Tuesday, 21 February 2012

how to customize your linux desktop




The Wallpaper

For sure, the wallpaper is the easiest element to customize, as well as the most common. The main problem is more to find the great wallpaper. I found mine on deviantart.com.
To change your wallpaper, nothing easier: Just right-click on your desktop, and select Change Desktop Background.

Themes

Gnome themes works as WordPress theme: Once installed, you keep the same engine but have a totally new look and feel. I recently posted a list of 30 great Gnome themes, so you should check it out if you haven’t read this article yet.
To change your Gnome theme, do not extract the achive, go to the System menu, then Preferences รข†’ Themes.


On the opening window, click on Install, then choose the archive you downloaded. Most of the times, the theme will be applied automatically, but sometimes it doesn’t works. In this case, you’ll have to select your new theme from the list.
Blue Joy Theme
Icons from Elementary Icons by DanRabbit.

Icons

Changing icons is as easy as modifying your Gnome theme. Go to System, preferences, click on Install and select a pack of icons to add. If you want to replace your current icons with a pack which is already installed, click on Customize in the Appearance window and choose the package you want in the tab icons.
GNU/Linux icons
Don’t forget to check out our list of the top 10 icon sets for your GNU/Linux desktop if you haven’t made your icon set choice yet!

Main menu Icon

It can be really fun to place your own logo instead of your distribution logo, near the Applications menu. To do so, open the terminal and type:
gconf-editor
Go to apps, panel, objects and click on menu_bar_screen0. On the right side of the window, you can set custom values. Cick on custom_icon and type the path to your icon as a value. You may have to reboot the graphical interface in order to see the modification.

Dock (Mac OS X like)

awn.png
You can add launchers to panels, but if you’re looking for a more eye-candy solution, or really love the Mac OS look and feel, a Dock is what you need.
There’s many Docks available for GNU/Linux systems. I like Cairo Dock but my favorite is AWN.
To install AWN, simply open the terminal and type:
 sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator
If you need help or more info, you can visit AWN website here.
Note that AWN requires a composite manager as such as Compiz-Fusion. Otherwise, you’ll see an ugly black shape all around the dock.

Widgets

I rarely use Widgets, but I must say that some of them are really awesome. For those who doesn’t know, Widgets are small applications that run on your desktop, telling you tomorrow’s weather, your computer memory charge, an alarm clock, your google analytics stats and a lot more.
desktop.png
Some months ago, I used gdesklets, which is pretty good in my opinion. You can install it easily by typing:
sudo apt-get install gdesklets
in a terminal or download it via Synaptic.
Just like AWN, gdesklet requires a composite manager.

Fonts

Die hard GNU/Linux users will probably hate me for saying this, but I really think that Ubuntu default font (“sans”) is pretty ugly. Instead, I prefer using Microsoft “Segoe UI”, which is in my opinion very good for user interface.
Sure, it’s not open-source, but at least, it looks good.
GNU/Linux fonts
To install additional fonts, press Alt-F2 to open the run dialog. Type fonts:// into the text box and press Enter. You just have to paste your font in the folder.
You’ll need to restart your applications in order to see the new fonts.
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