A How To Guide: De-Ubuntu the Ubuntu desktop

Greetings lovely community,

Love it or hate it, Ubuntu is a popular Linux distro for many users around the world. You can always find just about any package or any instruction on how to do something within the Ubuntu universe from a simple search online. For places like schools, offices, and enterprise servers Ubuntu is a solid choice to consider. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and for tech-minded individuals there is a bit of extra “baggage” that Canonical bakes into Ubuntu that many are not a fan of.

It is my intention to demonstrate how to remove all of that bloat (applies to 22.04/22.10) so you are left with a system free of Canonical’s additions e.g. snap packages. As always back up your data beforehand and with enough waffling around, feel free to read all before giving it a try yourself.

Feel free to use one or two or all the steps below as needed for your own individual use case.

1. Stop system report sending during “Help Improve Ubuntu” post-install:

You can easily opt-out of this information collection. At the first boot after a fresh new installation, you’ll be asked to ‘Help Improve Ubuntu’ by sending your system information during the Welcome screen to Canonical. The default option is selected to “No, don’t send system info” but if you’re unsure if you did or not, you can run the following to verify and turn it off:

Ubuntu-report –f send no

2a. Disable sending crash reports:

Ubuntu includes an Apport tool that automatically detects application crashes and sends crash reports to Ubuntu. These reports are used by application developers to understand and identify what are the issues and bugs in the application and why they are occurring. This is useful to some, but to opt-out:

Open Gnome Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics > Set to “Never”

2b. Disable Connectivity Checking:

Also within Gnome Settings > Privacy is Connectivity Checking, which pings to Canonical if you have a full working internet connection or not. Useful for snap settings, but not in this case. For any further reading on Connectivity Checking see here: Connectivity Checking - Linuxconfig.org

Gnome Settings > Privacy > Connectivity Checking, set toggle to OFF

2c. Take it one step further and remove the [annoying] ‘App Has Crashed’ pop-up framework:

sudo apt remove apport apport-gtk
sudo apt autoremove
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

2d. Completely remove package from Step #1 that sends data to Ubuntu only at end of fresh installation and only with users consent:

sudo apt remove ubuntu-report

3. Completely SNAP FREE system: courtesy of debugpoint.com

Run each command one at a time until each completes:

snap list
sudo snap remove --purge firefox
sudo snap remove --purge snap-store
sudo snap remove --purge gnome-3-38-2004
sudo snap remove --purge gtk-common-themes
sudo snap remove --purge snapd-desktop-integration
sudo snap remove --purge bare
sudo snap remove --purge core20
sudo snap remove --purge snapd
sudo apt remove --autoremove snapd

To prevent snap from re-installing in a future update, within your terminal, create the following file (it should be blank) and add:

sudo nano /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref

Package: snapd
Pin: release a=*
Pin-Priority: -10

Save this file and exit.

4. To add regular Gnome Software and Firefox apps back in .deb style:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-suggests gnome-software

Now Gnome Software (snap free and with flatpak support) is installed. Next is Firefox, which Mozilla stills supports as a .deb file through their official PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t 'o=LP-PPA-mozillateam' firefox

With Firefox installed, to enable automatic updating:

echo 'Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins:: "LP-PPA-mozillateam:${distro_codename}";' | sudo tee /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/51unattended-upgrades-firefox

To prevent the possibility of apt update from bringing back in Firefox-snap, create the following file and add:

sudo nano /etc/apt/preferences.d/mozillateamppa

Package: firefox*
Pin: release o=LP-PPA-mozillateam
Pin-Priority: 501

Save this file and exit.

4. How to remove the Ubuntu Pro Beta Apt message in the Terminal. First, confirm if you have this file or not & if so simply remove it and done:

nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20apt-esm-hook.conf

sudo rm /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20apt-esm-hook.conf

5a. To get a true Vanilla Gnome setup on Ubuntu 22.04/22.10:

FYI: You may need to reboot or log out and log in in order to see all the changes take full effect.

To install ONLY the gnome-session to switch at the login screen (e.g. the cog wheel):

sudo apt install gnome-session

To install ALL default Gnome packages & apps, similar to what you might expect in a fresh Fedora install, the way Gnome devs intended:

sudo apt install vanilla-gnome-desktop

This next command lets you choose the GDM login theme. Enter it, select a number and hit enter to switch between the yaru and adwaita themes.

sudo update-alternatives --config gdm-theme.gresource

5b. Install Gnome fonts and default icons:

sudo apt install fonts-cantarell

sudo apt install adwaita-icon-theme-full

5c. Use Gnome Tweaks Tool to adjust the Font Settings for a default Gnome look:

Gnome Tweaks > Fonts and adjust:

Interface Text: Cantarell Regular 11(default Ubuntu Regular 11)
Document Text: Cantarell Regular 11 (default Sans Regular 11)
Monospace Text: Source Code Pro Regular 10 [or Monospace Regular] (default Ubuntu Mono Regular 13)
Legacy Window Titles: Cantarell Bold 11 (default Ubuntu Bold 11)
Hinting: Slight & Anti-aliasing: Subpixel (for LCD screen)
Scaling Factor: 1.00

5d. Use Gnome Tweaks Tool to adjust the Appearace settings for a default Gnome Look:

Gnome Tweaks > Appearance, and adjust:

Applications: Adwaita or Adwaita-dark
Cursor: Adwaita
Icons: Adwaita (or if you prefer papirus-icon-theme is amazing as well)
Shell: Default (after having logged out and selected GNOME from cog wheel at login screen)
Sound: Default

I hope I didn’t miss any Ubuntu-specific thing to remove, but hopefully that should cover it. If I missed one feel free to let me know.

9 Likes

Here’s my take on that task:

  1. Format drive
  2. Install Debian

honka_animated-128px-33

11 Likes

You son of a clown! :rofl:

1 Like

Here’s my take on that task:

  1. Format drive
    2. Install Debian
  2. Install :enos:
9 Likes

All that effort is one of the reasons I don’t use Ubuntu :sweat_smile: A very comprehensive guide though :+1:

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That goes without saying, but OP Implied buntu-like system without being buntu, so… :joy:

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So either Mint or Pop! OS

7 Likes

I tried it once, and a buddy of mine said, why try to make a distro something it’s not?

I would just install something debian based, or realistically, Fedora based.

3 Likes

Nice write up!
Thanks for the effort!

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I am sure you can get medication for your ball problems. Take 2 ubuntu DVDs with water after food :rofl:

My balls are perfectly fine, in fact they’re THE BEST!

honka_animated-128px-9

You appear to have lost one!!!

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image

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Here you go, found it in space! :enos:

honka_memes-128px-23

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Then wipe that drive and install pretty much any flavor of Arch. Soiling :poop: the forum talking about uBlunder YUK.

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TBH, that probably wasn’t necessary. However, I agree that this was a strange post to have on the forum of an arch based distro.

On the flip-side, this is an interesting way to look at it, and the guide is pretty damn comprehensive; nice work @Scotty_Trees

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@Scotty_Trees Why install Buntu at all, and not Fedora if you’re so keen on a Vanilla-Gnome43? Maybe the question seems oblivious to you, but I always fare nicely with Fedora and Arch. Turned my back on any of those data-hungry distros long ago.

Nice write-up, though! :+1:

2 Likes

Here’s my take on that.

1: Format drive
2: Install Eos Kde
3: Endeavour On! :enos:

Edit: All kidding aside. Nice writeup! :wink:

Way to go Scotty! :evergreen_tree: :evergreen_tree:

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frogwise-b

:brain:

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@voryzen I posted this in “Other distro news” so whether it’s VanillaOS, Crystal Linux or whichever, really any distro is fair game to discuss in this Lounge area. And while this forum is mainly Arch or Arch curious users, EndeavourOS is quite popular enough that it attracts various other users too to the forums, even if they don’t create an account, they will read some of the various topics and a bit of variety never hurts a discussion. This post would definitely serve better on something like /r/ubuntu but you never know where or when it may also help someone out in the future. Also thanks for the kind words!

@ivanhoe Fedora is a fantastic distro, it’s on the same level with me as EndeavourOS in all honesty. But between Gnome 43 across Fedora 37, Ubuntu 22.10, and now Arch Gnome 43, causes a color issue with my laptop that makes all the colors dull and faded. I’ve tracked it down best I could to a possible (not 100% though) mutter bug, but there’s no fix in sight at the moment. Ubuntu 22.04 still uses Gnome 42, which doesn’t have this unfortunate color issue. I’ve tried everything to fix it, but no luck yet. I wrote this guide for myself last month when I tested out Ubuntu 22.04 and just thought perhaps it may benefit someone someday.

@ricklinux need I say more than :broccoli:? Gotta have someone to always mention KDE after all! The world would be in utter chaos without you! :rofl:

@pebcak Now that I’m seeing green, I haven’t tried the latest openSUSE Gnome edition. Might have to give that a spin over the weekend, but if all other distros I’ve tested had the current color issue I have on Gnome 43, I doubt it’ll be any different. Still, could be worth a try even if it is a short lived experiment :lizard: :+1:

3 Likes