Something Cool

I wanted to share some eyecandy from my Ubuntu box. I found this phenomenal desktop image (hat tip Lifehacker), and when combined with the terminal app’s transparency setting, it creates a pretty cool effect, especially when you drag the terminal window around the desktop and the background changes.

Another cool effect is opening the terminal over a maximized app, e.g. Firefox. You get a neat window to the desktop through the maximized app/s. I guess I’m easy to please.

This is the tip of the iceberg for Ubuntu, which can be heavily customized to look/feel/act exactly the way you want, if you’re willing to spend the time. Very cool stuff.

After almost two months away from XP as my daily O/S, I don’t see myself going back, ever. However, Ubuntu continues to frustrate me, requiring almost daily reboots, sometimes hard shutdowns. Maybe that’s a patience fail on my part.

Recently, working in VMs has been a struggle. I wish I could dump them entirely, but alas, I still need to view web conferences.

Still, I’m committed to the switch, and overall, I’m pleased with Ubuntu.

Have you thought about switching away from Windows? Did you switch recently? Did it stick, or did you go back to Windows? Find the comments.




  1. Yup, I've been using Ubuntu almost exclusively, for quite a while now.

    It's installed dual-boot with XP on my home desktop, which means my wife uses it too, so I guess that says something about it not being just for geeks any more. I moved to Ubuntu when XP slowed down to a crawl, for no apparent reason, and randomly stopped booting.

    I use it on my laptop via a bootable USB drive. Which means I can carry it around with me wherever I go and get my whole desktop on any PC that supports booting from USB. Of course it's on a Seagate FreeAgent Go so that the glowy orange colour matches the default desktop theme!

    The regular-ish reboots are a pain. But at least it lets you choose when to reboot rather than doing it automatically overnight, or nagging you constantly to do it, like XP does. The VM stuff (I use VirtualBox with Win2K) is a pain for Web Conf and sites that *have* to be viewed in IE, but liveable with. Eye-candy like transparent terminals and the Compiz 3D desktop is cool for showing off, but I find it gets on my nerves when I use it all the time, so I normally just run Metacity (and a black-on-white terminal). Some stuff was a right royal PITA to get working, like the Oracle VPN client, but I've got my machines set up pretty good now and hardly ever need to touch the config.

    In summary; I continue to be bemused as to why we generate so much license revenue for Mr Gates. It's really possible for us to be at least a 99% MS free environment. Surely?

  2. I installed Ubuntu onto a spare PC at home, but the problem I've always had when tinkering with Linux is that I can't get it online, because of Linux (last try was Red Hat, before I tried Ubuntu) not being able to work with windows modems (either onboard dialup ones, or more recently, external USB modems), so I've always put Windows back on again, as having an OS that you can't get online with has always been a bit of a waste of time.

    I would really like to get Linux working, but am not sure where to start. Re. the modem issue – I guess I need to just buy a modem that Linux will work with?

  3. I've thought about reimaging my wife's desktop, but she has some software that wouldn't work and would perform like a dog over VM, really heavy graphics stuff.

    I like the portable O/S. I may have to give that a try for giggles, although I'll probably need a bigger USB stick.

    As for eyecandy, it's more for a hoot now and then. The terminal doesn't really bother me, and it's been like that for a few weeks. I get bored with black/white, white/black, green/black, sometimes orange/black.

    I'm with you about licensing. I really think there should be more Mac and Linux images, but I'm guessing there are forces at work here beyond our understanding.

  4. This is a new one for me, and yeah, it would be a moot point for switching if you can't get it online.

    I haven't used a modem for years. I'll bet if you Googled your modem and Ubuntu there are how-to resources out there. Seems like the USB modem would be a good bet for current resources, or buying one that you know in advance is recognized by Ubuntu.

    Good luck with that. Its worth the switch, IMHO.

  5. What really heavy graphics stuff? I run stuff like Blender and Ogre3D based apps without any problems.

    The only things I can't run (or find a replacement for) are my Logitech Harmony remote-control programming software and Oracle's web-conf. Pytrainer isn't great, and took some persuading before it talked to my Garmin GPS watch, but it'll do for now.

    I did have it happily installed on an 8GB USB stick. Right up until I lost the stick! 2.5″ hard-drives are harder to lose!

  6. Some home design stuff that's way out of date and doesn't render very well natively. So, you can bet it would be even worse on a VM. I'm not prepared to deal with the repercussions, i.e. throw away effort and just have to go back to XP. The machine isn't very quick either. It's a lose-lose for me.

  7. I think the transparent background feature for the Terminal comes with KDE/Gnome and has nothing to do with Ubuntu. I use this on my office linux box running Oracle Enterprise Linux with KDE. Check below screen shot.

    I used to have FC6 at home, but installed Vista when bought new PC. Now, Thinking about installing FC/Ubuntu on dual boot.

  8. Sure, I assume it's party of Gnome, not specifically the Ubuntu distro. For your FC6, go Ubuntu all the way. Dual boots never work out, at least not for me.

  9. I have been with Linux since Red Hat 7.1. Always as a secondary OS besides Windows. I played around Fedora Core from 1 to 9. It's evolving pretty good. But I am sick of RPM and dependencies. Then I switched to Slackware/Mandrake/SUSE, finally stay on Debian because of APT. It was all of a sudden Ubuntu 6 came into my view and it kicks ass/rocks.

    It's now my primary OS now besides Windows XP Pro, as I don't install compiz fusion and something like that. It's been pretty stable now. I don't normally install too many new apps so maybe that's why my ubuntu does not have odd behavior?:) But I still have some day-to-day task that cannot be be finished as efficiently as under windows. I may raise the problem on connect and we discuss.

    I do have a Macbook, I admit that I like Leopard. Especially expose/spaces and the UI. But as a hardcore opensource fan, I don't like apple. It derives UNIX(BSD branch)/Darwin but it's proprietary. Maybe they write only 10% of the codes but they sell it. And they hardly donate to the open source community. Anyway, my wife loves Mac OS better than Windows for her.

  10. I love having viable alternatives to Windows. Every O/S has its flaws, but thanks to shrinking h/w costs and improvements in each O/S, at least I can kick the tires on all of them virtually or natively if I so desire.

    Overall, I think having that choice and exercising it makes us better users.

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