Category Archives: Desktop

How to Tweak Unity Settings in Ubuntu 11.10/12.04

Unity is the default desktop in Ubuntu 11.10 (current stable version) or 12.04 LTS (upcoming, although beta 1 has released), so if you’re a new Ubuntu users and want to tweak some default settings (e.g fonts, icons, themes, behavior, launcher etc) of Unity Desktop, then try the Application called – MyUnity, very similar to what Gnome Tweak Tool does for Gnome Shell interface.

MyUnity – Customize Unity in Easy way!

myunity-snapshot

MyUnity is a simple tool for customizing Unity desktop in Ubuntu. The user interface has been updated according to the new look of Ubuntu, so it looks more native in Ubuntu 12.04 or 11.10 (or older versions but some features won’t be supported). So using MyUnity you can change the default look/layout, in one simple click. The above snapshot – explores the options to customize the unity launcher, while other random snapshots (below) will give you an idea – about the things you can configure using MyUnity.

myunity-dash

myunity-desktop

myunity-themes

How to install MyUnity on Ubuntu

In Ubuntu 12.04, it’s there by default, in official repository so just execute the single command or search in Ubuntu Software Center.

sudo apt-get install myunity

11.10/11.04 users can install via a PPA –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:myunity/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install myunity

Update! (Sep 04, 2012) – I forgot the cool app – Unsettings

Unsettings

Another great app for changing the default behavior of Unity. Using Unsettings, you can easily change various unity settings such as Unity panels, launchers, Dash and of course the other desktop attributes such as GTK icons, themes, cursor, fonts etc. If you don’t like the global menu in Unity, then you can easily turn it off, and get back the classic style menu.

unsettings-snapshot

Install Unsettings in Ubuntu [12.04]

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unsettings

How to setup Google Public DNS on Ubuntu (11.10/12.04)

DNS i.e Domain Name System is a Naming System responsible for translating the human friendly domain names to I.P address. In most of the cases, by default – you would be using your ISP’s DNS server which may be slow or some geographical restrictions might be there. In such cases, it’s often recommended to use DNS service provided by third party such as OpenDNS (refer to article about setting up OpenDNS in Ubuntu, basically the process are same – only the I.P address of the servers are different) or the Google Public DNS, did I forget to mention that both DNS service are Free! (in general). it supports IPv4 as well as IPv6.

So, if you are not sure where to use ISP DNS server or Google Public DNS then you must know about some additional benefits of using Google Public DNS –

  • Faster DNS Lookup
  • Improved Security (Protection from phishing sites/domans)
  • No redirection (additionally, you can also access the sites blocked from ISP DNS Provider)

Change your Internet Settings to use Google Public DNS

Although the tutorial is primarily targeted for Ubuntu users but it should also work well on similar GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian, Linux Mint, OpenSuse etc. Just follow the simple steps and enjoy faster web surfing with Google Public DNS.

network-applet-ubuntu

#1. Go to Network -> Edit Network Connections

edit-network-connections

#2. Select your Network connection, you want to setup with Google Public DNS and click Edit. Then go to IPv4 Settings tab and select “Automatic (DHCP) addresses only ” in the Method section.

google public dns

#3. Now, specify the IP address in DNS Servers field and click on SAVE. Then restart your Router to start using Google Public DNS servers.

8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4

Recommended Reading(s) and Reference(s)

How to install KDE on ubuntu 11.10

KDE Desktop is one of the most popular and widely used – cool desktop for GNU/Linux based operating systems such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, Debian, OpenSuse (it uses KDE as the default desktop) etc. In fact, it is second most popular Desktop – after GNOME (KDE is more popular than Unity, source : Gnome vs Unity vs KDE Poll, where Gnome scored 714, KDE 458 and Unity was at third position with 239 votes). Ubuntu uses Unity desktop by default but KDE edition of Ubuntu i.e Kubuntu comes along with the each new release of Ubuntu.

kde-desktop on Ubuntu 11.10
Ubuntu 11.10 + KDE Plasma

In Ubuntu 11.10, if you don’t like Unity or Gnome shell then KDE is the best option available for you. KDE desktop is very eye pleasant and easy to use environment (specially for those coming from Windows * (xp, 7..) world) , and it has improved in a consistent manner (unlike Gnome 3). Cool KDE icons, wallpapers and eye catching widgets will make you a fan of it.

KDE Plasma Desktop has not only charming look but also a bundle of cool applications such as Konqueror (Web browser like Firefox, Google Chrome; but Konqueror is very simple and easy to use), Dolphin (File Browsing program like Nautilus, Marlin, Thunar), Kmail (Email client like Thunderbird or Evolution), K3b (CD/DVD burning application), Kate (Text Editor like gedit) etc.

Install KDE Desktop in Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

Open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the command –

sudo  apt-get install kde-standard

During installation, you may get an option to configure login manager such as kdm or lightdm (default), so select lightdm if you don’t want to change that.

Now, if you want to try the KDE desktop then first log out from the current session and choose KDE Plasma Desktop at login prompt. Here are few more screenshot – from Ubuntu 11.10 running KDE Plasma Desktop –

konqueror-browser

Browsing with Konqueror

dolphin-file-browser

Dolphin File Browser – Looks GREAT, Right?

Enjoy The Kool Desktop Environment i.e KDE :)

How to install Ubuntu Tweak in Ubuntu 11.10/12.04

Ubuntu Tweak is a (small and efficient) third party application, released as a Free Software (under GNU GPL), for customizing Ubuntu (11.10/12.04, and of course – older versions such as 11.04/10.10 etc). It has a lot of options to customize a lot of things in easy way (from a nice GUI, rather than the usual command way – which often scares newbies) – so it’s a very useful tool for beginner users.

There are lot of things you can customize using Ubuntu Tweak, like Themes, Fonts, Shortcuts Commands, Window Manager, Nautilus File Manager Settings/Options, Login background/wallpaper and Logo, Desktop Icon settings, Security settings etc – in a couple of clicks. So Ubuntu Tweak is one of the most popular application used for tweaking basic Ubuntu Settings. This is little different from the older version of Ubuntu Tweak, it’s alpha version so use it with caution.

ubuntu-tweak

Install Ubuntu Tweak in Ubuntu 11.10/12.04

Open Terminal and execute the commands – (Add PPA, Update repository cache and install Ubuntu Tweak)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/next
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

Tweaking Ubuntu Settings using Ubuntu Tweak

Tweak Theme Settings/Options

tweak-theme

Although, Gnome Tweak Tools also provide these options to change themes, icons, but tweaking lot of stuffs from one place is good.

File Type Manager

file-type-manager

It will allow you to associate programs with their usual file types.

Buttons and Menus

tweaking-ubuntu

Miscellaneous tweak options allow you to change the look and layout of buttons, menus and cursor settings such as blink time, timeout etc.

Login Settings (Logo/background)

login-settings

First click on unlock (enter your password); then change login settings such as background image/wallpaper (there is also an option that will set the current wallpaper as login background) and logo.

Desktop Widgets for Ubuntu 11.10

Desktop Widgets and Gadgets are Cool! Aren’t they? Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) got a lot of new changes (as compared to 10.* versions of Ubuntu) – GTK3, Unity and Gnome Shell interface, a lot of things has changed, so your favorite Widget application might not be available or compatible anymore in the current environment. Desktop Widgets are good, not only in look but may be useful some time (like quick file browser widget).

PlexyDesk

plexydesk-screenshot

It’s a free and open source project (released under LGPL), it’s a cross-platform application, that may help you in managing the desktop background more efficiently. PlexyDesk has been written using Qt Framework/Tools. You can do a lot things using the PlexyDesk such as changing wallpapers (just in one drag and drop), installing utility widgets (like Clock, File Browser, Photo Frame etc) etc, and it does support some cool 3D effects.

Install PlexyDesk on Ubuntu 11.10

Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the following commands –

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:plexydesk/plexydesk-dailybuild
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install plexydesk

Then you can start the application from Menu or Terminal, just by typing plexydesk.

Recommended Links and References

PlexyPlanet.org – Go to official website to more about this project!

Thanks To Ajinkya Kandalkar for asking the question!