Notes on New Ubuntu Installs


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These are some notes that help me set up a fresh development environment on Ubuntu, which includes setting up Docker, multiple Python environments, Firefox binary installs, etc.

Updates #

  • May 2020: Initial docs for Ubuntu 20.04, Focal Fossa

Install misc apt packages #

  • sudo apt install curl git vim

Install Docker #

  1. We install docker from package here, and later install docker-compose via pipx below.
    • sudo apt update && sudo apt install

Install zsh #

  1. Install zsh from package
    • sudo apt install zsh
  2. Install ohmyzsh
    • sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"
  3. Install powerline fonts for zsh theme "agnoster"
    • sudo apt install fonts-powerline
  4. Copy over .zshrc and .aliasrc from my dotfiles
  5. Log out and log in again to pick up shell changes

Install Python via pyenv #

  1. Install pyenv dependencies as referenced in the wiki.
  2. Install pyenv via pyenv-installer.
  3. Follow the steps from the output to set up pyenv in the PATH.
  4. Install preferred Python(s). Use pyenv install --list to view all available versions.
  5. Set the global Python version with pyenv global $VERSION

Set up pip and pipx #

  1. Make sure the pip we have is the latest
    • pip install -U pip
  2. Install pipx
    • pip install --user pipx
    • pipx ensurepath
  3. Install various pipx applications I use
    • pipx install docker-compose
    • pipx install isort
    • pipx install black
    • pipx install flake8
    • pipx install pip-tools
    • pipx install docutils
    • pipx install sphinx

Set up nvm #

  1. Follow the install process at
  2. Ensure these are in the ~/.zshrc:
    • export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"
    • [ -s "$NVM_DIR/" ] && \. "$NVM_DIR/"
  3. Install the Node LTS version
    • nvm install --lts
  4. Make sure latest npm is installed
    • nvm install-latest-npm

Set up Firefox #

I prefer to set up Firefox from the binaries instead of via Ubuntu packages. For one, I can install multiple (Release vs Nightly), for another, the packaged Firefox makes minor changes to the actual released Firefox and I prefer the actual releases.

  1. Download the latest release of Firefox from

  2. Make a local directory to extract to and install there

    • mkdir ~/.firefox-release
  3. Create an app launcher for by copying the following file into ~/.local/share/applications/firefox-release.desktop

    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=Firefox Release
    Comment=Custom install of Firefox Release
    GenericName=Web Browser
    Exec=/home/rob/.firefox-release/firefox/firefox %u
  4. Do the same for nightly changing the above as needed.

  5. On launch set up profiles for each.

  6. Set the default browser by running the command

    • xdg-settings set default-web-browser firefox-nightly.desktop

Install various apps via Ubuntu Software #

  • Telegram Desktop
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Slack
  • Spotify