What is Compiz, Beryl, Metacity & Emerald etc. in Ubuntu?

You might have been hearing lots of terms for desktop managers in Ubuntu or any other distro. I was also confused initially but I collected some information which I wanted to share with you.
Compiz is a Desktop manager which is enabled by default in Ubuntu 8.04. It controls how all the windows appear on the screen, like the title bar, colors, icons, cursors and borders etc. Ubuntu already has one which is called Metacity which is very basic. The advantage of using Compiz is that it has lots of cool effects. Which can make you windows transparent, enable Desktop cube, many customized effects while minimizing, maximizing, opening, closing & moving windows as well as many eye candy effects.
Compiz-fusion was originally called Compiz and had some limited effects. Another window manager Beryl had some other effects and some common effects as Compiz. Eventually Compiz and Beryl combined resulting in Compiz-Fusion.
Emerald is another desktop manager which helps you modify the settings further and help you cutomize the entire theme itself. But you can enable either one of Compiz or Emerald. This is a short explanation of the terms.

There are some other plugins like cairo dock and AWN also which provides you the ability to get a Mac OS X like dock. There are definitely lot of things you can do to get better look than Vista.

Now how to enable those effects:

  1. Ubuntu 8.04 by default has Compiz enabled.
  2. To enable advanced features :
    Go to System > Preferences > Appearance > Visual Effects and select the last option ‘Extra’.
  3. Restart the computer.
  4. Search for ‘Compiz’ in Synaptic Package Manager or Add/Remove software and install ‘Advanced Desktop Effect Settings’
  5. Once installed, play around to get the required effects.

Keep reading Technomania for more tips and tricks on Ubuntu, Linux and Open source community updates. You can subscribe to the feed or receive email as and when I update anything on this blog.

Cheers…

Anurag Bansal

Some useful keyboard shortcuts for Ubuntu

Most of the times it so happens that we want to do something quickly but don’t want to move our hands from keyboard to the mouse. There are some shortcut keyboard keys/combinations which lets you save couple of clicks. These shortcuts make our life easy. It is true for everything : Windows, Mac or Ubuntu Linux.
Today I am going to provide information about some such shortcuts in Ubuntu. Though there is always a shortcut for all applications menu items. But for a start couple of ‘ALT’ and ‘Fn’ key combinations are here, learn them by heart, they will be useful for your Ubuntu life:

  1. ALT + F1: Displays application menu and expands it. Use arrow keys to navigate further.
  2. ALT + F2: ‘Run application’ dialog box
  3. ALT + F4: Closes the selected window.
  4. ALT + F5: Reduces the size of current window if it is maximized. Use arrow keys to change the size.
  5. ALT + F7: Move the selected window. Use arrow keys to move it around.
  6. ALT + F8: Resize the selected window. Use arrow keys.
  7. ALT + F9: Minimize the selected window.
  8. ALT + F10: Maximize the selected window.
  9. ALT + Tab: Cycle through the open windows. Brings the window in focus to front.
  10. ALT + Space bar: Displays context sensitive menu.

These are couple of ‘ALT’ and ‘Fn’ function key combination which helps you navigate through the desktop quickly without using your mouse or touchpad.

Keep reading ‘Technomania’ for more Ubuntu related stuff. You can subscribe to the feed as well.
Cheers…
Anurag Bansal

Get Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron Shipped to your door

Ubuntu ShipIt is accepting pre-orders for 8.04 Hardy Heron, the latest Ubuntu release. Hardy will be released on 24th April, 2008. ShipIt will send you a CD free of cost, but it may take around 8-10 weeks. If you are not in hurry to get the Ubuntu Hardy Heron official CD for your collection and otherwise have a fast internet connection, then please prefer downloading it. I am listing both the options below:
Download : http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
Get it shipped : https://shipit.ubuntu.com/
Enjoy…!!! I already ordered mine…have you??? Remember, if you prefer to download and burn yourself, you can use a rewritable CD.

Ubuntu 8.04 ‘Hardy Heron’ Release Candidate is here

Today Ubuntu 8.04 ‘Hardy Heron’ Release Candidate has been released. RC is late by one day though. But that won’t affect the final release date of 24th April, 2008 for final release of Ubuntu 8.04 ‘Hardy Heron’.
Those who don’t know, Ubuntu is one of the finest Linux OS which gives every user the ability to perform all activities with ease without worrying about the commands which used to be case earlier. Ubuntu has got a very nice Coffee brown theme and a clean user interface. To know more what is there in Ubuntu 8.04, read this release note. Ubuntu doesn’t need heavy resources like other operating systems as Windows need. 25 such reasons to try Ubuntu are listed here, if they give you a boost to give it a try. And if you decide then this guide will help you try Ubuntu without messing with your existing operating system.
you can download the release candidate here…. If you want you can get all other Ubuntu flavors like Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio & Mythbuntu also from this location.

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How to try Ubuntu without messing with your existing OS?

Now when you have 25 reason to use Ubuntu instead of Windows, then I am sure you will like to try it. How you do it is a question? And most probably you are afraid to mess around with your existing operating system.
I tell you what, it is very very simple and with Ubuntu 8.04 it is even simpler than ever. (Will be covered in a future post.)

  1. Download the Live CD *.iso image (after 24th April, 2008 for latest Hardy Heron) on your hard drive for your machine. (i386 if Intel processor and AMD 64 if AMD processor)
  2. Burn the image file to a CD or DVD with your choice of software Roxio, Nero or whatever. I will suggest using a RW (re-writable) disc so that if you don’t like it, you don’t waste a CD (chances are very low, but in case)
  3. You can even get it shipped to you free of cost through Shipit if you don’t even want to download.
  4. Insert the burnt Live CD in your CD drive.
  5. Restart your machine.
  6. Go to the system BIOS and change the booting option to CD/DVD drive. (You have to be quick to go to the BIOS, else you will end up booting your existing OS.) Generally you have to press F2, F8, Delete or some specific key to go to system BIOS. Refer your system manual.
  7. Boot Ubuntu from the CD.
  8. Ubuntu Live CD will load and give you a screen to select what you want to do further. (You might have to wait 2-5 minutes depending upon your system to see this screen.)
  9. Select ‘Try and Install Ubuntu’. Don’t worry it won’t load Ubuntu on your machine and you won’t lose any data.
  10. It will take another 2-3 minutes to give you a desktop.
  11. Now you are in Live session of Ubuntu OS. You can test your machine to see all your hardware works on it. You can play games and do lots of other stuff.
  12. If you like you can double-click on the ‘Install Ubuntu’ icon on the desktop. (Next post will elaborate on the install options.)
  13. You don’t have to install now, if you wanna try it for some days.
  14. To exit, just click ‘Quit’ and ‘Shut Down’ the system.
  15. Remove CD from the CD drive when prompted. Hit enter.
  16. Reboot to use your existing OS. No changes have been made to your system…right. Cool….
  17. Come back to this blog to see what you need to do to Dual boot your system keeping your existing OS. (Dual Boot : You will have option while booting to select which OS you want to boot from. You can select if you want Windows, Ubuntu, Mac or any other thing.)

    Hope this post helped you in trying Ubuntu for free without affecting your existing OS.

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