November 26, 2011

Things To Tweak In Ubuntu 11.10

Below are a couple articles from and Enjoy.

Back when Ubuntu 11.04 was released, we wrote a post about stuff you may need to tweak or fix. Some of those tweaks still work but since this is a new version, there are new things that need tweaking so I've decided to make a new post with some popular old tweaks as well as some new ones.

Read on!

General tweaks (for both GNOME Shell and Unity)

Change themes, fonts and more with GNOME Tweak Tool

GNOME Tweak Tool

In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot you can only switch between the default GTK themes by default. Also, there's no built-in GUI to easily change fonts or icon themes. But you can do this using GNOME Tweak Tool:
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Once installed, GNOME Tweak Tool should show up as "Advanced Settings" in the menu. Besides changing fonts or themes, GNOME Tweak Tool can also be used to enable/disable GNOME Shell extensions, tweak the desktop, various windows behavior or GNOME Shell.

No screensaver in GNOME 3.2


GNOME 3 doesn't have a screensaver, just a black screen. If you want to use a screensaver, you can use Xscreensaver - install it using the following commands (this will also remove gnome-screensaver):

sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra

Then search for "Screensaver" in the menu and tweak its settings to your needs.

To add Xscreensaver to startup, open Startup Applications and add "xscreensaver -nosplash".

Let's also make the lock screen work (CTRL + ALT + L):
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/xscreensaver-command /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command

Alternatively, instead of the command above you can open System Settings > Keyboard and on the "Shortcuts" tab, under "System", change the "Lock screen" keyboard shortcut from CTRL + ALT + L to something else, then under "Custom Shortcuts", click the "+" button to add a new custom shortcut, under "Name" enter "Xscreensaver" and under "Command" enter "/usr/bin/xscreensaver-command", then click "Apply". And finally, click next to the newly created shortcut and press CTRL + ALT + L to assign it to it (or use any other keyboard shortcut you want, but make sure it's not already assign to something else).

To be able to watch a movie properly, also install Caffeine:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:caffeine-developers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install caffeine python-glade2

To revert the changes (go back to the black GNOME Screensaver screen):
sudo apt-get remove xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra
sudo rm /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command
sudo apt-get install gnome-screensaver

If you've used the alternative method to assign CTRL + ALT + L to Xscreensaver lock screen, open System Settings > Keyboard again, remove the custom Xscreensaver command and assign CTRL + ALT + L back to "Lock screen" (under "System").

Nautilus search

Partially fix annoying Nautilus behavior that doesn't let you properly search by typing when there are a lot of files/folders: in Nautilus, select View > Statusbar.

Install Syanptic


Synaptic is not installed by default in Ubuntu 11.10 and while Ubuntu Software Center got many new features, it still can't do everything Synaptic can. Install Synaptic back using the following command:
sudo apt-get install synaptic

Disable Overlay Scrollbars

no overlay scrollbars

If you don't like the overlay scrollbars, you can remove them using the following command:
sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0
Then, restart your computer (performing a logout only may not be enough).

To revert this change, install the packages back:
sudo apt-get install overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0
And restart your computer.

Missing features: web apps and file previewer

Two missing GNOME 3.2 features in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot (for both Unity and GNOME Shell) are the web applications and Sushi quick previewer.

Epiphany web app

The first requires Epiphany 3.2.0 which is available in the WebUpd8 GNOME 3 PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser

Sushi file previewer

And the second - Sushi file previewer -, is available in the official Ubuntu repositories:
sudo apt-get install gnome-sushi

Longer battery life


I don't know if the kernel power bug is real or not, but many users have reported that using Jupiter or a tweak we've posted a while back, their laptop/netbook battery life increased. Install Jupiter using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install jupiter

If you have an EeePC, also install the following package for SHE support:
sudo apt-get install jupiter-support-eee

As for the other tweak, see this post: Linux Kernel Power Issue / Overheat Workaround.

No more Sun/Oracle Java

The "sun-java6" package is no longer available in the official Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot repositories due to the removal of the JDL license. Java 7 won't be in Oneiric either, but you still have 3 options:

- Install OpenJDK:
sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre

- Or Oracle (previously Sun) Java 6 from the LFFL PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jdk sun-java6-plugin

- Or manually install Java 7 (JDK) in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

Fix for Nautilus crashing on start

If Nautilus crashes, chances are this is because of the "nautilus-open-terminal" package, so remove it:
sudo apt-get remove nautilus-open-terminal

Then restart Nautilus:
nautilus -q

Autostart items

Nautilus autostart items Ubuntu 11.10

Some applications/services that used to be in the Startup Applications dialog are no longer there. That's because they are hidden now but you can still find them under /etc/xdg/autostart . So if you want to remove the startup sound or other hidden applications from starting automatically, remove their .desktop files from /etc/xdg/autostart (you'll have to run Nautilus as root: "gksu nautilus"). But make sure you make a backup of the files you want to remove firstly!

GNOME Shell tweaks

Fix ALT + F2

Fix alt f2 GNOME Shell

ALT + F2 doesn't work by default in GNOME Shell under Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. To fix it, open "System Settings" and under Keyboard > Shortcuts > System, click "Disabled" next to "Show the run command prompt" and press ALT + F2 - this should set ALT + F2 for running the command prompt.

Easily change GNOME Shell themes

To be able to easily change the GNOME Shell theme, besides GNOME Tweak Tool you'll also need the User Theme extension, available in the WebUpd8 GNOME3 PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell-extensions-user-theme

Then use GNOME Tweak Tool to activate the theme.

For more extensions, see: Official GNOME Shell Extensions Available In The WebUpd8 GNOME 3 PPA For Ubuntu 11.10.

Move icons from Message tray (bottom tray) to the Top Bar

GNOME SHell icons top bar

Some might find the notification area icons showing up in the Message Tray (at the bottom of the screen, hidden by default) annoying or confusing. But you can move the icon on the Top Bar using an extension:
sudo apt-get install git-core
git clone
sudo cp -r gnome-shell-gnome2-notifications/ /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/

Then press ALT + F2 and enter "r" to restart GNOME Shell.

Important: this extension shows up as disabled in GNOME Tweak Tool because of an error in the extension code. Despite this, the extension still works!

No shutdown menu entry

Alternative status menu gnome shell extension

By default, there's no shutdown entry in the status menu and you must press and hold ALT to be able to shutdown your computer when using GNOME Shell. But this can be changed by installing Alternative Status Menu extension which adds "Power off" and "Hibernate" to the status menu, visible at all time (and not just when pressing the ALT key). Install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell-extensions-alternative-status-menu

Then use GNOME Tweak Tool to enable the extension.

Fix Nautilus menu being displayed under the GNOME Shell top bar when using transparent GNOME Shell themes

Nautilus menu under gnome shell top bar

If you use a transparent GNOME Shell theme such as Zukitwo, the Nautilus menu shows up behind the top bar. You can fix this either by removing global menu (see below, under "Unity tweaks") or by disabling Nautilus from handling the desktop using GNOME Tweak Tool (under "Desktop", set "Have file manager handle the desktop" to off):

tweak tool handle desktop

Disabling Nautilus from handling the desktop means you won't have any icons on the desktop anymore. If this is a big deal to you, remove AppMenu (Global Menu) - but you won't have a global menu in Unity anymore (though that shouldn't be a big issue if you don't use Unity anyway).

To install GNOME Tweak Tool, see the first tweak in this post.

Automatic login to GNOME Shell instead of Unity

If you enable autologin, your computer will automatically login to Unity. But there is a way to get Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot to automatically login to GNOME Shell.

Firstly, enable Automatic Login: in System Settings go to "User Accounts", then click "Unlock", enter your password and click the button next to "Automatic Login". That will make Ubuntu automatically login to Unity. Let's make it automatically login to GNOME Shell instead:
sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults -s gnome-shell

Unity tweaks

Configure Unity (autohide, etc.)

CompizConfig Settings Manager UNity settings

Unity 3D can be configured through CompizConfig Settings Manager, but CCSM isn't installed by default so let's install it:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Using CCSM you can configure the Unity Launcher reavel mode and timeout, the Unity Launcher autohide (autohide, dodge windows, dodge active windows or disable autohide), various keyboard shortcuts, the new ALT + TAB switcher behavior, blacklight mode, panel and launcher opacity, launcher icon size and more.

A few quick stuff I for one always tweak using CCSM (open CompizConfig Settings Manager and click the "Ubuntu Unity Plugin"):

To disable launcher autohide: on the "Behavior tab" under "Hide Launcher", select "Never".

To disable mounted devices from showing up on the Unity Launcher: on the "Experimental" tab, under "Show Devices" select "Never".

By default, applications that usually take 75% of the screen are maximized automatically on start. To change this automaximize value, on the "Experimental" tab, look for "Automaximize value" - tweak this to whatever value you want.

Configure Unity 2D

Dconf editor

Some Unity 2D settings as well as other tweaks can be performed using "dconf-editor", part of the "dconf-tools" package. Install it using the following command:
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Then press ALT + F2 and enter: "dconf-editor" to launch it. You can find the Unity 2D settings under com > canonical > unity-2d.

Re-enable the systray (notification area)


You no longer need to whitelist Qt applications but you may still need the systray for other applications such as Shutter, Jupiter, etc. You can whitelist the systray using the following command:
gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

Then log out and log back in.

Disable Global Menu (AppMenu)

Disabled global menu ubuntu

Don't like the global menu? Get the menu back in the application window instead of using a global menu on the top panel:
sudo apt-get remove appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-gtk appmenu-qt

Then, restart your computer (performing a logout only may not be enough).

You can also disable the global menu without removing any package. See HERE.

To revert the changes, install these packages back:
sudo apt-get install appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-gtk appmenu-qt

And restart your computer.

Use a global menu for LibreOffice

Global menu libreoffice

By default, LibreOffice doesn't come with a Global Menu but you can manually install it:
sudo apt-get install lo-menubar

If you experience any issues with it, simply remove it:
sudo apt-get remove lo-menubar

Disable the user switcher indicator

No user switcher indicator

The user switcher indicator (or Me-User-Indicator or whatever is called) can be useful if multiple users log in on your computer but if it's just one user, you can get more space by disabling it. Presuming you've already installed the "dconf-tools" package: press ALT + F2 or open a terminal and enter:

user switcher

Then navigate to apps > indicator-session and uncheck the box next to "user-show-menu", then restat Unity (ALT + F2 and enter "unity --replace") or log out and log back in.

Something went wrong! How do I reset Unity or Compiz?

You can easily reset Unity or Compiz using the following commands (be careful when using these commands and only use them if you really have to!):

- to reset the Unity launcher icons:
unity --reset-icons

- to reset Unity:
unity --reset

- to reset Compiz:
gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/compiz-1
unity --reset

Using a different "shell"

By default, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot uses Unity 3D (with Compiz). If you don't like it, you can try a different interface, while still using GNOME:

Unity 2D
Unity 2D

Unity 2D is installed by default and is used as the fall-back mode for computers that can't run Unity 3D. To use Unity 2D, log out and select "Ubuntu 2D" in the login screen:

Ubuntu Unity 2D


GNOME Shell is not installed by default but you can easily install it from the official Ubuntu repositories:
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Once installed, log out and select "GNOME" from the login screen:

GNOME SHell session

Classic GNOME 3 session
Classic GNOME 3 session

You can also use the GNOME 3 classic session. Install it using the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

And select "GNOME Classic" from the login screen:

Classic GNOME

I'll continue to update this post with more tweaks so keep an eye on it. If you've found some annoyance in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and know a fix / tweak for it, let us know in the comments! For more tweaks, also take a look at our previous post: Things To Tweak / Fix After Installing Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

Tux image via; many thanks to everybody who contributed!


And from TechDriveIn website....

15 Things I Did After Installing New Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot is scheduled to arrive on Oct 13, 2011. A lot of things have changed with Ubuntu in the mean time. This Ubuntu 11.10 screenshot tour will give you a quick preview of important changes in the upcoming Ubuntu Oneiric release. I have been using Ubuntu 11.10 as my netbook's primary OS ever since the second alpha release of Ubuntu 11.10 happened. Here is a quick list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.10.

things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.10

Top Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot
This has become kind of a customary post with every new Ubuntu release. Especially since the arrival of Unity, many new and old Ubuntu users are looking for ways to improve the functionality aspect of Ubuntu and customize the Unity environment to their respective needs.

I have been a big time Ubuntu Unity user ever since it was released and here are the things I did to improve Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot after installing it. Note that, many parts of it will inevitably be similar to our previous article on things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. There will be many new additional tips and tricks as well. Read on.

First Things First - Installing Restricted Extras During Installation
  • Starting from Ubuntu 11.04 release, you can install restricted codecs package(which include Adobe Flash, MP3 codecs and such) during installation of Ubuntu OS itself.
Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 11.10
  • Notice the arrows pointing to the boxes in the screenshot above. If you tick both of them during the Ubuntu installation process(make sure you are connected to the internet before doing so), restricted extras package will be installed automatically and you will be able to play mp3's and watch flash videos(YouTube videos for example) right after Ubuntu installation is complete.
  • But there is a catch. If you have a slow internet connection(which is very rare these days), ticking the boxes shown in the screenshot above will unnecessarily lengthen the installation process. I for one prefer to do all that after installing Ubuntu. If you are like me, the next two steps are for you.
Update Repositories
  • After you install brand new Ubuntu 11.10, the first thing you need to do is to update repositories and make sure you have the latest updates installed(Like I said before, you need to do this only if you haven't ticked the boxes shown in the above screenshot).
  • Open Terminal(Ubuntu 11.10 Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + T) and copy-paste the following command into Terminal.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Done. Ubuntu repositories have been successfully updated. 
Install Ubuntu Restricted Extras
  • Install the "ubuntu-restricted-extras" package. This will enable your Ubuntu to play popular file formats like mp3, avi, Flash videos etc. Click Here OR simply copy-paste the command below into Terminal to install the package(You need not do this also if you have ticked the 'right' boxes).
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • Done.
Enable Full DVD Playback(Dual Layer DVD Support)
  • Though installing the restricted extras package will solve most of your problems, you may not be able to play dual layer dvds yet in your Ubuntu.
  • For that, you need to install libdvdcss2 package from medibuntu repositories. Simply do the following in Terminal.
sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
  • Done.
Check for Availability of Proprietary Hardware Drivers

drivers for ubuntu
  • In my case, all the hardware drivers including graphics, sound and wireless drivers were enabled automatically(though, as you can see, I still have a proprietary wireless driver on offer, which I have not activated). But this may not be the case with everyone.
additional drivers for ubuntu 11.10
  • If you are among the not-so-lucky, open Unity dash (Ubuntu 11.10 Keyboard Shortcut: Super key) and search for 'Additional Drivers' application.
  • Check for additional drivers available and activate the ones you want. In 90% of the cases, this will do the trick. Those who were not able to get their hardware drivers enabled yet will have to do fair amount of digging through ubuntuforums.
Install Compiz Config Settings Manager

Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 11.10
  • Compiz desktop effects are available in your Ubuntu by default and if you have any kind of 3D acceleration available(graphics driver ie), you are good to go with Compiz.
  • Now to tweak Compiz desktop effects in Ubuntu, you need to install "compizconfig-settings-manager" package. Click Here OR simply copy paste the following command into Terminal to install "compizconfig-settings-manager".
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
  • Done. Compiz Config Settings Manager(CCSM) is significant as far as Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot is concerned. We will get to that later on.
Essential Ubuntu Unity Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Productivity can be increased significantly in new Ubuntu Unity desktop if you know the essential Unity keyboard and mouse shortcuts. Here are some of the most important among them.
  • Super Key(Windows Key) - Opens dash.
  • Hold Super Key - Invokes Launcher.
  • Hold Super Key and hit 1, 2, 3 etc - Open an Application from Launcher. When you hold the Super Key, specific numbers will be displayed in order above each application.
  • Alt + F1 - Put keyboard focus on the Launcher, use arrow keys to navigate, Enter key launches the application, Right arrow exposes the quicklists if an application has them.
  • Alt + F2 - Opens dash in special mode to run any commands. 
  • Super + A - Opens up applications dash. 
  • Super + F - Opens up files and folders dash.
Enable Transparency of Unity Top Panel
  • Launch CCSM. Hit Super + a and search for CCSM.
Enable Transparency of Unity Top Panel
  • After launching CCSM, select Ubuntu Unity Plugin from 'Desktop' category. Now choose the Experimental tab from above.
  • There you will see the 'Panel Opacity' option. Change it to the value you like.
Increase/Decrease the Launcher Icon Size
  • Just as before, Launch CCSM(Super + a and search for CCSM) and then browse to Ubuntu Unity Plugin. Choose 'Experimental' tab.
Increase/Decrease the Launcher Icon Size
  • Adjust the value of 'Launcher Icon Size' by simple scrolling. The default value of 'Launcher Icon Size' is 48, but I like it around 40 for my laptop.
Change Desktop Size

ubuntu oneiric desktop
  • By default, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot gives you four workspaces to play around. Keyboard shortcut for activating the four workspaces is Super + s. Now, if you want to increase/decrease that number do the following.
  • Launch CCSM yet again, and select General Options from the category 'General'. Select the tab 'Desktop Size' and choose the values you want. Simple as that.
Add Your Favorite Places as Quicklists for Home Icon in Unity

quicklists ubuntu 11.10

Quicklists are something that I thought would be included as a default feature in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot(at least some of them). But that didn't happen. Home Menu quicklist in my opinion, is a must have feature(see screenshot to know how it will look like). Follow the steps to add your favorite places as quicklists.
  • Copy 'Home Folder' launcher file to your home directory. For that, you need to open Terminal(Unity Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + T) and copy-paste the following commands.
cp /usr/share/applications/nautilus-home.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
  • Open the file in your favorite text editor. I am using Gedit here.
gedit ~/.local/share/applications/nautilus-home.desktop
  • Now replace the content of the file with the following text.
[Desktop Entry]

Name=Home Folder
Comment=Open your personal folder
Exec=nautilus --no-desktop

[Videos Shortcut Group]
Exec=nautilus Videos

[Documents Shortcut Group]
Exec=nautilus Documents

[Music Shortcut Group]
Exec=nautilus Music

[Pictures Shortcut Group]
Exec=nautilus Pictures

[Downloads Shortcut Group]
Exec=nautilus Downloads
  • And restart Unity. Hit Alt + F2 and run the following command to restart Unity.
unity --replace
  • Done. If that doesn't work, you might need to log out and log back in to restart Unity. 
Enable Unity Grab Handles
This is another feature that I thought would be included as a default. Unity grab handles are a easy and eyecandy way of resizing windows, better suited for touch screen devices though.
  • Launch CCSM(just search for CCSM in Unity Dash).
Howto Enable Unity Grab Handles
  • Make sure that the category Png(highlighted above) is ticked.
Howto Enable Unity Grab Handles
  • In the Uncategorized section at the bottom of CCSM, make sure that Unity MT Grab Handles is ticked as well. Click on Unity MT Grab Handles option now.
Howto turn on Unity Grab Handles
  • You will see that the Toggle Handles option is Disabled by default. Click on the Disabled button and tick the resulting Enabled box.
Howto Enable Unity Grab Handles
  • Hit Grab key combination button and select the shortcut you want. As you can see in the screenshot above, Control + Alt + g was my choice. Its up to you.
Unity Grab Handles Ubuntu
  • Done. Unity Grab Handles are enabled in Ubuntu 11.10 successfully.
Install Sysmonitor App Indicator
Unity's top panel is locked down and it is not easy to add apps to it anymore. App Indicators are an excellent way to extend the functionality of Unity top panel in Ubuntu Oneiric. And Sysmonitor application indicator is one of my favorite.
  • To install Sysmonitor Indicator in Ubuntu 11.10, you need to copy paste the following commands into Terminal.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexeftimie/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-sysmonitor
  • Done. Now, simply launch Sysmonitor Indicator from Unity dash.
Install GNOME Shell in Ubuntu

gnome shell in ubuntu 11.10

Installing GNOME Shell in Ubuntu is not "mission impossible" anymore. Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot is GNOME 3.0 based and installing GNOME Shell in Oneiric is just a click away. As we noted in our earlier GNOME Shell in Ubuntu 11.10 review, instead of one simple GNOME interface, now you have two, each one unique and special in its own way. Here is how you install it. Just search for 'GNOME Shell' in Software Center OR do the following in Terminal.

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
  • That's it for now, more Ubuntu 11.10 Unity tips and tricks and full fledged reviews are on its way. Thanks for reading.