That's so cool!

Story: I lightened up my Ubuntu Lucid desktop appearanceTotal Replies: 22
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May 13, 2010
8:03 AM EDT
Can I get some pointers about adding an icon to my desktop?

May 13, 2010
9:28 AM EDT
Seriously,... If you're going to give us an article on what a newbie can do to tweak their desktop, give us an article on adding and configuring Cairo-dock, tranlucency in Compiz, rotating desktops, a translucent on screen keyboard (onboard + compiz), etc. My 5 year old step-son can change the gnome background (and has, actually, to the very "Cosmos" screen-saver-y desktop this guy did). Show the newbies how to tweak their machine for EYE CANDY,... & make the Win7 "aero desktop" users jealous.

May 13, 2010
9:38 AM EDT
> Show the newbies how to tweak their machine for EYE CANDY,... & make the Win7 "aero desktop" users jealous.

The stuff you just said might work well with boys between the ages of 14 and 18, but I think I'll go with Steven's article for everyone else.

Seriously, why would anyone of any proficiency with a computer care about rotating desktops?

May 13, 2010
10:11 AM EDT
> Seriously, why would anyone of any proficiency with a computer care about rotating desktops?

Graphics envy.

May 13, 2010
10:16 AM EDT
First of all,... I'm not a boy of 14-18,... If you must know, I'm 42 years old, have a graduate degree, and work in a high-paced, stressfull work environment (inside insurance sales). So I, kind of, take offense at your comment,...

I use rotating desktops daily for managing multiple work-spaces on my touch-screen netbook. I use that netbook to take notes, and keep track of my ToDos and sales call follow-ups... I use Cairo-dock on that same netbook because it maximizes my desktop space. I also use the exact same desktop set up on all my machines (save for my Nokia N900, which doesn't have Cairo-dock,... yet). Those include multimedia front ends on all of my televisions at home, my administrative account on my server, and a small handful of portables (UMPCs, netbooks, a laptop or two). All in all, over 12 machines.

The short of it is that in addition to the eye candy (which requires very little processor overhead), that set up is VERY extremely efficient. It is easier to switch from open app to open app, open a new app without having a menu bar take up desktop real estate, use tranlucency to see through one open app to another below it, see exactly what app windows are open with preview widget in compiz, etc., etc. ad nausiem,... The visual of a rotating desktop helps keep the different open apps separated in your mind (right and left hemispheres working together...). In addition, the eye candy just makes it a pleasure to use... But I guess for a proficient user, taking PLEASURE in your working environment is a distraction... (Is my sarcasm a little over the top???)

May 13, 2010
10:41 AM EDT
> First of all,... I'm not a boy of 14-18

Did I say you were?

> So I, kind of, take offense at your comment,...

Perhaps you should read your first post, and you will realize that you sort of set the tone for offensiveness.

Whatever your computing habits might be, I don't see how eye candy is a substitute for explaining how to change the background. Everything you wrote would be blah, blah, blah to Joe Sixpack.

May 13, 2010
10:57 AM EDT
+1 for bigg


May 13, 2010
11:14 AM EDT
How is a guy like "Joe Sixpack" going to be exposed to Linux, if someone doesn't set it up for him???

The fact that someone is running Linux means one of three things; A) Their machine was set up for them by someone else, B) They have a curiousity about computers and reasearch and learn things for themselves, or C) They bought a machine from the (very few) vendors which pre-install Linux on their machines.

If it's A or B, they have someone to set up their desktop for them or ask how to do it, or have looked into it themselves (my step-son discovered it all by himself, and he can't read yet). If it's C, they very likely intentionally bought a Linux machine, because they already run one, or someone recommended it to them (in which case they can ask THAT person how to change things). One doesn't just stumble on the open source versions of Dell machines, for example. You have to search for them.

I would love for things to be different than that. I would love for anyone to be able to buy a Linux machine off the shelf at any retail outlet that sells computers. But that just is not the situation.

The bottom line is that the "article" is way too basic. It's about the wow factor of an article telling you how to use the calculator applet. If you are going to have an article about the fact that you can tweak the desktop in Linux, explain many of the different ways it can be done, from the most basic (Like just changing your background), touching on the highly advanced (non-technical but just showing examples of what can be done, and where to go to learn more about how). Let them know that Linux is very versatile and let them decide for themselves how far they want to take it. An "article" about changing your backgound is just NOT an article, its a part of one...

May 13, 2010
11:32 AM EDT
Sigh. JaseP, you're wrong. The article is fine. Griping about an article that doesn't cover a subject that you are interested in is like someone carping at you because you don't sell three-legged left-handed turnscrews, because they think three-legged left-handed turnscrews are more interesting than insurance.

There are gillions of Linux Compiz-eye-candy-bling howtos. This is not one of them. This article is plenty fine for what it does cover, and there are readers who will enjoy it and learn from it. It's all good.

May 13, 2010
11:47 AM EDT
I also thought the article was a bit of a non-entity. :/ Oh well.

May 13, 2010
11:55 AM EDT
As I read this thread, the reasons for low Linux market share are quickly becoming apparent.

This article is comparable to many of the Windows articles I've used through the years. And when someone asks me for help on Windows, I look for this type of article.

May 13, 2010
12:04 PM EDT
I like rotating desktops, they're fun. On my openSUSE/KDE4 box they rotate in all directions-- vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. On my Ubuntu box they only rotate horizontally. KDE4 still drives me nuts for being inefficient and impractical, but it sure does the eye-candy well. (Today's horrid example: the clock in the panel is stuck in the wrong time zone. On nice sane practical Linuxes you can click on the clock, and get a menu for setting the time and timezones, and date, and how they are displayed. But no, not in KDE4. You get a menu that has five configurable features spread out over four tabs, and none of them are for setting the time or setting the date. I suppose I have to go into Yast or something.)

May 13, 2010
12:22 PM EDT
Thanks, jacog,... at least someone agrees with me,...

I haven't used KDE since Ubuntu 7.04. KDE, for my taste, has gotten too bloated (and a bit wierd?!? in its layout too). I used to think Gnome was too dumbed-down,... but Gnome has gotten more feature rich, while KDE seems to have imploded back into itself like a black hole, too many settings, too many changes in layout from older versions, too much bloat and slow. Other, lighter desktop managers end up looking too amatuerish, or have issues that make them a non-starter for me (Like XDM suffering from the same font issues that plague KDM with certain video chipset/monitor combinations).

It's now to the point where Gnome, for me, is just the backend & framework, and Compiz & Cairo-dock, together, are really the window manager(s). Some people say that Debian's KDE implementation is way better than Ubuntu's though,... but I haven't tried Debian's KDE.

May 13, 2010
1:00 PM EDT
If I can find a way to replace iceweasel with up-to-date Firefox, I'll be keeping KDE3 for a long time.


Edit: Did the same thing with, both are set to update themselves. I think I'm set.

May 13, 2010
1:01 PM EDT
I write for many audiences, but mostly I'm writing for people at "my level" and below, which is that of actual user learning as he or she goes along.

These simple articles may not be for the LXer core audience, but I always appreciate when somebody gives me a tip, however simple, that I hadn't thought of before.

While I appreciate the ability of the uber-user to hack into the system and make it do all kinds of things, I'm focusing more on basic functionality - how the average person can live their computing life on a given platform.

One thing that Ubuntu does better, and which I support, is adding needed basic documentation to the elements of their distribution.

More often than not, when I have a problem with a GNOME component, be it NetworkManager, Gthumb or Nautilus, I look for "official" GNOME documentation. Unfortunately there's not much to look at. That's where things like the Ubuntu Community pages pick up.

If I said to myself, "I'm only going to write about Linux when I'm a complete expert, sitting on that mountaintop waiting for those seeking knowledge to climb the mountain and ask me a question," I would never write a thing.

I figure that if I discover/learn/fix something, no matter how small, that's a potential shared experience that I can write about. And it beats having to look for topics.

I gotta tell you all, if this kind of criticism bothered me, I'd have gotten out of this game long ago. But I just let it roll off and keep doing what I do. I'm happy that people are reading it — whether they like, love or loathe it.


May 13, 2010
1:03 PM EDT
Re: KDE ... I've found the recent versions to be acceptably quick, and I've also liked Kwrite and Kate as editors.

If I become more interested in KDE (and right now that's an open question), I'll probably run Sidux.

May 13, 2010
1:17 PM EDT
@Steven: I don't know if you the time or desire, but it's easy to do a screencast and upload it to YouTube. You could embed it on your page. I've started doing that when others ask me for a basic tutorial (though I just send them the screencast in ogg format rather than putting it on YouTube). They love it and ask for more.

Just a thought.

May 13, 2010
1:42 PM EDT
@ Steven

I don't mean to be overly critical,... and especially don't mean for you to stop blogging... Please keep it up... If my critisicms came off mean-spirited, I apologize.

If I may make a suggestion??? I would suggest a Title making your new user oriented articles appear as a series with a definite new user theme,... Something like "A New User's Journey into Linux [or Ubuntu, or whatever]: Changing Basic Desktop Settings / Using Synaptic Package Manager / Going to for Help / Etc." That way, if a new Linux user stubles onto LXer, they can see immediately that there are articles intended for them, and the more experienced users can just pass them by.

I started coming to LXer for Linux news because LinuxToday started getting increasingly bogged down with Flash ads, and such, which creates havoc on my (Windoze, IE6,... Ugh) workstation at work (BTW: I don't own or maintain that system, if I did it would be Linux). Some of the articles are not at my speed, too (those about programing or about institutional IT administration). But definitely keep up the articles, the recent one about desktops that followed was decent, and the ones on the mode setting bug too.

May 13, 2010
2:11 PM EDT
No offense taken at all.

I try to make the headlines and descriptions specific enough so you can read or skip depending on your interest. In the articles themselves I often creep up on the point rather than write them newspaper-style, so I often modify heavily what I post on LXer to more accurately describe what follows if you click the link.

I don't think LXer is aimed at one sort of user or other. The diversity of opinion on this site, along with the radical openness that is pretty much unmatched on any other "aggregator" is something that should be celebrated.

Maybe a couple added categories to the Story Type field, like "beginner" and "expert," in the LXer story form would help.

I'll just say there are more beginners out there than you might think, and while Ubuntu in particular is extremely flexible, bringing new users into the fold is one of the major emphases of the project - and I support that effort not just for Ubuntu but for all Linux/Unix projects.

May 13, 2010
8:20 PM EDT
Quoting:Show the newbies how to tweak their machine for EYE CANDY,... & make the Win7 "aero desktop" users jealous.

LXer would be happy to publish such a story! You can add your stories here:

If you're willing to write one and need some help, maybe uploading pictures let me know. You can click on my name to send me a personal message. I think it would make for a great article!

Because after all, some cool Linux desktop pictures are cooler than flash adds I believe.

May 14, 2010
2:37 AM EDT
Quoting:(Today's horrid example: the clock in the panel is stuck in the wrong time zone. On nice sane practical Linuxes you can click on the clock, and get a menu for setting the time and timezones, and date, and how they are displayed. But no, not in KDE4. You get a menu that has five configurable features spread out over four tabs, and none of them are for setting the time or setting the date. I suppose I have to go into Yast or something.)

That's funny - something similar happened to me on two different computers with Mandriva and KDE4. The clocks didn't adjust for summer time, I couldn't adjust it by right-clicking it, and the Desktop Settings dialog wasn't running in administrator mode and offered no way of entering such a mode. At lest as far as I could see. This bug is one of the reasons I'm currently back on Ubuntu and Gnome on my home computer.

May 17, 2010
4:52 PM EDT
I'm an IT professional, and while I used to be in the 14-18 year old range but that was a long time ago. I've been using the compiz cube and other eye candy on my work desktop for years, and wouldn't have it any other way.

Those who insist that the wisdom that comes with maturity makes one dislike desktop eye candy are probably the same lot who think that as you get older you must also get fat and weak and forgetful, and stop liking the music you like when you were young.


May 17, 2010
7:32 PM EDT
Forget "eye candy," how about REAL candy?

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