Useful Ubuntu Tips and Tricks


Jaunty Jackalope, the Ubuntu distro that was announced in September last year has finally been released to the masses and its goal is to engage more users into using an OS that is not only free but also secure, stable and reliable.

Valuable tips to making your Ubuntu experience the best it can be!

I would like to express a number of basic Ubuntu tips, which many of you may have heard of before but for the sake of the Ubuntu beginners, bear with me! These tips and tricks which I am going to explain will work practically on most Ubuntu distro’s, but not on all of them.

Right, let’s start. Also, before I commence, if you have any other tips and tricks that would be useful to newcomers, feel free to leave it in the comments below!

Alter the colour of your Ubuntu

In order to change the colour of your Ubuntu, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-color-chooser

In future you can then discover the colours, under System >> Preferences.

How to convert Ext2/Ext3 file system to Ext4 (in 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope)

- Make sure you have Ubuntu 9.04 installed so that you have an Ext3 file-system

- Back-up all of your valued data.

- To convert the partition, reboot from the real CD, and run this code:

sudo bash
tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/sda1
e2fsck -pf /dev/sda1

In this case, the partiton you need to convert is /dev/sda1.

- Next, you must change Ext3 to Ext4 quite simply like below,

# /dev/sda1
relatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1

Change this code to:

# /dev/sda1
relatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1

No doubt you can tell that all that has changed is Ext3 and Ext4! You now MUST save the changes.

If you are upgrading from ext2 to ext4, when converting the partition use this code instead:

sudo bashtune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index,has_journal /dev/sda1
e2fsck -pf /dev/sda1

That should be it for most people, all you need to restart your and voila, you are now running from an Ext 4 file system. However, if you come across the dreaded error 13 when restarting, it might be because it did not like one of the updates. This might help though,

sudo bashmount /dev/sda1 /mnt
grub-install /dev/sda –root-directory=/mnt –recheck

You have now successfully completed the conversion!

Finding valuable system information

To find useful system information:

Applications>> System Tools >> System Monitor


sudo apt-get install sysinfo

How to download YouTube videos, and then convert them from .flv to .avi

sudo apt-get install youtube-dl ffmpeg

- Then use this code to download the video,

youtube-dl -o example.flv “”

- To convert the video to .avi format

ffmpeg -i example.flv example.avi

Just to let you know, you should edit the name of the video and video link. Mine is just an example, however it is a good video on one of the Britain’s Got Talent shows exposing the new hit wonder, DJ Talent. =)

How to kill processes rapidly

Many users tend to use the conventional kill, ps|aux or killall commands like

sudo killall firefox

However, there is a much better command that is a lot quicker and responsive, PKILL. If PKill searches for “Firefox”, it will amazingly find any process related to Firefox and dispose of it straight away. In addition to PKILL, pstree is a similar command that puts all the processes in a tree-like order, systematized by whoever is the program owner.

Initiate OpenOffice even more briskly

OpenOffice matches Ubuntu perfectly, a cost-free program with great features. Though, it also has the tendency to open very slowly in comparison to other programs; this really does agitate users. To make OpenOffice open faster, all you need to do is go to Start-up manager, well that is what it is called in version 9.04, and in other distro’s it is normally named the Sessions program.

System >> Preferences >> Startup Applications in order to find the program.

Then, add a new entry and in the command field, put in

openoffice -nodefault -nologo

The only thing that required now is to restart your system. It is now cached, so when the Gnome desktop begins, OpenOffice will also start, as it is basically moving it to a start up program and therefore making it start up super-fast.

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