Simplify Ubuntu 14.04 to Increase Speed

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I've adapted this guide from faqing at, which is a guide for simplifying Ubuntu 12.10, which I've also documented here: Speed Up Ubuntu 12.10.

I have been using a trusty old Acer Aspire One ZG5 for a long time on Ubuntu 12.10, as it's the recommended OS for this vintage of hardware. However, It has annoyances when updating software, installing new software as all the repo's are out of date, silly things like Flash Player for Firefox won't / can't update.

So, I thought I'd give it an OS update and try 14.04 LTS out for size. But had to simplify it again to increase speed, and it is now pretty snappy for an old 32bit machine! Even though 14.04 isn't yet listed as a recommended version of Ubuntu for the ZG5, it's been working very well indeed - Here's how to do it:

Install Classic Gnome

This will enable us to simplify the user desktop environemt.

~$ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Select LightDM Display Manager if prompted

Now logout, and upon logging back in choose the "Gnome Metacity" desktop environment.

For a more detailed guide on this part, see

Unity Destop Environment left, Gnome Destop Environment right:

Uninstall Unity and Compiz

Unity is the flashier looking desktop environment, and Compiz adds the fancier 3D-type effects, both of which just slow your computer down, Metacity uses a 2D back end, so is easier for low-end graphics to handle.

~$ sudo apt-get remove unity

~$ sudo apt-get remove compiz

Replace Ubuntu Software Center with Synaptic

Synaptic is again, more lightweight than Software Center.

~$ sudo apt-get remove software-center

~$ sudo apt-get autoremove software-center

~$ sudo apt-get install synaptic

Install Gdebi package installer:

~$ sudo apt-get install gdebi

Uninstall Ubuntu One

The Ubuntu 1 or One client software allowed users to sync data to Canonical's cloud staorage, which is now closed down.

~$ sudo apt-get autoremove ubuntuone-client python-ubuntuone-control-panel

Uninstall Indicator Messages

This small program announces social media notifications.

~$ sudo apt-get autoremove indicator-messages

~$ sudo apt-get autoremove telepathy-indicator

Uninstall Deja-dup

Deja-dup is just a backup tool.

~$ sudo apt-get autoremove deja-dup

Uninstall Zetigeist

Zetigeist logs and records file use history, to create a "recent files" list.

~$ sudo apt-get autoremove zeitgeist-core

More Uninstalling

This block removes a host of plugins, webapps, and social media packages such as Empathy.

Credit where it's due for this section: Leo Gaggl of

~$ sudo apt-get remove --purge unity-webapps-common evolution evolution-indicator empathy empathy-common thunderbird xul-ext-unity unity-chromium-extension sudo update-desktop-database

Replace Totem with SMPlayer

A more lightweight media payer.

~$ sudo apt-get remove totem

~$ sudo apt-get remove rhythmbox

~$ sudo apt-get install smplayer

Install Gconf-Cleaner

~$ sudo apt-get install gconf-cleaner

Now run Gconf-Cleaner and follow the steps.

~$ gconf-cleaner

Clear cashes and un-used dependancies

~$ sudo apt-get autoclean

Install Bum (Boot Up Manager)

Aside from it's amusing name, Bum allows you to disable unnecessary system services.

~$ sudo apt-get install bum

~$ gksudo bum