Ubuntu 12.04 LTS comes with Unity desktop by default. Unity (based on GNOME 3) is cool, a lot of new exciting/cool features seems appealing, but you may not it efficient and productive; In that case, you may try some other ones like Gnome Shell or KDE. On the other hand, if you want a lightweight window manager (Desktop) that is simple, efficient (and fast) and easy to use – then XFCE is what you’re looking for.
XFCE works pretty well without the need of much resources (high end graphics performance, unlike Unity or Gnome Shell), it’s fast, efficient and it just works! So if you are bored of those heavy – bloated desktop environments then you must try XFCE. It’s really a good alternative to the Unity and Gnome Shell.
Installing XFCE in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
XFCE 4.8 is the latest stable release in xfce4 series. To install XFCE 4 (along with some default programs of XFCE) in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, open a terminal and execute –
sudo apt-get install xfce4
Now logout from the current session and select XFCE at login prompt. That’s All.
KDE is one of the most popular Window Manager /Desktop among GNU/Linux users. For KDE lovers there is a dedicated version of Ubuntu – called as Kubuntu, which nothing but the core Ubuntu with KDE packages and desktop.
If you’ve installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (which comes with Unity by default), and got bored with Unity or Gnome Shell – then KDE is probably the best option for you. It’s simple, elegant, easy and comes with the bundle of cool applications. KDE is recommended for beginners (who have migrated from Windows) – because it looks somewhat similar to Windows.
Some of the most popular applications you would get with KDE bundle are – Dolphin File Browser (Lightweight and fast), Konqueror browser, Cool looking Plasma Desktop/Oxygen Themes, Kmail (Default Email Client for KDE desktop), Kate (text editor, like gedit), K3b (best disc burning application) etc.
Install KDE on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
If you want to install KDE with standard set of applications then execute –
sudo apt-get install kde-standard
On the other hand for full set of package/applications – (it may take a lot of time – if you’ve slow Internet connection then better try above one)
sudo apt-get install kde-full
That’s All, Now you can logout from the current session and select KDE on the Login Prompt to start enjoying the Kool Desktop Environment (KDE).
Ubuntu 12.04 comes with Unity, by default, based on Gnome 3.*, new features in Unity interface such as HUD seems to be cool but many people still doesn’t like Unity. Gnome Shell Interface is another great option for them. Since, both the interfaces are built on the top of Gnome 3.* – they have no compatibility problem at all. So you can run Unity and Gnome together – just select your favorite desktop at the Ubuntu login panel.
Gnome Shell requires little bit of extra graphics capabilities – but if your computer doesn’t support Gnome Shell then it will automatically fall back to the classic version of Gnome shell (with no fancy effects). Classic version mimics the appearance of Gnome 2.* desktop. Anyway if you are so interested in classic version then you should checkout Cinnamon Desktop. Ubuntu 12.04 Beta2 was released with Gnome 3.3.9.
Cinnamon is Gnome shell fork, done by Linux Mint community; if you’ve used any latest version of Linux Mint then you might have actually seen it because Cinnamon is the default Desktop in Linux Mint 12. Gnome Shell is a totally different desktop, from its predecessor version 2.3 which was quite popular. In Gnome shell. most of the people didn’t like the new way of handling small things like – switching windows; in fact it wasn’t just so productive.
So if you’re an Ubuntu 11.10 user (or 12.04, but stable is not out yet, Cinnamon is not available for 12.04 LTS yet) and want to enjoy Gnome 2 experience on Gnome 3, then you must give Cinnamon a try – because it may help you in restoring the productivity you may have lost in Gnome Shell or Unity interface. The project is very new but the user base is growing well due to its simplicity and ease of use. The New version Cinnamon 1.4 was released a week ago, and it’s available for a number of GNU/Linux distros including Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora 16, ArchLinux, OpenSuse 12.1, Gentoo etc.
How to install Cinnamon on Ubuntu 11.10
Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the command(s) –
gedit is the default and one of the most popular text/code editor in GNOME based distro such as Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint etc. It has a lot of cool plugins to add some extra features, some are installed by default while some are available there in package repository, to activate just go to the preferences section and enable it; You don’t even need to restart the gedit application.
gedit is a simple, efficient, easy to use and powerful text editor, it has lot of advanced features that makes it really good for programming (if you’re more hungry for features, then you should try Emacs, although Emacs is little hard to learn but the extra productivity you will gain is incomparable, good for long run). But these features are not enough for a rails developers, so there is a PPA dedicated for rails developers (although it’s for Ubuntu but works well with any debian based distro).
GMate – The missing Gedit Plugins for Rails Developers
GMate is a set of cool plugins that will add some nice features to gedit text editor – in order to increase the fun with Rails Development (e.g by default gedit can’t highlight the ruby code in .erb.html files but gmate will do it for you!). Since gmate is a PPA for Ubuntu 11.10/12.04/older_versions so it will not work only on Ubuntu but also on other Debian derivatives. If you’re using Fedora or Archlinux then it won’t work, you may have to install it individually, see top 10 gedit plugins for the list of cool plugins.