Ubuntu 16.04 LTS virtualization and customization

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has been released last month. LTS is an abbreviation for “Long Term Support”: while a new Ubuntu Desktop is released every six months, the LTS versions are released every 2 years and receive a 5 years support. An ideal solution for anyone looking for stability. Ubuntu has nine flavours and dozens of localised and specialised derivatives, but we are focusing today on the main ‘official’ version.

While I wasn’t fond of Unity, Ubuntu’s default desktop environment, a few years ago, it has been greatly improved lately and may become a solid solution for a light and punchy virtual machine.

Installation

Download Ubuntu LTS 64bits iso and refer to this guide to create your VirtualBox installation (the first two steps only, since process is slightly easier and fast with Ubuntu than Debian). During the system installation, accept to download the updates and third party additions.

Once installation is over, log in to the desktop. You now need to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions to make your window full screen and activate the copy/paste through your computer and the virtual system : just install them from the CD image or run inside your terminal :

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-dkms

Reboot, log in. You’re set.

VirtualBox_UbuntuLTS_14_05_2016_21_21_37

Customizing the desktop

As some other mainstream distributions, Ubuntu doesn’t come with a tool allowing the user to deeply modify the system settings and appearance. To modify Unity’s settings you need to get Unity Tweak Tool.

Unity Tweak Tool is a settings manager for the Unity desktop. It provides users with a fast, simple and easy-to-use interface with which to access many useful and little known features and settings of the desktop environment that one may want to configure.

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

To lighten a bit your system, let’s start by cutting off a few Unity option. Open UTT:

  • Go to the Search menu and uncheck ‘Online sources’ and ‘Show more suggestions’
  • In the Web apps menu, uncheck the preauthorized domains ‘Amazon’ and ‘Ubuntu One’
  • The Launcher section now presents an option to position the launcher at the bottom of the screen, and that is an excellent news!
  • In addition you may of course modify the launcher appearance to your tastes, change the shortcuts etc.

UTT Appearance section isn’t useful at the time, since no additional themes are installed. Let’s improve this.

VirtualBox_UbuntuLTS_14_05_2016_21_11_19

The default Ambiance/Radiance GTK themes are beautiful and solid, however the Yosembiance project brings a new level of finition and smoothness. Visit the Github page to get the last version and copy the files inside the /usr/share/themes folder. I personaly went for the ‘Kraken-Blue’ flavour, pictured in this post screenshots.

To go along, get the Moka icon suite, my favorite one after years of supporting Faenza/Faience.

Well, that’s better now, you can start using your system.

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