Monday, January 9, 2012

Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric" with a Gnome 2 Feel

I love, and am maybe even a little addicted to the packages Ubuntu includes in their distributions. But like many, I am dissatisfied with the new Unity interface because:

  1. I can't open two copies of KeePassX at once
  2. I hate using text search to find applications
  3. It was too hard to create a custom application launcher
Hopefully all that will change, but until then, it's just not working for me.

I tried the LXDE desktop, but:

  1. I didn't like the default software (Leafpad text editor, Galculator, LX terminal)
  2. Desktop integration is lacking (no screen-shots, limited drag and drop from one application to another)
It's a very new distribution and may need a year or two to catch up.  Certainly LXDE is worth keeping an eye on, but it's not there yet.

What's currently working for me is a "retro" basic Gnome session based on OMG Ubuntu's article, Make Ubuntu 11.10 Look and Feel Like GNOME 2. Thanks to "DigalMan" for pointing it out to me. That article has a typo though, it's gnome-session-fallback, not gnome-fallback-session.

Also, when they say, "Add ‘ppa:jconti/gnome3‘ to your Software Sources" their instructions don't include how to add the PPA's key, so that future updates are not be applied properly (or at all). Fortunately, has instructions. The key lines I needed were:

sudo add-apt-repository
sudo apt-get update

It's not perfect (the top-bar color's not quite right and the icons space themselves wider apart when hovered over), but I'm basically back with the Ubuntu system I have loved for years, with the latest versions of all software. If this works in 12.04, I'll probably stick with it. If not, and LXDE has not improved by that time, I'll guess I'll try Mint.