Fresh 12.04 todos


Just (finally) upgraded my ubuntu to 12.04 today. My machine had been flying in semi-upgraded state for a few weeks now (won't go into that) and it prevented me from updating specific stuff because the update list contained a zillion items, with no ability to filter or search. Great.

Anyhoo, my laptop had been running 12.04 for a while and I recently found a decent extension to cover the window list, so now I felt confident to make the jump. Of course the upgrade went far from smooth, but I managed to get it running anyways. Much like a fresh window installation, there are a few steps I have to do for ubuntu. These steps are unfortunately only increasing as the newer iterations of ubuntu/gnome are becoming more retarded, but it's still manageable.

First thing I had to do was nvidia specific, but my it seems nvidia was causing the login screen to crash and burn (well, freeze). I was seeing it but unable to input my password. See this problem. Quite annoying. The fix was to follow the directions given in the reply: sudo jockey-text -e xorg:nvidia_current, except I had to use nvidia_current_updates instead. No idea why, but after a(nother) reboot, I was able to login.

So.... Ubuntu starts with a few fucked up settings that we need to resolve. First, get rid of unity if you haven't already. Just go ahead and install gnome (sudo apt-get install gnome). Log out. On the login screen click the settings wheel in the top-right corner of your login-box. This allows you to select your desktop manager. Select (regular) gnome. Now login. Good riddance, unity.

Now gnome has a few of it's own problems. Luckily we can fix most of them quite easily. Go to to download the extensions mentioned below. (Note that I have to do this in Firefox, because I get a stupid error message in Chrome. So if in your browser of choice you don't see an option to install the extension, try firefox...)

Let's start with with the status menu. If you click on your name (top-right corner by default) a menu will drop down. This menu only contains the option to suspend. I have no idea why you're no longer allowed to shut down your computer, but fuck that. There's an extension called "Alternative status menu". After installing you'll immediately see the suspend, hibernate (if enabled!), and power-off options.

One of the most important features for me is the window list. This is the classic task bar, or panel, or whatever you want to call it, that has one icon for every open (visible) window. In OSX this is usually combined with the favorite launcher (quite annoying). Gnome just removed it completely and instead shows you all the windows when you press the super key or move the mouse to the (by default) top-right hotspot. To get this panel back you should find and download "Panel-docklet" (currently v14..). There are a few settings to configure, and it's especially a bit tricky to get it properly vertical while not screwing up the top-corner, but it works quite well and stable in my experience. Really happy I have that bar back.

The top bar is a pretty stubborn one. This is especially pesky for presentations, where it won't hide to make space for full screen. How dare it! Well, of course there's an extension for that too. It's called "Panel settings". Once installed you'll get a new option in your user menu (click your name, top-right by default) called "Panel settings", which will fold out to show some settings to show/hide/auto that top menu. Can also move it to the bottom. Anyways, as there's no other (human) way to change this setting, this extension is a must.

Another very important fix is alt-tab. Some asshole designer figured it was time that they changed this winning formula and that it's a super idea to group icons in alt-tab as well. No. It is not. So let's install the "Windows alt tab" extension. This fixes the problem mostly, although it now no longer does multi-line icons. But at least you can just alt-tab through the open windows again.

To get the minimize-maximize icons back (seriously, how do you use your os without these?), we don't really need an extension. An obscure terminal command can fix it: gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout --type string menu:minimize,maximize,close. Alternatively, you can start gconf-editor, go to apps-metacity-general and edit the button_layout to your likings. If the settings in gconf-editor aren't immediately picked up for you (they didn't for me) you could also try using dconf-editor. In that case, go to org - gnome - shell - overrides and find button-layout and try the same. Should also be immediately effective. This worked for me.

Fix the screenshot tool, which has been changed from a nice popup to autosaving in some "random" dir. This fix is actually not so easy. The new way has been hardcoded in and it seems to be impossible to change the command triggered by the key (since the app does have an interactive mode, and even a --clipboard mode, which i would prefer highly... alas). The only real way seems to be either hacking and compiling your own fix together, or simply falling back to a previous version in which this was not yet the case. Why can't they just make it configurable :(

Update terminal titles in .bashrc, to remove the user@host part since that never changes and is not interesting at all for me.

Hope it helps ya :)