Mageia 2 GNOME Panel-Docklet

GNOME 3, KDE, LXDE and E17 are four complete desktop environments available during the installation of Mageia 2, the latest release of the Linux distribution derived from Mandriva.

While KDE is usable without modification for the vast majority of users, the other three require that most users get some digital grease on their hands before getting real comfy using them.

From my perspective, the worst culprit is GNOME 3. And though I have often criticised the default GNOME 3 interface, with a little bit of tweaking here and there, I have been able to get it to a point where I can actually use it for my daily computing tasks. It is not perfect, but much better than the default configuration. The idea is to make it look like a standard desktop that lends itself very well to using the mouse, rather than mostly to keyboard shortcuts. For me, that means getting the titlebar buttons back and also getting a sane and usable task manager or panel on the desktop.

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In this short article, I will show you how to get those two features. The first requires the installation of a package called gnome-tweak-tool. You may install it from the command line or by using the graphical package manager. To get the second feature involves the installation of an extension.

The gnome-tweak-tool. From the command line, type, as root, urpmi gnome-tweak-tool. Using the graphical package manager, typing tweak in the search box should bring up the application. Select it, then click Apply to install it. The instruction here assumes that you know what a command line and how to access it, and how to access the graphical package manager.
Install GNOME Tweak Tool Mageia 2

To access gnome-tweak-tool, press the Super key on the keyboard (it is the key with the Windows logo, between the left Ctrl and Alt keys. Typing the first few letters of Advanced should bring up an icon named Advanced Settings. Start it.
GNOME Tweak Tool Mageia 2

This is what it looks like. Click on the Shell tab, then select All from the Arrangement of buttons on the titlebar menu. You can see the result of this operation in the top-right corner of this screen shot. Those are the titlebar buttons. Out of the box, only the close button is enabled.
GNOME 3 Titlebar Buttons

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Before closing the window, you might also want to make another change. From the Windows tab, select Toggle Shade from the Action on title bar double-click menu. What this does, is to shade or roll up a window when you double-click on the titlebar. It just gives you one more window management option.
GNOME 3 Titlebar Shade

With the first feature enabled, time to take care of the second. Since I have written about that in another article, I will just point you to the article that shows how to enable it. You may read it at Panel-Docklet: A must-install extension for GNOME 3.

After installing and messing with the extension, your GNOME 3 desktop on Mageia 2 should look just like the one in this screen shot.
Mageia 2 GNOME Panel-Docklet


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4 Responses

  1. I must agree, though not a ‘gamer’ I do love the analytical side, development, solving the “how can we do this, and make it solid” .. Linux fits the bill. Whether you are in a distributed environment, working clusters, robotics or whatever …. Linux is the clear choice .. [I do miss Borlands Linux offerings] the power in the tools available is phenomenal … Windows just can not compare.

  2. I agree with @Mike Frett at the state of Linux in 2013. E.g The graphics drivers (thanks to valve) have seen tremendous development in last two years. I still remember in 2011, I had to actually turn off the power management (acpi) to boot into Linux. Today I am mostly arguing about which game should I buy and play next week. Intel graphics are still not as good as those of windows, but they have long surpassed that of Macs. When I am talking about windows vs Linux Intel drivers, I am talking about propitiatory Intel drivers verses open source drivers. I thought I would never see open source drivers on this level. It is simply amazing. Which means, non-gamers should not worry about how their desktop is going to perform anymore.

    When we talk about Linux, most of the communication stops at Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Since I am neither an office worker or a graphics artist, I have no need for them. Even if we have to leave the guys who live on these software, thanks to web based software and thousands of awesome Linux software, there are many of us who have more than enough software on Linux. Even for casual gamer like me, there are more than enough games to keep me occupied.

  3. If you’ve ever installed Windows from a retail disk, it’s complately bare and unusable. By default Linux has more applications on a base install.

    Being a complete newbie, I made a permanent switch to Linux in October 2012. I switched to Xubuntu and have yet to find anything lacking. The Software Center, where I can both BUY and get for FREE, various Games and applications, was a selling point for me and made the ease of switching barable. It also allowed me to gradually learn other ways of getting the apps I needed.

    I’ve since installed Xubuntu for my brother who is a Gamer. He has yet to complain about any lack of Games to play. I’m sorry but in 2013, Linux is ready for the desktop.

    I used Windows for about 15 years, I should know if Linux is ready or not. I had zero issues finding replacements for Games and Apps I used in Windows. Not to mention, no more clumbsy drivers to install. True Plug and Play, something Microsoft never accomplished.

    Unlike Windows, I found I wasn’t stuck with the boring UI that Microsoft wanted me to have. I could customize to my hearts content.

    I’m glad I switched. Especially now knowing the NSA has a built-in Trojan. You would have to be completely insane to use Windows in 2013. You might as well let in all the Malware if you are going to use Windows. And businesses, after the events a few months ago of the NSA stealing data from Companies, you are risking your Business and your Customers trust by using Windows.

    No, maybe in 2010 Linux wasn’t quite ready. But in 2013 It’s more than capable. If you think it’s not, I’ve got real world users I’ve helped switch that will disagree.

    1. I agree; but for a few games, I would be using Ubuntu exclusively. The only games left that keep me from switching entirely are the games that are difficult or impossible to run ( well ) on Linux based OSs; Starcraft II, Empire Earth ( <- Best. Historical RTS. Of all time. ), Borderlands. Those are literally the three games. Anything else ( that I play ) is on Linux, and developing is SO much better. I can't believe anybody develops on Windows for anything but Windows exclusive apps.

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