Archive for Ubuntu

Ubuntu 11.04 Tweaks and Hints

One of my Ubuntu desktops has dual screens with a separate system to the left running Windows. The two systems share a mouse & keyboard using Synergy, and this has worked well for the past few years. Upon upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04, a few problems arose with Synergy. By default, the Unity bar (or column, whichever you wish to call it) was set to auto-hide, and to only show itself when the mouse hits the left edge of the screen. Great, except that when the mouse reaches the left edge of the screen, Synergy takes over and puts it onto Windows and the next screen over.

Also, over the years, I’ve become accustomed to using super+l to lock the screen, and super+space to bring up Gnome-Do to launch programs. Upon upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04, Unity takes the super key for itself, and breaks/changes all other key combinations that use the super key.

Here are the tweaks that I’ve made so far to make Unity a bit more friendly. I’m writing this assuming that you already have compiz enabled (desktop effects prior to upgrading), and that you have CompizConfig Settings Manager installed.

Disable the Unity Bar from autohiding and make it narrower

Open up CompizConfig Settings Manager and search for “Ubuntu Unity Plugin”. Once there, set Hide Launcher to “Never” on the Behavior tab, and optionally set the Launcher icon size smaller on the Experimental tab (I have mine set to the lowest possible value of 32).

Change the Unity launcher key away from the Super key

On the first tab of the Ubuntu Unity Plugin screen of CCSM, change “Key to show the launcher” to something other than “<Super>”. As seen in the screenshot, I’ve set mine to “<Shift><Super>”, which is working out just fine.

Changing this has also enabled Gnome-Do to resume working via super+space and I’m able once again to set the “Lock screen” setting to super+l. (Just like on Windows. Using both systems, it’s nice to have consistency.)

Opening multiple instances of a program from the Unity Bar

This is nothing special, but it took me a bit of time to figure out. Middle clicking on the icon on the Unity Bar will launch a new window/instance of the program.

Dual Screen wallpaper

Ubuntu 11.04 has a new option for displaying wallpaper, “Span”. Time to hit up your favorite site for images that work on dual monitor setups.

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Ubuntu 8.10 – Intrepid Ibex – Guest Mode

Accessing Guest Mode

Accessing Guest Mode

Ubuntu 8.10 introduces “Guest Mode”. This enables the user to create a temporary environment when letting someone use their computer. Users will find this extremely useful, as they can let someone use their computer without any risk of losing settings in various programs, including Firefox. Also, the user will not have to sign out of website accounts in order to protect them or allow for their guest to log in.

When guest mode is activated (see above screenshot), a temporary account is setup with the home folder in /tmp. To return back to the user’s session, they just have to pick their name from the same list. They will then be prompted for their password to get back into their session.

Guest Mode Home Directory

Guest Mode Home Directory

This is a very nice feature for the paranoid as they will no longer have to stand behind their guest to ensure the safety of their data.

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Dell to Offer Ubuntu 7.04

Today Dell announced that they are working with Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) to sell Computers running Ubuntu. The article includes a video interview between a Dell person and Mark Shuttleworth.

Comments Launched

Over the past few weeks, the Pennsylvania Ubuntu LoCo Team has been working to launch our new site,

They held their first meeting today, but being 3 hours away, I wasn’t able to attend.  From what I’ve heard, an Install Fest is planned for June 2nd in Philadelphia.  More to come as it is announced.


Working Without Ubuntu

As I am home for a week off from school for spring break, I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort to bring my Ubuntu machine home with me. So now after about 6 weeks of using Ubuntu primarily, I am forced to use Windows XP once again for 9 days, as that is what is installed on my laptop. Already I am missing some of the basic abilities of Gnome, multiple workspaces. Multiple times I have found myself looking down to the lower right corner hoping to find the workspace switch, with no luck.

In good news, I am experiencing Verizon FiOS for the first time at home. We had it installed shortly after I returned to school for the spring semester. Below is the results from one of the speed tests that I have run since returning home. (Our plan is 5/2 Mbps.)

Verizon FiOS Speed Test


New Computer

New Computer Just over a week ago, with the help of Aaron, I purchased and built my first tower. Specs include 2.13 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo and 2 GB RAM, among many other things.

Since Microsoft was close to releasing their next operating system at the time, I decided that it was time that I ditched Windows for good. It is running Ubuntu 6.10, which was released in the fall. Over the past week, I have been tweaking it to fit my needs, and have also installed a few applications for the fun of it. These include Beryl and VMware Server. You can look forward to screenshots of both of these within the coming weeks.