12th April 2017, updated:5th December 2017

My own setup for Ubuntu

These are the steps I normally use to setup a Ubuntu distribution, currently up to Zesti Zapus (17.04). This setup is mostly useless for later Ubuntu distributions, where Unity has been discarded.

This setup only defines the initial installations and basic system configuration, not all the programs that I eventually install.


  • From Ubuntu software center, install:
    • Dropbox
    • Tweak tool
    • Unity tweak tool
    • CompizConfig Settings Manager
    • Guake terminal
  • From their sites, install:
  • From the command line, using apt-get, install:
    • Keepassx, vim, vlc and additional compiz config plugins:
      sudo apt-get install keepassx vlc vim compiz-plugins
    • ExFat drives and HFS+ support:
      sudo apt-get install exfat-utils exfat-fuse hgsprogs


Show full time in top bar

Open on top bar the Time & Date settings, and on Clock, check Weekday and 'Date and month', then choose 24-hour time

Ensure that desktop is not handled by gnome

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false

This is a setting to be used repeatedly. While this value is false, it is not possible to change the wallpaper, so, at least to replace it, his value will have to be set to true at some moment.

Remove from Nautilus entries to Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos and Desktop

vi ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs

Modify all entries that should not appear. For example, to have only a DOWNLOAD folder, this file should have the following content:


Afterwards, it is needed to reset nautilus

killall nautilus

Show files as list in nautilus, in small size

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-folder-viewer list-view
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.list-view default-zoom-level small
killall nautilus

Modify Unity search, to be less invasive

Open Unity tweak tool / Search: uncheck 'search online sources', uncheck 'Show More suggestions', uncheck 'Enable search on your files'

Unity shortcuts and workspaces

By default, ALT opens the HUD, which can be useful, but not as much as to require such a simple shortcut: it will be changed to CTRL + ALT + SPACE.

Also by default, SUPER opens the launcher. Used to Spotlight in OsX, I prefer using Super+Space for this. In addition, having SUPER reserved to the launcher, it means that Super+1 will open the first icon in the launcher, Super+2 the second one, etc. I prefer using these shortcuts to select workspaces

  • Open CompizConfig Settings Manager
    • Go to window management, and enable the Put plugin
  • Open Settings / Appearance / Behaviour
    • Check Enable workspaces
  • Open Settings / Keyboard / Shortcuts
    • Launchers / Key to show the HUD: Ctrl + Alt + space
    • Typing / Switch to next source : disable (backspace) [otherwise, it uses Super+Space]
    • Typing / Switch to previous source : disable (backspace)
  • Open Unity tweak tool / Additional / Keyboard shortcuts
    • Choose Super + Space for 'Show the launcher'
    • No need to do here: Choose Alt + Space for HUD
  • Open Settings / Keyboard / Shortcuts
    • Navigation / move window to workspace 1 : disable (backspace)
    • Navigation / Switch to workspace 1 : Super + 1
    • Navigation / Switch to workspace 2 : Super + 2
    • Navigation / Switch to workspace 3 : Super + 3
    • Navigation / Switch to workspace 4 : Super + 4
    • Navigation / Switch to workspace left / right / above /below : ALT + Super + (Left / Right / Up/ Down)

Note that:

  • Alt + Super + Arrow keys can be used now to move window to relative workspace. It is just not possible to assign shortcuts to move windows to specific worspaces!
  • Super + numeric keypad allows to move windows to specific positions
  • Super + S allows a workspace view.
  • Super + W allows a expo view

Enable workspace wallpapers

Open CompizConfig Settings Manager

  • Go to Utility and enable Wallpaper plugin
  • Now, add one wallpaper per worspace

Launcher icons

Unlock from launcher: amazon, all LibreOffice icons.

Open terminal, chrome, sublime -> right click on their launcher icon and click on 'Lock to launcher' etc

Start guake at login

Open Startup Applications (use launcher), press add, enter Guake as name, and /usr/bin/guake as command

On a Mac keyboard, avoid having to press Fn to key F1 to F12

sudo -s
echo options hid_apple fnmode=2 > /etc/modprobe.d/hid_apple.conf
update-initramfs -u
For the current session (but it is lost after reboot), it is possible to just issue:
echo options hid_apple fnmode=2 | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/hid_apple.conf