23 February 2010

Tweaking Ubuntu's GDM and nautilus

GNOMEImage via Wikipedia

There are tons of little tweaks I constantly make in my system to have an easier time spending a lot of time in it.

With this post I'd like to show you two of them.

The first tweak is actually a fix to the new login manager GDM. Ubuntu got a new login manager in release 9.10 to essentially save a precious few seconds during start-up. Sadly the rewrite is much less configurable and some argue is a trend the GNOME project has been showing. I agree to an extent that some features are being rushed and not enough care is being made that functionality is preserved. For instance the configuration dialogue of the new GDM is very Spartan and doesn't even have many of the options that it should have. I find that NetworkManager actually lacks a useful command line interface because the D-Bus way is just way to cumbersome.
Anyway, I found the drum sound that played on every start-up very annoying. If you haven't guessed from my rant, there is no obvious way to disable it. Fortunately other people were as well(a moment of Schadenfreude indeed) so a quick tweak/hack arose and this is it:
$ cd /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo
$ sudo mv system-ready.ogg system-ready.ogg.DISABLED-FOR-BEING-ANNOYING
Some argue that such tweaks are actually hacks because they interfere with the system in unexpected ways (like my flash on amd64 guide). Unfortunately in the absence of supported solutions such quick fixes are necessary. It always helps to make a mental note or better yet to keep a log of such modifications in case things go awry on some upgrade.

The second tweak I wanted to mention is in fact something that is supported in the official Ubuntu software channels and those are pug-ins for the nautilus file manager. On its own it lacks some features a power user really needs, the most glaring of which is an Open terminal here command. I actually tried implementing this myself because nautilus has a simple extension mechanism using scripts but I found a better solution by just installing one package:
$ sudo aptitude install nautilus-open-terminal
Here are the other interesting extension packages you might want to use:
  • nautilus-filename-repairer - Nautilus extension for filename encoding repair
  • nautilus-gksu - privilege granting extension for nautilus using gksu
  • nautilus-image-converter - nautilus extension to mass resize or rotate images
  • nautilus-open-terminal - nautilus plugin for opening terminals in arbitrary local paths
  • nautilus-script-audio-convert - A nautilus audio converter script
  • nautilus-script-manager - A simple management tool for nautilus scripts
  • nautilus-wallpaper - Nautilus extension. Add a "set as wallpaper" entry in context menu

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