I have been using Ubuntu and open source software for some time and have discovered some few tricks to optimizing an Ubuntu system for speed and efficiency that i want to share with others. This list is aimed at Ubuntu newbies like me who are now starting life with ubuntu.
1) Disable unessential services.
Services like Bluetooth may be running even if you don't have the hardware installed.Go to Services window from the System>Administration menu. Be careful not to disable services you may rely on.
2)Monitor the CPU usage
Kill processes that are not essential but using up lots of resources. Go to System> Administration> System Monitor.
3)Trim the menu.
Lots of installed applications may make the Menu a bit "fat". Trim it by right-clicking the Menu and deselecting Applications that you don't use.
4)Add more work spaces.
If you use lots of applications and have your desktop cluttered, you may consider adding more work spaces to your desktop. Just right-click on the workspace area to see the Preferences window.
5)Move windows to work spaces.
You can press and hold Ctrl+ALT+cursor left or right key to switch to a new work space.If you hold down the Shift key, the active window will move to the new work space too.
6)Choose to remember running sessions when shutting down.
You can choose to let your system remember your last working session when you shut down to quickly launch into your working environment next time you power up. Just switch to Sessions Option and select "Automatically Remember."
7)Add frequently used applications to the panel.
Add applications that you frequently use to the top panel for easy access.Just click the Menu and highlight which category you want then just drag the application you want to the panel.
If you the only one that uses the PC, then you can choose to login automatically when the system starts instead of having to enter your user name and password anytime you power your PC. Just go to System-Administration-Login window and tick auto login.
These are my few tips for now. I will share more with my newbies brethren as i discover them.