This spec aims to create a "firstboot" tutorial for new Ubuntu users.

NOTE: Overlaps somewhat with UbuntuWelcomeCentre


Ubuntu is starting to become a worthy replacement from well-established Operating Systems. Inevitably, we are going to attract Linux newbies, as well as complete computer technophobe. After installing Ubuntu, and on first boot, it would be useful to launch a quick tutorial on how to do common tasks such as browsing the internet, speaking to friends, installing a new program, etc. etc.

Use Cases

  • Alice has never used a computer before, she wants to read this Internet thingy that her kids are talking about but isn't sure where to start.
  • Bob is currently using Windows, but he is continuously getting frustrated with the amount of viruses and popups he is getting.
  • Charlie is a typical gamer, and a Linux newbie. His friend gave him a Ubuntu CD, and naturally he is curious.
  • Shelley is an experienced linux user, but new to Ubuntu. She flicks through the tutorial, and notices mention of a new command, sudo. She learns about it and as a result doesn't clog the forums with yet another stupid why aren't I root question.
  • David has used Breezy, Dapper and Edgy. He does not need the tutorial, so it provides him with a way to exit it without extensively interrupting his experience (No 'Please take a tour of Windows XP' nag screen)


  • The package (or packages) will need some way of being initialised on first boot.
  • It may be useful to add a link into ubuntu-docs, so the tutorial can be invoked again at a later stage.


The primary source of specifications is currently at http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=1676638

Documentation Areas

Intro page

Thankyou for installing Ubuntu 7.04 : The Feisty Fawn

If you're new to Ubuntu Linux, please take a few moments to go through this tutorial to familiarise yourself with your new operating system. Even those with experience in other Linux distributions might discover something new!

This tutorial will cover:

  • The benefits of Ubuntu Linux
  • How to get help with your Ubuntu
  • How to find your way around and change the look of Ubuntu
  • How to get using the internet
  • How to install software
  • A quick introduction to the Terminal
  • A quick introduction to Linux Security
  • A few websites where you can read further

The user can then click 'Ok!', 'No, thanks.', or 'Remind me later.' Remind me later will cause the tutorial to start next boot.

Page One: Benefits

  • Virus Free:

Linux is not vulnerable to the hundreds of thousands of viruses which affect other systems. You no longer need to worry about anti-virus software, and you can browse the internet with confidence. Only a handful of linux viruses have ever been discovered, and none are currently circulating.

  • Free Software

Ubuntu Linux is free software. This means you are not just allowed, you are encouraged to share Ubuntu with your friends and family. You will be provided with security updates for free for a minimum of 18 months after the release of each version, and you can access the thousands of other pieces of software available for use on Ubuntu - all for free!

  • Open Source

If you're into programming, or wanting to learn, the code that goes in to Ubuntu is freely available for anyone interested, to view, change, and redistribute. If you're not into programming, don't worry - you never need to see it.

  • Free Support

Ubuntu Linux has a large community of users willing to help you with any issues you have, in the spirit of Ubuntu, an African word meaning 'humanity to all'.

Finding Help

  • Ubuntu Help
  • Forums - preferably provide a link to register an account immediately. If the tutorial is done in HTML via firefox, then this should be easy.
  • IRC
  • LUGs!

Finding your way around

  • How to shut down
  • How to start a program (e.g. gedit)
  • Where your home folder is, and what it's for
  • What the Applications, Places, System menus are for.
  • Themes

The Internet

  • Firefox
  • Gaim
  • Evolution
  • Setting up a firewall - I'm still not sure about this one...

Installing programs

  • How to use Applications->Add/Remove Applications

  • How to use Synaptic (Is that neccessary? If someone has needs that require synaptic rather than Add/Remove, they should be able to learn themselves I'd rather just cover Add/Remove really well. - DanielMiles I thought I had to use synaptic because I was shown by an experienced user and was grateful to eventually find Add/Remove. Perhaps all that is needed in the beginners tutorial is: "Synaptic is an advanced tool which does XXX (I still don't know) and at the beginners stage you will probably find that Add/Remove will solve most of your problems." The reason for spelling out what synaptic does is so that when they finally get to an advanced problem they'll know to come back to the tutorial to find out the name of that advanced tool. -Tzumli_D .)

  • EasyCodecInstallation?

Linux Security

Under most other operating systems, a user has access to all parts of their computer at once, even the most important files that are vital to the functioning of the computer. However, this also means that any viruses have access to these as well, and can damage your computer. Part of the reason Linux is more secure is because, when you use your computer, the most vital parts are kept safe where they cannot be changed. As such, when you go to do something that requires altering them, such as installing new software, you will be prompted for your password. Entering your password gives the program you are running permission to alter important parts of your computer, so only enter your password to programs you know, or those that have come preinstalled on your Ubuntu system.

(I really do believe that this is important. It simultaneously explains why a user has to enter their password to do stuff, and also cautions them not to just enter it willy-nilly. -DanielMiles)

Further Reading

Thankyou for taking the time to learn a little more about your new Ubuntu system. Hundreds of people from around the planet have spent thousands of hours creating what we believe to be the highest quality desktop operating system available. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to check the ubuntu forums, and if it has never been asked before, feel free to ask it. If you want to review anything in this tutorial, you can use the 'back' button to go back to other sections, or you can start the tutorial again by closing this window and starting the tutorial in the menu under system tools (insert picture).

For further reading, you can visit:

(websites go here... Such as Ubuntu Document Storage, terminal tutorial, etc.)

Most importantly, have fun!


Should we create some wiki pages, branched from here so we can start writing some content? - KrisMarsh


  • What is the base platform going to be? Internal Ubuntu HTML/Doc viewer (Yelp?)? Custom app? TheOpenCD?

  • Flash-based design doesn't seem viable, as it's proprietor.
  • Would need clarification with a Ubuntu dev whether they would accept the tutorial with Easy Ubuntu/Automatix. (FWIW, I don't personally see the need for these, from Edgy onwards - KrisMarsh)

  • There is always a risk of this tutorial becoming way too big, and so users get bored half way through it. There should be ACCESS to a greater level of info, though lots of it shouldn't be shoved at you. I think a simple overview of things with some nice LARGE thumbnail buttons and illustrations to easily show and allow a little customization of some of it and another button for more details (plus the next button, of course ) is ideal.
  • We need to think about WhatDoNonGeeksWant, as these will probably be our primary target.

  • Somewhere we need to put a set of Common Alternatives (e.g. Microsoft Word->OpenOffice Writer, Photoshop->The Gimp)

  • Scripted Tweaks - Where you can click a button to make changes x, y, and z would be nice.
  • Do we include the tutorial on the live CD?

UbuntuBeginnerTutorial (last edited 2008-08-06 16:23:36 by localhost)