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With the release of Ubuntu 10.04Lucid Lynx” came the move to a new default theme, one which has the control buttons on the left (like in Mac OS X) rather than the right (the previous default, and a layout Windows users are familiar with).

If you really don’t like the control buttons on the left, it’s easy enough to remedy by switching themes to one with buttons on the right. But if you like the current theme, just not the button layout, you can actually hack the settings and put the buttons where you want.

To achieve this, you can simply copy and paste the command at the end of this article into a terminal, or if you prefer the hands-on approach, do the following:

Open Applications > System Tools > Configuration Editor (or Alt+F2 and enter gconf-editor). Once open, browse to /apps/metacity/general/, and in the right pane you will notice the option “button_layout”, with its value set as close,minimize,maximize:menu.

Simply change the value to menu:minimize,maximize,close. As soon as you hit Enter to commit the changes, the buttons will leap to the right-hand side.

Also, you can remove the window menu from the opposite side, simply by leaving out the word menu:

:minimize,maximize,close (make sure to include the colon at the beginning).

You can even add a spacer (or more), simply by including the word spacer in there. For example, if you just want a spacer between the maximize and close buttons, you would change the value to menu:minimize,maximize,spacer,close.

You can apply these tricks to any GTK+/Metacity theme in use, and put buttons in whatever order you desire. And Mac users who want buttons on the left can use any of the countless themes with right-side buttons and simply change that theme’s settings to close,minimize,maximize:menu, or close,minimize,maximize: if the window menu is unwanted (make sure to include the colon at the end).

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Now that you’ve seen the “user-friendly” hands-on method of doing this, here’s a command you can paste in a terminal instead:

gconftool-2 -t str --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout “menu:minimize,maximize,close”

°ºÒθÓº°¤°ºÒθÓº°¤°ºÒθÓº°

The only restrictions are: “Duplicate buttons are not allowed. Unknown button names are silently ignored so that buttons can be added in future metacity versions without breaking older versions.

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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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