Streamline Ubuntu 13.04 & later


Note: This article was written when Ubuntu 13.04 was released. But many of the tweaks apply to Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) as well.

Boost the performance of Ubuntu 13.04 and later releases.

Now that you have installed the latest from Canonical: Ubuntu Raring Ringtail, it’s time to make it faster and get the most out of it in terms of performance. Here are a few steps I followed myself to boost the performance and get the most out of Raring.

  1. Show hidden startup apps.
    $ sudo sed -i "s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g" /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

    Remove startup apps you do not want. The ones I left enabled are:
    GNOME Settings Daemon
    GSettings Data Conversion
    PolicyKit Authentication Agent

  2. Remove/disable overlay scrollbars if you do not like them. To remove completely:
    $ sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar overlay-scrollbar-gtk2 overlay-scrollbar-gtk3

    To disable temporarily:

    $ gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal
    $ gsettings reset com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode
  3. Install CompizConfig Settings Manager and customize things. The plugins I left enabled are:
    Copy to texure
    OpenGL [Option Tuxture filter – Fast]
    Window Decoration
    Compiz Library Toolbox
    Mouse position polling
    Regex Matching
    Move Window
    Place Windows
    Resize Window
  4. Remove window shadows (HowTo).
  5. Install sysv-rc-conf and configure services you want to keep enabled in runlevel 5. I have following enabled:
  6. Blacklist modules which you don’t need or want the kernel to load at boot (HowTo). You can always insert them using

    $ sudo modprobe modulename
  7. Disable extra ttys. (HowTo)
  8. Remove software you might never need and install those you want. In my case I removed the following:
    Software Center (I still use synaptic)
    Ubuntu One (web interface is enough and I use Dropbox regularly)
    webapps (things just a few clicks away)
    empathy and telepathy (I use Pidgin for IM)
    gstreamer and respective media players (I use SMPlayer)
    gedit and gnome-calculator (I use leafpad and galculator)
    some Unity lens and scopes
    Check out the Diet Ubuntu page for more removable and replaceable packages.
    Tip: Use utilities like Gtkorphan and localepurge to make the procedure simpler. To install on Ubuntu, run:

    $ sudo apt-get install gtkorphan localepurge
  9. Get rid of translation files
    By default apt downloads translation files. If all you need is English, run the following command:

    $ echo "Acquire::Languages “none”;" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/00aptitude

The above tweaks should also work on Ubuntu Saucy (13.10). If you find something that’s not working please feel free to comment so that I can change accordingly.

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