2015. január 18.

Gnome Classic tweaks on Ubuntu 12.04.5 Precise Pangolin compared to 14.04.1 Trusty Thar

In this post I'm going to configure Ubuntu 12.04.5. LTS to my taste. Since I configured a 14.04.1 LTS just a couple of weeks ago the exact same way, I will compare the how-to of these settings.

What do I need from Ubuntu?
- this post has the list of features I'm going to test against Precise Pangolin.

Desktop Environment Choices
- I chose Gnome Flashback Services again, but in 12.04 it is called Gnome Classic (with or without effects) and can be installed by installing the package gnome-session-fallback instead of gnome-session-flashback.
- Synaptic package manager is not installed by default on 12.04, just like on 14.04, so it has to be installed from terminal with the sudo apt-get install synaptic command (or probably from Ubuntu Software Center, which I prefer to not use)

All the following notes are based on using Gnome Classic without Effects.

Setting up everything

Gnome Classic is somewhat different from Gnome Session Flashback.
Some useful tips can be found in this ubuntu forum thread.

Otherwise, compared to Ubuntu 14.04:
  • HP Compaq TC4400 native features:
    • pen features: the same
    • screen rotation: the same
    • on-screen buttons: the same
  • Terminal: the same
  • Workspaces: the same
  • Panels: the same
  • Synaptic: the same
  • File manager: Nautilus still can do all I want, so I'll stick with it.
    • Scripts: the same
    • Open in Terminal: the same (install nautilus-open-terminal package to get right click option "Open Terminal") 
Tablet input usage in multi-screen environment compared to Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx:
  • xinput has a new version, and it enables to map the tablet input device to the tablet screen by using xinput --map-to-crtc device crtc
    • where device is the device ID of the stylus or the eraser taken from xinput --list
    • and the crtc is the name of the tablet monitor taken from xrandr
    Changing the Date and Time format in the indicator applet
    - on Precise there is no configuration editor pre-installed.
    - DConf Editor can be installed by installing dconf-tools - then it will be available as dconf-editor of from the Applications menu > System Tools > DConf Editor
    - after installing it, setting custom date and time format can be done as in Trusty, described in the post linked above.

    Indicator Applet
    - Gnome Classic installs indicator-applet-complete, but there are more then one indicator applet that can be downloaded with synaptic. The difference between them is this:
    • indicator-applet-complete is: messaging applications, power settings, bluetooth settings, network settings, sound settings, date and time settings, user accounts, session management
    • indicator-applet is: messaging applications, power settings, bluetooth settings, network settings, sound settings
    • indicator-applet-session is: user accounts, session management
    • indicator-applet-appmenu is: your active application's menu header
    Some modifications can be made to the features shown in the indicator applet with DConf editor - as described above. 

    Remove messaging envelope from indicator applet
    This AskUbuntu post holds the solution: to remove just the envelope icon from the indicator applet indicator-messages package has to be removed with sudo apt-get remove indicator-messages and then gnome-panel restarted with sudo pkill gnome-panel

    Running Java Applets on websites
    - icedtea-7-plugin solves this on Ubuntu 12.04.5, just like it does on 14.04.1.

    Reserving space for the top panel between monitors
    the same, except for the panel height. It is still 24 pixels, but when set with _NET_WM_STRUT_PARTIAL 1024,0,0,0,1024,1048,0,0,0,0,0,0 a single pixel space remains under it, so it has to be set with _NET_WM_STRUT_PARTIAL 1024,0,0,0,1024,1047,0,0,0,0,0,0

    Enable Compositing for Gnome Classic without effects
    In Trusty Thar Metacity Compositing can be enabled by opening dconf-editor and navigating to > org > gnome > metacity > compositing-manager > mark checked.
    In Precise Pangolin there is no such option in dconf-editor. Instead you'll have to install gconf-editor and set it there. Once installed, you can find it in the Applications menu > System Tools > Configuration Editor. Inside it navigate to apps > metacity > general and set a checkmark next to "compositing_manager"
    This will enable real window transparency (i.e. terminal window), window shadow, Alt+Tab window selector shows screenshot of the window; and it is said to support AWN, and Gnome Do, but I did not try these.

    Aero Snap for Gnome Classic (no effects)
    the same, except for the key combinations: in Ubuntu 12.04 instead of Mod4 + Super_L + Left combination it is only Mod4 + Left

    Repository download checklist:
    • synaptic
    • gnome-session-fallback
    • nautilus-open-terminal
    • wmctrl
    • xbindkeys
    • dconf-tools
    • gconf-editor
    • gimp (GUI image manipulation tool)
    • inkscape (GUI vector-based drawing program)
    • imagemagick (convert, mogrify, identify)
    • pdftk
    • pdfjam (pdfjoin)
    • djvulibre-bin (ddjvu, djvused, cjb2, djvm, c44)
    • potrace (mkbitmap)
    • unpaper
    • keepass2
    • keepassX
    • nautilus-dropbox (Dropbox) fails to complete installation.
    Web download checklist:
    to install deb packages run sudo dpkg --install [packagename.deb]
    to install packages with dependencies, install gdebi first from synaptic, then run sudo gdebi [packagename.deb] - gdebi is like Ubuntu Software Center ("USC") in the Command Line Interface ("CLI")
    • Dropbox: does not show system tray indicator in notification area (see description below)
    • Skype: looks all right.
    • Rescuetime: looks all right.
    • Plex Media Server: looks all right.
    • Google Chrome: looks all right.
    Dropbox installation troubles:
    - when installing nautilus-dropbox the process failed to move forward after downloading 100% of the dropbox installer. After killing this process somehow, I could not install anything, but got the message: "E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem." So I did as was asked, and then nautilus-dropbox configuration continued with downloading the installer and stopping after 100% again. I could get out of this infinite loop by following the instructions in this post. I edited the /var/lib/dpkg/info/nautilus-dropbox.postinst file and inserted a "exit 0" line as the second line right after the "#!" line. Then dpkg could finish the process by quitting without really configuring dropbox, so after this I removed the whole thing with sudo apt-get remove nautilus-dropbox and intalled the deb package downloaded from dropbox site.
    - the deb package installed all right, but the dropbox tray icon is missing from the notification area. I searched for a solution, and some places suggest removing dropbox and installing nautilus-dropbox instead, but this obviously will not work for me. Another post is suggesting more ways to get the icon working, and I tried all of it (notification area, unity-panel whitelist, autostart y), but none of them worked.
    - I added the dropbox gpg key to the repositiry, did an apt-get update, and than tried to install nautilus-dropbox, but got the message: "Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable distribution that some required packages have not yet been created or been moved out of Incoming. The following information may help to resolve the situation: The following packages have unmet dependencies:  nautilus-dropbox : Depends: dropbox but it is not going to be installed E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages." So I searched, and found, and did an apt-get upgrade, which upgraded dropbox only, because this was the broken package, and then after restarting dropbox, nautilus and gnome-panel, there was this 1x1 pixel white dot in the notification area, which on mouse-over shows a label "Dropbox 3.0.5 Up to date" and can be right-clicked to reach dropbox menu. Nautilus-dropbox is still not installed as a package.
    - when I copied the dropbox icons to the icon fallback directory, the dropbox icon showed up on the panel.
    Dropbox icons are stored in the /home/[user]/.dropbox-dist/dropbox-[version]/images/hicolor/16x16/status/
    Icon fallback directory for them is /usr/share/icons/hicolor/16x16/status/
    However, after restarting the panel it was only the 1x1 pixel dot again, and restarting dropbox didn't help. Icons are still there in the fallback directory.
    A note: Skype puts it's icon next to the Dropbox pixel, and it works perfectly, so the problem is definitely with Dropbox.

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