Customizing a Gnome desktop

vern

Dominus
Political User
#1
I have been use Linux and BSD for a long time. However, I have only recently begun using it as a desktop. I started with Mandrake 9.2 and now currently using Debian unstable/testing running Gnome. Can people who have experience customizing desktop point me to resources for me to make customizations? How do set up those OS X-like docks? How do I make windows transparent or semi-transparent? How do I make the panels on Gnome more appealing? I'm sure I'll have more questions, but for now that is all I can think of.
 
#2
Gnome is surprisingly easy to OS X-ify, actually...and it looks a lot more realistic than any Windows theme :D


First off, you want to get a hold of Grand Masta's Gno-SX GTK2/Metacity theme, which will skin the title bars, the widgets, and the controls.
Then you'll need to get his icon set for Gnome, which is also incredibly easy to apply.
Both of these can be obtained here:
GTK2/Metacity theme: http://home.comcast.net/~grandmasta/Gno-SX/Gno-SX-release.tar.bz2
Icon set: http://home.comcast.net/~grandmasta/Gno-SX/Gno-SX-ICON-beta1.tar.bz2

Check out this thread on Aqua-Soft for more details and screenshots:
http://www.aqua-soft.org/board/index.php?showtopic=6446
 
#3
Now you'll probably want to move the widgets to to the left of the titlebar to make it look more like the real thing.

Select Run>gconf-editor
Navigate to /apps/metacity/general/ in the left side pane, and look for a key called "button_layout"
Edit it to: close,minimize,maximize:menu
The changes should apply immediately

Wish it were that easy on XP :D
 
#4
The only real OS-X like dock that I know for Gnome is gDesklets. It's the only thing in this transformation that's less realistic than Y'z Dock or ObjectDock, unfortunately. It also takes up quite a bit of your memory, so be aware of that.
Hopefully, this should be fixed in later releases, and it'll become more like the real thing.

gDesklets: http://www.pycage.de/software_gdesklets.html
gDesklets add-ons: http://gdesklets.gnomedesktop.org/

You can get a Konfabulator-like Calendar on your desktop using gDeskCal
gDeskCal: http://www.pycage.de/software_gdeskcal.html
Grand Masta's Konfab skin: http://home.comcast.net/~grandmasta/Gno-SX/gdeskcal-skin.tar.gz

The iTunes skin that you see in the screenshot is for Mplayer. Again, by Grand Masta. This guy is a God. :D
Mplayer iTunes skin: http://home.comcast.net/~grandmasta/Gno-SX/iTunes4mplayer-1.0.tar.gz
 
#5
Finally, your question regarding window transparency. You probably already know that current versions of X don't support true transparency. The only pseudo-transparency effect that I know of is for the Gnome Terminal.
Hopefully we'll see true transparency in Linux sometime in the future. :)
 

vern

Dominus
Political User
#6
Metacity wasn't installed, so I installed it using apt-get. Now when trying to change theme using a menu, it gives me a "default schema could not be found" error. apps/metacity/general in gconf is empty. Any ideas? Any particular files that should be edited?
 
#12
vern said:
I still can't get metacity to work. :(
There seems to be a problem with your installation. I'm not sure how to fix it since I've only really used Debian once, and that was for not more than a week. Sorry :(
I've always been using Dropline Gnome on Slack (www.dropline.net/gnome), and everything works right after the installation.
Perhaps you could try getting and installing the individual binaries for Debian. apt might have messed something up along the way. I'm not sure though...
 
#13
Geffy said:
hrmm I cant get gDesklets to do what I want, how am I supposed to move it around the screen to where I want it
I gave up on gDesklets for the time being. Resource usage is too high, and it just feels very clunky overall. Instead, I just add Launchers to a Gnome panel docked to the bottom of the screen to create a pseudo-dock. Of course, there won't be magnification effects, but I quite like the mouseover glow that Gnome has. :)

EDIT: Screenshot of what mine looks like is in this post:
http://www.ntfs.org/forum/showpost.php?p=28076&postcount=107 :D
 
#14
vern said:
I still can't get metacity to work. :(
Since I don't have a Debian installation to test this out on, and nobody else here seems to have an answer, I suggest you post your problem/question on the LinuxQuestions.org forums. A lot of the gurus there are usually very quick at troubleshooting problems and finding solutions.
Good luck :)
 

Geffy

OSNN Veteran Addict
#15
NetRyder said:
I gave up on gDesklets for the time being. Resource usage is too high, and it just feels very clunky overall. Instead, I just add Launchers to a Gnome panel docked to the bottom of the screen to create a pseudo-dock. Of course, there won't be magnification effects, but I quite like the mouseover glow that Gnome has. :)

EDIT: Screenshot of what mine looks like is in this post:
http://www.ntfs.org/forum/showpost.php?p=28076&postcount=107 :D
I'll have to give that a shot
 
#16
Geffy said:
I'll have to give that a shot
It's quite easy. Just right click the top panel, and select New Panel. That should create one at the bottom (if not, just drag it down). Change the properties of the bottom panel so that it's 48 pixels, expanded, and has a transparent background. You can also set it to "Autohide" if you like. Then it's as simple as dragging and dropping launchers onto it.
Voila! Nice and functional "dock" :)
 
#17
NetRyder said:
It's quite easy. Just right click the top panel, and select New Panel. That should create one at the bottom (if not, just drag it down). Change the properties of the bottom panel so that it's 48 pixels, expanded, and has a transparent background. You can also set it to Autohide if you like. Then it's as simple as dragging and dropping launchers onto it.
Voila! Nice and functional "dock" :)
 

vern

Dominus
Political User
#18
Netryder, I got metacity working. I go to GNOME ---> Themes ... and install theme ... but it doesn't seem to change or get added to the list. How do I specify themes manually?
 
#19
vern said:
Netryder, I got metacity working. I go to GNOME ---> Themes ... and install theme ... but it doesn't seem to change or get added to the list. How do I specify themes manually?
You can manually extract the tar.gz file containing the theme to ~/.themes or /usr/share/themes. It should then appear in the list of available themes. :)
 

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