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My Gnome Desktop

December 26, 2006

Anyone reading OSNews would’ve read about Thom‘s KDE tweaking. Its an interesting read on how one would costumize a KDE desktop. What about Gnome then? Guess it’s time for me to talk about mine then.

First of all, why Gnome? Because it looks clean and simple. I don’t know why but the two panel setting caught me instantly. Gnome-based applications also tend to have a simple and uncluttered feel which I like. Maybe its the HIG? Also its hard to find something that can beat Clearlooks.

My Linux distro is Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake. Most of my desktop arrangement follows the default Ubuntu layout. The applets in the corners are the important ones:

  • On the bottom left corner, show desktop. Very important.
  • On the top right corner we have the clock applet. The best thing about it is having the name of the day and the date always displayed. It might sound simple but really useful.
  • And on the bottom right corner, the trash applet. Drag a file there, and its deleted. Simple and intuitive.

Aside from the defaults here are my changes:

  • Extra shortcut icons on the upper panel for essential applications: Flock, Gnome Terminal, Gedit and GAIM.
  • The deskbar applet on the left side of the notification area. I don’t have beagle integrated on this yet, maybe someday.
  • Lastly on the geek side, a system monitor applet for CPU and Network graph.

I use Clearlooks for my window borders (Metacity). The settings are mostly Windows-like: minimize, maximize/restore and close on the right side. Double click to maximize. I also like to have the window title centered.

Widget theme/style is also Clearlooks. Simply the best ever, really hard for me to find a replacement. Yeah I know, it really looks conservative and formal. I didn’t choose Human because I like blue better.

For the icons, I pick Human from Ubuntu. Its based on Tango which has eye-pleasing design and color. Human enhances it with beautiful folder and devices icons. Plus its orange!

Last but not least, typography. I have to admit I use Microsoft fonts for my desktop, mainly Tahoma. I love Tahoma ever since I use Windows. Having it anti aliased on Linux makes it even more pleasing. Check the following screenshot for my font settings:

My application selection is also as conservative as my desktop appearance. I tend to use Gnome/GTK+ based applications whenever available. Keeping the looks consistent between apps (imagine doing that on Windows).

  • I use Evolution and not Thunderbird for e-mails simply because it is native GTK+ and comes bundled with Ubuntu.
  • Flock instead of Firefox. I kind of attached with the easy blog-posting and simple drag and drop Flickr upload. Flock (and Firefox) is not native GTK+ but I’ve used Firefox almost forever, I don’t think I can switch to Epiphany (the default web browser)
  • Evince for PDF viewing. Simple but does its job perfectly. I really hate it when SuSE 10.0 defaults to Acrobat instead of Evince (I currently use SuSE 10.0 in my office).
  • Eye of Gnome for viewing stand-alone pictures. Same with Envince, simple but gets the job done. gThumb for image/photo management (but I might change to F-Spot when I upgrade)
  • Rhythmbox for music management. Not as complete as KDE’s Amarok but its GTK+.
  •, I guess its just the best despite being not GTK+ at all. Thankfully the open/save dialog still uses GTK, I love them.
  • Last but not least, GAIM instant messenging. Lack of feature is a feature! Seriously, at least for me.

I don’t really do much customization on my desktop it seems. No shiny widgets on the desktop, pretty much clean panels. Conservative selection of styles and icons. As long as it is easy for the eyes and really usable.

That’s all about how I costuming and use my desktop. Enjoy the screenshots. The wallpaper is taken from, the candle photograph by me. What about your desktop customization and usage?

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  1. Gnome still rocks!

  2. Wah……Gnone di mandriva sama gak pak dengan di Ubuntu? Saya sering mengalami crash….ketika buka dengan Gnone. Apa ada yang salah setting ya? Saya pake mandriva…

  3. @dudi: So Pasti!

    @mrtajib: Kalau sering crash, coba dilihat pakai Gnome versi berapa. Semakin baru versinya (skr 2.16 kl gak salah) semakin stabil. Saya dulu juga sering banget tuh mengalami Gnome crash, tetapi sekarang jauh lebih stabil. Saya di kantor pakai SuSE 10.0 lebih sering crash tuh. Versi Gnome-nya lebih tua dibandingkan dgn di Ubuntu 6.06.

    Setiap distro memang biasanya membuat beberapa perubahan sih terhadap desktop environment/application yang mereka sediakan. SuSE 10.0 dan Ubuntu 6.06 aja, susunan menu dan layout desktop defaultnya berbeda jauh. Saya lebih suka versi Ubuntu tentu saja :D

  4. The gaim devs will have a fit if they see you writing it in ALL CAPS. I believe it is written Gaim or gaim, but not GAIM.

    They chewed me out on irc for it awhile back and I haven’t forgotten…

  5. tips permalink

    This is a great page. And the contents are really that worth reading. I will add this to my own library

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