15 Linux Desktop Customizations

If you think Linux desktops are ugly, think again. Here is an awesome collection of 15 jaw dropping Linux desktop customizations made by users. I wouldn't mind calling them works of art instead of just customizations. They are that good. A good number of them include clever conky modifications. I haven't yet tried to emulate them in my desktop, but surely will, at least some of them. For now, just the screenshots and the source. Watch and enjoy!

Install Flock Web Browser Ubuntu 10.10

Flock is a free, open source web browser based on Firefox.
Flock is still in development and will be officially released and added to the Ubuntu repositories in future.
For those who want to try Flock before then, there are two methods, using either a pre-packaged .deb, or a compressed file be downloaded and installed manually. A .deb package file may be found at getdeb.net/flock and installed using any standard package installation method, or you download and extract the program using the following method:

Install Flock
  • Download Flock page for Linux.
  • Right click the file, choose Extract Here
  • Right click the desktop, choose Create Launcher  
    For command, click Browser and chose the file called 'flock' in the folder you just extracted. 

Amarok No Sound

Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat comes with Amarok 2.3 pre-installed. For users of Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, Amarok 2.3 will be among your normal updates.

Actually, in order to make it work, the package libxine1-ffmpeg is required, which probably isn't included in the default installation due to licensing issues. So, all you need to do is install the package and you are ready to amarok.
Libxine1-ffmpeg contains MPEG-related plugins used by libxine1, the media player library used by Xine engine, which Amarok and other xine-based players use. This package includes the ffmpeg plugin for Xine, enabling xine-based players a large variety of audio and video codecs.

sudo apt-get install libxine1-ffmpeg

Install Xine (if it is not there)

sudo apt-get install phonon-backend-xine
Then, GStreamer

sudo aptitude install phonon-backend-gstreamer
Then you must restart Amarok.

If Still No Sound,
Open Amarok --> Setting --> Configure Amarok --> Playback --> Configure Phonon ( choose device)

if still No Sound,
System --> Preference --> Sound --> Hardware --> setting for the selected device  (choose one)

Eyecandy Compiz Animations and Effects

Who doesn't like some eyecandy for their desktops, definitely not me. Compiz has enthralled Ubuntu users for years now. When GNOME officially ditched Compiz for Mutter for its next version, Ubuntu decided to stick with Compiz for its Unity Shell. Compiz is actively being developed now and we can expect a lot of surprises for next major Ubuntu release, Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal". Here is a collection of Compiz experimental plugins that does not come with the default package and which is definitely going to blow you away.

compiz experimental plugins

  • Freely Transformable Windows gives you the ability to rotate, slant, flip, and grow or shrink windows by scaling them. Unlike resizing a window normally, a scaled window's contents grow and shrink along with the windows - text, buttons, and images inside the window will actually appear larger or smaller.
Stack Window Switcher compiz plugin
  • Stack Window Switcher is an absolutely eyecandy alternative to your normal Alt+Tab. If you are seeing it for first time, *big* surprise guaranteed.
Cube Atlantis
  • Cube Atlantis breaths in new "life" to desktop cube compiz plugin. Cube Atlantis plugin adds fish from the Atlantis screensaver to the inside of the cube. 
  • Snow plugin makes snow fall on your desktop, simple as that.
Animations Add-On Compiz
  • Three new animations plugin. Animations Add-On, Animations Plus and Simple Animations. Brings in new animations life Helix, Blinds, Shatter etc.

  • Ghost plugin is awesome. Above screencast will give you the idea. There are a ton of other plugins too like Anaglyph, Minimize Effect, Fireflies, Stars, Elements etc. And you can install them all by doing the following.
How to Install Compiz Experimental Plugins in Ubuntu Maverick, Lucid?
  • After following the steps as given in the link above, goto System - Preferences - Compiz Config Settings Manager and you will find the new Compiz experimental plugins installed and ready to go

What To Do After A Fresh Ubuntu 10.10 Install? Run These Commands!

Important: before running the commands below, you need to enable the restricted, multiverse and partner repositories. To do this, open the Ubuntu Software Center, select Edit > Software Sources, and on the first tab (Ubuntu Software), check all the repositories. Then switch to the second tab (Other Software) and check the "Canonical Partners" repository.

1. Install Adobe Flash, Java, fonts, codecs and other restricted stuff (I don't use "ubuntu-restricted-extras" because it also installs some stuff I really don't need while it doesn't install a lot of the applications that I do need):

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-pitfdll gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-base gstreamer0.10-plugins-good libdvdnav4 libdvdread4 libmp4v2-0 libxine1-ffmpeg ffmpeg flashplugin-nonfree sun-java6-fonts rar unrar p7zip-full p7zip-rar unace unp zip unzip ttf-mscorefonts-installer ttf-liberation mencoder mplayer sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-jre
2. Medibuntu is not ready for Maverick yet, but you can still play encrypted DVDs. Simply run the following command:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

3. If you occasionally build applications from source or make your own deb files, here are some basic packages you should install:

sudo apt-get install build-essential automake make checkinstall dpatch patchutils autotools-dev debhelper quilt fakeroot xutils lintian cmake dh-make libtool autoconf git git-core subversion bzr

4. The following applications should really be default in Ubuntu but anyway, install VLC, OpenShot, GIMP (removed from the default installation a few releases back), gThumb, Pidgin, Skype, Adobe Air, Wine (ok, these last 2 shouldn't be in a default install), aptitude (removed from the default installation starting with Maverick) and Chromium using the following command:

sudo apt-get install vlc mozilla-plugin-vlc openshot gimp gthumb pidgin skype adobeair wine aptitude chromium-browser

Disclaimer / notes: This is just the basic stuff to install after a fresh Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat installation and it includes a lot of non-free / restricted applications as well as some very popular non-default applications. If you'd find some applications which you've never heard of, it wouldn't be a "what to do immediately after installing ubuntu" post anymore but a regular post about new applications with a catchy title.

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