Configure Linux After Install

What follows is mostly for me. Every couple of years when I buy a new computer and have to reload my operating system. I want an easy way to remember what to install and how I had it configured. There’s little explanation as to why I use the software or configuration settings below, it’s just what I like.

A quick aside:

If you are new to Linux or thinking to making the switch, keep this in mind when deciding on a distro. You want an easy transition. Get comfortable with Linux first then branch off to an unknown or less friendly distro. This means if you’re coming from Mac, use Ubuntu with Unity desktop. If you’re coming from Windows, use Linux Mint with Cinnamon desktop. They are both based on Debian, have a boat-load of tutorials and forums on the web, and are very similar in setup to what you are already familiar with. Most of the instructions below will work for both systems but all screenshots are from Linux Mint.

Desktop Programs to Install


Download here:

Firefox Developers Edition

By installing the developers edition your default edition will be replaced. If you want to keep both, there are instructions on the web.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/firefox-aurora
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox/trusty

In my experience installing Firefox Developers Edition via PPA only works about half the time. No idea why it doesn’t work, but when it fails I install it manually. First download the .tar file from the Mozilla site, then extract the file, then move the extracted files to the /opt directory, and finally create a symlink so terminal processes can find it. (Note: if the PPA install worked, you won’t need to do this.)

sudo ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

To have an icon in your menu, you’ll need to create a file called firefox.desktop in ~/.local/share/applications. The contents of that file should look like this:

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Firefox Developer Edition
Comment=Firefox Developer Edition Web Browser.


Skype for Linux hasn’t been updated in many years. The version in the Software Manager is the newest version available.


Older versions available via the Software Manager, but the newest versions are in the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:deluge-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install deluge


Download the latest version of redshift from Github and extract it.

Open a terminal in the extracted directory and and type:

./configure --enable-randr --enable-gui --enable-ubuntu \

You will get a > prompt. Type:


If you get an error about the intltool, you’ll need to install the newest version:

sudo apt-get install intltool

If you get error about missing dependencies for RANDR method, you’ll need to install those dependencies:

sudo apt-get install libxcb1-dev libxcb-randr0-dev libx11-dev

Once all the dependency issues are sorted, run the ./configure commands again.

Once that’s done:



sudo make install

Create ~/.config/redshift.conf file. Instructions here:

Add to Startup Applications


Download here:


Get terminal install command here:


Installed by default with Linux Mint; otherwise it should be available in the Software Manager.

Codec for h.265

If you get an error when playing a movie along the lines of:

Codec not supported:
VLC could not decode the format "hevc"...

You’ll need to install the libde265 HEVC codec; libde265 is an open source implementation of the h.265 video codec.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:strukturag/libde265
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install vlc-plugin-libde265

Simple Screen Recorder

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maarten-baert/simplescreenrecorder
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder

GTK+ UVC Viewer

To have your webcam in screencasts.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pj-assis/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install guvcview


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nvbn-rm/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install everpad

Development Tools


Download here:

Under Edit -> Preferences

  • Change Font Family to Oxygen Mono
  • Check Scroll Past End
  • Check Show Indent Guide

Under the Theme Settings change the UI Theme to One Dark and the Syntax Theme to Atom Dark.

Install Packages:

Pigments Edits

Under Pigments Preferences change Marker Type to “dot”.

Then click Edit -> Stylesheet and add the following to adjust pigment’s dot display.

atom-text-editor::shadow pigments-markers::shadow,
pigments-markers::shadow, {
  transform: translate(0, -50%) scale(.7);

While you’re in the stylesheet, add the following so the tab sizes are a normal width and not only the size of the file name.

[theme-one-dark-ui-tabsizing="auto"] .tab,
[theme-one-dark-ui-tabsizing="auto"] {
  flex: 1;


Download here:

Local Development Environment

Apache, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin

sudo apt-get install apache2 php5-mysql libapache2-mod-php5 mysql-server phpmyadmin php5-curl php5-gd php5-cli

Add the following to /etc/hosts (or whatever you want your local development url to be.)

Create a phpinfo file in var/www/html to easily check PHP settings:



You’ll need to change the owner of the files in /var/www to your user in order to keep WordPress from asking for FTP credentials when installing themes or plugins. (There are other workarounds for this but I find this method easiest on my local machine.)

sudo adduser $USER www-data
sudo chown -R "$USER":www-data /var/www
sudo nano /etc/apache2/envvars

Once nano opens, change the following lines. Make sure “username” is your username.

export APACHE_RUN_USER=username
export APACHE_RUN_GROUP=www-data

Navigate to /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf. Add the below to enable Apache mod_rewrite.

<Directory /var/www/html>
  Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
  AllowOverride All
  Order allow,deny
  allow from all

(Probably best not to run any of the above on production systems.)


Get the official install instructions here.

WP-CLI is available as a PHP Archive file (.phar). You can download it using either wget or curl commands:


You need to make this .phar file executable and move it to /usr/local/bin so that it can be run directly:

chmod +x wp-cli.phar && sudo mv wp-cli.phar /usr/local/bin/wp

Setup Bash completion:

cd ~/ && wget

Edit the .bashrc file so that it is loaded by the shell every time you login:

echo "# WP CLI Auto Complete" >> .bashrc
echo "source /home/$USER/wp-completion.bash" >> .bashrc

Node & NPM

Install instructions here: (In my experience these instructions will not work on Ubuntu.)


sudo npm install --global gulp-cli


Best instructions I’ve found for installing Ruby are here:


gem install jekyll

And if you want all gems available on GitHub Pages:

gem install github-pages

Other Cinnamon Configurations

(This section is a bit messy. I’ll make sense of it later.)

Set Number of Workspaces to 2:

gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.wm.preferences num-workspaces 2

Set Workspace switcher to Ctrl+Shift+s

Set touchpad to two-finger scroll

Create a Keyboard Custom Launcher for System Monitor

Command: gnome-system-monitor
Shortcut: Ctrl-Shift-Escape (Just like Windows Task Manager)

Remap the Compose key to the Caps Lock for emdash: