Sunday, 18 January 2009

Pimping Your Gnome Deskop

One of the best features about Ubuntu has got to be the ease at which you can grab whatever need when you need it. The debate goes on about free/open/proprietary license issues, but for the end user you are spoilt for choice, which moves me onto the look and feel of the Ubuntu desktop. At the end of the day you can make it whatever you want and I enjoy messing with mine regularly so to give you an idea of what is possible I will run you through some recent mods I have made thanks to the work of others.

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First off, if you use Ubuntu you probably know all about compiz and the sexy screen effects like the cube, animations and so on. For some tips on how to set up your compiz settings I recommend reading Forlong's Blog, I usually refer back to it each time I am setting up after a fresh install.

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Next, how about the 'dock' at the bottom of the screen? Very Mac! Well installing is simple, just click into System-Administration-Synaptic Package Manager. Once in there just type 'awn' into the search box. In the results that show up select the 'awn-manager' and install. I would recommend deleting the bottom panel (hover over with mouse, right-click, select delete panel). Then you need to add awn to your startup sessions. So just click into System-Preference-Sessions and then click 'Add' in the startup tab and fill in like I have in the image below. Now when you restart your computer so will awn. Either right-clicking the dock or clicking into System-Preferences-Awn Manager will help you set up the look and feel as you please.

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Next for the appearance in general I recommend starting at Gnome-look.org, from there you can find wallpapers, icon themes, entire themes and links to other more specific websites to do with the Ubuntu look. For instance in my case I am using the following to get the above look and feel:

(My window manager is compiz and emerald is my window decorator)

In Emerald Theme Manager I am using "ubuntu brown transparent emerald" by "rooti".

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In my appearance settings I have 'Human' selected in the 'controls' tab, while the colour scheme is pictured below (just use the color picker to select the colors).

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Each month I download the latest wallpaper/calendar by Royal Enfield (Click Here). While the very cool icon theme I use is Human-O2 available from here (complete with all the install instructions).

So as you can see it does not take long to get the desired look. In many cases I find I am spoilt for choice from the huge selection that are constantly being created/updates on the websites mentioned above. If you can imagine then someone can probably build it and in many cases already have!

Ubuntu...linux for human beings