Digital Cameras

Most USB digital cameras will be automatically detected by Ubuntu. Simply plug in and switch on your USB digital camera, Ubuntu will then ask you if you would like to import the photos from your camera. Click on Import, Ubuntu will then show you a preview of your photos. Choose a location to save your photos to, then click on Import, Ubuntu will then save your photos to your hard drive.

If you do not get the auto-import popup with your camera, it might be worth starting gThumb and trying File->Import Photos.... See the section called “gThumb Image Viewer” for more on gThumb.

3D Graphic Cards

Introduction to 3D Video Acceleration

Most video hardware should work automatically with Ubuntu. However with some types of video hardware, 3D acceleration (which is needed by some games) will not be supported automatically. This section details how to get this working with some popular video hardware.

The first step is to find out whether 3D acceleration is working.

  1. To do this, enter in a terminal:

    glxinfo | grep rendering
  2. If 3D acceleration is working, the following will be displayed:

    direct rendering: Yes
  3. If not, follow the instructions in the following sections to activate 3D acceleration.

3D Nvidia Video Card Driver

No Nvidia Video cards have 3D acceleration enabled automatically with Ubuntu, because the manufacturer does not release open source drivers. However, it is possible to activate 3D acceleration. The process depends on which type of video card you have.

  1. If you have an older TNT, TNT2, TNT Ultra, GeForce1 or GeForce2 card, install the nvidia-glx-legacy and nvidia-settings packages from the Restricted repository (see Chapter 2, Adding, Removing and Updating Applications).

  2. Alternatively, if you have a newer card, install the nvidia-glx package from the Restricted repository (see Chapter 2, Adding, Removing and Updating Applications).

  3. To enable the new driver, run the following command in a terminal:

    sudo nvidia-glx-config enable 

  4. You may adjust the settings of the new drivers by running the application nvidia-settings (see the section called “Start a Program Manually”). If you wish, add a menu entry for this program (see the section called “Menu Editing”).

3D ATI Video Card Driver

Many ATI video cards work well with Ubuntu automatically. To check that 3d acceleration works with your card, see the section called “Introduction to 3D Video Acceleration”. If it does not work, this procedure should activate it.

  1. Install the xorg-driver-fglrx package from the Restricted repository (see Chapter 2, Adding, Removing and Updating Applications).

  2. You now need to configure the computer to use the new driver so run this command in a terminal:

    sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
  3. When the dialogue appears and asks whether to do automatic detection of your video, pick Yes.

  4. When asked to select a driver, pick fglrx.

  5. Follow the remaining instructions as appropriate.

  6. Restart your machine for changes to take effect.

Keyboard Layouts

This section deals with adding keyboard layouts to your system, and switching between them easily.

Add a Layout

To add a keyboard layout to your system:

  1. Go to System->Preferences->Keyboard

  2. Choose Layouts

  3. Press Add... to add further keyboard layouts. It is simpler to have two layouts; the maximum is currently four.

  4. Close the dialogue.

Switch Keyboard Layouts

To switch between keyboard layouts, you can set a key combination:

  1. Go to System->Preferences->Keyboard

  2. To configure your layouts, choose Layout Options

  3. Expand the Group Shift/Lock behaviour option

  4. Choose the key combination that enables you to switch between keyboard layouts. The default is by pressing both Alt keys at the same time. A common alternative is to use Alt-Shift.

  5. Close the dialogue

  6. You can now use your key combination to switch between keyboard layouts.

Keyboard Indicator

Alternatively add the Keyboard Indicator applet to your panel:

  1. Right-click on an empty space on the panel where you want to add the applet

  2. Click Add to Panel...

  3. Choose Keyboard Indicator from the Utilities section

  4. You can now right-click on the Keyboard Indicator to manage your keyboard layouts.

Wireless Cards

Many wireless cards are automatically detected by Ubuntu during installation. A complete listing of wireless cards which work with Ubuntu can be found on Ubuntu Wiki. Please add your wireless card to the list if it works with Ubuntu.

Some cards may not work automatically with Ubuntu. If this is the case, please look at the Wireless Troubleshooting Guide on the Ubuntu Wiki which is an excellent resource for troubleshooting wireless cards.

All information regarding wireless networking on Ubuntu is collected at Wireless Networking Central on the Ubuntu Wiki.



Most winmodems are not supported by Ubuntu, but drivers can be found that will enable the use of such modems. First you need to identify what chipset your winmodem is using:

wget -c http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/packages/scanModem.gz 
gunzip -c scanModem.gz > scanModem 
chmod +x scanModem
sudo ./scanModem 
gedit Modem/ModemData.txt

Read this file, it should list what modem chipset you have. Once you are aware of the chipset you have, see http://www.linmodems.org/ and follow the directions for your modem. More infomation can be found at SettingUpModems on the Ubuntu Wiki.

ADSL Modems

All PPPOE and router-style ADSL modems are supported by Ubuntu (that use ethernet for the connections), and some USB ADSL modems are supported too. For router-style ADSL modems, just connect it up, configure the modem as per your ISPs instructions and configure networking in Ubuntu. For information on PPPOE modems see this guide on the Ubuntu wiki.


Some printers will be automatically detected by Ubuntu; for those that are not, choose System->Administration->Printing then choose Printer->Add Printer and run the Printer Install Wizard.

There are some printers that need further setup. Search the databases at LinuxPrinting.org or check the Ubuntu Wiki's Printer page for possible information on your printer.

Other Tips

Check disk space usage and view the partition table

  1. Launch System->Administration->Disks

  2. Select the Harddrive, then the Partitions tab

  3. Each partition will be listed under Partition List, with disk space and mount point.

List devices

  1. To list mounted devices, run the following command in a terminal:


    The listing shows the device (such as a hard disk partition), the mount point (where you access the files), the filesystem type and the mount options.

    This example shows the hda2 hard disk partition mounted as '/', with the filesystem type ext3. The partition is mounted with two options, one to allow the device to be read from and wrote to and the other to remount the device as read only in the event of any errors.

                      /dev/hda2 on / type ext3 (rw,errors=remount-ro)
  2. To list PCI devices:

  3. To list USB devices:


Mount/unmount CD/DVD-ROMs manually, and show all hidden and associated files/folders

  1. Assuming that /media/cdrom0/ is the location of CD/DVD-ROM

  2. To mount CD/DVD-ROM:

    sudo mount /media/cdrom0/ -o unhide

  3. To unmount CD/DVD-ROM:

    sudo umount /media/cdrom0/