Well, you know what, from the millions of other “things-to-do-after-installing-elementary” guides, as far as I can see everything has the same set of tools & processes to install, only that they’re laid out in a fairly different way, according to convenience. So feel free to use one of our guides in which you feel more comfortable with.
Being Ubuntu-based, elementary comes with support for almost all hardware, software, and file formats out-of-the-box. Although, there are some other third-party libraries with added or improved compatibility for various other hardware and file formats.
These are some of the items I recommend doing after installing elementary. which makes sure that you have the most pleasant elementary experience.
In this tutorial, I assume that you have understood how the Linux terminal works, so if you haven’t, go read the guide to the Linux terminal located here.
And of course, this guide is made based on my order of convenience, and might have its flaws, so if you feel like you want to improve on my guide, feel free to leave an ask or comment!
This article is a part of fyeOS’s “Noob Guide to elementary OS” series. This article has been updated 2 time(s), and is accurate per elementary OS Freya.
Update your system.
There have been numerous updates pushed into elementary OS Freya ever since it was released. Install these updates for updated packages, security patches, and improved performance.
To do so, click on your Applications bar and launch Software Updates. It will automatically check for updates the first time you launch it. Click “Install Updates” to begin the update.
This may take a while to complete, depending on the size of the updates, so grab a cup of coffee while waiting for it to finish up.
After updating, you may be prompted to restart your computer.
Install Ubuntu Restricted Extras.
Being Ubuntu-based, elementary OS ships with good compatibility with most file formats, hardware and all other features out-of-the-box. For an added range of compatibility, Ubuntu has a set of packages called Ubuntu Restricted Extras.
Ubuntu Restricted Extras is a software package containing third-party packages which allow you to play various media formats, such as MP3, DVD, Quicktime and Windows Media formats, that are not included by default on Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-derived systems due to licensing restrictions. They’re also proprietary, but if you don’t know what that means then you don’t need to worry about it.
To install, simply launch your Terminal and type out the following commands:
$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
Install Elementary Tweaks
Elementary Tweaks is an extension to your Switchboard which allows for more advanced tweaks to the Pantheon desktop environment, such as adding a minimize button, changing the system font, etc.
(Optional) Add some useful third-party apps/repositories.
There are many other useful applications that require some intricate installation process. Some of these require you to build them from their source, but if it isn’t worth the hassle you might want to add the third-party repositories relevant to those applications.
Third-party repositories enable you to install additional great applications on your system without the need of building them from source. These usually come in the form of Personal Package Archives (PPA) for Ubuntu-based systems, or other repositories supplied by a third party.
Canonical Partner Repository
Canonical Partner Repository is a repository containing proprietary software (like Skype, VMWare Player, Adobe Flash Player, etc.) that are supported on Ubuntu and provided for free. These are all packaged by Ubuntu developers and made available for everyone to install.
Here’s how you do it.
Open the Software Center
Navigate to Edit > Software Sources…
Then on the Other Software tab, check the boxes that say Canonical Partners and Independent.
The GetDeb repository provides a few ready-to-install apps and games that are compatible with your elementary system.
Due to Oracle’s licensing restrictions, Java is no longer included within Ubuntu’s default packages list. Fortunately, the WebUpd8 team has provided a PPA that downloads and packages Java for you. Use this version of Java if you want to run several Java-based apps and games, like Minecraft.
The installer will require you to accept the Oracle license before the installation begins. You will only have to do this once.
(Optional) Improve battery life & temperature management on your laptop.
If you’re running elementary OS on a laptop, chances are you might run into an issue where your laptop would run slightly very hot after a few moments, and your battery would run out not long after you decided to pull the plug and run on battery.
There is a tiny tool called TLP that helps you reduce these issues in a set-and-forget fashion. More information about what it does are available on the website.
It should automatically run the next time you reboot your laptop. But if you you want to start it immediately (though it wouldn’t affect your laptop much until you rebooted your laptop anyway), run the following command:
$ sudo tlp start
Install additional drivers.
Depending on your computer and what you’ll be doing with it, you may want to install additional or alternative versions of drivers for your hardware. It’s pretty straightforward, so here’s how to do it:
Open the Software Center
Navigate to Edit > Software Sources… > Additional Drivers
Install the drivers you want!
Here’s a tip: If you’re planning on playing games, you should definitely install one of the proprietary drivers for your graphics card. Even though the proprietary drivers aren’t open-sourced, they will always work better than the open alternatives because they’re made by the companies that made your graphics card (and they know what they’re doing).
WARNING: If you’re running elementary OS on any Apple computer, you will almost always have issues with display drivers, especially the kinds of issues that make your computer not work. Please be careful!
The Software Center is an alright application for installing and managing packages for end users, but it’s also very simplified for that reason. If you’re looking for something more powerful and lightweight, we recommend using Synaptic.
$ sudo apt-get install synaptic
As a final step, let’s get rid of packages and software that are not necessary and taking up our precious disk space. It’s a fairly easy step.
$ sudo apt-get autoclean
$ sudo apt-get clean
These commands are something you’ll want to run every week or two. They’ll help you save disk space, especially if you’re installing and removing packages a lot. If you know how to create cron jobs, this is certainly one you’ll want to include.
Update: We have decided to remove the autoremove command for the time being, as there’s an issue with some apps removing some of the important packages required for elementary. This issue was explained by +Daniel Fore on ourGoogle+ thread:
There are some popular packages that seem to break the meta package system (like Wine) and running autoremove after installing those packages will give you a broken system.
You may still try running the command at your own risk, but unless you know what you’re doing, it would be wise not to.