The Elementary OS distribution is distinguished by its simplicity and user interface. This is noticeable not only in the appearance close to macOS, but also in the set of settings and pre-installed applications.
We will look at how Elementary OS is configured after installation, as well as additional settings available in the extension, which should improve usability. We will pay special attention to installing applications, the branded store is not yet suitable for this.
How to Set Up Elementary OS 6 After Installation
Step 1. System update
Let’s start by installing updates, for this go to the tab Installed v Application Center… It is through it that you can update system packages.
To install updates, you can also use the terminal, for this you just need to run two commands in turn. One will update the list of packages, and the second will update the packages:
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
Terminal is available in the menu Applications.
Step 2. Customize the look
Elementary OS doesn’t have a lot of customization options. You can change your desktop wallpaper in the settings section Desktop in the tab Desktop background.
The main settings are in the tab View… In the new version, a dark theme has become available, which can also be activated on a schedule. It is appropriate to combine it with Night modelocated in the settings Screen.
Here you can also select a color accent and adjust the font size. Unfortunately, font size is practically the only thing available to owners of screens with high pixel density. In the screen settings, it is allowed to set integer scaling with a factor of 2x and 3x, which is applicable only for 4k panels.
In the tab Dock and Panel it is possible to change the size of the icons in the dock, as well as the condition for hiding it. With parameter Revealing pressure the hidden dock will only appear after a long press at the bottom of the screen.
The panel has one single setting, without transparency, a black background will be used. With transparency, the panel can have three options for displaying icons and text: dark, light and light with a slight shading of the panel. This parameter is set automatically depending on the selected wallpaper.
Step 3. Adding keyboard layouts
Layouts are added in the section Keyboard, to add a new one, press + in the lower left corner. We talked in more detail about configuring layouts in the article on installing Elementary OS.
Step 4. Installing applications
The distribution kit invites us to use the branded application store. Unfortunately, there are only about a hundred applications available in it. They are all installed via Flatpak. Some of them have a price tag, however, you can set a zero cost and get the application for free. Priced apps were developed specifically for Elementary OS, so they have deeper integration with the system.
Of course, this number of applications is not enough, so let’s take advantage of the fact that the distribution is based on Ubuntu. On the menu Applications in the upper corner, open a terminal and enter the command to install the Ubuntu Software Application Center:
sudo apt install ubuntu-software
You will be asked to enter your account password. Type it and press Enter, the program will be installed automatically. Among the dependencies there will be a package software-properties-commonwhich is required to add custom repositories.
After that, the Ubuntu store will become available in the menu Applications (the last icon in the screenshot). Through it, you can install most of the necessary applications, such as the LibreOffice office suite, the Firefox browser, and so on.
Alternatively, you can install the Synaptic Application Manager in the same way. It is suitable for advanced users, as it contains a larger number of applications, including console ones:
sudo apt install synaptic
Step 5. Installing Pantheon Tweaks
If you followed the previous step and added the Ubuntu Application Center, then you can install a set of advanced Pantheon Tweaks settings.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:philip.scott/pantheon-tweaks
sudo apt update
sudo apt install pantheon-tweaks
After installation, a section will appear in the settings Tweaks… In it we are interested in the tab Registrationsince it contains most of the settings. To install themes, you should download theme and unpack it to the folder indicated in the tooltip. You can do the same with icons and cursors… Please note that not all themes are adapted to work with the Pantheon shell.
If you are using a dark theme, then by all means activate the Force to use dark stylesheet parameter. With its help, the dark theme will be used in many more third-party applications, for example, in Firefox.
Step 6. Adding a minimize button
You can minimize the window by clicking on the icon in the dock, but it’s still more convenient to have a button on the window itself. The required setting can be found in Tweaks… In the tab Registration we are interested in the item Window control buttons… Here you can choose from ten options to your liking.
Step 7. Installing multimedia codecs
By default, the distribution has only a few codecs, which prevents most of the movies from being played. Remembering that Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu, we can take advantage of the way to add multimedia codecs for this distribution.
If, however, describe the installation of codecs in a nutshell, then use the command:
sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras
During installation, you will need to accept the agreement. To do this, click Tabby making the button active and then Enter.
Step 8. Configuring gestures
The distribution is different in that by default gestures are configured for control using the touch panel. You can see them in the settings section Mouse and touchpad.
Unfortunately, in Elementary OS, not all sensors work fully. In some cases, the distribution kit does not see more than two fingers, which will prevent the use of gestures. The choice of features is also disappointing, just 1-2 per gesture. However, updates to this feature are released almost daily, so the situation should change for the better.
If you are using a mouse, then there is an alternative to gestures – the action when you hover the cursor over the corner of the screen. The settings are in the tab Multitasking section Desktop.
Step 9. Configuring application rights
Do not pass by the section Applications… Unlike many other distributions, Elementary OS sets only the minimum permissions for applications by default. Therefore, it may be necessary to issue the necessary rights, for example, allow the browser to access the camera (parameter Devices).
This completes the Elementary OS setup. We’ve only covered the basics of customization. Of course, you can configure a lot more in the system, but this is beyond the scope of this article.
Now you know how to configure Elementary OS 6 after installation. It’s a pretty good system. The shell is fast and responsive. However, using the system as it is is unlikely to work. The installed browser is unstable, and multimedia players have practically no settings. The situation is aggravated by the Application Center, which cannot offer an alternative to these irreplaceable programs.
Fortunately, most of the problems are solved by installing just a couple of applications (Ubuntu Software and Pantheon Tweaks) and the final configuration of the system. The only thing that will remain unchanged is not the richest set of drivers.