Friday, July 1, 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 - My first thoughts, tips, tricks, help, and more (Unity)

Ok so I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04, and so far it is eh, ok. The things I like are the snap windows like Windows 7 has which are very helpful to me since I use them to split things on the screen when using my laptop.

(Edit: 7-17-11, I think Unity just takes some getting used to and this is a very un-mature version since it is the first, I expect things to get significantly better with 11.10 and 12.04 LTS. Also it is a personal preference too. Many still like GNOME, KDE, or XFCE which is, of course, fine, but I figured that I might as well get use to Unity since it is going to be the norm for Ubuntu from now on.

End edit.)

The new Ubuntu desktop interface called Unity takes some getting use to, and it is growing on me. There is a button at the top you click on to find other programs and such.

Ubuntu is going towards maximizing window space in 11.04 so they did away with visible scroll bars (well except now my scroll bars are present; I installed the KDE and Xfce desktops since at first I was a little frustrated with Unity so I think it has a tendency to switch styles on me even though I am in Unity??) and moved window commands to the top bar.

EDIT: The scroll bars appear on some programs such as Chrome, Foxit, etc. but are "hidden" in the file managers.

Ubuntu also did away with the bottom bar of open windows so I had to get use to using the keyboard command ATL + TAB to shift from on to the other (the same command works in Windows 7 as the same function). You can also awitch workspaces by pressing CTRL+ATL + arrow keys.

EDIT: Unity seems to push the user to using more keyboard shortcuts. I personally like this since you can sometimes be more efficient with keyboard commands. However, others may not like using the keyboard much and would rather use the mouse more which 11.04 still allows for the most part. All personal preference.

So Ubuntu also went Windows 7-ish with the side bar which contains a list of programs saved like you had at the top bar in previous Ubuntu versions, and it shows you what windows you're in and how of those windows are open.

I found the scroll bar example. Seems it doesn't apply to Google Chrome or Foxit.

When you click on the button with several windows it will give you a preview of all open windows and or open all minimized windows of that program or bring them to the front.

Anyways the sidebar can be a little frustrating at times since it auto hides, which is great, but when you have a lot of program buttons installed it will zoom to the section nearest your mouse cursor. So sometime it can be frustrating because it takes two or three attempts to get to the section you want where your program button is visible. This is only minor and you get use to it after awhile and get pretty good at it.

(Edit: 7-17-11 Also scroll down for links to Ubuntu keyboard commands and shortcuts which should help if there is still mousing difficulty.

Or you can also disable the auto-hide feature if you like the bar to remain visible at all times. To do this simply install the compizconfig-settings-manager or CCSM. To do this, since it is now installed by default, simply go to the Synaptic Package Manager type in compiz and the CCSM should appear in the list. You may have to scroll down to find it or it may be the first one to appear, I forget which it is. Op, it is about the 11th down.

Anyways, mark this to be installed and apply it. It will also install python-compizconfig which is the Compizconfig bindings for python. It is a two rows down.

I have no clue what it is or does. Just do it, :P! Then you can run CCSM and find the Ubuntu Unity plugin. Click and find the hide settings.

Links where I found this. I have also added more feeds to my blog list.

Tweak Unity to better suit your needs. Don't give up! -

How To Change The Settings Of Ubuntu Unity With CompizConfig Settings Manager -

Links on Ubuntu 11.04 Unity and impressions:

Ubuntu 11.04 Unity – A Big Leap Forward For Linux -

Ubuntu Wicoh'an - My thoughts on Unity -

A nice 7-page review from ars technia-> Riding the Narwhal: Ars reviews Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 -

Unity customization information:

Unity personalization: how much can you really do? -

For those that long for Unity, and some "reflections" on Unity opinions in the comments section:

‘Classicmenu indicator’ puts old-school GNOME menus in Unity -

Edit done.)

I found this site/blog really interesting and helpful. They several good topics about Ubuntu posted, and the site is regularly updated.

Here are a few of their post.

31 Useful Ubuntu 11.04 Unity Keyboard/Mouse Shortcuts

18 Applications You Need to Install and Experience After Installing Ubuntu

12 Things I did After Installing New Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal"

Edit/Update: 7-17-11

I've added some more blogs to the blog list, so check them out.

Here is a useful post on keyboard shortcuts for Unity from

Unity desktop mouse tricks and keyboard shortcuts -

The link above in turn links to a great Ubuntu community called AskUbuntu ( and a post there.

Unity keyboard/mouse shortcuts -

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