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I installed ubuntu 12.04 recently and it seems to run a bit slow on my desktop. I previously had windows xp professional in it and it was fast. I had formatted my pc and freshly installed ubuntu. So, is there any cure to that laggy GUI? Can I gain some speed by installing any specific driver?

Besides that, I wanted to know many other things. First, how can I run any external app (other than the one from the software center). And, where are the apps installed. Can I install them to some other location (like we do in windows)? How are applications recognised in ubuntu. I mean, do we have any executable files for that (I read in another post that there is no standard executable file, anything can be executed).

The following are the specs of my pc:

  • motherboard: Intel Desktop Board D101GGC
  • processor: Pentium 4 @ 2.8 GHz
  • RAM: 1.5GB
  • Video: 256MB (ATI Radeon Xpress 200 chipset family)
  • HDD: 80GB (About 90% Free)

PS: I know, this PC is outdated, but I use it as a platform for experimenting with things. And Yes, when it comes to ubuntu, I'm a noob. I agree. :D

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Try this starters guide to teach you some of the basics there are many on the internet. Go through the guides and in the process you will learn, thats the fun part, well, at least for me ;) – Meer Borg Mar 15 '13 at 13:12
Also if the GUI is slow there is a quicker GUI you can install that is more suited to lower spec'ed computers – Meer Borg Mar 15 '13 at 13:24
  • about lagging: the interface should not particularly lag. Perhaps your RAM is a little low, but there is no obvious reason why Ubuntu isn't snappy on your machine. There are proprietary graphic driver for your ATI chip (called “ firegl ”), but it's not recommended or necessary unless you have a very recent chipset, which is not the case. You could eventually gain some speed with "low-resources" Ubuntu flavors like lxbuntu or xubuntu, but this is IMO a matter of taste.

  • about applications: there are a lot of external applications to be found in “ PPAs ” (personal package archives) on . Applications are most easily found in “ packages ” (even via PPAs) and the system manages them for clean installation/configuration/deinstallation. Installation outside standard locations is always possible, but not recommended unless you are a developper or you know exactly what you are doing.

  • there are 2 main sorts of executables in Ubuntu (and Linux/Unix generally speaking): the binary compiled ones (=real executable programs, non human-readable) and scripts (text files that begin with '#!…' and refer to an interpreter like a shell). Either should be marked executable via a permission flag to be executed, but that's starting to be technical. There are other kinds (like windows executables that can be detected and run by third-party programs) but I think it's out of scope.

For more information, you should head to your local ubuntu user group or read web tutorials. I think this current forum is for more precise questions. Perhaps a good start is


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Thank you so much Karmak23! This is a great start up for me. I always like to learn from people like you. And I guess ubuntu is really great for me to explore the world of OS. By the way, I thought I was a good developer in Windows platform, but after practically using ubuntu, I feel that I still need to go 90% of the way! Thank you once again! – Naveen Venkat Mar 15 '13 at 14:49

Before changing the place where apps are installed, you may first learn a bit how Gnu/Linux works.

  • For the GUI, you can close your session, and at loging, click on the small Ubuntu logo next to you name, choose Ubuntu 2D, and log in you session. Desktop effects are not activated and it should be faster.
  • In order to install apps outside of the sofwate center, you can download .deb packages. It is necessary for Google Chrome, as an example. But you be able to find most of what you need in the sofwate center. You can try Synaptic instead, "sudo apt-get install synaptic" in a terminal, or of course, you can install it in the software center ;-)
  • And yes, most of things in Linux can be executable. If you look at the properties of a file, you will see in the permition section "read / write / execute". In windows, you can run .exe, .msi, etc. In Linux, any file can be executed, if what is needed is installed. Most of scripts you will find are .sh files.
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Hmm... I came to know how to start Ubuntu 2D only after your suggestion. Thanks for that! And yes, I'll right away go and read the ubuntu manual. – Naveen Venkat Mar 15 '13 at 14:56
you're welcome. if you need more precision, just let me know in a comment. – ttoine Mar 18 '13 at 16:25

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