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Old 05-12-2010, 05:13 AM   #1
axedre
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Smile Saving GNOME customization


Hi.
I was wondering if there was a way to create a script to automatically restore, on a fresh linux (with GNOME desktop manager) install, all my interface preferences. Let me explain; every time I install ubuntu (or any other distro), I find myself doing the same actions over and over again: delete the bottom panel, place the top panel on the bottom, put the workspace switcher in the bottom panel, add a shortcut to gedit on the bottom panel next the firefox icon, set 'oblivion' theme to gedit, and so on. Frankly, this is getting annoying. So I was wondering if I could do it once and for all, and keep track of it on a script, that way on future fresh installs I will need only run the script and my distro will look the way I want it to.
Thanks for any suggestions,

Andy
P.S. Before anyone suggests me to, let me point out I already tried replacing the newly-created ~/.gconf and the ~/.gconfd with the ones from previous "customized" distros but it gave me major issues in terms of window compositing, so I had to revert to the backed up gconf and gconfd directories.
 
Old 05-12-2010, 06:31 AM   #2
DavidMcCann
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Generally speaking, the old configuration files should work. I suspect that most Linux users do what I do: put /home on a separate partition so that the configuration files are retained. That's seen me through five years of Fedora and a brief trial of Debian. But then I'm not using Compiz, which I presume you are.

Any customising script would be quite complex, as it would have to re-write about a dozen files. If one of the old files creates problems, then customising a new one to do the same as the old one would create the same problems!

I think you're going to have to look closely at the contents of all the configuration files. If you can find the one which causes your problem, then you could have a simple script to restore the safe files from backups of the old copies, and just configure the awkward one by hand.
 
Old 05-12-2010, 07:59 AM   #3
axedre
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Thumbs up

Thank you, you have a point. I have Fedora 12 (/) set up on sda1; swap on sda3; unformatted sda3 and /home on sda4. I figured I'd dedicate an empty partition (sda3) to try out or beta-test new distros; so when lucid lynx came out I installed it to sda3 (and I'm running it right now), but omitted mounting /home to sda4 since I feared it could mess things up (especially if certain apps are configured differenty on the two distros, or if GNOME itself differs - in this case it looks to me like Fedora's GNOME is version 2.28, while the one shipped with Ubuntu is 2.30).
Am I right to worry or is there absolutely no problem in sharing a single /home directory between distros? Because if there isn't, I will gladly re-install Ubuntu and have its home point to sda4.
Cheers and thanks for the reply.

Andy
 
Old 05-14-2010, 12:11 PM   #4
DavidMcCann
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I have a "guest partition" like you, for looking at other distros. I suspect that two distros could share /home, but I've never dared to try in case it mucked-up both. In computing, the best rule is "prepare for the worst, and you'll never be disappointed"! I let the guest distro create a /home on its own partition. It's easy enough to mount Fedora's /home from the other distro to access your own files and just keep the guest /home for configuration.
 
Old 05-16-2010, 02:26 PM   #5
axedre
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Hi, thanks for the reply. Too bad I didn't read it until after I tried sharing the /home partition between distros.
For those of you reading this thread: DON'T DO IT. It's a bad idea, and it does "muck-up" everything, at least on the distro you're trying out. Luckily Fedora's SELinux prevented things from getting seriously wound up after Ubuntu 10.04 tried accessing (and modifying, I guess) files like .ICEauthority and other hidden files in the home directory. Upon a subsequent boot, it signaled a security warning but resisted Ubuntu's attack quite nicely. Ubuntu, on the other hand, had some serious desktop issues such as window title bars gone, GNOME menu gone, notification area gone, and other minor lacks. So yes, the advice would be to always have the distro you're trying mount its own /home, and mount the old /home partition to access files, which is what I did after I risked screwing everything up. For the record, if you want to import customization for panels and gnome applications (such as gedit with all its plugins and networkmanager with customized settings for personal networks) it should be sufficient to import the directories .gconf and .gnome2 from the previous home to the new one. But even that's not 100% guaranteed to avoid muck-ups.
If anyone knows a better way to export the appearance of the GNOME desktop and the settings for its applications and would like to pitch in and share his/her wisdom, he/she's most welcome!
Cheers,

Andrea
 
  


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