How-To: Completely Customize Ubuntu 10.04 I am writing this tutorial for the beginners of Ubuntu/Linux to the more advanced users of Ubuntu/Linux. It is meant to show you how to customize the Ubuntu/Gnome 10.04 desktop with everything to call it home. It also may set records for longest post ever (Five and a half Pages)!This is a general customization Guide. It will, show you how to use the software, which is all optional, but will not tell you to use certain themes or screenlets etc.
Text in Orange will be user's choice from the appropriate list.
Text in Blue is a Application name.
Text in Green is a note.
Text in Red are warnings. Pay close attention to these!
Now, I will show you how to download, set-up, and take advantage of the following programs:
- Art Manager
- Ubuntu Tweak
All of these Programs can be found in the Ubuntu Software Center. Appearance is pre-installed. Also to all who say, “Where's Emerald Theme Manager?”, I have chose not to include it.
Installing the Basic Programs
- Go to Applications>>Ubuntu Software Center and type Desktop Drapes.
- Click Install and then go to Get Software at the top and type in another program name. Continue until all wanted programs are installed.
Installing the Advanced Programs
- Go to Applications>>Ubuntu Software Center and type Cairo-Dock. It will be called “GLX Dock (Cairo-Dock with OpenGL)”. Install it.
- Open a Terminal (Applications>>Accessories>>Terminal). Type:
Then, instead of going to the Ubuntu Software Center, just install Ubuntu Tweak from the Terminal. Just type:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
Then it will begin downloading and installing Ubuntu Tweak.
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak
3. While in the Terminal, Type:
sudo apt-get install conky-all
To get Conky.
Enter your password. Close the Terminal.
Using Your New Applications
Appearance is a built in Application with Ubuntu 10.04. Open it by going to System>Preferences>Appearance. There are four tabs. Themes, Background, Fonts, and Visual Effects. In Themes, you have a few choices for icon sets. This will change the look of the Menu bar, all panels, and the File Browser. Chose one, and go on to the next tab, Background. You will use Desktop Drapes instead of this. Fonts is where you can adjust system fonts. I have not adjusted these, but you can to your liking. Visual Effects gives you a better desktop environment. For computers that have weak, old, graphics card, select none. Normal will work well with integrated graphics or a Add-on graphics card. Extra works best with Add-on cards.
DesktopNova let's you switch between specific wallpapers or a whole folder of wallpapers. You can start it by going to Applications > Accessories > DesktopNova. It will then let you select what “Profile” you want. It is similar to Windows 7 (and I think Vista) with the themes. Usually themes are for sorting rotating background images by category. For me, it would be like “Cars”, “Chickens”, “Nature”, or something like that. Continue on and go ahead and click “edit” and then “add”. Then type in a name for this theme, like the ones mentioned. Click “OK” and then on the main window click either “Add” to add certain images to this Theme or “Add Folder” to add a whole folder of images, like if you have a folder dedicated to that certain type of image.
When you are finished adding and removing themes, pictures, and maybe folders, click the tab “Settings”. Your first option will be if you want to change your pictures in intervals. Being this is the whole point in the program, check it. Below, set how often you want your wallpapers to rotate. I would set it anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, depending on how many wallpapers you have. By default, when the program starts, it starts off on the same wallpaper, so if you check “Change Wallpaper Every Launch”, it will randomize what wallpaper it starts on and goes from there. Finally, check the “Launch Daemon on Every Session” box and click “Start Daemon” to have the program start switching wallpapers.
In the next tab, Tray-icon, check the first box so you do not have the application sitting in your bottom panel all the time. The second box is supposed to let you go to your desktop, scroll your scroller on your mouse, and is changes the wallpaper. I do not have a scroll mouse, so I do not know if this works.
Finally, if you want the application to only switch between certain images with certain formats (PNG, JPEG, BMG, GIF), enter in the format in the box, with a space between each one. When you are done, click the box “Save Settings” and then “Close”. Go up to Applications > Accessories > DesktopNova-Tray. That will put the application in the tray and run while you do whatever you want on your computer.
Art Manager lets you download GNOME (Ubuntu, not Kubuntu, or Xubuntu) user-made desktop backgrounds, icons, window boarders, application themes, login screens, and splash screen images. Let's launch it by going to System>Preferences>Art Manager. First, you have to have options, so click Art in the menu bar. Then to see the different Icons and Login screen images and such, click the category you want and choose your (icon, image, whatever) .
Note:I have found unless you have the right application, which I have not found, Application, Login Manager, and Splash Screen menus are unusable.
Repeat for each category you want customized. You can preview your choice by clicking “Preview”. Once you find one you like, click “Download”. There will be two columns. The one on the Left is your target folder. The one on the Right is the files in that folder. Note the file name.
Note: By default, the Files column displays files in your home folder, since no folder has been selected.
Now choose Downloads (Just my choice, but you could use your home folder.) and then click OK. Now open Appearance. If its an icon set click install, then navigate to the location where you put it (Maybe Downloads or your Home Folder). Look for the file name. When found, click the file and then open. It will say Custom the file name. Now click customize to well, customize. When done, click “Save as” and give it a name.
If you want a Window Boarder, do the same thing as the icon set.
For desktop backgrounds, do the same thing, except for when you get to Appearance, click the tab “Background” and then “Add”. Find your Background, and then click open.
This fun desktop tool can be used for lots of things. Weather, basic system stats, and a big garbage can be used as with others. Open this by going to Applications>Accessories>Screenlets. If you launched it, you will be brought to the main “Installed Screenlets Area”. Also in your menu panel (By default, It's on the top) a screenlets icon will come up. Double click to get a Screenlet on your desktop. Single click a screenlet in the “Installed Screenlet Area” to get info about it. Put on as many as you like. The same Screenlet can be put on more than once.
Note: The default position for a Screenlet to come up to is the top left hand corner. They won't move from there unless you right click, click properties, click the tab Options, and then uncheck “Lock Screenlet”.
Some options in the Screenlets home panel are:
- Launch/Add- Launches screenlet
- Install- Lets you Install a screenlet from your Hard Drive.
- Reset Screenlet Config- All the Options you are about to learn about are reset
- Install New Theme- Lets you install a them from your Hard Drive
- Re-start All- Restarts all Screenlets
- Close All- Closes all Screenlets
- Create Desktop Shortcut- Dosen't work for me, so I don't know what it does
- Options- gives you options on how a new Screenlet Behaves
- This scroll menu lets you see what screenlets are running, all of your screenlets, ect.
- Start/Stop- Starts and Stops Screenlets
- Auto Start at Login- Starts all of your Screenlets at Login
- Show daemon in tray- Shows icon for Screenlet in your Menu tray. Makes a good shortcut
- Get more Screenlets- Brings you to a page where you can get more Screenlets
Now minimize or close the screenlets window. You don't need that anymore. Now you have one of the Two: 1. All your Screenlets in one corner. Go to the last note for the solution. 2. All your Screenlets are where you want them. If not, put your screenlets in their desired place. Now go through, Right clicking and going to “Properties”, and then the tab Options to get your Screenlets in the way you want them. If you don't want one, Right click it and click “Quit this Screenlet” or if you have more than one “Quit all ______”, Not Delete Screenlet, or you won't have in your “Installed Screenlets Area”.
Cairo-Dock is a dock for Applications, Links, Folders, and the Trash. It is similar to the Mac OS X one. Launch it by going to Applications>Accessories>Cairo-Dock(with OpenGL for 3D dock) (without OpenGL for 2D dock).
Note: A 3D dock will work on all computers with Add-on cards and computers with integrated graphics newer than 5 years including macs.
Now you have a dock at the bottom of your screen. It is covering up your bottom panel, but don't get rid of that panel. This is a clean looking replacement for the bottom panel. To add things to the dock, go to Applications, hover your mouse over the Application you want in the Dock, right click it and click “Add this launcher to Desktop”. You will then have the icon on your desktop. Drag it where you want it into the dock. You can delete the shortcut on the desktop. Now you have added your first program into the dock. Basically if its on your desktop, it can be dragged onto your dock. Now lets customize it. Right click anywhere on the dock, go to the menu Cairo-Dock, and then configure. Here's what everything does:
- Position on Screen- Where the dock is
- Visibility of the Main Dock- Choose how the dock behaves.
- Visibility of Sub Dock- A sub dock is when you mouse over a folder and a “Sub-dock” pops up.
- Taskbar- How the dock behaves when you click, rollover, ect
- Animations- What happens when you do a certain action (just fool around with it)
- Icons- Chose the icon theme (to look like the rest of your desktop), size, if you want things like permanently placed icons to be separated from the minimized windows, and if the last applies, which sort order you want them in.
- Views- What happens when you roll over the dock with your mouse or how the sub-dock looks.
Add-ons are things that sit in the dock to some desired use.
Themes are what the background of your dock look like.
Ubuntu Tweak is a powerful application used to change system files, looks of the system, and preform clean-ups. Today, we will use it for changing looks of the system.
WARNING: Ubuntu Tweak can mess up your system. It will ask you for a password before any “Dangerous” changes are made. Make sure you know what your doing!
Launch it by going to Applications>System Tools>Ubuntu Tweak. There is a side panel with five Sections. Go to the first sub-panel under desktop. If you want transparent menus and “Hot Corners” click “Install Desktop Effects” or whatever its called. It is the only option of that menu unless its already installed. Now if you have it installed, you can enable hot corners. Hot corners are where you put your mouse and certain things happed. I recommend clicking the scroll menu on the bottom left for show desktop and the bottom right for show windows. Just open the scroll menu and select the action to transpire when you put your mouse there. The next sub menu, “Desktop Icon Settings” will let you have a Computer, Home Folder, Trash can, Network, Mounted volumes, and home folder contents all laid out on your desktop. If you want it, just click the check-mark box. Next sub-menu, GNOME settings, lets you adjust panels, menus, and other desktop settings. It allows you to lock panels, have warnings when removing panels, enable animations from the panels, have user switching when the computer is locked, show icons and others. If you want it, click the check-mark box. The final tab, “Window Manager Settings”, will let you reorganize your Close buttons, use window themes, have the windows tint, and chose what happens when a button is clicked while the window is selected. As with the others, check-mark it if you want it. Now hit Quit in the bottom right hand corner.
For newbies, the hardest, most customizable, coolest system tool ever is Conky. It is a customizable tool that is used to show system stats, a calender, and even the weather. If you want to run Conky, you should feel good around the command line. I will not act like Bruce, who knows way more about Conky than I do. I will tell you how to start it, and have Bruce's guide teach you the rest. To start Conky, go to Applications>Accessories>Terminal. Then type:
It should appear on your desktop. Yes, that's it in its standard form. Now, I will link you to Bruce's guide, and follow from there to get some great advice.
How to remove this Software
Should you want to remove this software, the Beginners way would to be to go to Ubuntu Software Center, go to installed software, and remove what you don't want. If you are command line kinda person, type, for example:
sudo apt-get purge Screenlets
Remember, this is only an example.
You now know how to have your desktop look clean, customized, and helpful. If any of this information is wrong, please tell me. If you have issues NOT related to Conky post them here. Conky issues go here.
If this has worked for you, please post a screenshot of your new Ubuntu desktop. Take a screenshot by going to Applications>Accessories>Take Screenshot. Be sure to remove any information you do not want seen or on the internet forever!
Here is my desktop with specs: http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php...&postcount=131
I hope this will help all. If you have suggestions or you see a typo or just want to say "Thanks", post it here.
A big thanks to Sikander3786 for helping me support this How-To!