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Old 08-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #1
incurablegeek
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Modifying the GUI


Although I am familiar with every iteration of Windows since its inception, I am new to Linux and will be installing Ubuntu 12.04 when my Seasonic psu arrives today.

Briefly, I do not wish to play with other flavors, just Ubuntu. Thus far what disappoints me greatly about Linux is the seeming complexity of modifying its GUI. Please understand that I use my computers for business, so efficiency is what I am looking for.

What I am looking for in an Ubuntu Desktop is rather simple:

1) Taskbar on the bottom - not up and down the sides so as to limit my screen real estate and be noisome in the process.

2) Grouping of icons and Labeling of the icon groups, as with the Fences program.

3) A plain background - no pictures of swimming dolphins or dancing elephants.

Note: I typically run multiple monitors with each monitor customized for the tasks it will handle. (Also, I am unable to post screen shots of my monitors on this forum.)
 
Old 08-15-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
tuxmariner
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incurablegeek - I suggest you try Kubuntu instead of Ubuntu then. It is basically Ubuntu with KDE instead of Gnome as the desktop environment. While some others may disagree, I personally find KDE to be much easier to customise, but also to just look nicer (for how I want things to work) by default. I work in an office where most of us are using Kubuntu now and I've been using it at home for years. It's pretty nice!

Specifically, it starts with a taskbar at the bottom by default. None at the top or down the sides.

In regards to the desktop background, you can change this to a plain background on every distro (that I'm aware of). From memory, the default on Kubuntu is very simple (no dancing elephants) although not completely plain.

I don't know anything about Fences, so can't help you there.

Good luck with your forays into Linux and remember that you have a friendly community here to help you out. Sometimes it can take a little while to figure things out, but in my experience it's worth it!
 
Old 08-15-2013, 07:42 PM   #3
incurablegeek
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Thumbs up

Thank you, tuxmariner, for your kind and welcoming response.

My understanding is that Desktops can be modified and/or replaced on the Linux kernel with sudo.

However, what you are saying is that Ubuntu is fundamentally the same as Kubuntu, but with the (more user friendly) KDE Plasma Desktop instead of the Unity graphical environment. (from Wikipedia)

And if I use Kubuntu, I will not lose all my friends over at the Ubuntu forums and live the rest of my life as a Sad and Lonely Outcast?
What I will have instead is Ubuntu with a more efficient Desktop?

Regarding Fences, all I can say is that once you have used it you will wonder how you got along without it. For Linux this might be similar: http://www.mascobz.com/download-fenc...-ubuntu-linux/

Although I use multiple monitors and therefore classify my Fences groups a little bit nicer, the attached snippet will give you some idea of how handy Fences really is.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Ubuntu Screen Snap.jpg
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:25 PM   #4
tuxmariner
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Yes, you definitely can install/change desktop environments via the command-line. However, an important difference between installing Kubuntu directly instead of installing Ubuntu and then KDE is that of default packages. Different desktop environments have different applications that work with them best (often they will work fine on both though). For example, under Kubuntu the default music player is Amarok (which I quite like), the default IM client is Kopete (but I use Pidgin instead) and the default file manager is Dolphin. You will find that under Ubuntu you will have a lot of different default packages that work best with Gnome.

For this reason, I would personally recommend installing Kubuntu from the start as I think you will get a better experience out of it that way. If you go the Ubuntu and then KDE route, you can of course install all of the KDE applications you like and reconfigure things - but it will be a lot more work.

Under the hood, Ubuntu and Kubuntu are the same so they both use things such as aptitude for package management (whereas Fedora uses 'yum' for example). They also have the same file locations and setup for all of the config files etc. This means that all of the Ubuntu help and tutorials that uses the command line are going to work fine for both Ubuntu and Kubuntu. Indeed I use the Ubuntu forums all the time with no problems. The only time something will be different is if it relates to the desktop environment or a GUI way of doing things. But as lots of other people love KDE too, there is also load of help available for it.

In short: "And if I use Kubuntu, I will not lose all my friends over at the Ubuntu forums and live the rest of my life as a Sad and Lonely Outcast?" - correct! :-)

Ok, I understand what Fences is now. Looks like you've found a solution. I keep my desktop very clear so this isn't something I have used personally.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 08-15-2013, 08:50 PM   #5
Firerat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxmariner View Post
Yes, you definitely can install/change desktop environments via the command-line. However, an important difference between installing Kubuntu ..
....
....
I have Debian, jessie/sid
the sid bits are really just for the btrfs raid5/6 support that I'm playing with.

I use Dolphin Filemanager / Konsole
Ktorrent for Disrto down{up}load
terminator
and Cinnamon compiled from git ( because the one in Debian is a little behind )
lots of other things I 'change' from the default...


Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of a Linux for Windows users..
Just don't know it 'will work'

I never try to convince windows users to convert, but if they seem interested I recommend Mint these days,that or Tails if they want the xp look

But Welcome all the new posters who welcome Zorin.. another Debian derivative

Oh
I think Debian is 20 years old today...
Happy B' day Debian..

Last edited by Firerat; 08-15-2013 at 08:52 PM.
 
Old 08-15-2013, 10:22 PM   #6
incurablegeek
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Quote:
Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of a Linux for Windows users..
Just don't know it 'will work'

I never try to convince windows users to convert, but if they seem interested I recommend Mint these days,that or Tails if they want the xp look
Yes, I must agree. We Windows Users are an unfortunate sub-species.
 
Old 08-15-2013, 10:57 PM   #7
Firerat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by incurablegeek View Post
Yes, I must agree. We Windows Users are an unfortunate sub-species.


Many a time I have seen a Windows user 'over sold' Linux, and they 'try' it for all the wrong reasons.. and proceed to fail.

It is actually the ones who are 'just curious' to try something new that fair better. They enter with an open mind, no expectations and begin to love the difference as oppose to hate it because they were told it was the same but better.

Mind you, I've had to 'play along' on occasion,. newly converted Linux enthusiasts 'selling' Linux to me .. that kind of thing is bad for Linux

Still I will give it ( Zorin ) a spin, maybe it will trump Mint as an introduction to GNU/Linux
 
Old 08-15-2013, 11:24 PM   #8
incurablegeek
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Quote:
Many a time I have seen a Windows user 'over sold' Linux, and they 'try' it for all the wrong reasons.. and proceed to fail.
I'm quite sure you mean well but I must also add that you know very little of my background. Suffice it to say, that no one sells me anything.

Stereotypes can be extremely dangerous. They are, more often than not, very wrong. And in this case, more than a little bit offensive.

New to Linux? Yes. New to computers? Emphatically no.

So that you understand my position here, I have 4 computers and a file server. Everything custom built. Three of the computers and the file server will continue to run Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit, because my business must go on. On one other computer I will experiment with Ubuntu, Desktops, Software, etc. before making a giant leap from the known to the unknown.

As I alluded to, but did not elaborate upon, I believe Windows 8 and its illegitimate offspring represent the death of Microsoft. Microsoft has abandoned its long tradition of desktop operating systems and now endorses a cliche touchscreen system that I doubt business will ever find useful. Less elegantly put, Win 8, 8.1, et. al. are kiddie-computing. So I am looking to the future, which I believe to be Linux and Open Source.

..............

@tuxmariner Much appreciate all your info. As is so often the case, answers to questions often result in more questions. At least now my questions are becoming more focused and mature. Thank you!
 
Old 08-15-2013, 11:44 PM   #9
Firerat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firerat View Post
-->> <<--

Many a time I have seen a Windows user 'over sold' Linux, and they 'try' it for all the wrong reasons.. and proceed to fail.
Context
 
Old 08-16-2013, 08:03 AM   #10
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by incurablegeek View Post
Briefly, I do not wish to play with other flavors, just Ubuntu. Thus far what disappoints me greatly about Linux is the seeming complexity of modifying its GUI.
Why 'just ubuntu'?

If you want to modify the desktop/GUI, ubuntu with unity is very bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by incurablegeek View Post
Please understand that I use my computers for business, so efficiency is what I am looking for.

What I am looking for in an Ubuntu Desktop is rather simple:

1) Taskbar on the bottom - not up and down the sides so as to limit my screen real estate and be noisome in the process.

2) Grouping of icons and Labeling of the icon groups, as with the Fences program.

3) A plain background - no pictures of swimming dolphins or dancing elephants.

Note: I typically run multiple monitors with each monitor customized for the tasks it will handle. (Also, I am unable to post screen shots of my monitors on this forum.)
1- was possible withbunity in the past with some dodgy compiz plugin. No idea if that is still around, or if it still works.

3- changing the background/desktop wallpaper is easy. If you dont like the desktop background just change it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by incurablegeek View Post
My understanding is that Desktops can be modified and/or replaced on the Linux kernel with sudo.
'Sudo' can be used on many linux distros, but ubuntu (and ubuntu based) is the only major linux distro to disable 'root' (su) and force people to use sudo.

You dont really change the desktop 'on the linux kernel'. The desktop is provided by packages, not by the kernel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by incurablegeek View Post
What I will have instead is Ubuntu with a more efficient Desktop?
If you instal kubuntu, you'll have kubuntu.

Kubuntu used to be just a different desktop, with the changes being made to ubuntu its becoming less and less 'ubuntu with a different desktop' (e.g. the 13.10 version of ubuntu is going to be using 'mir' display server. Kubunut (and lubuntu) will not be using mir for 13.10...who knows what will happen when with 14.04 they remove the 'fallback' (standard xserver) option...

Quote:
Originally Posted by incurablegeek View Post
And if I use Kubuntu, I will not lose all my friends over at the Ubuntu forums and live the rest of my life as a Sad and Lonely Outcast?
You can use the ubuntu forums with any supported browser. You dont have to be using a *buntu.

Though from the way that the ubuntu forum has bled users since 10.04 or so, I dont know how many decent users are still there.

BTW, I've reported your post(s) for moving into a different thread incurablegeek. This thread is 'Welcome to the Zorin OS Forum'. its for welcoming Zorin to the forum, not for ubuntu questions.
 
Old 08-16-2013, 09:09 AM   #11
XavierP
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I have split off the posts from incurablegeek (and their responses) into this thread as the thread they were in were the "Welcome to ZorinOS" thread!
 
Old 08-16-2013, 12:35 PM   #12
TroN-0074
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Another vote for Kubuntu here '+1'
I know you said you were not interested in try a diferent flavor but kubuntu is just ubuntu optimized to work with the KDE desktop. Grouping icons by categories easily done with the use of widgets plasmoid in KDE.
Give it a try, if you run into troubles trying it, just ask here again.

Good luck to you.

Last edited by TroN-0074; 08-16-2013 at 04:41 PM.
 
Old 08-16-2013, 12:36 PM   #13
DavidMcCann
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Well, you got the right idea in using the LTS version of Ubuntu, but (as others have pointed out) you can't move the panel (a taskbar is a component of the panel in Linux-speak) and you need third-party software to remove that irritating dock at the side.

Would Kubuntu suit you? Only you can say whether you'll like KDE: I like plain things (no dancing elephants here!) and I find KDE too "busy" and cluttered. But the real problem with Kubuntu for me is the fact that it's an unofficial remix of Ubuntu. The KDE stuff comes out of Ubuntu's repository and they get it from Debian's unstable repository. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good. It's generally best to get a distro with its default GUI because that's the one that most people are using and which is the best maintained. For business use, I'd recommend OpenSUSE for KDE, CentOS for Gnome, or Mint LTS for Mate.

I'd never heard of Fences (I've never used Windows) but a quick search suggests that there's no equivalent. Those of us not brought up on Windows don't generally have icons all over the place. To get a quick start for programs without having to use the menu, you can create shortcuts with the Super (aka Windows) key: I have Super-a for accounts, Super-c for calculator, and so on).

My desktop as it was a couple of years ago:
http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/7168/desktopoq.png
 
  


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