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How To: Pimp Your GNOME Desktop


adam22
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Hey guys. This is just a little tutorial on how to customize your Linux GNOME Desktop, and specifically how to achieve the look of my desktop. You can use these same ideas to come up with something unique, or just follow them if you like how mine looks. As always, proceed with caution and try not to break anything. First, here's my desktop.

 

Posted Image

 

First, let's get a nice wallpaper. Head over to Gnome-Look and on the left you will see a list of categories. Select the Wallpaper tab and browse through the pages and find something you like. You can sort by various subcategories such as 'highest rated' if you choose to do so. Specifically, you can find the wallpaper in the screen shot here. Just click download and a larger image will appear. I prefer to save this image as you never know if it will be taken down. I choose to put a folder in my Pictures directory labeled Wallpapers. Just double click the image and then right click>Set as Wallpaper. Be advised that if you have set an image as the wallpaper, and change the directory it is located in, you will get a blank wallpaper. Just set it again from the new directory.

 

Next, let's get a new theme. You can find many themes in many places, but I prefer to use Gnome-Look once again. I use the Moomex Theme , found here. To apply this theme, click the download button (the Moomex theme one, not the Emerald one) and save the .tar.gz to the desktop (or a directory of your choice). Right-Click the file and choose extract here. A file will be placed on your desktop, labeled Moomex. Now, open up your Display Menu, in Ubuntu do this by selecting System>Preferences>Display. Simply drag the Moomex file into the window (make sure the theme tab is selected) and then choose apply new theme. You may get a warning saying you do not have the matching icon package, but you can disregard that.

 

Now we need a good icon package, the default ones just do not cut it for me. Once again head over to Gnome-Look and on the left you will see Icons. You can browse through these and sort by the 'Most Downloaded' for the most popular themes. I use the 'Black-White 2 Gloss' theme, but the download directs you to Deviant Art. Go here and the download link is on the left. Save the .tar file to the desktop and then Right-Click and select extract here. Open up the file and then you will see a .tar.gz and a ReadMe. Extract the .tar.gz and a new folder should appear. You need to drag this file into the appearance window and then click to apply theme now.

 

Now we just need some screenlets to add some spice to the desktop. If you don't already have the package installed, bring up the terminal and run sudo apt-get install screenlets. Provide your password and when the package is installed, you should get a Daemon in the task tray. If you click it, you'll be presented with various screenlets.

 

---->First, let's get the system monitor up and running. Click SysMonitor and then on the left tick Start/Stop. I also tick Auto-start on login. You can drag the system monitor to anywhere you like and if you right click, you can change the theme for it, the size, and if you select properties a menu will pop up. This allows you to modify what the screenlet will show and how big it is as well as how it looks. Each screenlet will have a properties menu allowing it to customize as you see fit. Also, if you right-click and select window, you can choose to lock the screenlet and you want to select keep below so it does not interfere with any windows you have open.

 

----->Now, scroll up and launch ClearCalander. Right-Click>Theme>Noback is the one I'm using. Lots of ways to configure this one as you please.

 

------>Now for the clock (you cannot see it here, sorry). Select the Clock from the Screenlets Daemon and then right-click and from themes select 'Glass.' If you go into the properties menu for this, you can change the text in the center of the clock and make some other changes.

 

------->There's a weather in the daemon, but it isn't the one I use. Instead, get the one here and save the .tar.bz2 to your machine. Extract and a Weather folder will appear. Now, open up your Home folder and select View>Show Hidden Files and scroll down to the .screenlets directory. Drag the Weather folder into that and close the window. Now open up the Screenlets Daemon and you should see a new one called Weather. Launch it and through the properties and options you can select your preferred unit of measure and the theme you like best, as well as select a Zip Code.

 

-------->Lastly is the RSS feed. The default one for me is no good and doesn't really function too good. Instead, let's use RSS Reloaded. Download it and follow the same procedure as above and then from the daemon you can launch the new screenlet. Right-Click>Properties>Options tab>My Feeds tab. Here, you can add a feed and a name. You can find most feed urls by googling the topic+RSS. Also, select Text and change the color to white. I also use the dark theme for this screenlet instead of the default one.

 

Finally we have the Compiz effects. I won't go into much detail about this since many have done it far better than I ever could, but a noticeable effect in my screen shot is the shadow and reflection. Assuming you already have Compiz set up and have the CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM), open up CCSM and then enable 'Reflection' and 'Window Decoration.'

 

I know this was probably more in depth than most people here needed, but the instructions to install was scattered everywhere and when I first started it was hard for me to get everything figured out. I was tired when I made this tutorial and it took a while to write up, so let me know if I made any mistakes. Post your desktop if you want.

Edited by adam22
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They should be in your SuSe repository, since you're not using Debian the command I listed will not work (most people use KDE for SuSe). Try the repos, otherwise check out this. You might have to modify the directions a little bit from mine since you're not using Ubuntu, but it should still be similar.

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