Tips for Ubuntu Newbs (Like Me)

So maybe you went and took the plunge. You got on a download/torrent link, got the file, burnt it to a CD and installed it on your laptop/desktop. Installation goes on smoothly (you remembered to read up how to install Ubuntu first, I hope). And so you begin the first restart.

You press the button and you wait.

And wait.

After several minutes, Ubuntu boots. You see the desktop, you like it. You try and connect to your Wifi. It recognises your wifi card, connects to the network and you open up Firefox. You wait for it to load

And wait.

If you’ve had any of these issues, here are some workarounds courtesy of the Ubuntu help forums.

If booting takes an especially long time, do this (don’t worry, just type the commands AS IS):

The problem with the slow boot is that the settings in Usplash can sometimes get messed up on install and hang up the boot. Removing some of the lines in menu.lst disables Usplash and fixes the problem. If you like the verbose boot up, then leave it. If you’d like the pretty Ubuntu boot up sequence, try this.

1) Call up the Terminal (Accesories>Terminal). Type in sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst. This should open the GRUB config file, from there, what you will want to edit is usually near the end. You’ll have a bunch of entries with “Title Ubuntu, kernel” and kernel numbers, you need to find the one you’re booting from, then under it in the “kernel” part of the entry, you’ll find the “splash” option.

2) At the very end of the kernel line after “splash” , add “vga=791” This is the weird part for me, because I’m not exactly sure why the number is 791. Make sure this goes on the same line, though.

3) Save that file, close it, and open up /etc/usplash.conf (by typing sudo gedit /etc/usplash.conf in the Terminal)

4) Change the screen resolution to the resolution you are actually using. Save it and close it.

5) Grub won’t know anything about this until you rebuild the boot, so do the following commands.

uname -r
This lists your current kernel version.

sudo update-initramfs -u -k <insert results from uname -r here>

This rebuilds the image that Grub uses to start the system.

If you don’t really understand, it’s ok. I didn’t really either, at first.

Then you want to solve the problem of Firefox opening web pages extremely slowly on your 4 Mbps connection. Do this:

Open firefox. Type in about:config at the address bar and type in network.dns.disableIPv6 at the Filter field. Double-click on the appeared Preference Name so that the value will be changed to True. This will not effectively disable ipv6. It’s just that this would save you a few seconds when accessing a web page as firefox assumes that the webserver is inside a ipv4 network. Hence, it would only query for a domain<->ipv4 translation.

There you go. Two of the most common Ubuntu problems, fixed. Of course if there’s more look up the Ubuntu forums.

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