This is quite a preliminary look at classic (no effects) in Precise, you should expect changes almost daily in the first few weeks after the official release of Precise Pangolin, I will continue to add more info as it becomes available!
I also plan on adding some helpful hints, such as how to restore all defaults, how to speed up the process for repetitive conversions, etc. Just be a bit patient.
Important note: This guide is almost totally reliant on copy-n-pasting commands into gnome-terminal. Why? Quite simply not ALL of this can be completed using GUI tools like Ubuntu Tweak or 'gnome-tweak-tool', and installing 'gnome-tweak-tool' results in installing a great deal of unneeded packages including 'gnome-shell', and my only concern is getting a "classic w/o effects" DE running efficiently. Should someone care to use either Ubuntu Tweak or 'gnome-tweak-tool' I have no problem with that, I just prefer the CLI.
But copying and pasting commands that are "wrapped" in code tags couldn't be simpler as I explained here:
Also, if I didn't include "sudo" in the command then it's not needed, and in rare instances may result in changed permissions, so please just copy-n-paste! If something appears to fail please copy the full output from the terminal and paste it into a reply here along with an explanation and I'll try my best to help you.
For those who find it just too difficult to use the Unity desktop it's actually quite simple to get a classic look and feel in Ubuntu Precise. My focus has been on Classic (No effects) only, which uses Metacity, because I've never really cared for compiz anyway and from what I've seen it seems to be difficult to get it to run well in a classic DE. So, if you want compiz this particular post is NOT for you, sorry.
Here's a screenshot of my Precise classic DE:
You'll notice that I prefer only one panel at the bottom. I realize some may want two panels, or one at the top only, it's purely a matter of preference. Be patient and I'll do my best to explain things. Just FYI my panel layout (beginning from the left) consists of:
Hide button/Main Menu/Terminal/Workspace Switcher/Screenshot/Firefox/Window List/________/Indicator Applet/Clock/Trash/Hide button
And the Indicator Applet displays: /Update notifier/Caffeine/Network widget/Mail widget/Volume widget
And this is as good a time as any to pause and discuss changes to the menu(s) and panel(s). You'll notice that the menu(s) have changed, but I think you'll likely find what you want if you just spend a couple of minutes familiarizing yourself with the new menu layout, be sure to check the System Tools > Administration, Prefernces, and System Settings categories.
You also need to know that you must now hold down either Alt key while right-clicking on a panel or applet to be able to edit panel preferences or to add/edit/move/remove more applets. That was an intentional move by the Gnome devs to prevent people from unintentionally breaking things. And you also can't just add application applets by right-clicking them and selecting "add to panel" anymore. You must now open the "add-to-panel" window and select Application Launcher > Forward, then the window changes and you can click on the "bullet" to the left of each category to display and add any app in the menu to the panel:
But lets also look at my Panel Properties settings:
To be perfectly honest I now almost forget I'm even using Gnome 3 while running a classic (no effects) DE most of the time, but now it's time to move on to how I got there, one step at a time.
Note: This does exactly the same as installing 'gnome-session-fallback' but why not keep it simple.
sudo apt-get install gnome-panel
I highly recommend installing these so they'll be available for placement in the panel (only 'indicator-applet-complete' is available by default):
When that is complete it's time to take your first look at the new "classic" DE by simply logging out, then clicking on the Ubuntu emblem to the right of your user name on the login screen, selecting Classic (No effects), entering your password, and logging back in.
sudo apt-get install indicator-applet indicator-applet-session
Now, before continuing, please understand that all of these additional steps are optional. No two people want the exact same look, feel, or function out of a DE! This is just what I wanted. Pick and choose to suit your own desires.
Note: If you find the default terminal theme (white text on a purple background) as atrocious as I do just open the Terminal, click on Edit > Profile Preferences. Then click on the Colors tab and uncheck "Use colors from system theme", then select "Black on white" from the Built-in schemes.
I wanted to get the "Run Command Prompt" back by pressing Alt+F2 just as it was in Gnome 2. This can be quite useful if you should ever do something silly like remove both panels and need to launch the terminal or another application without being able to access the menu(s).
It really couldn't be much simpler, just go to System Tools > System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > System and highlight the line that says "Show the run command prompt". Then just follow the instructions at the bottom of that window.
I found the screen lock thing very annoying, I live alone and don't like having to enter my password everytime the screen-"blanker" acivates. So you can just go to System Tools > System Settings > Brightness & Lock and select Lock = Off. (I call it a screen-"blanker" mostly as a joke because it hardly resembles a screensaver anymore).
In Unity the update-notifications now show up in the Launcher but without the Launcher we now get no persistent update notifications. Still no worries, I got it to show up in either 'indicator-applet' or 'indicator-applet-complete' in gnome-panel by running the command:
You can revert that by running:
gsettings set com.ubuntu.update-notifier auto-launch false
gsettings set com.ubuntu.update-notifier auto-launch true
At this point I decided the window-management buttons really needed to be back on the right so I ran:
Note: to restore the defaults run:
gconftool-2 --set "/apps/metacity/general/button_layout" --type string ":minimize,maximize,close"
gconftool-2 --set "/apps/metacity/general/button_layout" --type string "close,minimize,maximize:"
Even after moving the window-management buttons back to the right I wanted to improve the button appearance so I did the following:
sudo apt-get install shiki-colors-metacity-theme
To restore the default theme just run:
gconftool-2 -s --type string /apps/metacity/general/theme Shiki-Colors-Metacity
gconftool-2 -s --type string /apps/metacity/general/theme Ambiance
I found the overlay-scrollbars to be inconsistent and annoying in the classic DE so I removed them, but that was totally a matter of preference, and this is one of those steps that really seems to somewhat break Unity! Should you want to remove them run:
Note: You'll likely have to reboot for that change to fully take effect.
sudo apt-get purge liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 overlay-scrollbar
I also dislike the missing menu and button icons so I run:
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface menus-have-icons true
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface buttons-have-icons true
This one is the hardest for me to explain. By default the Precise desktop is set to NOT display any icons, but it's possible for the desktop to display any combination of these icons/"actors":
But to do so you must first set the "stage" by running:
But that only sets the stage for the actors, now you must decide which actors you want on the stage. You're now the director.
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons true
After running that command either reboot or log out and log back in. When you get back to a blank DE background decide what you want displayed. (Hint, the "true" or "false" at the end of these commands is the key):
To show the Computer icon run:
To hide the Computer icon run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop computer-icon-visible true
To show the Home icon run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop computer-icon-visible false
To hide the Home icon run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop home-icon-visible true
To show the Network icon run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop home-icon-visible false
To hide the Network icon run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop network-icon-visible true
To show the Trash icon run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop network-icon-visible false
To hide the Trash icon run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop trash-icon-visible true
To show Mounted Volumes run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop trash-icon-visible false
To hide Mounted Volumes run:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop volumes-visible true
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop volumes-visible false
You may or may not find that you need to disable the Firefox and/or Thunderbird global menu add-ons. To do so in Firefox just go to Tools > Add-ons > Global Menu Bar integration and select Disable. You'll then be prompted to restart Firefox. I don't use Thunderbird so I can't be sure of the specific procedure with it, but I'd think it's similar.
Note: The remainder of these steps require the installation of packages from PPA's!
Even having set Lock to Off I found it annoying to have the screen-"blanker" activate while trying to watch videos or such. In Gnome 2 I used to be able to use 'gnome-inhibit-applet' but it's not available in Gnome 3. No worries, I found a very good replacement, Caffeine:
In my original screenshot the caffeine applet shows up in the indicator-applet. I find it to be a sweet replacement for the old 'gnome-inhibit-applet'. Once installed and set up it allows you to "inhibit" the screen-"blanking". I think a picture is worth a thousand words so here:
Should you choose to install it you can setup Caffeine by going to System Tools > Preferences > Caffeine preferences. Installation is easy:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:caffeine-developers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install caffeine
I decided not to provide any info about Hardware Sensors Indicator or System Monitor Indicator ATM because they involve using Oneiric packages, just be patient. I'll keep checking and I'll update things when possible.
I need to add a bit this time about expediting the conversion process for those who need to convert numerous computers, and maybe a bit about restoring all defaults.