11. Add More Workspaces
Workspaces are one of the best things about Linux. They’re a great way of organising your applications onto different virtual screens. By default, Ubuntu sets up only two, but you can adjust this number by right clicking on the workspace switcher in the bottom right corner of the display and opening the Preferences window.
12. Use Workspaces more effectively
Use ‘Ctrl alt’ and either cursor left or right to switch between adjacent workspaces, and if you hold down the shift key, the active window will move to the new desktop too. For better control, right click on any windows top border to open a context menu, and from here you can choose to move the window to another workspace.
13. Don’t start everything
As with system services, the average Ubuntu installation runs lots of different programs at startup. You can remove those you don’t need by launching the Sessions window from the Preferences menu. If you don’t use the desktop search, for instance, disable ‘Tracker’. Other likely candidates for removal include Bluetooth, the Evolution Alarm Notifier and the Print Queue Applet.
14. Remember the running session
Another neat feature of the setting manager is that you can configure your desktop to remember the applications that were running when you shutdown your machine. This is a great way of quickly launching into your working environment. Just switch to the Session Options page and enable the ‘Automatically Remember’ option.
15. Fine tune the Gnome desktop
Application shortcuts are hidden behind the Gnome equivalent of the Windows registry editor. This can be launched from the command-line by typing ‘gconf-editor’. But be careful, settings changed here could mess up your desktop. If you do, then the desktop can be restored to its default state by deleting the ‘.gconf’ and ‘.gconfd’ folders from your home directory.
16. Launching applications with a key combination
One of the settings hidden in Gconf is the ability to launch applications with a key combination. Navigate to ‘apps>metacity>key_binding_commands’, double click on one of the ‘command_’ entries and enter the launch command for the application you want to run. To set the key, double click on the same entry in ‘apps>metacity> global_keybindings’ and press a key. Holding ‘Ctrl Shift alt’ and that key will now launch the application.
17. Use pervasive searches
Ubuntu comes with an excellent utilities for searchig through the contents of files and emails, but it’s not enabled by default. Open the Search and Indexing window from the Preferences menu, and enable both indexing and watching. After the index has been created, you can search through your files using the ‘Tracker Search Tool’ in the ‘Applications>Accessories’ menu.
18. Switch To A Faster Desktop
Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop by default. It’s a good choice because Gnome is powerful, capable and popular. But it’s not streamlined or particularly efficient. A faster alternative is XFCE, the source of Xubuntu, and this can be installed through the Synaptic package manager by searching for the ‘xubuntu-desktop’ meta-package.
The KDE desktop
19. Switch to an KDE
If neither Gnome or XFCE are helping you be more productive, then try KDE. It’s the most configurable of the Linux desktops, and often takes a different slant on browsing and file management. Version 4 has vastly improved the environment, and it can be installed by searching for the ‘kubuntu-desktop’ in Synaptic.
20. KDE auto-login
If you prefer Kubuntu or the KDE desktop, then you’ll need to use a different configuration panel to enable auto-login. Open KDE’s System Settings application, and switch to the Advanced page and open the Login Manager. Enter your root password and switch to the convenience page. From here you can choose to enable a user for auto login.