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Posts Tagged ‘icons’

If you upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04, you might find that some of your familiar icons in the notification area of your panel’s system tray are missing. These will include such system apps as the Update Manager, but more importantly those programs you are running that usually put icons or indicators there.

Some of these might be used for bringing the related programs to the foreground (which is the only way to access those that disappear when minimised, like Firestarter and Vuze), while others are completely useless if not shown in the notification area. A good example of the latter is Parcellite, a clipboard manager which sits in the system tray, and which you can’t access any other way.

So, in Unity, you might not even be sure certain apps are running, without opening the System Monitor. They’re actually open and still trying to put their icons there, but are being prevented by a default Unity setting. But it’s easy to fix, either by the hands-on/visual approach, or the quicker command-line method.

Dconf Editor

First off, if you don’t have Dconf Editor installed, do so by entering the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

To open it, hit Alt+F2 and enter dconf-editor. Navigate to desktop > unity > panel, where the value for the systray-whitelist entry should look something like: [‘JavaEmbeddedFrame’, ‘Mumble’, ‘Wine’, ‘Skype’, ‘hp-systray’, ‘scp-dbus-service’]

You can manually add programs and indicators to it (eg: [‘JavaEmbeddedFrame’, ‘Mumble’, ‘Wine’, ‘Skype’, ‘hp-systray’, ‘scp-dbus-service’, ‘your-indicator-here’]), or you can just get it to show all notifications (which would be preferable, since any programs you install in the future would be included there).

Simply click the systray-whitelist entry and type ['all'] over what is there. That should restore all your usual system tray icons, which were always running, just not visible. To complete this, you will need to run (via Alt+F2) unity --replace to refresh Unity.

Terminal Command

It’s even easier to do this via the terminal (or Alt+F2):

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

Once again, you’ll need to refresh Unity to see your changes.

Extra Notes

No Notifications: If you actually want no notifications showing up, leave the value empty. Actually, it will need to be [”] (that’s two single-quotes inside the box bracket), which you can do manually, or by the following command:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['']"

Don’t Refresh Unity in Terminal: Use Alt+F2 to refresh Unity, as while running unity --replace in the terminal is fine, if you halt that process, or close the terminal window, Unity will crash. While that isn’t a major deal, it will however leave you without a way to rectify this, as Alt+F2 will not produce the Run dialogue (since the panel isn’t running – which also means no way to log out or restart). You may also find that if you manage to get a terminal up (like if you have a launcher for it on your desktop), you won’t be able to type anything into it.

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If you’ve ever installed any Windows programs in Ubuntu, you’d know Wine takes care of extracting the program’s icon (usually in the ancient .ico format) for use in Ubuntu. But, for whatever reason it may be, you may need to recreate those, but you don’t have the reinstall your programs just to do so.

In my case, copying over the entire .wine folder to a freshly-installed system gave me all my old Windows programs in perfect working order (gotta love Linux!), but the launchers no longer have the familiar icons. While I copied over a hidden folder with panel launchers, I’d have to do some digging in my old system to restore those icons to what they were, but probably a less time-consuming answer would be to just extract those icons, have them converted to .png, and put them somewhere safe for use with the associated program.

Another scenario for why you would want to extract icons is that the default icon for one of your programs is horridly pixellated, yet you know the .exe actually contains a bunch of higher resolution icons, and wish to change it to one of those, simply to make it look better.

Now, there are a bunch of apps available for this, mostly command-line solutions but a few little GUI apps as well, but the easiest to use is gExtractWinIcons. All you have to do is open a resource file (like an executable .exe or .dll library), pick a destination to save to, select the desired icon(s) for extraction, and click Save.

If the file contains a lot of images, click Deselect All, and manually mark those you want for extraction. Once you’re finished, move your icons somewhere safe, and assign them to your Wine programs’ launchers.

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PLEASE NOTE: This article is for earlier versions of Nautilus File Manager (2.x) found in earlier Ubuntu releases running on  Gnome 2.x, so will not work in Unity (the default desktop environment) or Gnome Shell, both of which are based on Gnome 3.

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Nautilus can be cosmetically customised quite easily, so it’s a simple matter to replace the blank window background with either a picture, colour or gradient, as well as make important files and folders stick out from the rest.

Simply go to Edit > Backgrounds and Emblems… and you can choose to change the background image (via Patterns), background colour (via Colours), as well as designate emblems to files and folders of your choosing (via Emblems).

To make a pattern or image the background for folder windows, simply drag-and-drop it onto an empty area of Nautilus, and it’s done. And if you want to revert to a blank background, drag the Reset option at the top instead of an image.

Similarly, if you just want a different colour as the background, in the Colours section you can drag a new background colour to Nautilus, and it will immediately change. Note that if you drop the colour in the corner or near the edge of the window, rather than closer to the centre, it will create a gradient of that colour blending into the previous one.

Assigning an emblem to a file or folder, for the purpose of making it stick out, is likewise a very simple matter. Once again, all you need to do is drag one of the emblems, then drop it onto the file or folder in question.

You might notice that there is no option for resetting an object to have no emblem, but all you have to do should you want to remove one is right-click the file or folder, choose Properties, go to the Emblems tab, and untick the emblem that is being used.

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Guide to Customising & Enhancing Nautilus

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Dolphin became the default file manager when KDE went to 4.0, so Kubuntu users already know what a great program it is (unless they preferred to stick with the previous default file manager, Konqueror). While Ubuntu‘s desktop environment, Gnome, has certainly stepped up of late when it comes to visual effects, screenlets and the like, KDE has always been about “bells and whistles”. And while Gnome can end up looking pretty stunning, the same can’t be said about its default file manager, Nautilus, which is about as plain as they come.

Dolphin, on the other hand, has the little niceties one would expect of a KDE file manager, like animated folder icons, and a lot more. There is an easy to access zoom slider for thumbnails, and has some pretty unique “views”. You can customise it in ways you could only dream of in Nautilus or Thunar, like not only add extra panes, but also move them where you like, and resize them to your needs.

If you look at the above pic, you’ll see that you can add a Folders (“tree”) pane and put it above the Information pane on the right (you could put it under Places, of course, but why not save that for shortcuts). Also, you can add a Terminal to the bottom, so whatever folder you’re in, you can just type commands without having to open a terminal in each folder (or continually change paths).

The views are Icons (like the same in Nautilus, but smaller, and just the icon, no preview),Details (your standard row-by-row format with information next to each file), Columns (starts off with 2 columns, and every sub-folder you click on opens another), Preview (turns your icons into thumbnails, and folders will show previews of pics inside), andSplit (gives you 2 columns you can browse with).

When you are inSplit mode, you can look at the beginning and end of a large folder at the same time, or use the second column to browse another folder or drive. The Columns mode offers another interesting and useful way of browsing, so you certainly have a few choices in ways to browse.

Some things to note are that with Dolphin, like other KDE file managers, the default is to treat a single-click as a double-click. This can confuse Gnome users, as even slowly clicking a file will open it. All you need to do to select a file is click the green + that appears in the top left corner when you hover your cursor, and it will select it. But if you’re selecting a file simply to know the filesize, like you would in Nautilus, then you don’t need to, as that information will appear in the status bar and the Information pane simply by hovering your cursor over the file.

Not only that, but if you are in Icons view, hovering over picture files will show the preview in the Information pane. In Preview mode, another nice feature is that when you hover your mouse cursor over a folder, its preview thumbnail will cycle through other pictures in the folder (which you can see in the second pic, as the selected folder looks different from the preview in the Information pane).

So there are some great reasons to try out Dolphin. There’s a lot more you can do to customise its interface, and if the single-click/double-click issue ends up annoying you, then don’t worry, you can change the setting to what you’re used to. You can change that and other default settings via Settings > Configure Dolphin.

While Dolphin needs certain KDE libraries, etc, to function, any such dependencies will be installed with the program into your Ubuntu/Gnome system. Mark it for installation in Synaptic, or enter in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install dolphin

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The default “view” in both Nautilus and Thunar file managers is the Icon or thumbnail view, which you can of course change if ever you want via the View menu. If you’re happy with thumbnails, but they’re too big for your liking, or you actually want to make them larger, like in your ~/Pictures folder, hold the Ctrl button while you zoom in or out with your mouse scroll wheel.

In Nautilus (the default file manager in Ubuntu), you can make the thumbnails of pics rather huge, like only 2 fitting in each row, and the icons for any folders in there won’t be too large. On top of that, the change will only be recorded in the folder you’re in, so you can have most of your folders displaying thumbnails at the default size, have a few where the thumbnails are quite small, and then have huge thumbnails for folders like ~/Pictures.

In Thunar (Xubuntu‘s default file manager), you can only go so big, and in your ~/Pictures folder the icons for any folders in there might actually look bigger than the thumbnails for pics; also, do that to one folder, and it is a global change (ie: it happens to the rest).

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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