How I set up my fresh Ubuntu 16.04 install.

On by Mitesh Shah

Even though I don’t change my OS too frequently. I almost always end up tinkering around with it once every 2-3 months. I keep finding myself coming back to Canonicals Ubuntu, mostly because everything ‘just works’. Lets hope, that someday, I can muster the courage to take the leap and purify myself on the path to the Arch Way. Till then, let me fill my pockets with Ubuntu releases.

Whats the most important thing on a fresh OS install? Definitely the looks, I would say. I started with installing the unity-tweak-tool, a system-wide GTK3+ theme Arc-Darklink, and an icon pack paper-icon-themelink.

sudo apt install -y unity-tweak-tool

# Arc theme
sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/arc-theme.list"
sudo apt update
sudo apt -y install arc-theme

# Paper icons
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:snwh/pulp
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y paper-icon-theme # paper-gtk-theme

Amazingly, the Arc-Dark theme has a complimentary Arc-Firefox theme to go with it. It has some inconsistencies, which I fixed using simple stylesheets.

 * Add the below css to
 * ~/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default/chrome/userContent.css
input:not(.urlbar-input):not(.textbox-input):not(.form-control):not([type='checkbox']) {
    -moz-appearance: none !important;
    background-color: white;
    color: black;

#downloads-indicator-counter {
    color: white;

textarea {
    -moz-appearance: none !important;
    background-color: white;
    color: black;

select {
    -moz-appearance: none !important;
    background-color: white;
    color: black;

Now that my desktop looked pretty. It was time for some functionality.

  • Synaptic : Although using apt is really easy. It’s always good to have a a graphical package manager for times when you’re lazy ;P
  • gdebi : Installing .deb files with command line is pure torture (wait until you have unmet dependecies and watch the hell burn down). Instead, just install gdebi and let the demon die.
  • nautilus-dropbox : I use dropbox a lot. I don’t like being dependent on software, but hell I’m dependent on dropbox. I mostly use it to work on projects across different devices. And everything else too. I literally don’t use my hard disk at all, apart for local dropbox storage ofcourse. This bugs me a lot to be honest, I might think of encrypting everything before uploading on dropbox. Will have to read their TOS first.
  • keepassx : I feel that I could talk a lot more about a password manager than the scanty space available in this puny unordered list.

I also installed the following:

  • atom: a text editor.
  • Chrome: Incase firefox fails me.
  • GitKraken: graphic git
  • HexChat: IRC - MiteshNinja
  • kdenlive: video editor.
  • NeoVim: yet another text editor.
  • simplescreenrecorder: simple screen recorder.
  • Steam
  • umake: ubuntu-make to install PyCharm and CLion.
  • VLC
  • zsh: get this. now.

Some of the above programs were installed using these commands:

sudo apt install -y synaptic gdebi nautilus-dropbox keepassx kdenlive google-chrome zsh

# Screen recorder
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maarten-baert/simplescreenrecorder
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y simplescreenrecorder

The only thing I lack is a decent email notification system. I am currently using a simple python + cron script to get the job done, but I’ll soon be writing an appindicator/status bar application to get that to check my emails for me.

I also set up my terminal, which I’ve described in this post.

What do you do on a fresh OS install?