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Thread: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    I'm marking this as solved, although I don't think I have found peace yet. The path, for me at any rate, seems to be mostly in getting used to things and finding the tricks and tips... teher's a good number of links and ideas in this thread for getting started with it. Many thanks to all!


    Hello,

    i've installed 11.10 recently and the performance are ok enough compared to 10.04 on my machine that I'll stick with it. However, the desktop is starting to drive me mad and I can't quite get used to a few weird things after a few days. I don't mean to rant (too much) but it feels like I should have intuitions about how Windows may work those days and that really is not helpful.

    I don't want to revert to something that will grow unsupported and I would really like to get the hang of how to live with this. I haven't been able to find straightforward ways of configuring the behavior and it's obvious I must be missing something. Any tutorial / documentation I find seems to lead to installing further things which all promise more struggles (Compiz?) and I haven't been able to find the right place for configuring the thing.

    For the sake of illustration, and also on chances of fishing for kind nudges in the right way, here are some of the basic little things I'm struggling with:

    - I can't really make my way through the Dash home. I'm not sure why it closes when I do, for example, Dash home --> More Apps --> Customization --> Appearance
    - it's a struggle to resize windows
    - it's a struggle to switch windows or instances of the same app (e.g. when I have 2 Firefox windows open, I struggle to get to the right one.
    - I can't find a way of opening more than one instance of an app (e.g. FireFox or terminal) across desktop spaces other than opening another window and dragging it to another space. But then, it's a struggle to switch between instances
    - the left hand side MacOS like bar comes up when I don't want to --- e.g. when trying to hit the return arrow in Firefox --- or it doesn't come up, ot it doesn't react (e.g. it won't go to a running instance if i click on the icon)
    - i can't find a way of force quitting an application --- e.g. skype
    - is the absence of panel in the upper bar by design or have I missed a configuration option?

    thanks for any suggestion that does not involve reinstalling a desktop app

    best
    f
    Last edited by frogo; February 7th, 2012 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Closing the thread

  2. #2
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    Quote Originally Posted by frogo View Post
    Hello,

    i've installed 11.10 recently and the performance are ok enough compared to 10.04 on my machine that I'll stick with it. However, the desktop is starting to drive me mad and I can't quite get used to a few weird things after a few days. I don't mean to rant (too much) but it feels like I should have intuitions about how Windows may work those days and that really is not helpful.

    I don't want to revert to something that will grow unsupported and I would really like to get the hang of how to live with this. I haven't been able to find straightforward ways of configuring the behavior and it's obvious I must be missing something. Any tutorial / documentation I find seems to lead to installing further things which all promise more struggles (Compiz?) and I haven't been able to find the right place for configuring the thing.

    For the sake of illustration, and also on chances of fishing for kind nudges in the right way, here are some of the basic little things I'm struggling with:

    - I can't really make my way through the Dash home. I'm not sure why it closes when I do, for example, Dash home --> More Apps --> Customization --> Appearance
    - it's a struggle to resize windows
    - it's a struggle to switch windows or instances of the same app (e.g. when I have 2 Firefox windows open, I struggle to get to the right one.
    - I can't find a way of opening more than one instance of an app (e.g. FireFox or terminal) across desktop spaces other than opening another window and dragging it to another space. But then, it's a struggle to switch between instances
    - the left hand side MacOS like bar comes up when I don't want to --- e.g. when trying to hit the return arrow in Firefox --- or it doesn't come up, ot it doesn't react (e.g. it won't go to a running instance if i click on the icon)
    - i can't find a way of force quitting an application --- e.g. skype
    - is the absence of panel in the upper bar by design or have I missed a configuration option?

    thanks for any suggestion that does not involve reinstalling a desktop app

    best
    f
    Have a look at the links in my Sig. Try to pose one problem at once.

  3. #3
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    - I can't really make my way through the Dash home. I'm not sure why it closes when I do, for example, Dash home --> More Apps --> Customization --> Appearance
    If I do that, the Dash closes and the Appearance app starts. Is the behaviour on your system different? As far as I know, the Dash always closes once an application is started.

    is the absence of panel in the upper bar by design or have I missed a configuration option?
    The big bar on the left acts as both a quick lauch bar and a task bar. Applications that are started receive a small arrow on the left of the icon. If you start a second instance, there is a second arrow on the left side of the icon.

  4. #4
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    +1 for thread title.

    I understand Compiz has a couple plugins that allow you to edit Unity some.

    I think what will decide which new style DE wins (i.e., Unity or Gnome shell) will depend on who bundles a quality GUI desktop configuration tool WITH the DE.
    I don't want to rant either, and I know enough to be able to edit gnome-shell.css sheets and customize my DE to where I like it, but shipping a DE completely without any intuitive GUI configuration app borders on unacceptable, IMHO.
    That said, I use both Gnome shell and Unity (Gnome shell primarily), and I like different things about both of them. I also use Xubuntu on some machines, for a classic desktop.

  5. #5
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    Quote Originally Posted by philinux View Post
    Have a look at the links in my Sig. Try to pose one problem at once.
    wow many thanks for these which but for one I had not yet come across... I installed MyUnity and used it for a couple of things, but that's not precisely as fine grained as i was hoping for, i guess.

    I guess too it will mostly be a matter of getting used to things.

    Rick Spencer’s Getting Started from your first link is incredibly useful. e.g. Alt+Tab seems to help switching apps and across space, although we'll see with use and when tones of windows are opened everywhere..

    I'll keep that thread open while I look more into things and then close to ask more specific question if they come up.

    many thks!

  6. #6
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F4U View Post
    If I do that, the Dash closes and the Appearance app starts. Is the behaviour on your system different? As far as I know, the Dash always closes once an application is started.
    sorry, yes, that's exactly what it does. It's just that Appearance is a bit frustrating so you immediately want to go back to system.. I seem to be caught red handed with my WinXp intuitions on this one...

    The big bar on the left acts as both a quick lauch bar and a task bar. Applications that are started receive a small arrow on the left of the icon. If you start a second instance, there is a second arrow on the left side of the icon.
    Hum, yeah, I managed to drop a terminal icon in there. Things seemed to be simpler only a week ago. Also, with unity I found it difficult to get to the right window when multiple ones are open. But the key seems to be exercising.

    thanks for your help
    f

  7. #7
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    Quote Originally Posted by frogo View Post
    wow many thanks for these which but for one I had not yet come across... I installed MyUnity and used it for a couple of things, but that's not precisely as fine grained as i was hoping for, i guess.

    I guess too it will mostly be a matter of getting used to things.

    Rick Spencer’s Getting Started from your first link is incredibly useful. e.g. Alt+Tab seems to help switching apps and across space, although we'll see with use and when tones of windows are opened everywhere..

    I'll keep that thread open while I look more into things and then close to ask more specific question if they come up.

    many thks!
    Glad to help. You can see how things are shaping up for 12.04 by following here. http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=412

  8. #8
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    Quote Originally Posted by frogo View Post
    - I can't really make my way through the Dash home. I'm not sure why it closes when I do, for example, Dash home --> More Apps --> Customization --> Appearance
    If the Dash closes and the appearance window opens, then it is functioning normally. If you want to return to the system settings menu, the upper left portion of the appearances window has a button to do just that, without opening the dash again.
    - it's a struggle to resize windows
    In what way is it a struggle? Granted windows don't have a border, but moving the mouse to the corner of a window allows you to drag-resize. Move the title bar to the top border of the desktop and it auto-maximizes. Grab the top border and pull down auto-restores.
    - it's a struggle to switch windows or instances of the same app (e.g. when I have 2 Firefox windows open, I struggle to get to the right one.
    Biggest drawback to Unity IMO. Unfortunately there is not a lot to be done about this, other than clicking on the app icon to bring up the window switcher and trying to get the right one from there.
    - I can't find a way of opening more than one instance of an app (e.g. FireFox or terminal) across desktop spaces other than opening another window and dragging it to another space. But then, it's a struggle to switch between instances
    The only other way to do this is to move to the desktop you want the window on and open it from there.
    - the left hand side MacOS like bar comes up when I don't want to --- e.g. when trying to hit the return arrow in Firefox --- or it doesn't come up, ot it doesn't react (e.g. it won't go to a running instance if i click on the icon)
    Unfortunately, this is due to the layout of the firefox window. I suggest you try chromium, since the tab bar is at the top of the window, with all the controls underneath that. As far as not switching to the right application, I've had this behavior caused by setting a window to "always on top" as well as a couple compiz plugins that weren't upgraded. There doesn't seem to be a workaround for the always on top bug.
    - i can't find a way of force quitting an application --- e.g. skype
    You can open system monitor by starting the dash and typing "sys" in the search bar(should be one of the first apps to come up). From my experience, the only way to stop Skype running is to right click on the application listing and use the "kill process" option. Simply ending it does not stop Skype. Alternately, if you know the name of the program you can type in a terminal window "pkill appname"(i.e. pkill skype)
    - is the absence of panel in the upper bar by design or have I missed a configuration option?
    It's by design. The upper bar is now reserved for the title bar menus of the application that currently has focus, along with the notification system.
    Last edited by trikster_x; January 30th, 2012 at 07:23 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    Quote Originally Posted by trikster_x View Post
    In what way is it a struggle? Granted windows don't have a border, but moving the mouse to the corner of a window allows you to drag-resize. Move the title bar to the top border of the desktop and it auto-maximizes. Grab the top border and pull down auto-restores.
    I think I know what he means by it being a struggle to resize windows. I often find it hard to get the cursor in the exact place to resize them. There doesn't seem to be many pixels given to this task. Its hit or miss a couple of times before you get it right. At least for me anyway. I'd like if there was a bigger area to grab on to.

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    Re: What's the peaceful path to configuring 11.10's desktop ?

    Quote Originally Posted by shizz View Post
    I think I know what he means by it being a struggle to resize windows. I often find it hard to get the cursor in the exact place to resize them. There doesn't seem to be many pixels given to this task. Its hit or miss a couple of times before you get it right. At least for me anyway. I'd like if there was a bigger area to grab on to.
    I think to be fair, gnome2 had this too.

    @OP-you say making your way to an app is difficult via the dash. I'm not trying to patronise you here (I didn't realise myself), but you HAVE realised you can just type 'appearance' and it will appear?

    12.04 is a lot more (easily) customisable than previous releases.

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