Sunday, 16 December 2007

Pimp my Ubuntu

Ubuntu looks great as it is but if your not a fan of the default you can always customise it to look and feel exactly the way you want. One of the great things about ubuntu and linux in general is the level of control you get to tweak things to your preference. Here I am going to show some of the things I have done to make my ubuntu not only more visually appealing but more functional too. I am doing this in gutsy but it should be similar in the other versions of ubuntu.

Right first things first, I personally don't mind the default wallpaper but I know some people are not too keen on brown theme so here's how to change your wallpaper. Right click on the desktop and select 'Change Desktop Background', then select the background tab. From here you can either choose one of the other built in wallpapers or add new ones.

I got some of my wallpapers, including the one I'm using, from here.

There are tons of themes available for ubuntu at gnome-look and art.gnome. I am using the glossy p theme with hacked window borders to give my ubuntu the OS X look.

I have stuck with the default human icon theme but if you want something else once again check out gnome-look and art.gnome.

Dock/starter bar
The starter bar is an essential part of my desktop, I have all my favourite places and applications on it so I very rarely have to go through the start menu. It is similar to the dock in os x except I like it at the top. The starter bar is part of gdesklets which is a collection of widgets for the gnome desktop. You can get gdesklets either from the 'Add/Remove Applications' menu or through synaptic. The starter bar desklet is located under the 'toolbar/launchers' category in gdesklets. Here's what mine looks like:

I like having the starter panel on the bottom and the dock on the top, I think it's great for usability and I also think ubuntu should adopt this set-up for hardy heron.

To customise the panel right click on it and select 'Panel properties'. You can add a background image like I have done

You can find some panel backgrounds here and here. With my background image the panel is slightly transparent, the look of it depends on the wallpaper. I find that darker wallpapers work better. The gnome panel is very flexible, you can add a lot of things to it, I have the system monitor launcher showing the cpu load on my panel. To add launchers to your panel simply right click on it and select 'Add to panel'.

Pimp my terminal
I use my terminal quite a bit so I decided to make it look nice. Here's what it looks like:

To make your terminal look like this do the following, click on Edit>Current profile, under the 'Colours' tab de-select 'Use colours from system theme' and then choose green on black from the 'Built-in schemes'. The transparency option is found under the 'Effects' tab.


  1. Excellent!
    Now Ubuntu's going to be pimped!

    -Sorry My Bad English-