Ubuntu 19.10 customization routine

To make it clean and efficient

Ubuntu 19.10
  1. Nvidia drivers
  2. Screen tearing
  3. Look and Feel
  4. Shell customization
  5. Additional programs

1. Nvidia drivers

Good news: Ubuntu 19.10 ‘Eoan Ermine’ brings Nvidia GPU drivers support by default. The drivers are installed when enabling the “Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware and additional media formats” option during the Ubuntu installation process.

Once installed, you can manually switch between the graphic card and Intel processor thought the Nvidia Settings panel, or through a simple command line:

> sudo prime select nvidia|intel

Reboot or logout (this behavior differs for certain Ubuntu versions) for the change to take effect. To check which one is in use, use the command line or look to the Details screen:

> prime-select query
The “Graphics” information shows the current option

2. Screen tearing

Now the bad news: if screen tearing have been suppressed using the Intel graphic card, it remains if you activate the Nvidia GPU.

These 2 workarounds will help improve the situation.


Add a line on the following system configuration file :

> sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/zz-nvidia-modeset.conf

Add : options nvidia_drm modeset=1 then apply the modeset by updating your initramfs image, then reboot:

> sudo update-initramfs -u

You can check if the change took effect after restarting: if the output of the following command is “ Y “ that means modeset is active for Nvidia driver.

> sudo cat /sys/module/nvidia_drm/parameters/modeset


To suppress screen tearing on Firefox, try enabling acceleration. Open Firefox, enter about:config in the URL bar and switch layer.acceleration.force-enable to “true”.

Firefox acceleration enabling

3. Look and Feel

Default theming in Ubuntu is nearly perfect. Yaru GTK theme represents a huge improvement for the distro. The only drawback I find is the icons being too vivid, I switch to the fantastic Newaita icon theme.

Newaita icon theme

I also use Paper for the cursor theme:

Paper cursor theme

4. Shell customization

Zsh and plugins

Install Zsh (Z Shell) a powerful shell that operates as both an interactive shell and as a scripting language interpreter. Check the shell currently in use:

> echo $SHELL

Install the zsh package and additions:

> sudo apt install zsh

Test it by running zsh in your terminal. If you were using bash, you’ll switch to the zsh prompt. The prompt model will be different, since you’re using a different config file, not your classic .bashrc.

Now, let’s install a powerful additional program: Oh My Zsh

A delightful community-driven (with 1,300+ contributors) framework for managing your zsh configuration. Includes 200+ optional plugins, over 140 themes to spice up your morning, and an auto-update tool so that makes it easy to keep up with the latest updates from the community.

This framework will easily make Zsh friendlier by improving its usability, through plugins and themes. Before installing make sure that zsh, wget and git are installed.

> sh -c "$(wget https://raw.github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/master/tools/install.sh -O -)"

I recommend installing 2 additional plugins that we’ll activate later through OMZ configuration file :


> git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-syntax-highlighting


> git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-autosuggestions

Finally, configure Zsh by modifying the ~./zshrc config file:

  • Plugins (list of plugins): OMZ comes with a large list of plugins waiting to be activated by entering their names in the plugins section, as follow. In this section, add the name of the 2 additional plugins we installed manually, in bold:

  • Theming (list of themes): enter the name of your favorite theme in the ZSH_THEME section:

Copy your aliases from the .bashrc file into .zshrc, as well as other commands you may have created.

Shell margins

In like my shell with margins. To do so, modify the file as follow:

> nano ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.cssVteTerminal, vte-terminal {
padding: 10px;

5. Dock

If not already install, get dconf to edit your desktop settings and browse to org/gnome/shell/extensions/ to tweak your extensions. You’ll find there plenty of options for the Ubuntu dock.

dconf editor

6. Programs!

  • Grsync: backup your files!
  • Asunder / EasyTags: music management
  • Peek: desktop GIF recording
  • Gnome Tweaks: to customize Gnome
  • Etcher: burn ISO to USB and test distros!
  • Tor Browser: because.



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OS explorer, UI & UX passionate, Voxels crafter, code lover, Video Games player, Podcasts listener, Music amateur // Digital Publishing professional