Customising Ubuntu for Australian Conditions

Brought to you by the Australian Ubuntu Local Community Team.

Please contribute to the Australian localisation effort to ensure that Ubuntu remains an excellent choice for Australians.

Local Apt Mirrors

You can change your configuration so that you're downloading software from a local mirror. Downloading from a local mirror is good for the Internet and, depending on peering arrangements and your ISP, may be "free" and not count against your download quota.


Ubuntu should take care of this for you automatically if you've used the Language Support GUI tool to set the correct default language.

The file /etc/default/locale should contain only the following (remove or comment out anything else):



Spell Checking

Evolution uses aspell dictionaries. At the time of writing there is no aspell-en-au variant.

To set Evolution to do English (British) language spell checking:

  • Select the Edit -> Preferences menu item.

  • Click on Composer Preferences.

  • Select the Spell Checking tab.

  • Check English (British).

Australian Dictionaries

Enable the universe repository and install the myspell-en-au package (Ubuntu 6.06 LTS onwards).

Australian Thesaurus

Enable the universe repository and install the package (Ubuntu 6.06 LTS onwards).

Language Settings

If you selected Australia as your location at install time then should already be defaulted to English(Australia). If not change it via Tools -> Options then Language Settings -> Languages and change the Default languages for documents -> Western setting.


Spell Checking

Enable the universe repository and install the myspell-en-au package (Ubuntu 6.06 LTS onwards).

Then set Thunderbird to use this dictionary:

  • Select the Edit -> Preferences menu item.

  • Click on Composition.

  • Select the Spelling tab.

  • Select English/Australia as the language.

Network Time Synchronisation

The command-line way

First you should read about NTP Time Synchronisation in Ubuntu, install the appropriate packages, then modify your /etc/default/ntpdate and /etc/ntp.conf files to point to the Australian NTP server pool. For example:


# servers to check.   (Separate multiple servers with spaces.)
# additional options for ntpdate

By default, /etc/default/ntpdate contains NTPSERVERS="" - here we change it to query the Australian NTP server pool.


# maps to more than 100 low-stratum NTP servers.
#  *** Please consider joining the pool! ***
#  ***  <>  ***

Then you can run sudo invoke-rc.d ntpdate start and sudo invoke-rc.d ntp-server start.

For more information, also see the NTP Pool web site and the project's wikipedia entry.

The GNOME way

Right-click your clock in the GNOME menu bar and select "Adjust Date & Time". (Or from the menu bar you can go System -> Administration -> Time and Date.)

Put a tick in the "Periodically synchronise clock with Internet servers". If you do not have the appropriate packages installed, you will be prompted to install them now.

After these packages are installed, click the "Select Servers" button. By default the servers "" and "" are checked. You can uncheck these if you wish (there is no harm in doing so).

In the text box to the left of the "Add" button, enter and click "Add". Repeat for and They will not appear in the list while you click "Add", you will need to scroll down to see them. Give each of them a tick and then press "Close".

Untick "Periodically synchronise clock with Internet servers", then click the "Synchronise Now" button. Tick "Periodically synchronise clock with Internet servers" again, then click "OK".

LocalCustomisation/Australia (last edited 2009-08-14 04:43:38 by jpickett)