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Ubuntu 12.04, AKA Precise Pangolin is a Long-Term Support (LTS) version - i.e. supported 5 yrs.

With Ubuntu introducing a completely new desktop style, and radically different UI, I've kicked the tyres of various options which might help avoid what's commonly known as "Unity". Linux Mint was okay-ish. Xubuntu seems pretty good for under-powered machines, but there were always a few irksome points or sheer-flakiness with starting from one of these as a base and trying to reach what hooked me on Ubuntu with the old 9.04 release.

I'm as-yet not up to the level of expertise to construct what I want from a 'nekkid' Debian base, but that looks to be the way to go. In the meantime, with several Xubuntu installs having been abused enough to decide it wasn't the answer, I've gone back to starting from an Ubuntu base and moving that to where I want it.

Doing installations is documented below.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bitEdit

Started July 23, 2012.
First-off, let's clear a point of confusion for many people: In the Linux world your version for a 64-bit machine is always the AMD64 version. Yes, you may have an Intel CPU in your machine, but you'd use an AMD64 installation kit. This is because AMD were first into the 64-bit space with their processor models.
What 64-bit gives you is the ability to go above the 3-odd GiB RAM limitation in 32-bit processors. I've found, and there's a lot of comments about this spread around the web, that even if your motherboard says you cannot install a maximum of 3GiB you probably can if the processor is 64-bit and you install a 64-bit operating system.

For my build, I've started off installing over the top of a mucked up Xubuntu install. Machine is dual-boot with Windows 7 (started as just Win7 then got Xubuntu added). The disk had the following Linux-relevant partitions from my earlier hackery:

Mapping the filesystemEdit

/dev/sda5 — / [Filesystem root - ext4 filesystem]
/dev/sda6 — /home [Directory for user accounts - ext4]
/dev/sda7 — swap [Swap]
/dev/sda8 — /home/shared [Operating system/User shared space - FAT32 filesystem]


That last one may seem weird, but is a directory on Linux that anyone can access, and an extra drive under Windows, again anyone can access. It makes transferring files on one machine between operating systems, or users, relatively easy.

The unlisted, lower, numbered partitions are related to Windows, machine-specific special tools, and the usual 'recovery' partition. The only really relevant one is the bootable Windows 7 partition. Appearing last in the boot menu, I get "Windows 7 (loader) /dev/sda2". This is only of relevance/use in that the machine is later set to always boot this item by default.

Boot and start buildingEdit

  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (AMD64) CD.
  • Set up keyboard layout, language, start install
  • Do not reformat shared, home directories.
  • Pick never-before present username
  • Select to encrypt user's files/directory.

Customising the new disk installEdit

  • In terminal, get the 'more conventional' gnome setup;
sudo apt-get install synaptic gnome-panel
  • Log out
  • Click small Ubuntu logo above login box, switch to GNOME Classic before logging back in
  • Run synaptic, go to software sources and enable all Ubuntu repositories (not source), switch to pull stuff from the main repository; on other tabs enable Partner software and Independent software, then select to provide usage/feedack data.
  • Perhaps select to be notified of important (but non-critical) updates immediately.
  • Reload software sources, Mark All Upgrades and Apply.
  • Reboot; and, in the bootloader menu, check which old version(s) of Linux may need removed. From the 12.04 LTS CD I used this was v3.2.0-23.
  • Once logged back in, go to the terminal and stick in the following:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa //for ubuntu-tweak
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openshot.developers/ppa
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rawthereapee/nightly
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dajhorn/skype-call-recorder

  • Open browser and visit the medibuntu repository how-to page here and cut 'n' paste the top boxload of code into the terminal.
  • Close the terminal again

Mark desired changesEdit

Update
  • Open synaptic again, click Reload
  • Click Mark All Upgrades then Apply
Removals
  • Go to the "Status" view (bottom-left quadrant) and select "Installed" on the left, and put the old Linux kernel version to remove into the "Quick filter" (in my case, 3.2.0-23)
  • You should get three entries, all with a green box next to them, select all of them, right-click and pick "remove completely
  • This is where I, usually, remove Thunderbird.
Additions
  • Switch back to viewing all packges by clicking on "All" in the left panel.
  • Find each of the following using the "Quick filter" and mark for installation:
ubuntu-tweak, app-install-data-medibuntu, apport-hooks-medibuntu, gparted, zenmap, evolution, libreoffice-evolution, evolution-indicator, evolution-exchange, ubuntustudio-menu, ubuntustudio-audio, ubuntustudio-graphics, ubuntustudio-video, winff, oggconvert, skype, skype-call-recorder, adobe-flash-properties-gtk, compizconfig-settings-manager, gnome-tweak-tool, ubuntu-restricted-addons, ubuntu-restricted-extras, gnome-system-tools, computer-janitor-gtk,idjc, nautilus actions

  • During this monster install, you'll be asked if you want to use Realtime processing with JACK (yes), and to accept the EULA for Microsoft's fonts (Yes, meet their least-toxic product).
Notes
  • gnome-shell-extensions, mesa-utils, xscreensaver-gl (?)