Pimp your Ubuntu Salamander: 12.7 essential tips

Updated: November 23, 2013

The reason I chose a non-integer number in my title is because I'm special. Everyone has their X best things to do after installing Ubuntu, and even I did a parody spinoff on that some time back. The truth is, you don't need anything. But.

If you feel like slightly improving the quite solid vanilla experience offered by Ubuntu 13.10, you have come to the right place. Papa Dedo is going to show you a handful of useful, some more, some less trivial, tricks that should enhance your Salamander flavor. Now, without further ado, let's climb up the numerical ladder.


Tip 1: Proprietary drivers

If you happen to have a graphics card that runs best with closed-source drivers, it is a good moment to install them right away. Now, this can be a little tricky sometimes, which is why you should definitely read my mega-golden-silver-bullet tutorial on that topic. Lots of useful info there, so make sure you exercise your click rights.

Nvidia drivers installed

Tip 2: Steam

You have a good card, why not game some fella? Well, that's what Steam is for. The exact instructions for you specific flavor of Ubuntu, or Ubuntu-based system may differ slightly from one version to another. So make sure you pick the right one, and don't forget the Flash tutorials for 64-bit systems, either. It's all there, dear fellas.


Steam running

Tip 3: Skype

Another one that demands its own piece.

Skype running

Tip 4: VLC

You want the best media player, so get it. We shall command line now.

sudo apt-get install vlc


Tip 5: GIMP

Another excellent tool for you!

sudo apt-get install gimp gimp-plugin-registry


Tip 6: Unity Tweak

You will find this tool in the USC. It will do all kinds of magic for you, allowing you to easily adjust and tweak the Unity settings, including new themes and icons, hot corners, snapping, apps, and more.

Unity Tweak

Tip 7: Icons

Now that you have a tool to manage icons, do it. Faenza, here we go. You should add the official PPA first. Do note it is for Raring, but it is still fully usable here. I really love these icons. Just awesome. And you can explore a few new themes, too.


Tip 8: Cinnamon

Now, you like Cinnamon and how it's implemented in Mint? Sure, so why not have it also installed in your Ubuntu? Just like Fedora, it infuses the distro with fresh life.

Faenza icons & Mac theme

Tip 9: Privacy

Before you do any massive pr0n and incriminate yourself before your significant other, perhaps you ought to disable the online search results in the Dash, as well as reduce the tracking of data in your apps.


Record user data

More reading

If you're into CentOS and stuff, then please read below. Why, you ask? What's the connection? Why am I spamming you with seemingly unrelated items? Well, all of the below shows that even a server distro can be transformed into an amazing desktop system, beautiful, sleek and fast. Perhaps some of the stuff done below will inspire you for some additional efforts on Saucy Salamander. Luckily for you, almost every single app that requires special attention in CentOS is available by default in Ubuntu repositories.

CentOS, the first installation before going large with my Nvidia-powered laptop

CentOS ceremoniously deployed in my high-end production setup!

CentOS - A perfect desktop pimpage guide leetness level 1337

More CentOS pimping - parts two and three

CentOS upgrades, from 6.0 to 6.1 and 6.2

CentOS + Nvidia card setupĀ 

CentOS with SSD

And if you're not into CentOS at all, then here's just awesome software:

Best Linux software - The latest and greatest compilation

New cool list of Linux must-have programs

Best Linux apps for non-Gnome, non-KDE desktops


I could have easily split this one article into a dozen pieces, but I'm not so hungry for pageviews to compromise on your experience. I did write a bunch of these as individual articles, only because they are too long or important not to be standalone. Other than that, it's all good.

So no, you do not get 12.7 tips. You get nine top-level items and probably forty or fifty tips, spread across a dozen more articles. If you're really diligent, then you will gain yourself a handsome bunch of knowledge by the time you're done reading. Hopefully, this article won't just be a toasted slice of humor, but you will also use it to better your Ubuntu experience. That would be all. We might have another article coming soon, addressing other systems, maybe Xubuntu, maybe Mint, who knows.