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How To Make An Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop Resemble A Mac (With Elementary, Docky & Gloobus-Preview)


This article shows how you can change the appearance of your Ubuntu 10.10 desktop so that it resembles a Mac. This can be achieved with the help of Elementary, Docky, and Gloobus-Preview. Elementary is a project that provides a popular icon set and GTK theme; Docky is an interactive dock (like the one you know from a Mac) that provides easy access to some of the files, folders, and applications on your computer, and more; and Gloobus-Preview is an extension for the Gnome Desktop Environment designed to enable a full screen preview of any kind of file or directory.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

Docky requires that you use a compositing manager on your desktop. If you’ve enabled Compiz Fusion (e.g. as shown in this tutorial: Enabling Compiz Fusion On An Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop (NVIDIA GeForce 8200)), then you’re good to go. If your hardware doesn’t support Compiz Fusion, you should enable the metacity compositing manager.

 

2 Installing Elementary, Docky, And Gloobus

Docky is available as a package in the official Ubuntu 10.10 repositories, but Elementary and Gloobus-Preview are not. Fortunately there are packages available on Launchpad, so we have to add software sources to our system so that we can install these packages. Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager:

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In the Synaptic Package Manager, go to Settings > Repositories:

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Go to the Other Software tab and click on the Add button:

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Add the first new repository in the APT line field:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/elementaryart/ppa/ubuntu maverick main

Then click on the Add Source button:

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Do the same for the following three repositories:

  • deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/elementaryart/ppa/ubuntu maverick main
  • ppa:gloobus-dev/gloobus-preview
  • ppa:am-monkeyd/nautilus-elementary-ppa

Click on Close in the Software Sources window afterwards:

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… to do this, click on the Reload button in the following window:

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Now the package database is being updated:

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Still in the Synaptic Package Manager, select the following packages for installation (you can use the Quick search field to search for them):

  • elementary-theme
  • elementary-icon-theme
  • elementary-wallpapers
  • docky
  • gloobus-preview

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Click on Apply to install the packages:

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3 Activating Elementary

To activate the Elementary theme, go to System > Preferences > Appearance:

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On the Theme tab, select the elementary theme – the desktop theme should change immediately:

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Go to the Background tab and select a wallpaper that you like – the wallpaper should also change immediately:

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4 Enabling Docky

To start Docky, go to Applications > Accessories > Docky:

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You should then see the dock at the bottom of your desktop. Click on the Docky icon (the left icon in the dock) to open the Docky Configuration window.

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In the Docky Configuration window, you can fine-tune Docky’s behaviour, for example you can tell it to start automatically when the computer starts (which makes sense) and to use a 3D background:

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On the Docklets tab, you can add some additional applications to your dock, for example a clock. Click on Close when you’re done with the Docky configuration:

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On the Docklets tab, you can add some additional applications to your dock, for example a clock. Click on Close when you’re done with the Docky configuration:

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Now we remove the panel at the bottom because it interferes with our dock. Right-click on the panel and select Delete This Panel from the menu that comes up:

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Confirm this action by clicking on Delete in the following dialogue:

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The bottom panel should now be gone, and your desktop should look like this:

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5 Enabling Gloobus-Preview

Gloobus-Preview allows us to preview files and directories in Nautilus by marking an item and pressing the space bar on our keyboard. But this works only with a special version of Nautilus which is also available from the repositories that we enabled in chapter two. This Nautilus version can be installed by updating our system. Go to System > Administration > Update Manager:

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At the bottom of the list of packages that are available for update, you should find the libnautilus-extension1, nautilus, and nautilus-data packages. Make sure that these are checked, and click on Install Updates to start the update:

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Afterwards, you can open your Nautilus file browser (under Places). To preview an item, mark it (i.e., click on it once), and then press the space bar:

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6 Screenshots

That’s it! Your desktop should now resemble a Mac. Here are a few screenshots of what your desktop could look like now:

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  • Elementary: http://www.elementary-project.com/
  • Docky: http://wiki.go-docky.com/
  • Gloobus-Preview: http://gloobus.net/
  • Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/

 

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