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Thread: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

  1. #61
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    I'm playing with the latest Caffeine in both Saucy and Trusty, but these specific screenshots apply only to Saucy:

    Screenshot from 2013-12-12 19:48:05.jpg

    Obviously I don't want to litter Ubuntu +1 with too much Saucy stuff, and this is not a support request, so I'm just posting the Saucy related stuff here. That way I can just link to it as I'm figuring out what to do in Trusty

  2. #62
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    I didn't get this done before Trusty was released, and it's not yet ready for posting in Desktop Environments, so I'm sticking it here while I work out some issues

    My Trusty Flashback w/Metacity tweaks and challenges

    I'm far from having this all worked out yet, thus the need for the word challenges in the title, but I began working on this during the Trusty dev cycle so I suppose I should start with what I know, but please be sure to browse this entirely before jumping in head first - particularly the Challenges and Known Issues and please help if you can

    There are changes to be aware of since I wrote my Precise Classic notes:

    First, there has been continual session renaming since Precise to accommodate the new GNOME Classic session which is actually a GNOME Shell session with some cherry-picked extensions running on top of the Mutter window manager. No PPA is needed to test the new GNOME Classic session in Ubuntu GNOME Trusty but WebUpD8 still has the best description I've found.

    Second, metacity settings have now been totally deprecated from gconf in favor of dconf/gsettings so you'll notice quite a number of changes in the commands required to apply theming tweaks such as moving the window management buttons.

    Third, and perhaps most importantly, while the "flashback" session is no longer directly supported by the GNOME developers Flashback w/Metacity will continue to be supported by Edubuntu dev and these dedicated people.

    My personal focus is on the Flashback w/Metacity session which is supported by Edubuntu and both Ubuntu and Edubuntu Trusty are supported for a full 5 years. I should however say that the Flashback w/Metacity session can also be installed in Ubuntu GNOME Trusty but it's only supported for 3 years.

    So what's needed to get started? Well that's still the same as Precise.

    Step #1: Simply install 'gnome-panel':

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install gnome-panel
    Yep, that's it. In spite of session renaming that still installs all of the dependencies required and it has quite a small footprint in Ubuntu. The footprint in Ubuntu GNOME is a bit heavier because 'flashback' now uses 'unity-settings-daemon' and 'unity-control-center' instead of the GNOME versions of those same packages.

    Step #2: Log out, select the desired session, and log back in.

    Step #3: Enable the "panel-run-dialog" which can be quite useful if you bork your panels and/or menus:

    Code:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.keybindings panel-run-dialog "['<Alt>F2']"
    Step #4: Consider what additional packages you may want.

    'indicator-applet' and/or 'indicator-applet-session' - as an alternative to 'indicator-applet-complete'

    'gnome-tweak-tool' - because it's quite convenient for general theming tweaks such as having the old-style icons appear on the desktop, setting the key sequence for killing X, and changing themes.

    'shiki-colors-metacity-theme' - because it provides a rather retro window management button theme

    'sensors-applet' - to display system temps

    'dconf-tools' which provides the dconf Editor UI.

    'caffeine' which serves as a replacement for 'gnome-inhibit-applet' so the screensaver can be disabled while viewing flash videos just by clicking on the "coffee cup" in the panel. It must initially be launched from the Accessories menu, but it's not in the standard Ubuntu repos so if you want it you'll have to install this PPA and update the repos:

    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:caffeine-developers/ppa
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    Of those I know I personally want 'indicator-applet' because I prefer using it along with the standard clock applet, 'gnome-tweak-tool', 'shiki-colors-metacity-theme', 'sensors-applet', 'dconf-tools', and 'caffeine'. I can do that in just one more command since I've already installed the caffeine PPA and updated the repos:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install indicator-applet shiki-colors-metacity-theme sensors-applet dconf-tools caffeine gnome-tweak-tool
    Note: If I'm starting with Ubuntu GNOME I additionally install 'light-themes' because ATM only the Ambiance theme seems to work well enough for my liking, and I believe you'll find that both 'gnome-tweak-tool' and 'dconf-tools' are already installed in Ubuntu GNOME.

    I can then begin configuring the panels and desktop to my liking. I prefer just one panel at the bottom but there is no "one size fits all":

    my_flashback.jpg

    There are still a few things that must be done using either the dconf Editor or via CLI (the highlighted links show the actual position in the dconf Editor):

    Step #5: Move the window management buttons to the right if you wish:

    Code:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences button-layout :minimize,maximize,close
    Step #6: Disable the overlay scrollbars if you wish:

    Code:
    gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal
    Step #7: Disable the Unity webapps if you wish:

    Code:
    gsettings set com.canonical.unity.webapps integration-allowed false
    Step #8: Restore the missing menu and button icons:

    Code:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface menus-have-icons true
    Code:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface buttons-have-icons true
    That's about all I know so far.

    Challenges and Known Issues - any help would be deeply appreciated

    #1: This scares me the most - I've not found a truly reliable method of backing up and restoring a customized configuration, or even resetting all defaults to an out-of-box configuration. I'm sure I'll figure it out but I've borked things badly enough a few times that I've had to completely reinstall the OS, not a big deal for me but that would really make some people mad! I have figured out a few things:

    (a) You can reset the panel configuration to it's defaults by running:

    Code:
    dconf reset -f /org/gnome/gnome-panel/
    But that produces a false crash report so please don't file it. No log-out is needed but it takes at least one full minute for the panels to reset so please be patient.

    (b) Optionally you can reset the panel configuration to it's defaults by running:

    Code:
    XDG_MENU_PREFIX="gnome-flashback-" gnome-panel --replace &
    But that requires logging out or restarting via terminal or by the use of keyboard shortcut.

    (c) You can reset most general theming and desktop tweaks to their defaults by running:

    Code:
    dconf reset -f /org/gnome/desktop/
    (d) If you bork the Main Menu it can be launched using the command "alacarte" either in a terminal or using the "panel-run-dialog" - no sudo is needed - then it can be reset to the default configuration.

    (e) You can also launch the dconf Editor using the "panel-run-dialog" if you know exactly what you're looking for. Here's one example where I found it quite useful.

    #2: The LibreOffice menu icons load very slowly. I've just been removing all but the main LibreOffice menu item, but I suppose a bug report should be filed?

    #3: Some (maybe most) keyboard shortcuts are not set to their respective defaults. This is where dconf Editor comes in handy. Here's an example.

    #4: Many of the themes I've tried have various problems. I'm sure the theme devs just need some time to catch up with the changes between GNOME 3.8 and 3.10.
    Last edited by kansasnoob; April 27th, 2014 at 03:26 PM.

  3. #63
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    Probably need to add a bit about caffeine:

    caffeine.png

  4. #64
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    And wm button placement in dconf:

    wm_buttons_dconf.png

  5. #65
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    And menu and button icons:

    menu_icons.png

    button_icons.png

  6. #66
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    Need to link a better description of the 'panel-run-dialog' and a picture is worth a thousand words:

    run_app_combo.png

    Need to add two more:

    Attachment 252567

    Attachment 252568
    Last edited by kansasnoob; April 27th, 2014 at 02:13 PM.

  7. #67

    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    Regarding this
    I've not found a truly reliable method of backing up and restoring a customized configuration,
    Have you investigated the 'fsarchiver' app, available in the repos?

    With the caveat that I've only recently started using it, and of course future MMV, I backed up and experimentally restored my entire Xubuntu 13.10 partition complete with numerous XFCE tweaks and fiddles. The restoration experiment was completely successful, bringing back all my customizations. Since it operates at partition level I can't see it not working with a highly configured Gnome installation.

    Hope this may be of help.

  8. #68
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    Quote Originally Posted by EnglishElectricAndy View Post
    Regarding this
    I've not found a truly reliable method of backing up and restoring a customized configuration,
    Have you investigated the 'fsarchiver' app, available in the repos?

    With the caveat that I've only recently started using it, and of course future MMV, I backed up and experimentally restored my entire Xubuntu 13.10 partition complete with numerous XFCE tweaks and fiddles. The restoration experiment was completely successful, bringing back all my customizations. Since it operates at partition level I can't see it not working with a highly configured Gnome installation.

    Hope this may be of help.
    There is also the One Button Installer, where you can make your own tarball.

  9. #69
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    Quote Originally Posted by EnglishElectricAndy View Post
    Regarding this

    Have you investigated the 'fsarchiver' app, available in the repos?

    With the caveat that I've only recently started using it, and of course future MMV, I backed up and experimentally restored my entire Xubuntu 13.10 partition complete with numerous XFCE tweaks and fiddles. The restoration experiment was completely successful, bringing back all my customizations. Since it operates at partition level I can't see it not working with a highly configured Gnome installation.

    Hope this may be of help.
    I'll check that out. I recently created a backup with dejadup for the first time but I haven't yet tried restoring it because I got tied up with another project.

  10. #70
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    Re: Pondering the future of the Gnome classic session beyond Ubuntu Precise

    Quote Originally Posted by sudodus View Post
    There is also the One Button Installer, where you can make your own tarball.
    I'll have to check that out sometime.

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