My New Desktop

Since its exam time, of course I’m spending my time doing anything but studying. So, I’ve completely redone my Ubuntu desktop.

Screenshot

Now, I’m sure you are all eager to know how I’ve managed to put together such a beautiful looking desktop, well, I’ll show you

Probably the most striking part of the desktop is the dock, and for that I’ve used Docky, from the folks who create Gnome-Do. They have decided to spin off Docky as it’s own application, separate from Gnome-Do. The application launchers can be seen on the left, while there are ‘docklets’ in the middle for CPU usage, weather, mounted drives, gmail, recent documents and network management. Over on the right is a docklet for Nautilus bookmarks, which is particularly handy.

dock

Instructions on how to install Docky are available here (see the bottom of the post)

Now, I’m a bit of a stat freak and love to know exactly what is going on with my machine at all times, so I’ve configured Conky for the task.

conky

Installing Conky is easy, configuring it is the hard part. You need to edit the .conkyrc file in your home directory to tailor it to your needs. The great part is that you can hook in scripts to Conky to display some really interesting information. A good place to start with .conkyrc files is here. If you can’t find one you like, take one and have a look through it, and modify it, it gets strangely addictive after a while. If anyone is interested in how I made mine work, post in the comments and I’ll post it with an explanation.

My background image is an Arctic Fox, for no other reason than it looks cool.

It might look like I’m living a panel free existence, but I’m not. Docky caters for Network Management, Trash, Window Switching, Battery Monitoring and pretty much everything a panel does, but I don’t have a notification area. Hopefully there’ll be an update to Docky soon to provide this, but till then I have a small hidden panel with a notification area.

Launching applications is handled by the always fantastic Gnome-Do keystroke launcher, coupled with a few of my own keyboard shortcuts, configured with the help of Ubuntu Tweak

do

Finally, I’ve configured the bottom corners of the screen, using Ubuntu Tweak, to perform actions when I move my mouse there. When I move my mouse to the bottom right corner, all windows are minimised and the desktop is shown. When I move the mouse to the bottom left of the screen, all open applications from all Desktops are shown like this.

tiled windows

And that’s all there is to it. Everything is where I like it, all files and information is at my fingertips, so I’m more efficient. Total set up time was about an hour, and I reckon over the course of the next couple of weeks, when I’ll be using my laptop extensively, it’ll save me a decent chunk of that time. Questions? Feel free to comment below.

1 Comment

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  1. I like the dock, good job !
    I will try to customize mine with your tips.

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