Goose Your Koala: Alternative Look on Ubuntu Netbook

Goose Your Koala: Alternative Look on Ubuntu Netbook by David Whelan The Human theme on Ubuntu is nice although I typically switch it to clearlooks. But I was looking around for ways to enhance my netbook look, in part because I am still fine-tuning my interface.


You can change your themes by selecting your System menu, choose Preferences, and click on Appearance.  If you are a current or former Windows user, you may always navigate to Display, but that is just screen resolution and other similar options.

Appearance has all listed themes on one tab.  You can click on the Get More Themes Online link to go to the Gnome theme page.  I also found a lot of references to a slick Hewlett Packard (HP) netbook theme called Glassy Bleu.  You can add it to Ubuntu by downloading three .deb packages and installing them.  Once installed, it will appear on the themes tab of the Appearance app:




I am not sure the browser skin is relevant unless you are running Firefox.  I am using Google Chrome so it doesn’t appear to have any impact for me.  The backgrounds are pretty neat, especially a black one with a circular pattern on it.

Panel Options

I was bemoaning my panel problems in another post but soon found that I could right click on the top bar (or panel) and Add to Panel.  In the past, I have used that to add a shortcut (launcher) to Google or Microsoft Word or a Terminal window.  This was the first time I worked through some of the other options.

If you have the launcher and Metacity problem I describe elsewhere, you may find that, if you fix Metacity the way I did, you are still missing some information on that top panel.  You can add a lot of it back by adding the following to the top panel:

  • Clock:  puts the date and time back on the top panel;
  • Window picker:  creates shortcut for each window you have open, and the active window’s title appears in the top panel with a closing X at the right end.  This was default behaviour when I first installed Karmic Koala but it disappeared when I had problems with Metacity;
  • Show Desktop:  the same icon that Windows users have on their Quick Launch bar, to minimize all windows at once to see the desktop.  Note that if you have a launcher like the Ubuntu netbook-launcher active, it shows you that, not your actual desktop.
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David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.