Switching to Ubuntu 12.04

I now lead a Windows-free existence. After switching to a Mac at work, I finally re-imaged my personal laptop at home. I have Dell notebook that came with Windows 7. It’s not that Windows 7 is bad—it’s a huge upgrade compared to XP—it’s just that I really prefer using a Unix/Linux based operating system. I’m now running Ubuntu 12.04 and wanted to share a few tips that took me too long to figure out.

Full Disk Encryption

You need the alternative installer disc—not the standard Desktop intsaller—in order to setup full-disk encryption. They’ve done a good job hiding the link:


If you’re using a laptop, I personally think you’d be crazy not to encrypt your data. Also, can I suggest being a good Linux community citizen? Download the image via BitTorrent and then seed for a bit.

Amazon Instant Video

If you want to watch Amazon Instant Video, you need to install two obscure packages (hat tip to this blog post):

sudo apt-get install libhal1 hal

That’s it. Then it just worked in every browser. I probably spent two hours trying to track down this really simple solution (and I just wanted to watch a movie).

Reverse Scrolling Direction

Since I use OS X Lion at work, I’ve grown accustomed to the “natural” (reversed) trackpad scrolling. There’s no option for this in the Ubuntu System Settings pages, but there’s an easy fix if you have a Synaptics touchpad (which you probably do).

Just create a file ~/.Xmodmap and add a single line to it:

pointer = 1 2 3 5 4 7 6 8 9 10 11 12

More info from archlinux: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xmodmap#Reverse_Scrolling

Hope that helps!

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