Monday, September 13, 2010

How To: Customize your desktop

Hello Folks,


You can see how the above desktop looks. Well, getting there is not difficult. Let's see what do we need and what steps to follow.
Ingredients:
1. Avant Window Navigator, With all extra plugins.
2. Emerald and some emerald themes.
3. Conky and conky script to get this particular look.



Steps in this recipe:
1. INSTALL AWN AND CONFIGURE IT:
Install following packages: Avant Window Manager, awn-applets-c-core, awn-applets-c-extras, awn-applets-python-core, awn-applets-python-extras. Now I've following applets in my AWN Dock:
Yet another menu :: separator :: Launcher/Task Manager :: CPU Freq Monitor :: CPU Freq Monitor :: Notification Area :: Separator :: Volume Control
Note: I have two CPU Freq Monitors because I have a dual core processor so two indicators for two cores.
You can select a theme from "Dock Preferences -> Themes". You can get to Dock Preferences by right clicking on the AWN Panel and clicking Dock Preferences from the shortcut menu.

2. GET RID OF GNOME-PANEL:
Start gconf-editor
$gconf-editor
Go to /->desktop->gnome->session->required-components in the left pane.
Here in the right pane, change panel key value to "avant-window-navigator" from "gnome-panel".
You might need to delete any persisting extra panels.

3. INSTALL EMERALD:
Emerald is a window decorator which got some swanky themes. Install package "emerald" using Synaptic.
Download some themes from Internet for emerald. You can find some on "gnome-looks.org". The files end with extension .emerald. You can install them by going to Start Menu->Preferences->Emerald Theme Manager and clicking on Import. Now I haven't yet found correct setting to make emerald the default window decorator. So I've added an autostart entry "emerald --replace" to "Start Menu -> Preferences ->Startup Applications".

4. INSTALL CONKY:
Conky is a great system information tool. The only gripe for that is it doesn't have any configuration utility. You need to edit the ".conkyrc" file in your home folder. And the file is not easy to edit in terms of syntax etc. So best is that you download a working config file for conky and use it. You may be needed to # out some lines though. So best put the .conkyrc file in your home dir. And start conky from console. For whatever line you get error, just put a # at the start of that line. And don't forget to create an autostart entry for conky similar to the one we created for emerald.

5. SELECT A NICE METACITY THEME AND WALLPAPER TO SUIT YOUR MOOD:
Yeah, you need a good Metacity theme and a wallpaper to match your desktop. Again Gnome-looks.org can come handy. You can also try out the various icon packs and cursors to meet your taste.
And when finally you get a desktop that suits your tasted please compare it with M$'s Win7. I bet win7 gets blown outright.



The above is with few programs Running... The one below is after some fiddling around and with a different wallpaper.


Not too difficult to get here I hope.
Adios.

2 comments:

  1. where can i find that conky theme your using

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    Replies
    1. There are a lot of theme resources on web. I don't remember where I picked up this particular theme but you can usually search for something like "top ten conky themes" etc.

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