal window (Click on Slingshot, type terminal, and click to open the terminal) and enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Type your sudo password, hit the Enter key, and allow the software to install. Once the installation is complete, you should be able to enjoy those multimedia files.

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