This guide is for version 0.2 “Luna” – 0.3 “Freya” has since been released. This guide may not apply to it.

This is mainly for my own benefit, but I hope it aids somebody out there. Elementary OS is quite functional out of the box, but for many used to more comprehensive distros, it can be a little lean as it does emphasise beauty over content (IMHO). The post-install tips I’ve got here have been sourced from elsewhere and so I’ll credit them where credit is due. For help with this gorgeous looking distro, I recommend its reddit channel. The official forums aren’t exactly a hive of buzzing activity.

First thing I do is install Elementary Tweaks – I can’t stand that default title bar. I’m used to Windows minimise/maximise/close. Elementary tweaks enables you to alter the default title bar, among other things. You can turn off the overlay scrollbars and the bell and so forth too. Another way is to download dconf-tools from the Software Centre which gives even finer, more granular control over all aspects of the window manager.

To get Elementary tweaks (works for the 0.3 beta too), you need to enter the following in a terminal (Ctrl-Alt-T for the terminal):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks

Once this is done, update your system.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade


Elementary OS’s Files app doesn’t have the open in terminal here feature by default. Why? Who knows? One of those crazy just because decisions the world is riddled with…anyhow, do the following to fix this oversight.

sudo touch /usr/share/contractor/terminal.contract

Then open it and edit it

sudo scratch-text-editor /usr/share/contractor/terminal.contract

Inside this new file, add this:

[Contractor Entry]
Name=Open in terminal
Description=Open in terminal
Exec=pantheon-terminal -d %U


Then I get a better browser. Sorry Midori. While I think it’s lean and stylish, it’s light on features and most importantly, cannot sync with Google to get my passwords, bookmarks etc. It has a tendency to crash more than it should too. So I use Chromium.

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Of course, replace Chromium with Firefox or Opera or whatever you want to use. Get Flash too, if surfing Youtube et al is your thing. Hopefully the day that Flash is finally obsolete technology comes soon.

sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplugin

Then get yourself a decent torrent client. Elementary OS doesn’t come with one at all. I personally use qBittorrent. If transmission or deluge is your thing, get that instead.

sudo apt-get install qbittorrent

I use a Canon printer, the MP495 to be exact. The default scanning software that comes with Elementary OS will not see the scanner, so I need something better. Something better is close at hand – of course, this is specific to the Canon printer. Firstly, get the synaptic package manager from the Software Centre. Then in the terminal do (update – the guy who runs this PPA frequently changes things, takes it offline etc. Why? Who knows, but if you encounter 404 errors when adding these PPAs, you’ll need to get the files straight from Canon) :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:michael-gruz/canon-stable
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:michael-gruz/canon-trunk
sudo apt-get update

Open synaptic, search for cndrvcups-common, then cnijfilter for your printer/MFP model, i.e, if it’s an MP495 like mine, it’ll call it cnijfilter-mp495, then get the scanning app, which is called scangearmp, and using our MP495 example, it’s called – wait for it – scangearmp-mp495. Keep in mind to install this stuff before plugging your printer in if it connects via USB. If you share this printer, make sure to publish it. Go into System Settings –> Printers and in the menu, select Server then check the box that says Publish…be mindful that getting a Windows 7 computer to see and use the printer, there’s a lot of mucking about to be done on that end.


Then I get LibreOffice. The version that you’ll find on the Software Centre is usually behind the times. So I get the latest stable .deb file direct from LibreOffice itself. Be mindful of which bitsize distro you’re using, 32-bit or 64-bit. I use 32-bit so my link is right here (told you this page was for my benefit!). Change the language to suit and download it how you want. Grab the help file while you’re at it. Once you’ve got it, extract it from its tar.gz, navigate into the DEBS folder and open a terminal here:

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

Presto! You have the latest LO. Do the same procedure for the help file.

Get a better music player. I use Banshee.

sudo apt-get install banshee

Get the mp3 and other restricted format codecs too.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras libavcodec-extra-53