Ubuntu Linux got a new look when the much-debated Unity was unveiled to users. The modern, search-based interface was liked as much as it was hated, making it one of Canonical’s most controversial decisions. The problem with Unity was not just that it was a new interface; the main issue this reborn Ubuntu faced was of basic usability gone wrong. So, as obvious as it may seem, many people are trying hard to disencumber themselves from this ‘innovation’. While most of those efforts are spent making alternative distros, some are busy tweaking the desktop.
When it comes to alternatives, there are many; in fact, there’s a horde of distros waiting to be tried out by non-geeky audiences. That said, despite its flaws, many people still prefer sticking to Ubuntu Linux, mainly because of its more mainstream nature as well as the more user-friendly aspects of it like the Software Center and Ubuntu One.
So, if you’re one of those Ubuntu fans who can’t stand the look of the new default desktop, there’s a thing or two you can do to give your screen a revamp. Here are some of the best desktop-tweaking tools for Ubuntu Linux:
Compiz Config Settings Manager (CCSM)
Though not intended for the ‘normal’ users, CCSM is one of the best tools when it comes to desktop tweaking. It lets you customize your desktop in every way possible. The popular tool divides customizations into broad categories like General, Desktop Effects, Window Management, and most important of all, Accessibility. Each category houses a myriad of small settings that affect the behavior of the desktop in one-way or the other. Most of those settings let you change the numeric value of that property, so that you can fine-tune your desktop as much as possible. Don’t worry though, as there’s usually a ‘Restore Defaults’ button that can be used in case things go wrong.
Coming to the tweaking part, CCSM lets you change almost all the aspects of your desktop. From hiding the launcher to making it smaller, you can change almost everything. The other interesting thing about CCSM is that it lets you add/remove as many desktop effects as you want. This can be very useful if you’re itching to create that perfect balance between performance and aesthetics.
To install Compiz Config Settings Manager on your computer, simply type in/paste the following commands in the terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T), and once installed, use the launcher to search for the term ‘ccsm’.
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
While not a tweaking tool in the true sense, DesktopNova still is a great tool to spice up your boring desktop. This simple little application lets you automatically switch the wallpapers without you having to worry about anything. Once installed, DesktopNova lets you specify which folder you want to load the images from. Then, you can set the interval at which the images will change. Usually, an interval of 15-20 minutes is a great idea. Oh, and make sure you keep the daemon running once you’re done with the settings.
To install the application you’ll need to install the repository first. To do that type in or paste the following commands in your terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:michael-astrapi/ppa
Then type in/paste the following command to install the software:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install desktopnova indicator-desktopnova
Ubuntu Tweak, perhaps the most famous third-party tweaking tool for Linux, brings the best out of your brand new Ubuntu desktop. The open-source application, once installed, lets you change the splash screen, login background, and hide/reveal certain elements of the desktop. Apart from letting you change security settings, tweaking panels and stuff, Ubuntu Tweak also lets you manage your applications and remove them when needed. The app recently released a brand new version allowing users to tweak their brand new Unity desktops. With it, you can dress up your desktop in pretty themes like Faenza and others without having to go through any hoops.
To install the software, simply go to their website HERE and hit the ‘Download Now’ button.
Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.