Ubuntu 12.04: Essential Tweaks

There were a few tweaks that I made that just didn’t belong anywhere else.  So, this is just a collections of those tweaks.


Periodically, I use an external monitor with my laptop.  One of the features I like is that it can now go easily between dual screen and single screen mode.  Each release seems to get slightly easier, and this one is no exception.

The Displays application is the key to configuring the mutliple screen.  By default, it clones the two displays.

If you uncheck the “Mirror displays” option, it will extend the desktop across both monitors.

One of the problems I noticed was that it displayed the launcher bar on both displays.  What’s more frustrating is that the mouse seems to get stuck when moving from one display to another.  Well, I found that is easily configurable.  The “Sticky edges” option is what makes the mouse pause between screens.  I just turned it off.  The “Launcher placement” allows you to choose where you want the launcher.

So, it works great now that I have that tweaked.  The only thing I have noticed is that not all of the notification icons are consistent.  Notice that Remmina shows on both screens.  Shutter only displays on one.  Although you can’t see it in the screenshot, Skype only displays on one.

Main Menu program

This program is essential for me when installing programs that don’t come in the repository.  For example, my 32-bit browser environment doesn’t come pre-packaged.  To add it to the applications list, I use this “Main Menu” program.  It’s an easy install from the Software Center.

To use it, select the menu on the left, and then, click the “New Item” button to add a launcher.

Configuration Editor

Next, the configuration editor is one program you may want to consider installing.  I haven’t actually used it yet on this install, but it can be handy for low-level configuration tuning.

gConf is another alternative that edits other settings.

Compiz Settings

Unity runs under Compiz, and the Compiz is what makes things look nice.  This tool will allow you to fine-tune certain settings.

It does give a warning when you use it, so heed the warning.

The one setting that I enabled was the Wobbly Windows setting:

Then, I had to disable Snapping Windows:

Capturing what the effect looks like is hard to do with a screenshot tool.  I would probably do better off with a Video, but here is a try:

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