Ubuntu Netbook Remix

30 May 2009 17:21

Although I don't have a 10" netbook, but a 13" notebook and resolution of its screen is much more than 1024x600: 1280x800, I decided to give Ubuntu Netbook Remix a try.

I saw it in action on Pieter's EeePC and it worked pretty good. I liked the idea of maximizing the surface used by windows, by removing the window top bar and the taskbar was pretty cool.

Fortunately, Ubuntu Netbook Remix is only a few additional packets compared to the standard Ubuntu system. (read and see more about it) Moreover, they are all available in the standard Ubuntu repository and to please everyone, they are all dependencies of meta-package ubuntu-netbook-remix. So, installing Ubuntu Netbook Remix on a computer already running Ubuntu is just:

sudo aptitude install ubuntu-netbook-remix

Then, in System menu, you can choose Desktop Switcher app, that let's you toggle between Standard Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Netbook Desktop. One click, and you have (nearly) all the goods.

I encountered some glitches:

  • maximus was not automatically started — windows decorations were not removed automatically. I had to run the program manually. Fortunately after a logout and login, the program starts automatically.
  • having more than 1 workspace produces some strange problems, everything seems to work, but sometimes some things break. Just revert to the standard system, right-click the workspace switcher, and set one workspace in preferences.
  • the Ubuntu Launcher (substitution of all system menus, launched by clicking in left-top corner on the Ubuntu logo) was very very very slow. Animation was killing the performance. After a few tries with enabling compiz (but eventually disabling it) and setting the workspaces number to one and re-login this runs very smoothly. Strange. But finally works nicely.
  • some of the applets are gone. After switching back to standard desktop they appear, but I want them also on the compact mode. But I don't know how to add them and is it possible.

Summing things up, I think the extra 20 pixels you get from removing title bar from the maximized applications (and most of them start maximized by the way) is worth trying. Also the position of applets on the panel is fixed and this stops my problems with applets changing their positions when switching from big resolution (external display) to small (internal one) and back.

And, worth saying, getting rid of this is just as easy as removing the ubuntu-netbook-remix package and packages it automatically installed. Packages automatically installed and no longer needed are detected by aptitude system.

I'm sure I would appreciate the changes even more if I had a smaller laptop.

Thanks Ubuntu team!

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