5 minute read

As a Computer Science student/researcher, it is wise to install and use Linux (Ubuntu Preferable) Operating System. You can install Ubuntu as a standalone one (Unless you are a computer gamer) or alongside your Windows OS (Dual Boot). You can also have taste of different distributions of Linux in Virtualbox or in VMware Workstation. However, using Linux as a virtual machine is not efficient. In my own Dell machine, I have dual boot (Ubuntu and Windows). Earlier, I was used to working in Windows platform. However now-a-days, I do not usually use Windows and prefer working in Ubuntu all the time.

I will share a to-do list in this post that includes what softwares/ applications you need to install and what other tuning operations you should perform.


  • Download Ubuntu ISO image from the official site
  • Make a bootable media using Rufus or Unetbootin
  • Follow the installation instructions after booting your PC from bootable media
  • Partitioning instructions:
    • swap –> 2*RAM size
    • / –> 20-25 GB
    • /tmp –> 5-8 GB (You can skip it)
    • /home –> Rest of the empty space

First thing first

  • Update your Ubuntu. Press ctrl+alt+t to open a terminal. Then run the following command:
      $ sudo apt update
  • If the result shows that packages are upgradable, then run:
      $ sudo apt full-upgrade -y
  • Install and customize gnome-tweak tool for more desktop friendly experience
      $ sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool -y
  • Install Synaptic Package Manager
      $ sudo apt install synaptic -y
  • Install media codecs other multimedia support
      $ sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • For Battery efficiency
      $ sudo apt install tlp tlp-rdw
      $ sudo tlp start

Install useful softwares

Install Chrome Browser

Chrome is the most popular browser and if you are not fan of Mozilla Firefox, the default one comes with installation, then you need to install Google Chrome. Follow the steps to install Chrome:

  • Install gdebi (a tool to install .deb files)
      $ sudo apt install gdebi-core
  • Download Chrome installation file. As later it will be no longer needed, I download it in the /tmp directory. It will be automatically deleted later.
      $ cd /tmp
      $ wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
  • Now install with gdebi
      $ sudo gdebi google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

    F-Search is a great alternative to the popular Windows based search tool Everything. It will help you to find any files within seconds. Download and Install F-Search with the following commands:

  • Add the fsearch repository
      $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:christian-boxdoerfer/fsearch-daily
  • Update apt manager and install fsearch
      $ sudo apt update && sudo apt install fsearch-trunk -y

Install VLC Media Player

Unfortunately, in Ubuntu, you cannot run KMPlayer or Pot Player. The only good alternative is the VLC media player. You can install VLC Player directly from the Ubuntu Software Center. Otherwise, install it with the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install vlc -y

Install Systemback

  • Add repository
      $ sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/nemh/systemback/ubuntu xenial main"
  • Add GPG signing key for verification
      $ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B
  • Update and Install
      $ sudo apt update
      $ sudo apt install systemback

Install bat command

bat is an excellent alternative to the preinstalled cat command and is actually far more better than the traditional cat command. bat comes with syntax highlighting that makes codes quite readable in the terminal. Install it with following steps:

  • Download the .deb file
      $ cd /tmp
      $ wget https://github.com/sharkdp/bat/releases/download/v0.8.0/bat_0.8.0_amd64.deb
  • Install using dpkg
      $ sudo dpkg -i bat_0.8.0_amd64.deb

Install Skype

You can install Skype directly from the Ubuntu Software Center. Otherwise, download and install Skype with the following steps:

  • Download Skype in \tmp directory using wget.
     $ cd /tmp
     $ wget https://go.skype.com/skypeforlinux-64.deb
  • Install Skype from the .deb file
      $ sudo apt install ./skypeforlinux-64.deb

Install Development Tools

Install git

  • Install git and check the version
      $ sudo apt install git
      $ git --version
  • Configure git with your usearname and email
      $ git config --global user.name "User Name"
      $ git config --global user.email "useremail@yourdomain.com"
  • New configuration will be available in the ~/.gitconfig file. You can also verify using the following command:
      git config --list

Install Miniconda and Jupyter Notebook

Miniconda is the minimal version of Anaconda Read my other post: # Data Science Work Environment setup on Linux/Mac

Install PyCharm

  • Install Java
      $ sudo apt install -y openjdk-8-jre-headless
  • Add repository
      $ sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:ubuntu-desktop/ubuntu-make
  • Update
      $ sudo apt update
  • Install Umake
      $ sudo apt install -y ubuntu-make
  • Insatll PyCharm Professional
      $ umake ide pycharm-professional

Install VSCode

VSCode is a full featured editor that supports all types of programming/scripting language with the help of extensions. I prefer VSCode if I need to code in any other language apart from Python. Install VSCode using the following commands:

  • Update package index and install dependencies
      sudo apt update
      sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https wget
  • Import Microsoft GPG key for server verification
      wget -q https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Add VSCode repository
      sudo add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/vscode stable main
  • Update package index and then install
      sudo apt update
      sudo apt install code

Install Docker

Docker is a container and suitable for running and testing application with isolation. Docker is more efficient than Virtualbox or VMWare as because the isolation is achieved in software level, not hardware level. Install Docker using the following steps:

  • Prerequisite packages
      $ sudo apt install \
          apt-transport-https \
          ca-certificates \
          curl \
          gnupg-agent \
  • Add docker’s official GPG key
      $ curl -fsSL https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu/gpg | sudo apt-key add -
  • Verify key with fingerprint for the key 9DC8 5822 9FC7 DD38 854A E2D8 8D81 803C 0EBF CD88. Check last 8 characters
      $ sudo apt-key fingerprint 0EBFCD88
  • Set up stable repository
      $ sudo add-apt-repository \
         "deb [arch=arm64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu \
         $(lsb_release -cs) \
  • Update and install docker community
      $ sudo apt update
      $ sudo apt install docker-ce docker-ce-cli containerd.io

Install Virtualbox

Install Virtualbox to have taste of different other Operating Systems or Linux distributions. Install it with the following steps:

  • Add GPG keys
      $ wget -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
      $ wget -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Add repository
      sudo add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian $(lsb_release -cs) contrib"
  • Update and Install Virtualbox
      $ sudo apt update
      $ sudo apt install virtualbox-6.0
  • Install the Extension Pack
      wget https://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/6.0.0/Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-6.0.0.vbox-extpack
  • Add the extension pack manually or using the following command. It will ask if you agree to the terms and conditions. Press 'y' and it will be done.
      sudo VBoxManage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-6.0.0.vbox-extpack

Install Postman

If you are working on REST API based application, Postman is a good tool to test the applications. It is available in the default Ubuntu Software Center. Or you can install it using the command line:

$ sudo snap install postman

Tools you need not to install

For other needs, it is wise to use online tools. Most of the tools are available online these days and you need not to install those making the OS heavy. For example, you can read my other post: # Best Cloud-based Tools for Authors/ Scientific Content Writers

Leave a comment