Xubuntu 14.04 installation guidelines

The distribution GNU/Linux Xubuntu 14.04 has been chosen for several reasons: long term support (until 2017), active community, light desktop environment, available binary packages from Ettus Research.

During the installation process, the following partitioning is recommended:
  • primary SWAP, 1 GB;
  • primary ext4, /, 40 GB;
  • secondary ext4, /home, (remaining space).

Once the installation is performed, it is assumed to realize the following operations using a root shell (sudo -s). If necessary, a proxy will be set through appropriate environment variables:

export http_proxy=http://host:port
export https_proxy=http://host:port

Additional packages installation

Update the package list.

apt-get update

Install the following additional packages.

apt-get install texlive-full texstudio auctex wireshark filezilla \
openssh-server vlc octave-communications subversion git thunar-vcs-plugin \
xfce4-goodies arandr libreoffice-l10n-fr synaptic evince xournal \
eog python-matplotlib python-scipy ctags doxygen ntpdate libpam-ldap nscd screen \
htop inkscape filezilla gparted libfftw3-3 libfftw3-dev git-core

Services configuration

Sudo configuration

Any modification to the sudo configuration should be performed through the following command.


Append the following line in order to preserve environment variables http_proxy and https_proxy through sudo.

Defaults env_keep += "http_proxy https_proxy" 

Enable root account and install public keys

On Ubuntu systems, the root account is not enabled by default, enabling is done by setting a password.

passwd root

Then assume that SSH is installed and enabled. Public keys to install are supposed to be in file <my_public_keys>. They have to be deployed in the following way.

cd /root
mkdir .ssh
cp <my_public_keys> /root/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod -R 700 .ssh/

Enable LDAP authentication

In order to authenticate through the network using LDAP, it is necessary to install the following package.

apt-get install libpam-ldap

At the end of the installation, an interactive configuration process is triggered. It can called back using the following instruction.
dpkg-reconfigure libpam-ldap

Add the ldap module to the first three instructions in /etc/nsswitch.conf in order to obtain something like this:

passwd:         ldap compat
group:          ldap compat
shadow:         ldap compat

In case of successful login, add the following line to /etc/pam.d/common-session in order to create automatically the home directory.

session required    pam_mkhomedir.so skel=/etc/skel umask=0022

Finally, restart the nscd service.

/etc/init.d/nscd restart

Enable NTP

In order to synchronize the real time clock through the network, install the following package.

apt-get install ntpdate

If applicable, add local NTP servers to /etc/default/ntpdate. Then trigger the first synchronization.


Notice that NTP synchronization is performed at each network interface bootup.