Making Ubuntu 11.10 and 12.04 behave like 10.04
January 2, 2012
Like many others you chose to install new Ubuntu 11.10. And like many others, after about one minute of using it, the bling wore off and you were shocked how crappy it really was.
Although the new system is shiny and glam, from the usability point of view the new Unity interface simply sucks. The Gnome3 Shell that is advertised as an alternative is not that nice as well. This was the reason that many people abandoned Ubuntu for more sane systems like Mint. Many people like me simply like to have a system to get stuff done, and not to interact with. Gnome 2 based systems, like Ubuntu 10.04 were perfect for that goal.
So now, after you cried a river on how the new Ubuntu made you feel bad, time has come to dry your tears. There is a way to make new Gnome3 based ubuntu look and play nice – exactly like your good ‘ol desktop ( or like mine, on the photo on the right :P ).
Here’s what you have to do:
Secure your rights
As of April 2013 the current threat to the freedom of internet is
SOPA PIPA CISPA, aka SOPA 2.0 though many lawyers say it is way worse. Go to the EFF site and learn more, sign petition, and make a ruckus about it among your friends on twitter and facebook:
For this tutorial and other websites to exist in a free uncensored internet, it is essential to kill any toxic bills. Some politicians will never learn like some old grandpa who clings to some racist believes. Hence they will try to go again and again with attempts to limit freedom using the usual “we are only trying to protect you” agenda.
Install new stuff
Ubuntu by default does not ship with sane packages that are out there. You have to install them from a terminal:
Classic gnome3 ( source):
sudo apt-get install gnome-panel gnome-session-fallback gnome-tweak-tool
Ported indicator applet ( source):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jconti/gnome3 sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install indicator-applet indicator-applet-complete indicator-applet-session indicator-applet-appmenu
sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-plugins-extra
Radiance 10.04 theme for both gtk3 and gtk2 ( 10.04 Ambiance and Radiance for gtk2-only engines – pre 11.10 – are here )
# choose one: # this is for 12.04 wget http://light-themes-lucid.googlecode.com/files/Radiance-10.04a-gtk3-gtk2.tgz sudo tar -xzf Radiance-10.04a-gtk3-gtk2.tgz -C /usr/share/themes # this is for 11.10 (will cause render errors in 12.04) wget http://light-themes-lucid.googlecode.com/files/Radiance-10.04-gtk3-gtk2.tgz sudo tar -xzf Radiance-10.04-gtk3-gtk2.tgz -C /usr/share/themes
Set it all up
This text below, till the other orange message, applies only to the 11.04. In 12.04 compiz starts okay in gnome classic and no other tinkering is needed.
Your system now has all the stuff it needs to be happy, but it doesn’t exactly know at this stage what to do with all of this. So you have to massage it a little.
Tell lightdm that were cooking with compiz ( source ). To do so you must create new gnome session file:
sudo sh -c "cat >> /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/gnome-classic-compiz.session"
Then paste the following text and hit ctrl-d when you’re done.
[GNOME Session] Name=GNOME Classic Compiz RequiredComponents=gnome-panel;gnome-settings-daemon; RequiredProviders=windowmanager;notifications; DefaultProvider-windowmanager=compiz DefaultProvider-notifications=notify-osd IsRunnableHelper=/usr/lib/gnome-session/gnome-session-check-accelerated FallbackSession=gnome-fallback DesktopName=GNOME
Next create new xsession file:
sudo sh -c "cat >> /usr/share/xsessions/gnome-classic-compiz.desktop"
Then select and copy ( button in corner ) and then paste the following text into the terminal. After doing so press ctrl-d to tell terminal that you ended filling that file.
[Desktop Entry] Name=GNOME Classic Compiz Comment=This session logs you into GNOME with the traditional panel Exec=gnome-session --session=gnome-classic-compiz TryExec=gnome-session Icon= Type=Application X-Ubuntu-Gettext-Domain=gnome-session-3.0
And tell lightdm to use that new session as default ( source).
sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults -s gnome-classic-compiz
Resume with the tutorial from here if you have 12.04 and above section did not apply to you.
Now your system will know what to chose when logging. But you have to add compiz –replace command to the startup applications ( Applications → Other → Startup Applications ) so the compiz will actually start. Compiz by default takes over Alt + Right Mouse Button to move windows around. Unfortuately gnome-classic uses the same key combination to access preferences. You got to change compiz setting in Applications → Other → CompizConfig Settings Manager | Window Management → Move Window → Initiate Window Move to something that suits you. I use Super instead of Alt. You can now setup your panel preferences in gnome-classic + compiz by clicking Alt + Right Mouse Button. Theme settings are accessible through Applications → Other → Advanced Settings where you can setup theme, fonts and so on. Desktop font configuration is accessible through:
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.desktop font 'Purisa 10'
To add transparency to the inactive window, like in 10.04, issue this command:
gconftool-2 –set –type float /apps/gwd/metacity_theme_opacity 0.75
This will restore roll-over effect that happen when you move your mouse scroll wheel over your window title bar:
gconftool-2 -s -t string /apps/gwd/mouse_wheel_action shade
I hope this comprehensive guide helped you a lot getting back to the Ubuntu. If you wanna share the gratitude, then feel free to donate few bucks for my Non-Alcohol Beer Fund and for my Remedial Massage Therapy course that I plan to attend, since I’m done with paid-for office computer work :)
Here’s the paypal button:
That is all. You now can enjoy full 10.04 like desktop on your gnome 3 based Ubuntu :) ( minus few occasional usability bugs that gnome folk currently work on re-implementing into gnome3 – its not as smooth experience as gnome2 but its far better than unity’s madness )
If you did all of your stuff correctly your desktop should now look and feel like so:
If you like me use auto-hide panels, then this might help you. Add this script in startup applications, so it will tell all panels to be on top, since gnome folks missed that one feature (or at least my instance behave like so).
#!/bin/bash for i in `wmctrl -l | grep "Edge Panel" | cut -f 1 -d ' '`; do wmctrl -v -i -r $i -b add,above ; done
If you feel like adding proper colors for Ambiance gtk3, this little one liner might help you get things done. I used it to make my gtk3 version of Radiance, by injecting proper colors into 11.10 version of Radiance. It lists all html colors used in file or files called v.
v="gtkrc"; for i in `cat $v | egrep -o '\#[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]|\#[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]' | tr [A-Z] [a-z] | sort | uniq` ; do echo "<span style=\"background: $i; color: white;\"> </span> $i <br/>"; done > col.html
This post might be edited from time to time without me mentioning it. Most likely when I will find some stuff that needs fixing or when I will find better ways of achieving the gnome2 workflow. Don’t be alarmed if such thing will happen.