Customizing The Ubuntu Terminal

The Obvious:

With a terminal open select Edit -> Profile Preferences.

In here you can set background color, transparency, font, font-size, text colors and more.

A couple not-quite obvious things I like to do.

Uncheck the ‘show menubar by default in new terminals’ – it just isn’t very useful and a right click in the terminal gives you some of those options anyway and if what you need is not there you can easily bring back the menubar from there.

Increase the number of scrollback lines – personally I at least double it to 1024 lines as Grails errors are long and ugly and that is the framework I spend a lot of my time working with. Your mileage may vary.

Advanced:

The .bashrc file in your home directory is where extra configuration options lie.

Colors:

Ubuntu disables the prompt being a different color. but simply uncomment the proper line in .bashrc and you’ll undo that. Look in the vicinity of line 36-40. The comment says the goal is to avoid distraction… just doesn’t make sense to me. A colored prompt helps me distinguish certain pieces of text from others, so for me, it is essentially the opposite of a distraction helping me focus on the pieces I need to read from the pieces I don’t.

Aliases:

Many Linux command line gurus expect “ll” or certain other common aliases to work. Uncomment a couple more lines in Ubuntu’s .bashrc file and they will. Look in the vicinity of line 80-83.

you’ll also see just a couple lines down:

# Alias definitions.
# You may want to put all your additions into a separate file like
# ~/.bash_aliases, instead of adding them here directly.
# See /usr/share/doc/bash-doc/examples in the bash-doc package.
if [ -f ~/.bash_aliases ]; then
. ~/.bash_aliases
fi
So if you’d like to add extra aliases create a .bash_aliases file and fill it in. Sweet right?!

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retooling desktop setup again

Thought I would write out a few thoughts on stuff as I have been tweaking my desktop work environment.

I have been trying out Kupfer (install it yourself!). I have found it to be very stable and haven’t even encountered any bugs over the past couple months using it. I talked in a previous post about it being more light-weight than Gnome-Do. Well that seems to true …sometimes and depending on how you are using Do. In Docky mode Do gets a little heavier, and it uses more system memory after being open for a while, but so does Kupfer. The difference is probably less than 5 MB realistically. Do is still the prettier of the two by far, and has significantly more features, but Kupfer is catching up on plugins.

DockBarX is a nice tool that I found this week. It works very similarly to the new Windows 7 dock (which is actually very nice! ) It manages to be a very nice blend between launcher and task manager. The fact that it integrates into the Gnome Panel so well is a big advantage! Docks like AWN, Cairo, or Docky have to figure out some hiding, morphing into a panel like thing in order to not occupy to much screen real-estate, or getting so much functionality that the gnome panel can be removed. It is a bit heavier on system resources than I would have hoped – around the 22MB range. The combination of Kupfer and DockBarX is a really good one.  I think I prefer it to Gnome-Do with Docky. I can’t help wonder if they could be integrated together since they seem to touch so much of the same stuff.

I know some people and Linux distros want to avoid Mono applications. I suppose this would be an appealing solution to get some of the coolness that Gnome-Do brings in that case as well.

Update: I have been running with Compiz disabled lately. An upside to the dockbar/kupfer combo is, unlike GnomeDo or Docky, they don’t require compositing to work well. In addition they both run leaner (17-18 MB each) when compositing is disabled.

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Make Firefox 3.5 UI more Chrome like

I must say Google Chrome touched on some great stuff with their UI design. Firefox 3.5 will still be my primary browser, but more and more I use Chromium. It is fast, light, and just a pleasure to use.

I did find a way to improve the Firefox 3.5 UI and make it a little more Chrome like by using the Tiny Menu Plugin and customizing the toolbars. This makes it more friendly for smaller laptop or netbook screens, but I like it even on a large monitor.

Here are some instructions to get the toolbars set up this way:

  1. Install the Tiny Menu Plugin and restart Firefox.
  2. Go into the view menu option and under toolbars select “customize…”
  3. Drag pieces from navigation toolbar onto the menu toolbar – arrange to taste…
  4. Optionally replace “home” button with “bookmarks” button ( I find I almost never use the home button. )
  5. Go back into menu>view>toolbars and un-check the navigation and bookmarks toolbar options
First Try
First Try

My first try at it was pretty good, but I played around just a bit and replaced “menu” with an icon and arranged icons a little more to my taste

second try
second try

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