Xubuntu is looking good

July 18, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Posted in xubuntu | 8 Comments

Jozsef Mak recently posted a message to the xubuntu-devel mailinglist, introducing what in time may become the artwork for the next version of Xubuntu, 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbon”:


Here are some xubuntu-artwork-screenshots I am working on.


The goal is to create a super-unified desktop experience, the best to
date. We also have to make sure that in addition to the graphics the
gtk and the icon themes too go into the release. For the gtk theme I
suggest murrina blue-gray and for the icon theme nuevo.

Let me know what you think.


The theme is still being developed, but these first screenshots look quite good in my opinion. Especially the login screen looks very sleek:

Xubuntu Gutsy Gibbon - potential login screen

Really makes you look forward to Xubuntu’s next release, doesn’t it?

Howto: Better integrate Firefox with dark themes

July 18, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Posted in tips and tricks, xubuntu | 2 Comments

Here’s the problem: in some themes (in my case, Murrina Aero) the menubar has a dark background. In other programs, the text of the menubar is white. In Firefox, however, it’s gray and unreadable. Here’s a quick fix to make the menus easier to read:

1) Open up Firefox, and type about:config in the address bar. Once loaded, right click and go to New > String. When asked to type in the preference name, type in ui.menutext. Hit OK. Now type in #ffffff.

Restart Firefox. The menu will be easier to read, but now we’ve run into another problem: your submenus and right-click menus have also turned white, and they’re unreadable. Fear not, there’s a fix for this too:

2) Go to Xfce Menu > File Manager (Thunar). Once there, click View > Show Hidden Files. Then navigate to .mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default/. (Note: xxxxxxxx changes for each system. For instance, mine is x3s7t788.)

3) Now go to the chrome folder. Under there is a file called userChrome.css. Open it up and paste in the following at the end of the file:

menupopup > menu, popup, menuitem {
color: black !important;

Save the file and exit.

4) Restart Firefox. Now your menu bar will be readable, as well as the submenus.

Known bugs:

This still doesn’t affect the right-click menu of about:config. No big problem, though, since any configuration you do in there can also be placed in .mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default/prefs.js.

Special thanks to this guide on creating Office XP style menus for Firefox 2 for helping how to figure this out.

Special thanks to the

Howto: USP setup + tips and tricks

July 12, 2007 at 10:48 am | Posted in tips and tricks, xubuntu | 11 Comments

As everyone knows, Xubuntu’s start menu is…lacking, to say the least. With this howto, you can get a menu that is comparable to KDE’s Kicker or GNOME’s Slab.

The program I will be using is called Ubuntu System Panel, which describes itself as a “Simple launcher for the GNOME desktop, providing easy access to Places, Applications and common configuration items for your computer”. Even though it is designed for GNOME, it can be easily set up for XFCE. Let’s get started!

1) First, open up a terminal and install what is needed to get USP running on Xubuntu:

sudo apt-get install subversion xfce4-xfapplet-plugin python-gnome2 python-gnome2-desktop python-gmenu python-pyinotify gnome-menus

2) Make a folder, and call it usp-svn:

mkdir usp-svn/

3) Go into that folder, and download USP:

cd usp-svn/
svn checkout http://ubuntu-system-panel.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ ubuntu-system-panel

4) Now let’s install USP:

cd ubuntu-system-panel
./usp_update install

5) Now, we need to create a .usp folder in your home folder BEFORE running USP. To do that, run:

mkdir ~/.usp

If you plan to use the Places plugin, you should also run:

mkdir ~/.usp/places
touch ~/.usp/places/.gtk-bookmarks

6) Right-click the Xubuntu panel, and click “Add New Item”. Add the XfApplet plugin.
Afterwards, a window should pop up and give you the choice to add the Ubuntu System Panel. Make sure that you add it. USP will now appear in the panel.


To configure USP, run


a configuration window will pop up. Even though everything is GNOME-oriented, these tips will make it fit better in Xubuntu:

Under “Main”:

  • Change “USP Button Icon” to xubuntu-logo
  • Make sure “Hide Side Pane”, “Hide Stickied Headings”, and “Hide Border” are checked.
  • If you’d like to set the Windows key to open up the menu, set “USP Hotkey” to Super_L.
  • To make it look nicer on lower resolutions, reduce the number of number of plugins that are loaded. I have mine reduced to “applications”, “newpane”, “uspuser”, and “system_management”.

    To remove any plugins you don’t want, select it and click “Remove”. When you’re done, click “Save”.

Under “Applications”:

  • Make sure “Hide Vertical Separator” is checked. Set “Applications Width” to 200 and “Applications Height” to 270.
  • To enable searching, install Catfish, a GTK file searcher. It is in Feisty’s universe repo and can be installed as such:

    sudo apt-get install catfish

    Afterwards, change “Search Command” to

    catfish SEARCH_STRING

Under “User”:

  • Set “User Height” to 90 and “User Width” to 60. I also have “Hide User Name” and “Hide Logged On Date” checked, these are optional.

Under “System Management”:

  • Make sure “Hide Vertical Separator” is checked. Set “System Management Height” to 160 and “System Management Width” to 100.
  • Set “Install software” to gksu /usr/sbin/synaptic, “Control Center” to xfce-setting-show, “Lock Screen” to xflock4 and “Quit” to xfce4-session-logout.

You can also create your own set of shortcuts. To do so, go to “All Applications” under the “Applications” category, right click the shortcut you want and click “Add to Favorites”.

The end result should be something like this:


Feel free to make any changes as you see fit…but make sure to press the “Backup” button beforehand in case anything goes wrong.

Happy USPing!

Long time no post

July 9, 2007 at 10:27 am | Posted in xubuntu | 11 Comments

It’s been exactly one year since I posted my first post here at Xubuntu Blog. It had ran for a few months, until the updates simply stopped. There are many reasons for this:

Lack of content: I had simply started to run out of ideas. I wanted constant updates, but I didn’t want half of them to be useless and uninformative. Sadly, that is, IMO, what started to happen.
Lack of Xubuntu-related content: I had always wanted to focus on Xubuntu-related material. However, it was getting to the point where for each post about Xubuntu there were two or three non-related posts. I had always wanted to remain consistent, but was starting to lose my focus. This ties in with the point above.
Overwork: It had come to the point where updating this was a chore. Everyday I thought of something to post on the blog, and posted it regardless of whether it was good or not. I decided to take a break and come back with a less rigid posting routine. That, of course, took a lot longer than I expected.

I felt a sense of community when working on this site, and I’d like to bring that back. In an attempt to become even more community-oriented, I welcome anybody with a WordPress account to offer help in any way they can. If you write how-tos, just post a comment showing some of your example how-tos and you can get the chance to become a contributor at Xubuntu Blog. I understand that there are a lot of Xubuntu users out there that know even more than I do, and with your help the updates can stay constant without tiring me. Eventually, this site can once again become one of the top Xubuntu resources.

It doesn’t need to stop at how-tos, either. Even helping in typos, incorrect information, etc. is appreciated. Reader Simanek has given me an updated logo, which is a lot less pixellated (blame WordPress for that), and I thank him for it.

So now I’m back and with a fresh start. The updates probably won’t be as constant as they used to be, but they will come around every now and then.

Til then, keep reading.

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