Personal Development Environment Notes
This page was updated on 27/12/2021.
For reference, I’m currently using an Intel NUC10i7FNH with 32 GB of RAM which, for web development and the other sorts of nerdery I do, works for me just fine.
Setting up an Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 install
- When installing Ubuntu on a machine that uses Secure Boot, do not skip the key enrolment step on the initial reboot. I have accidentally pressed Continue without completing this step far too many times.
- When logging in for the first time and after going through the welcome screen bumf, run the Software Updater.
- Go through Settings to see if anything needs attention.
- Most of my environment setup is handled by my Ansible gubbins, but there’s still a few steps that need doing manually afterwards:
- Fix a bug in the Dash to Dock Gnome Shell extension that causes icons to take ages to update when you start with an empty dock by manually applying a fix available on GitHub (to ).
- In Firefox: install the 1Password extension, change the default search engine to DuckDuckGo, and hide all the junk from the new tab screen. I also sign in to my Firefox account to get my bookmarks and whatnot.
- To handle Terraform secrets, find and copy over any existing GnuPG bits-and-pieces (as far as I can tell, all you need is pubring.gpg, secring.gpg, and trustdb.gpg).
- Set the terminal font to Iosevka (which should be already installed by the provisioning Ansible playbook).
- Install JetBrains Toolbox and use it to install PhpStorm (see also: my PhpStorm notes).
- Install Steam.
- Connect to any network drives.
- Set up Livepatch, Syncthing, and Obsidian.
- Set up Windows 10 VMs in VirtualBox for cross-browser testing, and the occasional piss-about in Creative Cloud and Visual Studio. (See Setting up Windows 10 in VirtualBox for more information.)
Setting up Windows 10 in VirtualBox
I mainly use Windows 10 VMs for cross-browser testing, and occasional Creative Cloud and Visual Studio usage, so I don’t spend too much time with customisation and maintenance.
- When installing Windows 10 from scratch, I’ve found allocating 50 GB of storage (in a dynamically-allocated virtual hard disk), 8 GB of memory, and four processors to be enough for my use cases.
- Enable 3D acceleration with the maximum amount of available video memory allocated. However, this causes some hardcore funkiness. Turning transparency effects off in Windows helps a little, but things like Photoshop are still a little funky.
- Once the initial installation is complete and updates are installed:
- Install the VirtualBox Guest Additions.
- Set the screen resolution ( → ) to 1600×900, or the largest resolution that’ll fit on-screen.
- Install Creative Cloud. (As my little Intel NUC doesn’t have that much video memory to spare, I’m limited to what I can do. Fortunately, I have Creative Cloud available on another machine to fall back on.)
- Update the hosts file (access websites and other network services on the host. ) to
I only use Visual Studio for working on FlippyWindow; Microsoft provide evaluation development environment virtual machines that are perfect for the small amounts of Visual-Studio-ing that I do. (Microsoft also provide virtual machines for testing websites in Internet Explorer 11 and Edge Legacy.)