The Basic Essentials You Should Do After Installing Ubuntu

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The following instructions should be compatible with Ubuntu 18.04.

Make The Up/Down Keys Search History

This assumes you are using the Gnome terminal. This has been tested with Ubuntu 14.04.

  1. Edit ~/.inputrc with this command (to apply the change to the current user only):

    $ gedit ~/.inputrc

    or, to apply it system wide (assuming you have admin privileges):

    $ gedit /etc/.inputrc
  2. Add the following lines:

  3. Save then close the file.

  4. Execute this command in a terminal (not that you cannot source the .inputrc file):

    $ bind -f ~/.inputrc
    # OR
    $ sudo bind -f /etc/.inputrc
  5. Done!

Install Linuxbrew

Linuxbrew is a copy of Mac’s Homebrew for Linux. It’s useful for installing applications that may not have built in installation support using apt or yum.

See for installation instructions.

Install fzf For Better Reverse Lookup

See for installation instructions (I recommend using Linuxbrew).

Install fd For Better find

See for installation instructions. Really easy to install on Debian systems.

Increase Max Num. of Open Files

Sometimes you might run into the error:

too many open files in system

Linux puts a limit on the max. number of files that can be open at any one time (kern.maxfiles), and the maximum number of files that can be open by a single process at any one time (kern.maxfilesperproc).

To see what the current limits are:

$ sysctl kern.maxfiles
kern.maxfiles: 12288
$ sysctl kern.maxfilesperproc
kern.maxfilesperproc: 10240

To increase the limits:

$ sudo sysctl -w kern.maxfiles=40000
kern.maxfiles: 12288 -> 40000
$ sudo sysctl -w kern.maxfilesperproc=35000
kern.maxfilesperproc: 10240 -> 35000

Add A Alias For Moving Up Multiple Directory Levels

By default, to move up multiple directory levels, you have to append ../ to cd for each level. For example, to go up five directory levels:

$ cd ../../../../../

This gets somewhat tedious when you are down in the depths of some directory structure. To speed things up, you can add the following aliases to ~/.bashrc or similar:

alias ..="cd ../"
alias ...="cd ../../"
alias ....="cd ../../../"
alias .....="cd ../../../../"
alias ......="cd ../../../../../"
(repeat as needed)

Then you can just type .. to go back one directory, ... to go back two directories, e.t.c.

Make “ll” An Alias For “ls -l”

The long form list directory command ls -l is so useful and frequenctly used that it is handy to create an alias for it (ll being the common and quick-to-type alias). Add the following to your ~/.bash_profile:

alias ll="ls -l"

Install The zsh Shell And The Powerline10k Theme

My favourite shell is zsh with the Powerline10k theme. This combination provides smart auto-completion, git repo status markers on the prompt, and other useful features. To set this up, firstly install zsh:

sudo apt install -y zsh

Then install oh-my-zsh:

sh -c "$(wget -O -)"

Install the Powerline10k theme:

git clone --depth=1 ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k

Then set ZSH_THEME="powerlevel10k/powerlevel10k" in ~/.zshrc. You can change your default login shell with chsh:


Install pm-utils To Suspend

I’ve had difficulty suspending computers running Ubunutu 18.04 using the default GUI. If you hold down Alt while on the top-right system menu in the Ubuntu 18.04 desktop, the power button should change to a “pause” and allow the computer to suspend. However this button has not worked for me. Instead, I install pm-utils:

sudo apt install -y pm-utils

And then I can suspend the computer with:

sudo pm-suspend

Deprecated Setup

Turn On Multiple Workspaces

Multiple workspaces (also called virtual desktops by Ubuntu) is a great feature to enable for increased productivity.

Assuming you are using the unity interface (the default for Ubuntu v14.x or v16.x), navigate to System Settings, then click Appearance, and then click the Behaviour tab. Tick the Enable workspaces checkbox and you’re done!

To switch workspaces, press Ctrl-Alt (on a Windows keyboard) or Cmd-Alt (on a Mac keyboard) along with an arrow key, e.g. Ctrl-Alt-RightArrow to move to the workspace to the right.

To Add More Workspaces

How to add more workspaces than the default 4 you get when enabling the option in the GUI? Easy, change the vsize and hsize settings! If you wanted 6 (2 across, 3 down), enter the following commands from the terminal:

$ settings set org.compiz.core:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/core/ hsize 2
$ settings set org.compiz.core:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/core/ vsize 3

It always has to be arranged in a grid, but you can practically have as many as you want.

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