Things to Do After Installing Debian 8 Jessie Xfce Edition

Debian ships with ‘vanilla’ Xfce. No bells and whistles, that’s it! But not everyone can be happy with this bare-bone look and feel of Xfce. And a Debian system needs some initial works-to-do to make it work out-of-the-box!

  • The first thing I do right after installing a Debian edition is to add my username in the sudoers file.

Open terminal window and execute the following command to become root for the time being:

su -

Now execute the following command to add your username in the sudoers file.

adduser username sudo

It goes without saying that the aforementioned username should be replaced with your respective username. For example, if your username is foobar, then execute the following command instead:

adduser foobar sudo

Now log out and log in back for that change to take effect.

  • After adding my username to the sudoers file, the next thing would be to edit the sources.list file. For Debian 8 jessie release, I use the following sources:
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie main contrib non-free
deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie main contrib non-free
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-updates main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free

Of course, if you’re an utmost free software guy, if might want to use just the main repository, that consists only the free and open source components. I’m also a free software guy, but cannot live without some non-free components, like WiFi driver. Therefore, I use both non-free and contrib repos along with the main repo.

Open terminal and execute the following command to open the sources.list file using mousepad, the default text editor for Xfce. Of course, you can use whatever text editor you may like for editing this sources.list file. You might want to even start vi vs. emacs flame war! sudo mousepad /etc/apt/sources.list

Now select everything contained in the sources.list file and replace them with the following:

deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie main contrib non-free
deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie main contrib non-free
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-updates main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free

And as I said, you can omit the non-free and the contrib from the last part of each line if you want to stick with the free software only.

Now save the file.

  • After saving the sources.list file, update and upgrade your system.

Open terminal and execute the following commands one after another:

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

Of course, you can execute them in a single line separating them with semicolon (;).

  • WiFi drivers are proprietary. And Debian official repo doesn’t contain anything other than free software. That’s the main reason I include the non-free and the contrib repos in my sources.list file.

To install WiFi driver in my system, I install the firmware-iwlwifi package.

sudo apt-get install firmware-iwlwifi

A restart would make the WiFi work!

  • Default font rendering isn’t good enough. It’s there for performance issue. The default font rendering performs better in all conditions and all hardware specs. But why compromise? I needed better font rendering. That’s why I opened Settings > Appearance > Fonts tab.

I left the default font (Sans, 10 point) as it was. It’s not great, but does the job.

Anti-aliasing was enabled by default. Otherwise I would have enabled it.

Hinting was disabled by default. I chose Slight hinting. It suits my display better.

I chose Sub-pixel order to be RGB.

I left custom DPI (96 points) as it was.

And I got a better rendered font without installing any extra package.

  • Debian 8 Xfce comes with mutt email client installed by default. I haven’t tried command line based email client yet. I heard mutt is great, but I wanted something I’m already familiar with. That’s why I installed icedove, a non-branded thunderbird clone.
sudo apt-get install icedove
  • I added notes and clipman panel-items in Xfce panel. These proved to be great productivity tools for me!
  • Quodlibet music player doesn’t have any sound in the default install. Therefore I had to install gstreamer1.0-alsa package to make sound work in Quodlibet for Debian 8 jessie.
sudo apt-get install gstreamer1.0-alsa

A restart of quodlibet would do the job.

  • Screen real estate is a great issue for small-screen laptops. I have a 14″‘ laptop. That’s why I pinned commonly used applications in the top panel, right after Applications Menu and removed the bottom panel.

 

The aforementioned things gave me an out-of-the-box experience out of the Debian 8 jessie Xfce edition. Hope these help!

 

 

 

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