Cool Tweaks for FOSS Enthusiasts

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Typically, Linux systems are very fast, yet many of us would like to speed them up even more. You may benefit by tweaking a Linux system to get better efficiency. Here are a few suggestions on how to do so.

Tweaks are simple or rarely used commands that can improve the performance of a system. There are some best practices that you can employ to get a smoother or improved performance. Of the tweaks suggested here, you can choose to follow all or just some of them.
Reducing the load time of default Grub

The boot time refers to how long the system takes to select and load the default OS during startup. By default, the Grub load time is 10 seconds, which means you have to sit idle for 10 seconds while the system starts booting. You can cut down this time by simply applying the following command:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub &

And change GRUB_TIMEOUT=10 to GRUB_TIMEOUT=2. This will change the boot time from 10 seconds to 2 seconds. Do avoid putting ‘0’as this will not allow you to select any recovery options. After changing the time, you have to update Grub by using the following command:

sudo update-grub

Using apt-fast instead of apt-get for a speedy update
apt-fast is a shell script wrapper for apt-get, which improves the update and package download speed by downloading packages from multiple connections, simultaneously. If you frequently use a terminal and apt-get to install and update packages, you may want to give apt-fast a try.
Install apt-fast via the official PPA using the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apt-fast/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apt-fast

Removing language related ign from the apt-get update
The output of sudo apt-get has three kinds of lines — hit, ign and get. ign lines are related to language translation. However, if you use all the application packages in English, you do not need a translation of the package database. So if you suppress these language related updates from apt-get, the apt-get update speed will increase. To do so, open the following file:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/00aptitude

Then add the following line at the end of this file:

Acquire::Languages “none”;

Tweaking LibreOffice to make it faster
To make LibreOffice faster, open it and go to Tools→Options and choose Memory from the left sidebar. Enable ‘Systray Quickstarter’ and increase the memory allocation.

Clearing up disk clutter
Try typing sudo apt-get autoremove and then sudo apt-get clean into a terminal window. The first command removes any unused (redundant) dependencies from the system. The second removes all cached package files. Both are harmless. On a well-used system that’s been updated a couple of times, you could free up as much as a gigabyte using these methods (compare the clutter before and after using the df -h commands).

Getting a reminder for when you have to leave
If you need a reminder to leave your terminal, type the following command:

leave +hhmm

hhmm refers to the time of day in the hhmm format, where hh is the time in hours (on a 12 or 24 hour clock) and mm refers to minutes. All days are converted to a 12-hour clock.

Text formatting
You can reformat each paragraph with the fmt command. In this example, I’m going to reformat a file by wrapping overlong lines and filling short lines, as follows:

fmt file.txt

You can also split long lines, but do not refill; and wrap overlong lines, but do not fill short lines:

fmt -s file.txt

Enabling firewall
By default, the firewall in Ubuntu is set to allow all incoming connections. So use ufw and enable the firewall with the following command (additionally, open port 22 for ssh).

sudo ufw enable

sudo ufw allow 22/tcp

Installing non-open source applications
When you first install Ubuntu, use apt-get to install ‘Ubuntu-restricted-extras’. This installs a list of applications that are not open source and includes Adobe Flashplayer, MS fonts, etc, to name a few.

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