With the many community customization scripts floating around, it is relevant to provide relevant information about the status of integrating the changes these scripts provide in Ubuntu. This page seeks to

  • Examine these resources and document their effect on the system
  • Provide a list of suggested improvements inspired by these resources that may make them unnecessary in the future.
  • Give instructions on how to avoid questionable solutions and help work toward implementing official solutions instead
  • Give an explanation of why there are some packages that Ubuntu cannot or will not adopt

This page is a result of BOF sessions held at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, held in June 2006 in Parisj.


Why scripts are problematic

Contributed scripts like this do not provide the best user experience possible. They:

  • often require command-line interaction
  • do not receive review or QA from the Ubuntu development team, and as a result sometimes implement incorrect solutions which cause immediate or eventual problems for the end user
  • are not authenticated, so downloading and running them presents a security risk

A better solution

Applications->Add/Remove is the recommended way to install applications in Ubuntu. Users who are looking for software should start there, and users offering support should recommend it to those who are looking for help. It provides a very simple and fast way to find packages.

We would like for the user community to provide structured, constructive feedback to the development team. When a situation arises where many users wish to customize their systems in a certain way, a representative should contact the development team to discuss a solution.

Why Ubuntu does not adopt certain packages

Proprietary software

Ubuntu is committed to producing a free software system. More information about this philosophy can be found on the Philosophy page of the Ubuntu website

Software packages such as Macromedia Flash and Sun Java, while able to be redistributed, are not free software, and so will not be included in a default Ubuntu installation. We make these programs available on the network for users who wish to use them, and Ubuntu derivatives may choose to include them by default in their distributions.

Patent-encumbered software

Some free software includes technology which may be covered by patents, which can be a problem for users in many countries. Additional details can be found on RestrictedFormats.

Non-redistributable software

A package such as w32codecs containing the proprietary Windows multimedia codecs can only be used legally by users who also have purchased a Windows license which allows the use of these codecs. Therefore Ubuntu cannot ship or hold such a package in its repositories.

Similar issues apply to some firmware used by (for example) network drivers.


Herein we describe a plan to make it easier for users to perform many common customizations, in clean and supportable ways. Some of this was already done for edgy but there are still open issues for feisty:

  • add the missing applications listed below to app-install-data [DONE]
  • add meta-package "ubuntu-restricted-extras" and add it to app-install-data [DONE]
  • add the missing packages that are not available currently to universe [DONE]
  • update popcon data [DONE]

More details below.

Enabling universe/multiverse

This is covered by a separate specification: that will likely be implemented for feisty.


  • Create a meta-package in multiverse for the most common multiverse packages and register it with gnome-app-install (g-a-i)
    • flashplugin-nonfree
    • sun-java1.5-jre
    • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly
    • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse
    • msttcorefonts

This package will be called "ubuntu-restricted-extras" and be part of multiverse [done].



For proper DVD playback we still need totem-xine (this needs to be added to g-a-i).

The totem-gstreamer status is not that good:

  • No subtitles, but audio track switching
  • No menus
  • On the agenda for Fluendo, not tomorrow, but not in a year either.
  • Possible by feature freeze.
  • Fluendo employees can't make promises on it due to NDA/other crap, so it's up to someone else to write it. :-/


  • Midi
    • Add an icon in gnome-app-install (g-a-i) which installs timidity [desktop file added to timitdity]
  • Listen media manager
    • Get package into universe (contact maintainer) [done+in g-a-i]
  • totem-xine
    • Consider putting totem-xine in g-a-i [added to g-a-i and ensure that totem-gstreamer and totem-xine properly replace each other]
    • When I try open file that totem can't open, Totem should proposed automatic install codecs.
  • bmp-docklet
    • Get package into universe [desktop file added, packaged and uploaded to universe]

Bittorrent and P2P clients


  • Swiftfox Browser
    • No action until we have benchmarks that prove that its worth it, then we would consider building our firefox for 686 instead
  • Firefox 1.5 plugins
    • mozilla-acroread and mozilla-mplayer should be added to g-a-i as easily findable plugins (done, but a bug in the desktop file of mozilla-acroread does not make it show up in edgy, propose for edgy-updates)
  • Opera 9.2x want a mplayer-plugin or totem-plugin. Now doesn't work. Opera want a mplayer plugin compiled with option: --enable-x (no gtk).
  • Sun Java
    • Sun java in the g-a-i only installs sun-java5-bin and not the (browser) plugin, which is only Suggested. This should be fixed by reorganizing the java packages to have one "sun-java-plattform" and one "sun-java-bin" (or something like this). [done in current g-a-i, it has java-plugin and java-bin]
    • JSS libraries are needed to allow user certificates (and digital signatures) to work with firefox (allowing e-government processes). [mvo: the packages contain binary libraries taken from for ubuntu, we need to make fresh real source packages]

  • msttcorefonts (Microsoft Core Fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial) [done]
    • Description in gnome-app-install should be clarified (says TrueType core fonts) [done]


  • wifi-setup
    • ndis-gtk should be added to g-a-i [done]
  • Gnome PPP
    • Kurz/Jorge to check back in the archives about why gnome-ppp wasn't included in GNOME upstream - one problem with this package is that it uses wvdial instead of plain ppp. This means that isdn can't be used with this. It is currently still the best solution for plain modem users we have. [available in g-a-i]
      • network-admin already has "Modem Connection" support, so we need to know what gnome-ppp offers that network-admin doesn't. Does it support DSL (pppoe), which network-admin doesn't? MurrayCumming.

  • FreeNX: not in ubuntu, the archive managers don't want it, as it's basically another random X server with an old code base and that is a security nightmare.
  • closed drivers for DSL modems should be availability on Ubuntu CD (or network manager should can extract drivers from modem CD's).


  • Control+Alt+Delete
    • Create Gnome shortcut preferences to allow user to define this themselves.
    • Could be used as shortcut for System Monitor or the Logout Dialog
    • Seb128 to discuss with GNOME upstream
    • Consider doing it at the xkb level
  • nautilus-scripts
    • nautilus-actions should be added g-a-i [done]
    • Desirable scripts: Editing a file in gedit as Root (already part of the menu via open-as-administrator), opening Nautilus as Root (maybe better under Applications -> Accessories), mounting and unmounting ISOs (see Mount ISO script) --msandersen

      • Some of example scripts should be part of nautilus-actions
  • Winpopup (linpopup)
    • should have a .desktop file added to the package, will appear in g-a-i [desktop file added]
  • gnome-art - check with upstream (about mono) and get it into g-a-i [version 0.2 in g-a-i]
  • NumLock by default - check with gnome-upstream, Kurt/Jorge will check.


The following applications should be added to the commercial repository.


  • The ntfs-3g driver is an open source read/write NTFS driver

  • ntfs-config (GUI) - enable/disable NTFS write support

Pre-release software

  • put pre-released software in -backports
  • make sure that pre-release software gets the not-automatic apt property (like debian-experimental has currently) so that you only get the applications that you are really interested in.

Locating Packages

  • Current gnome-app-install makes it easier to find many of these packages, as the most popular applications in its list will be sorted to the top (based on popcon data): (as implemented in edgy).

  • g-a-i relies on good keywords in package descriptions. Some suggestions:
    • mp3, dvd (bring up gstreamer extra plugins)
    • flash (bring up flash plugin)
    • real (bringing up real player plugin)
    • acrobat (bringing up acrobat reader + firefox plugin)
    • ...

DONE, g-a-i has pimp-my-search results code

Also the EasyCodecInstallation spec will make this problem much less pressing.

Analysis of community scripts and how-tos


TODO: re-check for changes

Easy Ubuntu is a community script, maintained at It uses a GUI to allow the user to choose to do the following:

  • Swapping totem-xine for totem-gstreamer
    • we believe this is now obsolete; totem-gstreamer should work as well and is more flexible
  • Freecodes
  • libdvdcss
    • installs libdvdcss package
    • cannot be adopted. See explanation below.
  • midi
    • installs timidity, timidity-interfaces-extra and freepats: midi playback in the desktop still doesn't seem to work, but selecting a midi file in firefox will launch timidity in the background (Soren: i think there's some sort of integration between alsa and timidity available that emulates a midi playback device which in turn sends the midi stream to timidity.) dsilvers: Indeed there is, and it's documented in the timididy README.Debian so it needs to be made easier(default when there's no hardware midi device available?) perhaps?
    • too large to include on the CD
    • timidity already depends on freepats
  • Flash
    • We already have flashplugin-nonfree -- do we need more?
    • already in Gnome Application Installer (g-a-i)
    • gnash is supposedly getting better support for newer SWF features -- may be useful for amd64 systems in the future
  • Java
    • Installs non-free Java
    • Is there a suitable free implementation?
    • We ship free java in main, but it isn't generally useful for running popular apps
      • This is changing, many apps are working just nicely with open source Java and people don't even notice they're running open source Java. People are mostly wanting the web browser plugin, which has been lacking (gcjwebplugin) - gcjwebplugin is now integrated into Classpath CVS, and next Classpath release will include a much improved Java plugin. It could be considered for including in main for Edgy, or Edgy+1. If it works well enough, and the security issues are solved (currently a pop up windows asking if the user wants to trust the applet, which is already an improvement), it would divert people to use free software instead of installing non-free Sun Java.
      • Sun Java 6 has GPL license, it should be installed by default in Ubuntu.
  • Videos -- embedded into web pages
    • installs totem-gstreamer-firefox-plugin and kaffeine-mozilla
    • totem-gstreamer-firefox-plugin has proven unstable in the past, but is under consideration for Edgy already
    • mozilla-mplayer from multiverse (or something like that) is working quite nicely for some [in g-a-i now]
  • RAR (support for proprietary file compression format)
    • installs non-free rar tools [in g-a-i and supported by the mime-search]
    • the free version of rar doesn't even support listing the content of an archive
  • ACE (support for proprietary file compression format)
    • ACE - installs unace from universe [in g-a-i and supported by the mime-search]
    • file-roller doesn't seem to integrate with it, so only command-line support
  • Repository list
  • Fonts
    • installs msttcorefonts (non-free), gsfonts-x11 (free, but useful?), xfonts-intl-european (free, but useful?)
    • Expect that most users benefit from msttcorefonts and the others are noise.
      • Reportedly gsfonts-x11 helps with non-free Flash, but I don't use it so not sure.
    • the installation of the ms fonts is covered by the desktop guide and we also have got a virtual "application" for it in gnome-app-install
  • DMA - on Breezy, this installed a hardcoded hdparm.conf. On Dapper, it does nothing
    • The Dapper kernel now enables DMA where it is known-safe
  • nvidia video drivers
    • installs non-free driver and correctly enables
  • ati video drives
    • installs non-free driver, doesn't seem to enable
  • wengo (free SIP phone)
    • installs package from Universe
    • in gnome-app-install for those who want it
    • with Wengo 2.0 we could consider this "GPL'd Skype-killer" even for default installation - it's instant messenger like, instead of a "teleconference system" like Ekiga
  • skype - installs non-free package
    • Investigate adding skype to gnome-app-install (pending)


Automatix is a community script, maintained at It does not seem to have source packages in repository, and is written in sh. The German version (not officially supported by the Automatix team) has some serious issues currently: removes its own files instead of using the packaging system. uses apt-get --force and --assume-yes

PhillipHeath : Official Automatix uses apt-get --assume-yes but does not use apt-get --force-yes by policy. The German version is not made, maintained or officially supported by the Automatix Team.

It install most of the packages that EasyUbuntu offers as well as the following:

  • Acrobat reader (proprietary PDF-reader which can be used with Firefox plugin (see below))
    • installs non-free package
    • Is available in gnome-app-install
  • AMSN (a F/OSS chat program that copies the look and feel of MSN Messenger, for those users who are used to that)
    • installs package from universe
    • Is available in gnome-app-install
  • aMule (P2P application)
    • installs package from universe
    • Is available in gnome-app-install
  • avidemux
    • installs package from universe
    • Is available in gnome-app-install
  • backup and restore
  • bittorrent clients
    • installs bittornado and azureus from universe
    • The default bittorrent that comes with Dapper has a far easier GUI so it's more useful for new users
    • azureus is in gnome-app-install
    • doesn't install the GUI for bittornado; what's the point?
  • boot-up manager [available in g-a-i for those who want it]
    • installs bum from universe

    • perl-gtk application to enable/disable services
    • We ship services-admin already, which provides a simpler interface
  • checkgmail (system tray application which notifies of new mail in gmail)
    • installs checkgmail by downloading hardcoded .debs from Debian (which will be synced to Ubuntu when syncing starts for Edgy...)
    • we already have gmail-notify and kcheckgmail in universe [CompotatoJ] checkgmail works a LOT better, also we could have it automatically add it to startup or change it in the upstream to enable that option
  • ctrl-alt-del
    • configures GNOME shortcut for ctrl-alt-del to launch gnome-system-monitor (similar to Windows)
    • gconftool-2 -t str --set /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/run_command_9 "<Control><Alt>Delete" && gconftool-2 -t str --set /apps/metacity/keybinding_commands/command_9 "gnome-system-monitor"

    • This key-combination does nothing by default; why not this?
    • Maybe more appropriate to open the logout dialog?
    • Let ctrl-alt-del start xkill, which is a very simple way to kill a crashed application? - PatrickWijnings

    • gnome-system-monitor is far more useful than xkill, and can be used to kill a process, though it might be nice to have an xkill toggle button in the monitor to activate it (if it can be made to exclude the monitor itself) --msandersen
    • How about have ctrl-shift-esc do one while ctrl-alt-del does the other? (ctrl-alt-shift opens the task manager in Windows) --CompotatoJ
  • DCPP (P2P client) maintained at

    • installs linuxdcpp by untarring in /opt
    • Is already in universe
    • Has been failing to build for some time, but may be trivially fixable (missing build-dep)

    • Has a .desktop file, should appear in g-a-i [was FTBFS, this should be fixed in feisty and it will appear in g-a-i]
  • Debian Menu
    • enables the Debian menu
    • we don't want this; packages should provide XDG .desktop files instead
  • DVD ripper
    • installs dvdrip from multiverse [available in g-a-i]
  • Eject CD
    • disables tray locking on CD-ROM drive
    • We do better than this in Dapper; HAL sends a signal and the device is unmounted cleanly
  • GAIM beta
    • adds a source to get beta GAIM .debs
    • for use as a msn replacement, more usable than gaim1.5 (offical MSN client has increased functionality)
    • We do this in Edgy and Feisty
    • Polish users use a Gadu-gadu protocol. Gaim have a plugin for Gadu. But it require a libgadu3 package. I think that good think is add a dependency to language-support-pl (bug#80977)

  • Firefox 1.5 plugins
    • installs Sun Java, Flash, msttcorefonts(?), mozilla-acroread, mozilla-mplayer
    • Sun Java, Flash and msttcorefonts are already in g-a-i
    • mozilla-acroread and mozilla-mplayer should be added [done]
  • Frostwire (P2P client)
    • installed by downloading third party .deb
    • GPL
  • gdesklets (desktop applets for GNOME)
    • installs gdesklets gdesklets-data from universe
    • gdesklets depends on gdesklets-data
    • available in gnome-app-install for those who want it
  • gftp
    • installs gftp from universe, which installs gftp-gtk and gftp-text
    • gftp-gtk is in main and available in gnome-app-install
  • gnomebaker
    • installs gnomebaker from universe
    • is available in gnome-app-install
    • how does this compare to Nautilus/Serpentine?
  • wifi-setup
  • gnomeppp
    • installs gnomeppp
    • available in gnome-app-install
  • listen media manager

    • installs third party deb of Listen
    • available in gnome-app-install
  • media players
    • package realplayer in commercial
    • totem-xine is not in g-a-i (totem-gstreamer is)
    • vlc is in g-a-i
    • beep-media-player is in g-a-i
  • nautilus-scripts
    • opens a root terminal in the correct directory
    • opens the selected file in gedit as user root
    • starts the gnome-search-tool with the current path
  • Numlock ON
    • installs numlockx from universe
    • replaces /etc/X11/gdm/Init/Default with a version that runs numlockx
    • should really be part of gnome, in keyboard preferences or something
  • Opera Browser
    • Installs the Sun JRE and other dependencies of Opera
    • Installs a third-party xlibs .deb(!)
    • Adds the Opera .deb repository to sources.list
    • Installs the opera .deb
    • Installs a custom .desktop file
    • Opera should go in the commercial repo (that will handle all dependencies) [done, is in dapper-commercial]
  • Programming tools
    • Installs anjuta, bluefish, screem and nvu from universe
    • all of these are in g-a-i
  • Rhythmbox
    • Downloads a pre-release rhythmbox .deb from and installs it
  • Ripper and Tuner
    • Installs streamripper, streamtuner, xmms from universe
    • streamripper: command line tool
    • streamtuner is in g-a-i
    • xmms is in g-a-i
  • Sun Java 1.5 JRE
    • Installs sun-java5-jre from multiverse
    • is in g-a-i
  • Sun Java 1.5 SDK
    • Installs sun-java5-sdk from multiverse
    • is in g-a-i
  • Swiftfox Browser
    • Installs Swiftfox, a binary firefox build) from a tarball

    • given compelling benchmarks, we would consider building our firefox for 686 instead
  • Swiftfox plugins
    • Installs sun-java5-plugin msttcorefonts acroread mozilla-acroread mplayer-386 mplayer-fonts mozilla-mplayer from multiverse
    • Clobbers totem firefox plugin if it is installed
    • Cannot be included in Ubuntu - see explanation below.
  • Thunderbird 1.5
    • Installs mozilla-thunderbird from main
    • in g-a-i
  • Wine
    • Adds repository to sources.list and installs wine package from there
    • Ubuntu a version of Wine in g-a-i
  • XChat
    • Installs xchat, xchat-systray from universe
    • xchat-gnome is rumoured to do what xchat-systray does
  • NVIDIA Cards
    • If a PCI device in a hardcoded list is present:
    • Installs nvidia-glx and l-r-m
    • Runs nvidia-xconfig (which is the wrong thing to do)
    • nvidia-glx should automagically configure itself upon installation
  • Laptop-wifi
    • Installs ndisgtk (a GTK configuration thing for ndiswrapper)
    • Installs network-manager-{gnome,kde} depending on which env you're in when running it.
    • as above

PLF Repositoty

A community repository that offers various controversial packages. Maintained at,

Contains the following:

  • "free" component
    • deCSS
  • "non-free" component
    • realplayer
    • w32codecs

Ubuntu cannot include any of this for copyright reasons (not patents). For further explanation, see below.

Multimedia howto on ubuntuforums by ubuntu_demon

howto found at

Contains instructions on how to install codecs, Java and Flash from multiverse, universe and cipherfunk repositories. Again, Ubuntu cannot include the codecs, Java and Flash is discussed above.

Ubuntu Guide

Another community how-to. Offers instructions on how to enable universe and plf repositories and on how to install many of the above packages as well as the following:

  • Clipboard daemon for GNOME
  • Winpopup (linpopup)
    • Install linpopup from universe (should get a desktop file to be picked up by g-a-i automatically)
    • Manually create a .desktop in /usr/share/applications
  • Multimedia codecs
    • installs all the gstreamer plugin packages from Ubuntu
    • these are in g-a-i
  • DVD support
    • install libdvdread3 from main
    • Run the
    • Install totem-xine
  • Multimedia player (xine-ui)
    • installs xine-ui from universe
    • Bodges the autoplay_dvd_command to run xine
    • Futzes the default app from totem to xine in /usr/share/applications

Joe Brockmeier's 10 Ubuntu tips

Another community guide. Contains instructions to:

  1. Getting multimedia to work
    • Should be adequately addressed above
  2. Changing the default editor from nano to vim
    • nano is very annoying/limited for more expert users that would like vim instead; for example, if in less you press 'v' it starts nano by default in Ubuntu, which is an Ubuntu-specific feature (of course, it's good for newbies)
  3. How to install packages
    • Suggests Synaptic and Adept -- but not gnome-app-install?
  4. Sudo and gksudo
    • Documentation issue, covered by existing docs
  5. Add users to sudo
    • A documentation issue - covered in the Ubuntu Desktop Guide?
  6. Adding a new desktop
    • Introduction to -desktop metapackages; not necessarily a good idea for most users
  7. How to reconfigure
    • We don't cope automatically with hardware changes yet
  8. How to configure autologin
    • A documentation issue - covered in the Ubuntu Desktop Guide?
  9. Compiling from source
    • gcc and build-essential -- mdz supports installing these by default
    • checkinstall (not recommended for quality reasons)
  10. Installing an optimized kernel
    • Done automatically on the DVD
    • No space for it on the CD
    • UbuntuDemon : Can't this be installed (automatically) from ubuntu repositories if internet is available ?

    • Ago: I second that, a 386 kernel should be marked as upgradable and replaced on first system updgrade. Same thing for applications that may have a 686 version. [Done, we now install linux-image-generic on new installs. This provides a optimized kernel]

Automatic Installation of Xgl and Compiz

Yet another Compiz installation script This one has the advantage to install compiz as an additional desktop session (other solutions modify GDM configs or the X symlink or the existing session). With this approach standard sessions are still available, and if Compiz does not work as expected in a particular set-up, it is easy to go back to a standard 2D environment. The script itself might contain some safety checks. The script could be bundled in a meta-package and made available in G-A-I with appropriate warnings.

The Ubuntu Document Storage Facility

In general, the UDSF is a centralized archival repository for information that is produced on the forums: a public forum library, a knowledge base. An effort to record and maintain the forum community-based documents that have a tendency to get lost in the lightning-fast pace of the vibrant participation, the UDSF seeks to replicate the organization of the most frequently accessed areas of the forums, and optimize the already-familiar information architecture with a well-developed dynamic hierarchy and content chunks. The UDSF strives to be a dynamic, well-organized knowledge base, decreasing the amount of time a user spends trying to find information that was previously posted/discussed on the forum.


The full list can be found here:

What changed from the previous version is:

  • Google Picasa (not available in a signed repository)
  • Google Earth (not available in a signed repository)
  • Gizmo Project VoIP phone (not available in a signed repository)
  • skype (not available in a signed repository)
  • 7zip [in g-a-i now]
  • clamav [available in g-a-i]
  • firestarter [available in g-a-i]
  • slab (in edgy/universe as gnome-main-menu, will be part of the default install in feisty)
  • debian menu (not appropriate for g-a-i IMHO)
  • AUD-DVD codecs: libdvdcss2 for encrypted dvd reading, can not be adopted
  • OpenOffice Clipart (clipart in OpenOffice: openclipart) [available in g-a-i]

dennis' / seveas' repository

At :

Depends: audacious, audacity, banshee, beep-media-player, flashplugin-nonfree, gnash, gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mpegdemux, gstreamer0.10-pitfdll, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse, gstreamer0.10-plugins-good, gstreamer0.10-schroedinger, gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly, gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse, gtkpod, jokosher, libdvdcss2, listen, mozilla-mplayer, mplayer, ogle-gui, quodlibet, sonata, timidity, totem, vlc, w32codecs

  • Ubuntu multimedia packages - KDE version (Version: 7.10-2): ubuntu-multimedia-kde

Depends: amarok, juk, gnash, kaffeine, libdvdcss2, w32codecs

  • falcon, libdvdcss2
  • other stuff: seveas-meta (ubuntu-apt-utils, ubuntu-devel, ubuntu-games, ubuntu-lamp)
  • A personal selection of software (Version: 7.10-2): ubuntu-seveas

Depends: apg, asr-manpages, avahi-discover, avahi-dnsconfd, avahi-utils, barcode, brasero, bluez-hcidump, bluez-pin, cmus, compizconfig-settings-manager, cups-pdf, curl, cowsay, dblatex, dia, epiphany-browser, ffmpeg, figlet, fortunes, fortunes-bofh-excuses, fortunes-debian-hints, fortunes-off, fortunes-spam, funny-manpages, gaim-guifications, gajim, glabels, gnome-bluetooth, gnome-specimen, gnupg-agent, gnuplot, gobby, gpa, hexedit, hexer, inkscape, iptraf, istanbul, keyboardcast, liferea, lynx, mc, mdns-scan, moreutils, mpg321, nautilus-actions, network-manager-openvpn, network-manager-pptp, network-manager-vpnc, ntfsprogs, obexftp, openclipart, pan, pessulus, pida, pornview, psutils, revelation, sabayon, seahorse, service-discovery-applet, signing-party, smbfs, sox, ssh, sshfs, steghide, stellarium, sun-java6-fonts, sun-java6-jdk, tetex-extra, ttf-fossfonts, ttf-indic-fonts, ttf-ubuntu-title, ubuntu-apt-utils, ubuntu-desktop, ubuntu-devel, ubuntu-games, ubuntu-minimal, ubuntu-multimedia-gnome, ubuntu-restricted-extras, ubuntu-standard, ubuntu-sysadmin, vim-gnome, vmware-server, webboard, wine, xaralx, xchat, xnest Recommends: language-pack-gnome-en, language-pack-gnome-nl

  • System administration tools (Version: 7.10-2): ubuntu-sysadmin

Depends: bwm, chkrootkit, dstat, foremost, htop, ipcalc, iptraf, libnet-dns-perl, nmap, powertop, smartmontools, swaks, wireshark, xrestop

  • Collection of 108 GPL/Public-Domain TTF fonts: ttf-fossfonts
  • w32codecs, w64codecs
  • Dutch TV guide: tvguide
  • 2D motocross platform game: xmoto

Ubuntu_daemon suggests to install the following codecs in Dapper: gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly mpg321 vorbis-tools gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-gl libxine-main1 libxine-extracodecs gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse gstreamer0.10-pitfdll

Much less pressing with the EasyCodeInstallation spec.


Scibuntu is a script that adds scientific programs and other convenient tools to the plain desktop Ubuntu. Scibuntu 0.4-beta includes a graphical chooser where you can choose between lots of programs for differens scientific areas. The new version adds lots of more programs than the former versions and is a almost complete rewrite of the code. With this version we also welcome scientists and science student to join the Scibuntu community


The following HOWTOs searched by popularity: (Seperate BOF for reviewing HOWTOs):


The updated popcon data should be used for a ubuntu-updates package of app-install-data. We need to modify the weighted measurement. Something that normalizes the data so there is not such a big discrepency between rankings, we should probably use the ubuntu-desktop install count as a reference point. [DONE, uses logarithmic scale, popcon packages fixed, uses by_vote now to get a more accurate picture]

Future ThirdPartyPackages work

Some of the 3rd party applications should be made available in repositories and app-install-data. The canonical ISP department should try to contact the vendors for the following packages and ask about making them available in signed repositories (either at the vendors machines or at

  • skype
  • gizmo
  • google picasa
  • google earth

Future Work

GNOME should provide a keyboard preference to enable numlock on login.

We should study user behaviour to see what keywords they are using to find applications, and improve package descriptions so that they are easier to find in gnome-app-install. This should go into a seperate spec.

Outstanding packages

The frostwire packages did not made it in time for feisty. There is talk with the upstream, but the current version has binaries files in it (.jar, .so) with no source code. The jss packages from Guaddalinex have no source package and build the firefox bits by copying the needed files from the official binary firefox build.

random mutterings from Gobby

needed : firefox totem plugin installed byu deault (or mplayer or something else) its nice to use totem for playback because it follows gstreamer preferences, but mplayer seems to have the highest success of playback. in my personal experiences mplayer and totem-gstreamer are almost equal .. some videos don't play using totem and other don't play using mplayer. but therefor totem-gstreamer is probably the better choice How does totem-gstreamer handle non-free win32 dlls these days -- it seemed to be difficult to configure. It does some magic with ffmpeg, I think. It seems to kind of work.. sometimes theres some package on cipherpunk .. pitfdll or something. i think it works for most wmv's except the newest ones(wmv 10 doesnt work at all AFAIK) it appears pitfdll is in dapper at least.great!

  • I disagree with this. Movie players should be used for playing movies, not web browsers. Whilst it should be easy to install movie playing browser plugins, making such a thing default would become confusing. Plugin interfaces are not as powerful as standalone apps, and having two interfaces would confuse the user. I use Epiphany for it's combined save and play when clicking on media file links, but I understand the reasons for an "Open now or save?" dialog. I would not understand it if a browser plugin was used, since this choice would be gone and the option to save (usually the most sensible action with movie files which can be large) is relegated to the right click menu and the plugin is used, or equally incomprehensible there is an "Open now or save?" dialog, but Open With selects the browser instead of the media player. Also, mplayer (and it's seperate codecs) would need to be installed by default in order to install an mplayer plugin by default. Oh, and WMV10 tends to use encryption I think. -Warbo
  • Web browsers play movies embedded in web pages all the time! This is a feature that users have come to expect from other distributions, OS X, and Windows. It's a pretty standard thing. What is going to be more confusing, a website saying "look at the movie below" and the user seeing nothing there, or for totem-firefox to be installed and for the video to appear and start playing? There are tons of websites out there with language that clearly indicates a video should be appearing as part of the page. For better or for worse usability wise, it's an informal web standard that websites can directly embed videos rather than requiring use of an external player. It is more of usability problem _not_ to have totem-firefox as default than to have it. -Jengu
    • I was mainly on about links to movies being clicked, since these often open in plugins when they should blatantly either offer an Open or Save? dialogue, or just go ahead and download and open (depending on the browser's default behaviour). Plugins are understandable for embedded movies, but the only ones I have come across either use Flash (Note to self: Create standalone Flash player using proprietary plugin, since a browser should not be the only option for playing an animation or game) or some heavily restricted QuickTime system which I cannot figure out how to get working at all (they check to make sure you are using IE, Windows, etc., don't ask me why. I have heard GNOME 2.16's Totem can fool some of these systems though). I would like to see embedded movie players offering a right-click->save as option like images (hmm, too bad this can't be done for Flash. Back to View->Page Information->Media->Save Media As I go!). I bet I was right about WMV though! -- Warbo

compiz/aiglx/xgl currently needs a warning

  • ((I tried it on a geforce 3 when Dapper was still in development I stopped trying after a bit of time though))
  • -forums for aiglx/xgl/compiz howtos for ubuntu (and other distros) * repositories contain cvs debs of compiz, aiglx, xgl and
    • associated xlibs, as well as patched parts of gnome to make compiz function
    • many users report sucess
  • aiglx/compiz/i810 has wacky breakages in it like password dialogs don't draw right and sustpend is broken. must make sure users understand that this has a

Please consider EthicalInfo when enabling all this dubious software to our beloved users. Yes, add Skype to the Commercial repos, but please add a warning that the user will be subject to proprietary lock-in, and potential snooping and loss of privacy. JackWasey

  • Seconded. As Ubuntu promotes free software, it would be useful to actually tell, why. The texts in gnome-app-install could be improved.


UbuntuDemon : There is some good stuff on Some if it might be useful for the average desktop user, in particular the multimedia section right here :

UbuntuDemon : Maybe we can include google earth into g-a-i ? Here's a popular howto on the forums :

UbuntuDemon : Here's another initiative like automatix. It's called BUMPS. I think we've covered the most important packages it installs. But it does install some packages which we haven't covered. Here's the forum section :

UbuntuDemon : If we know which non-official repositories are liked by the users we have "some" idea about which kind of packages are liked. Here's a poll called "What are your favorite non-official repositories for Dapper?"

UbuntuDemon : CommonCustomizations - feedback request :

PhillipHeath : We are open to suggestions on how the devs feel we could code Automatix to make it safer. I propose that the devs write up a set of guidelines and how to's for future third party projects on the best and safest way to code these scripts. This will help ensure that third party projects have the resources to safely implement what Ubuntu is not able to do because of legal and philsophical reasons.

Ago: G-A-I will become a place to collect all official Ubuntu add-ons, most will be applications, but machine-level themes (grub/usplash/GDM/user theme) and scripts/CommonCustomizations could also be included (properly packaged). It would make sense to rename the menu entry from 'Add/Remove...' to something like 'Add-ons'. It would be more inviting to click, and it would be consistent with FireFox.

ChrisLees: Having a Compiz-enabling script is a potential nightmare. The installation methods change practically every time a new version of Compiz is released. Either Ubuntu would have to "support" just one particular development version of Compiz, and hope that no security flaws are found in that version, or keep modifying the script each time a new version is released.

CoreyWoodworth : After a clean install of dapper, the very first thing I do is install the i686 or K7 kernel. I've never had any trouble with the official kernel packages for any architecture I've tried. I havn't tried SMP or 64bit yet, just because I havn't gotten my hands on those CPUs. This is a very common customization for me and should be default.

Tortanick : I strongly support this idea, but I would avoid enableing universe or multiverse, create a seprate repoistory for the packages used instead. Especially if you plan to provide offical support to the packages. As for ethical issues, keep it to one sentence and a link for "its propriatary" or "not open source" but a long warning with lots of evidence if you suspect skype will snoop on the users.

msandersen: I think you should include something like EasyUbuntu (a similar wxPython script?) on the default Desktop, or in the Home/Documents folder, which can install any Copyrighted or other proprietary things like MP3, AAC, Flash, Sun Java, w32 codecs, RAR, MS fonts etc, as you can have the appropriate notice upfront and agree to any license agreements required. This way you don't need to host them on your repositories, though adding their repositories to the sources.list is often desirable (eg adding the PLF repositories isn't a breach of any laws in itself; non-US citizens shouldn't be bound by US law regardless). It may also have the experimental XGL/Compiz install with the appropriate warning. Setting it up as a separate session is most desirable, due to its instability, and OpenGL games being much slower with the current XGL enabled. Should also set up csm (Compiz control panel) and the Compiz themer under System -> Preferences. Should also enable easy removal.

People don't care WHY they can't see Flash or Quicktime videos or log onto Net Banking sites running Java in their browser, or WHY they can't play their iTunes music collection; they just care about the fact that they CAN'T. They often don't know about codecs etc.

  • If Ubuntu is allowed to include stuff then it should, but since the users often have to get these things themselves then at least they are told why. Applications-> Add/Remove is a sensible location to go to when a webpage says you need extra software (as long as the browser doesn't attempt to offer it's own solution!), and since the description area is visible anyway there might be less ignorant comments thrown the way of Ubuntu, and more thrown the way of those actually responsible for stopping the software's inclusion. It's not like FLOSS developers are lazy, loads of codecs have Free versions in Universe, but it is legal crap which is the hurdle.

Once stable, when linux-ntfs has ntfs-3g integrated, it should be set up by Default instead of ther kernel ntfs driver, until and if the kernel driver has the same functionality.

Warbo: In dapper Realplayer (from the commercial repo) is in the Graphics section of GNOME-app-install, and a wrapper around wget and the binary installer is in Sound and Video when Unsupported is selected. Surely the latter should be removed now we have the former, since the obvious section to look for Realplayer in is Sound and Video, and I have chatted to many people in IRC who have tried to install Realplayer this way and get stuck with the binary installer which won't install. Get rid of the old one, which allows the new one to be put in the correct section.

Warbo: If mldonkey-server is sorted out and maybe a decent GUI like Sancho is added to G-A-I (KMLDonkey is stagnant, and I find mldonkey-gui to be badly layed out and confusing) then Frostwire, Azureus and Amule could be taken care of with one metaphorical stone. As it stands Ubuntu still (at Dapper at least) offers an MLDonkey package with Gnutella and Gnutella2 support broken, and an extremely dodgy startup/shutdown script in /etc/init.d. I admit that MLDonkey is pretty hard to control through scripts: It will not run when old temporary files exist in it's working directory, but deleting these temporary files after MLDonkey has not shut down cleanly results in out-of-date config files (eg. it doesn't realise a file has already finished, so it starts downloading it again), when sent the TERM signal and quitting gracefully the core has a tendency of locking the system when it next starts, and the only other solution, automatically sending it the kill instruction through telnet, doesn't work when the core is password protected. Sorting this out would make Ubuntu a bit more appealing to heavy filesharers who don't want to compile their own core to get Gnutella and then start and stop it manually. Also, I think there should be more emphasis placed on GTK-Gnutella than Frostwire, since it is more lightweight, uses GTK+2 and doesn't depend on (currently) non-Free Java.

msandersen: I think Add/Remove Applications (GNOME-app-install) should have an Addons & Plugins section at the bottom where you can put many of the extras that these external enhancement scripts like EasyUbuntu and Automatix install, even if you have a Getting Started install script on the Desktop that installs some of the same, or even just informs of the missing plugins/codecs and where to get them (Add/Remove->Addons & Plugins). There you can have things which are not distinct Applications with GUIs, but things like commercial/restricted/Free-but-Proprietary plugins/codecs/etc/, things like Flash, Java, nVidia/ATI drivers, MP3/AAC codecs, MS fonts etc. Another approach suggested is to have subsections to the applications, like Firefox under Internet, which allows installations of the related plugins. But what about where it applies to many applications? Eg Flash affects Opera, FireFox, Epiphany etc, and Java affects all of these as well as standalone apps like Azureus. And Firefox is already installed, so people may not look specifically for FireFox when looking for Flash/Java (ok, they can search). Multimedia codecs could go under Sound & Video as a metapackage, although they are not distinct GUI apps. All this assumes official support in the Repositories or being on the CD. A separate script on the Desktop may still be useful for software/codecs/plugins from other non-official repos or temporary setups like the XGL/Compiz session, which atm also use external repos to keep up-to-date, or if MP3/AAC etc can't be officially supported. This allows for an informed decision via notices or warnings to use proprietary/restricted/iffy/unsupported codecs etc. from other sources without the first-time user knowing what a sources.list is. It has also been suggested that if there are anything important requiring paid licensing that Canonical or some other third party can provide a paid download, eg official DVD support (like Linspire). A portal for commercial software may also entice commercial software support from the likes of Adobe, if that is not deemed unethical and against the spirit of Ubuntu or Debian. Remember, first impressions within the first few minutes count.

Pecisk: Why not add gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse to "ubuntu-restricted-extras" meta package?

To end, a quote from EthicalInfo: "Ubuntu should inform users of problems with licences and ethics. There are specs designed to make installing alien applications easier. This is good providing the user is armed with information; alien packages are not in Ubuntu for a reason. It should not be made harder to install them, though, and we can retain an "I don't give a damn, install it anyway" option. (If there is any extra dialogue at all.)"

I second the suggestion of GTK-Gnutella instead of Frostwire. Because of a bug in Java, Frostwire doesn't load properly with Beryl or Compiz. (macogw)

AzraelNightwalker: Automatix has been reviewed by Matthew Garret. "in its current form Automatix is actively dangerous to systems (...) In its current form Automatix is unsupportable".


CommonCustomizations (last edited 2008-08-06 17:01:22 by localhost)