Laptop setup notes

Tim Abell · August 20, 2019

Reading time: 2 minutes

This is mostly for my benefit.

Things to go from blank machine to fully functioning work laptop.

Like this (don’t laugh/cringe):

curl | sh

This installs my usual package list

  • Run updates
  • Turn on automatic updates in update manager preferences, and automatic obsolete kernal removal
  • Configure nemo file manager to always use list view
  • Run syncthing-gtk from system menu (auto-installs syncthing binary)
    • Configure syncthing not to route over internet (no relay, no public discovery, no NAT traversal)
  • Configure firewall-config to allow syncthing
    • Add manual service syncthing
    • Allow tcp 22000 and 21027 udp
    • Make home network use home zone
    • Add syncthing to home zone
    • Runtime to permanent

firewall config screenshot

  • Tell new and old devices about each other in syncthing, watch ~/Documents etc magically sync
  • Install slack with flatpak, (available via the software manager), sign in. - slack promote the snap version but that’s not installed by default.
  • Install dotfiles by running dotmatrix/bin/install (repo clone already pulled across with syncthing)
  • Generate ssh key ssh-keygen, add key to github
  • Symlink ~/bin to a sync’d folder
cd ~
ln -s ~/Documents/programs/bin

Screenshot of mint touchpad settings with customisations

  • Setup terminal colours and turn off transparency

Screenshot mint terminal colours set to solarized




Use a docker image

XPS firmware updates

fwupdmgr get-devices
fwupdmgr get-updates
fwupdmgr update



echo fs.inotify.max_user_watches=524288 | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf && sudo sysctl -p



NodeJs setup

asdf plugin-add nodejs
bash ~/.asdf/plugins/nodejs/bin/import-release-team-keyring
asdf install nodejs 8.16.1
node -v

Keyring because nodejs packages are signed and validated


asdf plugin add ruby
cd some-project
asdf install
gem install bundler

Auto lock

  • Configure BlueProximity to run at startup
  • Set the locking command to /usr/bin/gdbus call --session --dest org.cinnamon.ScreenSaver --object-path /org/cinnamon/ScreenSaver --method org.cinnamon.ScreenSaver.Lock 'AFK call me on xxx'
  • Set locking distance to 30 and duration to 10 seconds.
  • ref:

See also

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Suggest improvements: page source on github

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