Ubuntu 15.04 codenamed "Vivid Vervet" is the 22nd major Ubuntu release. Even though not as minor an iteration like Ubuntu 14.10, Vivid Vervet still doesn't bring any sweeping changes to the platform. This is to be expected since Unity 8 and Mir display server is still some time away. And no, Unity 8 will not become a default until at least Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. At the current rate though, even that is being overly optimistic.
Ubuntu 15.04: The good old Ubuntu is back!
My favorite Ubuntu versions has almost always has been the LTS releases. Ubuntu 12.04 could be termed as my favorite Ubuntu to date, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS could be a close second. But I've never faced much issues with any of the Ubuntu releases, except for Ubuntu 14.10, which was just beyond messed up. Things were so bad that I had to switch from Ubuntu to Freya almost permanently. And I have nothing but love for that incredibly clean and simple OS. Some of the reasons why I love elementary Freya so much.
But Ubuntu 15.04 turned things around for me. Everything seems to work just as good as it has always been. It's a shame that I was not able to find out the real cause for all the trouble I had with Ubuntu 14.10. But hey, that's the beauty of Linux. If you don't like an OS, you have 100 other equally good distros waiting to be tested.
Disclaimer: Even though I have made utmost care not to make any mistakes here, please make sure you double-check everything before executing. As they say, you don't trust a random code or command from the web. The same applies here. And most of this article is heavily influenced from our earlier posts on similar topics. So lend a careful eye while making critical changes to your brand new OS. You've been warned.
- You can install restricted codecs package (which include Adobe Flash, MP3 codecs and such) during installation of OS itself. See below.
- Notice the arrows pointing to the boxes in the screenshot above. If you tick both of them during the Ubuntu installation process (make sure you are connected to the internet before doing so), restricted extras package will be installed automatically and you will be able to play mp3's, avi's, mp4's etc. and watch flash videos (YouTube videos for example) right after Ubuntu installation is done with.
- But there is a catch. If you have a slow internet connection (which is very rare these days), ticking the boxes shown in the screenshot above will unnecessarily lengthen the installation process. I for one prefer to do all that after installing Ubuntu. If you are like me, the next two steps are for you.
- After you install brand new Ubuntu 15.04, the first thing you need to do is to update repositories and make sure you have the latest updates installed.
- Search for Software Updater in Unity Dash and launch the Software Updater app. It will automatically check for updates available. Install the updates.
- OR you could simply use the command line method. Open Terminal (Ubuntu 15.04 Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + T) and copy-paste the following command into Terminal.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
- Enter your password when asked and you're done. Your new Ubuntu 15.04 'Vivid Vervet' has been successfully updated and upgraded.
- Install the "ubuntu-restricted-extras" package. This will enable your Ubuntu to play popular file formats like mp3, avi, flash videos etc. CLICK HERE (to install directly from Ubuntu Software Center) OR simply copy-paste the following command into Terminal to install the package (You need not do this if you have ticked the 'right' boxes before).
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
- Done. [Note: The package contains some proprietary fonts and such which will not be downloaded while OS installation. Hence, you might still want to install Ubuntu Restricted Extras package even though you ticked those boxes before.]
- As in previous releases, Ubuntu 15.04 has 'Additional Drivers' functionality inside Software & Updates (previously called Software Sources).
- In my case, all the hardware drivers including graphics, sound and wireless drivers were enabled automatically. But this may not be the case for everyone.
- If you are among the not-so-lucky, open Unity dash (Ubuntu 15.04 Keyboard Shortcut: Super key) and search for 'Software & Updates' application.
- Check for additional drivers available and activate the ones you want. In majority of the cases, this will do the trick. If you're not able to get hardware drivers working yet, you'll have to do a fair amount of digging through ubuntuforums and askubuntu.
- Back in 2007, one of the first "feature" that attracted me to Ubuntu was the multiple workspaces thing and all the cool animations you could do with it. I know, it's kind of silly but workspaces are still very important to me. My work environment feels very claustrophobic otherwise.
- Even when market leaders like Microsoft is thinking about bringing multiple workspaces feature to its upcoming Windows 10 OS (or so I heard), Ubuntu 15.04 by default decides to ditch workspaces. I find it kind of amusing. May be Canonical received a different feedback from its users. Anyway, you can easily re-enable it by going to System Settings - Apperance window (see screenshot above for reference).
Hate two-finger scrolling? This will help.
- Two-finger scrolling is enabled by default. But you know what, I kind of like it now. But still, if you want to change it back to normal scrolling, here is what you need to do.
- Launch System Settings and browse to Mouse & Touchpad under Hardware.
- Unselect Two finger scroll.
Unity Tweak Tool: The insanely good tweaking tool for Ubuntu
- When it comes to tweaking Unity, there's no better candidate. Even the default Ubuntu Settings app is no match for Unity Tweak Tool.
- Unity Tweak Tool is available in default Ubuntu 15.04 repositories.
- Click Here to install Unity Tweak Tool in Ubuntu 15.04.
- Unity Tweak Tool has a lot of options to tinker with, about which we will discuss in detail later on in this post.
Enable 'Click to Minimize' feature using Unity Tweak Tool
- You can now click on the apps to minimize it to the launcher, a behavior which should have been default if you ask me. Here's how you do it.
- Launch Unity Tweak Tool which you've already installed, goto Launcher sub-menu under "Unity". Rest is self-explanatory (refer screenshot above). More details and video.
- Hotcorners along with multiple-workspaces have been two of favorite features ever since I started using Ubuntu years ago. Enabling hotcorners is a pretty straight-forward affair since you have already installed Unity Tweak Tool.
- Launch Unity Tweak Tool and goto Hotcorners sub-menu under 'Window Manager'.
Compiz Config Settings Manager, nuff said!
- CCSM is similar to Unity Tweak Tool, but more advanced, and very specific to Compiz, the default window manager. CCSM may not be as relevant as before, but it still packs the punch. We'll deal with some CCSM specific hacks later on.
- CLICK HERE to install CCSM.
Disable Animations and Fading windows using CCSM
- I am all for eyecandy, but it should not be at the cost of performance or responsiveness.
- Disabling Animations and Fading windows from CCSM might make your Ubuntu look less attractive. But as far as I can see, it has a significant positive impact on performance.
Disable Active Blur in CCSM for a faster loading Unity Dash
- Launch CCSM again, goto Ubuntu Unity Plugin under Desktop.
- Change Active Blur to Static Blur or No Blur.
- Online search results in Unity dash, sounds like a good idea on paper, but not in the real world. It unnecessarily makes Dash search slower (at least for me).
- To disable it, goto System Settings app and find Privacy category.
Important: Ubuntu 15.04 Privacy
- Ubuntu by default will be recording your activity which is later used to refine searches in Unity and such. You can completely disable this feature by accessing Privacy category within System Settings application.
- You can optionally disable recording for a pre-defined set of files only like image, text, video etc. instead of completely disabling recording altogether (my preferred way).
Disable Unnecessary Error Messages from Appearing in Ubuntu 15.04
- If errors like that with titles such as "system program problem detected" or "ubuntu 15.04 has experienced an internal error" are common in your Ubuntu installation, you might want to disable Apport error reporting tool altogether.
- Hit ALT + F2 and run the following command (as in the screenshot above).
gksu gedit /etc/default/apport
- Change value of "enabled" from 1 to 0 (instructions are provided in the text file itself).
- Save and exit. Now for changes to take effect, do the following in Terminal.
sudo restart apport
- OR do a system restart. Both will do. Apport is supposed to be disabled in stable releases and yet I'm finding it enabled in almost all major releases since Ubuntu 12.04. More details about Apport here.
Local Menus or Global Menus? You Decide.
- Global menus were pretty controversial from its early days. Some say it is unnecessary when display size of average desktops/laptops keeps on increasing.
- Don't worry, Ubuntu 15.04 has got you covered. Goto System Settings - Apperance and select Behavior. Now you can choose between one of the two.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are new to Ubuntu 15.04 and Unity, you might not want to do this. Stay with default settings for the time being and find for yourself if Lenses are useful or not.
- I have never found video, music or photo lens useful. I know exactly where my files are and I would simply use file browser instead to locate/launch them. Never been a fan of shopping lens either. All I need is a really fast loading Dash, plain and simple.
- If you're like me, you might want to trade them for a faster responding Unity dash. Copy-paste the following command into Terminal.
sudo apt-get autoremove unity-lens-music unity-lens-photos unity-lens-shopping unity-lens-video
- Done. Also recommended: Fix Ubuntu.