So you’ve downloaded and are installing the latest Ubuntu release (11.10 at time of writing), with a manic grin on your face as it’s promising all sorts of exciting stuff during the installation…
Oh the excitement!
You log in and…..
WHAT!? WHAT. IS. THIS.
Note to Mark Shuttleworth – you may think Unity is the best thing since sliced bread, but I don’t want this anywhere NEAR my desktop system.
KILL IT. WITH FIRE!
My desktop is NOT a cellphone, or a tablet.
So here’s how to customize Ubuntu to something more sane.
1) Install Gnome-shell
The quickest way is to click on the Ubuntu-type button at the top left of that Unity bar thingy, and type “software” into the search bar. Then click on the Ubuntu Software Center icon, which, funnily enough, will bring up the Ubuntu Software Center…
In the Software Center’s search bar, type “gnome-shell”, and it’ll display the gnome-shell package for you.
Click on that entry, and on the right hand side click on the Install button. Enter your password when prompted.
The gnome-shell package will now install. After it has completed installation, Software Center will revert back to its front page. Close the utility down and log out…
2) Choose Alternate Login Session
When you’re back at the login screen, click on the gear icon next to your login name, now you have more choices for your login session; GNOME, GNOME Classic – with or without effects.
Let’s choose GNOME first…
Believe it or not, I kind of like the new Gnome Shell – it’s VASTLY better than Unity, on my desktop, and I’m kind of getting used to its new approach.
OK let’s see the other option…
And here’s the Gnome Classic option – a bit more like a traditional desktop environment.
3) Customize your Gnome Classic sessions…
Let’s customize the Classic desktop a bit. I want to end up with just one panel, at the bottom of my screen, with all the menus and notifications there too.
NOTE : Right-clicking on the panels does not work like it used to in Gnome 2.x . In Gnome 3.x , you also have to hold down the ALT button.
Move the Menu bar from the top panel to the bottom by placing your mouse cursor over it, holding ALT and your MIDDLE mouse button, and drag it down. Same goes for every other item on the top bar.
Finally, position your cursor over the top panel, hold down ALT and RIGHT mouse button, and click on Remove Panel.
Yay top panel is gone, but eek! What’s this hiding behind it? Oh noes it’s the dreaded Global Menu!
Luckilly there’s also a fix for that…
Bring up a terminal window and type;
sudo apt-get remove --purge appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt
Hit return, enter your password, and let the system do the rest.
After that , log out then back in again. No more menu at the top.
The panel color can be changed too by ALT+RIGHT button clicking to bring up its menu, then click on Panel Properties where you have a General and a Background tab.
Similarly, the Workspaces app on the panel can be modified to add more workspaces by ALT+RIGHT button clicking on it and setting the # of workspaces.
Here’s a screenshot of my customized Gnome Classic desktop.
Ubuntu also like to customize Firefox for you, which you can correct by disabling the two default extensions in the Mozilla add-ons Manager then restarting Firefox. Of course you can also install Chromium browser.
To enable the Run Command prompt in Gnome Classic, go to Applications–>System Tools–>System Settings–>Keyboard , then click on the Shortcuts tab, click on System, click on “Disabled” next to where it says “Show the run command prompt“, and enter your preferred keyboard shortcut – which in my case is ALT+F2. Log out and back in and press ALT+F2 and voila.
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweaks , then going to Applications–>Other–>Advanced Settings will enable you to easily change things like having the various useful “standard” icons on your desktop (like Home, Network, etc.) , change fonts, themes and lots more.
To return to classic scroll bars on programs and utilities like firefox, terminal, etc, simply use from a terminal the command sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0 , and again log out and back in again. I never liked the new scroll bars.
I’ll post updates to these tweaks as and when I find ‘em (and as and when you lot post suggestions! ;) )