Thursday, 28 July 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 Quicklists

Ubuntu's new Unity interface has been a cause of some debate, but overall the majority seem to be growing to love it, especially as more ways of tweaking it become more easily accessible. Most application indicators have been removed in favour of cleaning up the top panel, with the respective applications grouped under their specific groups. This idea has generally worked, though obvious examples such as the Skype indicator stand out as items that still need work. The coming 11.10 release will see further refinements with items like the 'MeMenu' being redesigned and moved, but for now lets have a look at one method of making the Unity 'not-a-dock' a little more useful.

 Which one of these things do not belong?

One quick tweak to make life a bit easier is using Quicklists to make common application tasks that bit easier to access, currently I am using a quicklist on my Home Folder

Home Folder Quicklist

To create your own quicklist just like this, then just follow these few quick steps;
  • We begin by copying the Home Folder launcher file to the home directory, do this by opening a Terminal then copy and paste the following:
cp /usr/share/applications/nautilus-home.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
  • Now we have to open the text file for editing with:
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/nautilus-home.desktop
  • Look for the following line:
OnlyShowIn=GNOME; 
  • Then change it to the following:
OnlyShowIn=GNOME;Unity;
  • Then below the last line of text copy and paste the following:
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=Documents;Downloads;Pictures;Music;Videos
[Documents Shortcut Group]
Name=Documents
Exec=nautilus Documents
TargetEnvironment=Unity
[Downloads Shortcut Group]
Name=Downloads
Exec=nautilus Downloads
TargetEnvironment=Unity
[Pictures Shortcut Group]
Name=Pictures
Exec=nautilus Pictures
TargetEnvironment=Unity
[Music Shortcut Group]
Name=Music
Exec=nautilus Music
TargetEnvironment=Unity
[Videos Shortcut Group]
Name=Videos
Exec=nautilus Videos
TargetEnvironment=Unity

  • Now save the file before closing, log out and log back in. Right-clicking the Home Folder launcher will now give you your new quicklist


It should go something like this

If this impress's you then you are in for a treat as there is no end to what you can create quicklists for, to give yourself an idea have a look at the ever increasing list of examples on the Ask Ubuntu thread 'List of custom Launchers & Quicklists for Unity'. There is a good chance you will find one there for your favourite application and makes your Ubuntu experience that little bit more efficient.

And for those wondering, the next bleeding edge release of Ubuntu, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, is due for release on the 24th October. Since it is the release before the 12.04 Long Term Release this will be the last chance for any big changes to land, and so far we are looking at the removal of Evolution in favour of Thunderbird, the MeMenu refinements mentioned above, no more 'classic' desktop and a raft of other refinement. But all this is subject to change of course ;-)

Peace