Of all the desktops available for the Linux operating system, GNOME has managed to become on of the most efficient, stable and reliable -- while still remaining incredibly user-friendly. In fact, most users -- regardless of experience -- can get up to speed with GNOME with next to no effort.
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If you aren't a fan of Ubuntu's new "Unity" interface, weblog OMG! Ubuntu! shows us how to get the old GNOME 2-style look back with just a few tweaks (and without having to downgrade).
The highly anticipated (and controversial) GNOME 3 desktop environment released its final version today, adding better hardware integration, window management and application management to Linux.
We've mentioned one way to improve the look of Windows apps in Wine, but now there's an even simpler Python script that will get your Wine apps looking native in no time.
Linux: Application launcher GNOME Do has a "theme" called Docky that we rated as an intelligent Linux interface. Now Docky is available as its own application, bringing many of its best features over and setting the stage for many more.
A new version of the quick-firing Linux keyboard launcher GNOME Do landed last week, bringing with it a "theme" that acts as a whole new desktop interface. Let's check out how it works.
Linux only: The latest release of Linux app launcher GNOME Do serves up a helping of new plug-ins (including Google search and Remember the Milk), a clever "Docky" style, and much, much more.
Along with adding a bunch of new functionality through official and third-party plug-ins like Remember the Milk (which also provides task due alerts), TinyURL (paste in a URL, shrink it instantly), translation tools, Banshee and Opera support, and much more, GNOME Do 0.8 also fixes more than 100 bugs, including many plug-in problems. Memory usage has been knocked back, longer lines of text can be manually pasted into Do's launcher, and more file types get icon previews. The biggest news, however, might be what initially seems like a theme choice, but actually opens up a whole new way of using GNOME Do—as a dock:
Evolution, the personal information manager bundled into most GNOME-based Linux distributions, can be tweaked to integrate tightly with Google's mail, contacts, and calendars. Linux.com guides those not already familiar with Evolution's ins and outs through the process of hooking up IMAP mail, setting up two-way sync between the Google and desktop calendars, and even auto-completing contacts importing. From experience, Evolution—which has also been ported for Windows— is convenient in the way it hooks into your GNOME desktop in all kinds of ways—click on the time in the taskbar, for instance, and you can browse Evolution appointments on a calendar. But there are a few quirks to how the PIM handles some Google functions, which Linux.com helpfully explains. Have you got a fully Google-integrated suite working on your Linux desktop, maybe with Thunderbird and Sunbird? Tell us about it in the comments. How to sync Evolution with Google's PIM apps
Linux only: MPlayer is a versatile, sturdy media player with an ability to handle nearly as many files as VLC Media Player, but its integration into Firefox leaves a bit to be desired in the interface department. Free browser plug-in Gecko Media Player has looks that integrate nicely into a GNOME desktop, plays anything in the browser that can play in MPlayer, and is simple to install or set up. If you're an Ubuntu user, you've already got a gecko-mediaplayer package available; those on other Linux distros without a package can compile from source. Gecko Media Player is a free download for Linux systems only. geck-mediaplayer
Linux only: GNOME Do, a favourite application launcher of Linux-using readers and Lifehacker editors, has released a 0.5 version that hugely expands its reach and functionality. Most apparent are a built-in configuration tool, re-enabling of the simple-but-powerful "Open With" dialog, and the wealth of both official and "community" plug-ins. Upload pictures to Flickr, add and search Google Calendar events, start Skype calls, get live stock quotes—there's a lot to look into here. GNOME Do is a free download for Linux systems only; Ubutnu users can upgrade from the Launchpad PPA, while other distro users can find a source here. Thanks, Dušan!
Evan Meagher's written an interesting overview of the "advanced desktop effects" built into Ubuntu 7.10. He talks through virtual desktops, ADD Helper, Scale and Focus Desktop, but saves the biggest kudos for Gnome-Do.Gnome-Do is for Gnome/Ubuntu what Quicksilver is for OS X - an app which lets you do a large number of things such as open apps, URLs, bookmarks or folders just by typing their name and hitting enter:"With the right set of plugins, you can start chats in Pidgin
by typing in contact’s names, play music without having to actually
interact with your media player, search the web, or put your computer
to sleep, just to name a few. You can tie Compiz Animation to it too,
just to make it even more cool-looking."Got any personal Ubuntu productivity favourites to share? Leave them in comments please!Full-throttle Productivity and Web-Work with Ubuntu
Linux/Gnome application launcher Gnome-Do is turning into one mighty powerful app/data organiser, due in no small part to the wealth of plug-ins cobbled together by an eager fan base. To extend Gnome-Do's powers to music management, Gmail, system functions, and other tasks, Ubuntu Tutorials has put together a simple guide to installing plug-ins for the launcher, a trick that's not readily apparent for first-time users. There's also links to some of the neater plug-ins available, such as those found at the Ubuntu wiki. Found yourself using and digging Gnome-Do's functions? Have your own must-use plug-in? Share the alt-space wisdom in the comments. How To Install Gnome-Do Plugins
Tired of seeing just an "Empty file" option when you right-click to create a new document on your Linux desktop? In GNOME-based systems, the key to expanding your options lies in the "Templates" directory inside your home folder, according to the Tombuntu blog. Simply open a program you want to have available for right-click creation, save a blank file with the name you want to see in the menu (like "Text file" or "New GIMP image," for instance), and save it in the Templates folder. In my case, I ended up with a bunch of working templates but generic file icons, so I went in and manually changed them to reflect their opening programs. It's just another step in making your Linux desktop a familiar one, but it's also a decent time saver. Add Your Document Templates to GNOME