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What Ubuntu tweaks, hacks or modifications do you find indispensable? It could be Gnome2 or Gnome3 based Ubuntu.


  • Mention Ubuntu version (if not general tweak)
  • Include a short "how-to"
  • Include a link of original content (from forums, blogs,websites), if possible.
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closed as not constructive by Eliah Kagan, hexafraction, Tom Brossman, devav2, Jorge Castro Oct 6 '12 at 14:45

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Generally speaking, this site should only be used for Q/A; AskUbuntu is not a forum. This type of question may be more appropriate as a Community Wiki, but given how open-ended it is I doubt that would be useful either. As such, this may be better asked at the Ubuntu Forums. – Christopher Kyle Horton Oct 27 '11 at 17:38 <- see the motivations part – Greg Treleaven Oct 30 '11 at 17:35
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I use a script that does a lot of tweaks, configuration and modifications for me. Many of these can be made by hand, but with a script its easier than stumbling through menus and windows.

# Enable the firewall
sudo ufw enable

# Get some codecs to play media
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg

# Add third-party PPA repositories
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa

# Get some software I like
sudo apt-get install synaptic gnome-session-fallback blender chromium-browser gimp lm-sensors php5-cli stjerm wine1.3 xchat

# Get rid of annoying suggestions to buy music from the store
sudo apt-get remove unity-scope-musicstores

# Ignore HIG, we want a classic black terminal
gconftool-2 --set --type bool /apps/gnome-terminal/profiles/Default/use_theme_colors false
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/gnome-terminal/profiles/Default/background_color '#000000000000'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/gnome-terminal/profiles/Default/foreground_color '#FFFFFFFFFFFF'

# Save space by hiding my name from the me-menu, I already know my name, tyvm
gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.session show-real-name-on-panel false
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface show-input-method-menu false
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface show-unicode-menu false

# I need alt+click for apps and games, so lets use WinKey instead
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/metacity/general/mouse_button_modifier '<Super>'

# Use WinKey instead of Alt for the window management hotkeys (Metacity)
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/metacity/window_keybindings/begin_move '<Super>F7'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/metacity/window_keybindings/begin_resize '<Super>F8'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/metacity/window_keybindings/maximize '<Super>F10'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/metacity/window_keybindings/minimize '<Super>F9'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/metacity/window_keybindings/unmaximize '<Super>F5'

# Use WinKey instead of Alt for the window management hotkeys (Compiz)
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/compiz-1/plugins/core/screen0/options/maximize_window_key '<Super>F10'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/compiz-1/plugins/core/screen0/options/minimize_window_key '<Super>F9'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/compiz-1/plugins/core/screen0/options/unmaximize_window_key '<Super>F5'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/compiz-1/plugins/move/screen0/options/initiate_key '<Super>F7'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/compiz-1/plugins/resize/screen0/options/initiate_key '<Super>F8'

# Settings for the civilized world
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/panel3-applets/clock/format '24-hour'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/panel3-applets/clock/speed_unit 'm/s'
gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/panel3-applets/clock/temperature_unit 'C'

Stuff for Firefox in about:config

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well i did not know super key could be used like that!...nice one..but can it (super key alone) be used to bring a particular application like synapse from hidden state? – Khurshid Alam Oct 28 '11 at 16:32

Interesting question. I actually spent several minutes thinking about this, and I realized that I've mostly stopped tweaking per se. One thing I really love about Unity, is that additions doesn't plug in like in older versions. They just communicate with Unity, which in turn integrates it. I have added a weather indicator, for instance, which is really nice because it means I don't have to look outside my windows to see if it's raining or not. :)

I have added a few static quicklists to some of my apps, though. I have shortcuts for my terminal so I can attach to a remote screen very easily. I've added one to open Gedit with files relevant to a project, but that's not really useful and should be built into GEdit as dynamic quicklists instead.

But, while thinking about these things, one thing you might consider a tweak that I can't live without, became obvious. bzr. I've put my config directories under version control. This means that I can always see when a configuration has changed, exactly what has changed and I can always easily revert to an earlier version. That's quite nice and I'd recommend it to anyone.

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