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Thread: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

  1. #1
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    Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    I used to have both a color gradient AND a custom picture in my /home profile desktop background. Now Ubuntu tells me I have to have either one or the other.

    Alternatively, I've been googling how to recreate my old backgrounds using GIMP, and add them to the choices as wallpapers, but no luck. So I'd thought I'd ask here.

    RANT ALERT:

    C'mon guys. This is an unnecessary step backwards. (As is the lack of profile pictures on the login screen). The lack of facile customization in this version of Ubuntu (no matter whether you're using classic GNOME, new GNOME, or Unity) reminds of--dare I say--a "walled garden". Many of us switched to Linux because we got frustrated with the Microsoft merry-go-round (i.e., you fork over lots of moola every time a piece of hardware breaks) and Apple walled gardens.

    After years of getting people to switch to Ubuntu and helping those that did switch maintain their machines, I am more frustrated with this release than any other. This is especially true as a I have just recommended that small business order a machine with 11.10 installed (which I again will help maintain, free-of-charge).

    I used to mock Windows users and tell them "See this? You can't do this in Windows" (or Apple) but now that increasingly doesn't seem to be the case. Worse, not only has functionality been reduced, a lot of the changes that have been applied are "changes for the sake of change" that just confuse users to ask "where did that go?"--just like Microsoft did with its Office ribbon (which I can say is still less user-friendly than the old menus after several years of using it).

    StewartM

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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    I don't understand how you can have a background colour and picture at the same time. It doesn't make sense to me. Can you elaborate?

    Are you sure that you cannot have profile pictures? I'm using 11.04 with profile pictures at login, though I have not tried 11.10.

    Regarding your rant:

    Linux is not in competition with Windows (although Windows and Apple are in competition with each other, Linux, and all others).

    Bear in mind that Ubuntu is created not for the techie person who loves to fiddle and customise to the nth degree (try Arch if that's you), but for the "normal" user who wants to just plug in his computer and have it work. Those people (such as me) would prefer higher reliability; extensive customisation is nice-to-have but definitely not a deal-breaker.

    Having said that, I would be greatly surprised if you cannot achieve what you want, this being Linux.
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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Landau View Post
    I don't understand how you can have a background colour and picture at the same time. It doesn't make sense to me. Can you elaborate?
    I had both a picture with a color gradient scheme in the background (the picture being centered and not filling the entire screen) in all versions of Ubuntu I've used. Since Feisty Fawn 7.04, I believe. It used to be just selecting a picture or photo, and selecting the color gradient, in the GUI, using the buttons. It was a trivial thing to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Landau View Post
    Are you sure that you cannot have profile pictures? I'm using 11.04 with profile pictures at login, though I have not tried 11.10.
    You can have profile pictures in 11.10, but they do not show at the login screen (at least I don't see any way they show up, and googling turns up little). They've been included in the past several releases, since 2009 I believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Landau View Post
    Regarding your rant:

    Linux is not in competition with Windows (although Windows and Apple are in competition with each other, Linux, and all others).

    Bear in mind that Ubuntu is created not for the techie person who loves to fiddle and customise to the nth degree (try Arch if that's you), but for the "normal" user who wants to just plug in his computer and have it work. Those people (such as me) would prefer higher reliability; extensive customisation is nice-to-have but definitely not a deal-breaker.

    Having said that, I would be greatly surprised if you cannot achieve what you want, this being Linux.
    I do not consider myself a "power user" at all! Yes, I've compiled one non-repository program from scratch, and am modestly competent at solving the problems I have encountered with Ubuntu the past 4 years. These have included rescuing my system from a stalled version upgrade and an failed upgrade with initramfs which made my system temporarily unrunnable. I've also helped others resolve their problems.

    But am I ready to build a whole Linux system from scratch and compile the kernel and everything else, such as with Arch or Gentoo or some other "power" distros? No. I'm not sure I'm even ready for Debian.

    Nor do I want to spend hours and hours tinkering with my system. I want it to "just work", out of the box. That's it. I had already customized it to my preferences and taste and I believe that a proper upgrade should leave all that intact. I have no problems with offering users different options (Unity, for instance, I don't particularly care for but I'm not against Unity as an option, even as the default option, as long as the other options are maintained).

    Here I realize the offender was GNOME, not Ubuntu per se, and that all other distros that utilize GNOME 3 are going to have the same problems. I'm not against GNOME going to the new GNOME shell extension. However, the "classic GNOME" option should have retained all the same features and menus and options. While the programs themselves could have been updated, that was understandable and good, there was no reason at all the change the menus, the shortcuts, the panels, and to remove useful applets. *None at all*. The functionality was all there, coded in GNOME 2, and I fail to see why not directly porting it into a GNOME 3 "classic desktop" option would have presented any problem.

    But instead, now I'm having to "spend hours tinkering" just to get something like a facisimile of what I had. That has always been the slam against Linux, that it's just an OS for hobbyists who have nothing better to do with their computers than to tinker with them. But when developers can't leave well enough alone and do things like make unnecessary changes to things that already worked perfectly fine, that's what you force your user base to do. *Tinker*, just to get what they had back.

    And yes, there's probably workarounds. Already I see some individuals are creating their own ppa's for others to get parts of the GNOME 2 desktop back. But going that route means that you fork off the main repositories, which means that you run the risk of making your system unstable or break other things.

    In short--Linux *is* in competition with other OS's (if Linux has a small user base, then there will be little pressing need to provide the resources necessary to improve it). And I applaud heartily a desire to create a flavor of Linux that "just works", to appeal to a broader user base. That's not what is happening here; that's not my complaint. It's the opposite: making changes for the sake of change and breaking things that previously worked fine. That's exactly what Microsoft and Apple do--make changes for the sake of change, as a marketing ploy ("New!" "Improved!")--changes that often add little if any functionality and sometimes reduce functionality and confuse users.

    I had thought that Ubuntu Linux with GNOME was better than that, because with most previous upgrades it seemed that things overall got better. But not with 11.10.

    -StewartM

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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    Thanks for the answers. I understand now what you mean by the gradient background. As I still use 11.04, sorry, I cannot give you any advice.

    Regarding your concerns about some of the functionality being lost, I guess that's just something we'll have to live with -- you get what you pay for! I imagine that the developers had plenty on their plate and had to sacrifice some functionality to get the rest of the work done. After all, the work is done almost entirely by volunteers in their spare time.
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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Landau View Post
    Regarding your concerns about some of the functionality being lost, I guess that's just something we'll have to live with -- you get what you pay for! I imagine that the developers had plenty on their plate and had to sacrifice some functionality to get the rest of the work done. After all, the work is done almost entirely by volunteers in their spare time.
    I understand that the developers have a lot on their plate. And I appreciate that many are volunteering their time for a noble purpose.

    However, in many instances like this one the code was already there and written--it was in GNOME 2!!--and I can't for the life of me see why the same code could not have been ported into classic GNOME 3. In fact it had to take the developers *extra* work to do things like to eliminate/redo the System Menu (most of the menu items are still there, but now tucked away in other places and other menus) or to redo the shortcuts.

    The low-labor option (to me) would seem to leave classic GNOME 3 as much like GNOME 2 as possible and change as little of the desktop as possible.

    GNOME 3 seems to be GNOME's equivalent of KDE 4 in the reception it's getting. Though it doesn't seem that the GNOME developers are taking the clue. The criticism of many is that GNOME (and Ubuntu's Unity) are taken back by Apple's IPhone/IPad interface, and want to imitate it, seeming to forget to forget that these interfaces are designed for limited screen-space (not the case with PCs) and that it's really rather hard to get much useful done with them compared to a real desktop environment.

    StewartM

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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    Yes, but they also see the Tablet computer as the future of the computer, and want an OS that runs on EVERYTHING. Be it desktop, tablet, netbook... maybe even a smart phone.
    Not that I agree with the fact that we lost the ability to customize.
    Instead of a straight-forward menu with everything listed nicely we now have the dash (and whatever the gnome shell dash is called) where you have to search for a program. I used to be able to click, and go to it, and now I have to search for it, or click more than once. It is now more complicated to find a program. But Unity is cool in its apple-like coolness. Maybe they will make Upods?

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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    Quote Originally Posted by TREESofRIGHTEOUSNESS View Post
    Yes, but they also see the Tablet computer as the future of the computer, and want an OS that runs on EVERYTHING. Be it desktop, tablet, netbook... maybe even a smart phone.
    But that does not make sense!

    A Pad or SmartPhone has the interface it does because it has a limited screen. If you tried to take a traditional desktop interface and shrink it down to that screen, you'd end up with itsy-bitsy eeny-weeny little icons and menus you couldn't read. So they went the route with large icons and having to take scroll through extra steps to access things because you wouldn't be able to do it otherwise.

    None of that applies to desktops, or even laptops. You have gobs of screen space, even a 15.6" laptop screen has plenty, let alone the small football fields available for desktops. So why would you want to stick people with huge friggin' icons and extra navigation steps just because it's the "wave of the future"?

    Another thing--SmartPhones and Pads are toys compared to real desktops and laptops. You care to type a term paper or a scientific report on a pad, let alone a SmartPhone? They're for kid stuff (not to demean kids)--browsing the web, playing music, basic stuff. There are lots of things which are impractical on both. No way they're replacing the real thing.

    As for loss of functionality issue--I agree, with enough chimpanzees and enough typewriters you....you get the idea. This instance is just one example of many. It was once trivially easy to have both a centered picture and a color gradient for a desktop background. There probably is a solution (though no one's suggested one yet). But now doing the same is not trivial.

    All this to have large icons, to enforce extra navigation steps, just to look supposedly "cool"? Me, I thought my desktop backgrounds of pictures with color gradients looked cool. I think that customized panels and workspaces look cool. I think that any of these thing look cooler than big icons and navigational scrolling that you find on an IPad.

    StewartM

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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    Quote Originally Posted by StewartM View Post
    In fact it had to take the developers *extra* work to do things like to eliminate/redo the System Menu
    Not necessarily. When an application's code is redone, it can take extra work to keep things in.

    However, you don't like the current set-up in Ubuntu, so I suggest you may want to try an alternative such as LXDE (e.g. Lubuntu) or XFCE (e.g. Xubuntu). There are plenty of non-Ubuntu distros available, too.

    Or, you could try Mac, or even Windows 8 when it comes out...
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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    You can use the center option in appearance preferences to place an image in colored background as always unless you are referring to something else .
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    Re: Desktop background in 11.10 with both a picture AND a color gradient??

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Landau View Post
    Not necessarily. When an application's code is redone, it can take extra work to keep things in.
    My coding experience is paleolithic, but my experience is that if one is using the same coding language (I think GNOME is largely written in C), that would be true only if one is starting from a entirely new foundation. The reason people write libraries is so others can link into them.

    Heck, the some of the things we're talking about users could do. I could go and re-create most of the System Menu that was taken away and its elements scattered here and yonder, without any coding skills whatsoever. It would be a pain, but I couild do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Landau View Post
    However, you don't like the current set-up in Ubuntu, so I suggest you may want to try an alternative such as LXDE (e.g. Lubuntu) or XFCE (e.g. Xubuntu). There are plenty of non-Ubuntu distros available, too.

    Or, you could try Mac, or even Windows 8 when it comes out...
    The reason I moved away from Windows and why Macs never appealed are manyfold.

    There's the security and privacy risks that these closed-source OSes present their users (at my job, Windows is defintely used to spy on the employees) as well as the loss of freedom and choice. I believe in the free software movement both as a practical necessity and something good for humanity. OSes and software which controls, monitors, and tracks their users may be excusable (or may not) in a business and some government environments but are not excusable in the general population. Yet that's what people have been accustomed to by default.

    The fact that much open source software is superior to the closed-source alternatives is additional gravy. I have been using Ubuntu since 7.04, and I have watched it (with a few hiccups) improve with each release.

    I think we had many great features already. What Ubuntu, Linux, and GNOME needs, IMHO, is to focus stability and hardware support rather than eye candy and change for its own sake. We users can help by submitting bug reports (from an Ubuntu beta tester I know).

    Let me give you an example. Back in 2010, with the release of Lucid, a good many people were hit by a flaw in the 2.6.32 kernel (methinks) that affected graphics chips. People who had been using Ubuntu for years on their machines did the upgrade and found out their machines froze and locked up. The lockups occured with some users after a period of days, sometimes in a few hours, and with some (like a friend) as soon as he logged in. Long-time users were frustrated, for as a general rule Linux may take longer to support hardware than most other OSes (because open source drivers have to be written) but once that support is done, it stays. This was a notable exception.

    What became of this? I don't know all the results. People who had laptops with motherboard chips and no ability to add cards had to either roll back to 9.10, or switch to another OS (the reason I think it was in the 32-kernel was the same complaint surfaced in Mint and other distros). My friend solved his problem with his desktop by purchasing a low-end graphics card to bypass the motherboard. Some found temporary workarounds. Over time, new kernel releases (probably) fixed most problems. But by the size of the threads here it affected a significant number of users.

    The reason I mention this was insofar as Shuttleworth and Team Ubuntu was concerned, there was nary a peep about the problem that seemed to affect a significant part of their user base. They were talking about adding new features and all the wonderful things they were going to add to enhance the user experience. But no new feature in the eye of the user is worth a machine that won't run. I really believe that part of these problems is that Ubuntu/GNOME is too ambitious in its release cycle, too intent on providing eye candy and new gizmos that really don't contribute much to the user experience or functionality. I sometimes believe that a yearly release cycle would be perhaps better, and/or that long-term releases should contain *no new Ubuntu-specific features*, focusing instead on bugfixes and improved hardware support. A LTS version ideally would be as stable as one could make a Debian Sid offshoot and would be an ideal candidate to recommend to new users. Others have made such suggestions too.

    But Ubuntu has done a lot for Linux and the open source community. I don't want to see it run into problems. I want to see it succeed. I want to experiment first with alternative desktop environments than GNOME and Unity. (Razor-QT was proclaimed in this very thread). I also right now am working at getting gnome-classic to look better, and am trying my hand in GIMP to see if I can create my own wallpapers.

    StewartM

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