Fedora Day Two: Customisation

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So now I’ve got my Fedora 18 machine all up and running from Day One, and I’m now ready to get some work done, and oh what a busy day it’s been. As I mentioned yesterday, the default look of Fedora leaves a lot to be desired, so I’ve been busy working away to get my OS looking and running how I like it.

Installing software

I used a number of sources to get my software loaded up on Fedora. I did of course use the package manager that’s bundled in, simply called “Software” which does an ok job. But I found the search feature to be poor, the whole thing a little dated and generally rubbish to be honest. I personally prefer to install applications by CLI (Command Line Interface) anyway, so this wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

I had a lot of stuff to load on to my machine. Filezilla, Inkscape, CODECS, VLC, Docky, Shutter, etc etc. I found a really great article that bashed most of these out within just a few minutes. The article is titled Ten things to do after installing Fedora 18 and I have to say, this is an extremely useful set of commands to get you up and running.

I also had some trouble getting Chrome installed on my machine, I was getting a “signature error” when I tried to run the RPM file. But again, the community came to the rescue and this link enabled me to install Chrome without an issue.

Problems

I have to say that the problems have been few and far between, and what problems I have had have been easily overcome with a quick Google search. Were needed I will be adding links to the solutions I’ve found in the hope that it will help anyone else that is a Fedora noob like myself.

The biggest problem that I’m still having is the trackpad. I have a fairly modern laptop with one of those Mac clone, single button trackpads, it never really worked all that well in Ubuntu, and in Fedora it’s the same drill. The whole thing is far too over sensitive, which means that I can’t “tap to click” as I usually end up clicking on whatever is close to the thing that I’m actually trying to click.

So I physically click the trackpad instead. However, the trackpad is regularly “locking up” whereby the cursor won’t move and anything I click seems to be a right click. Bashing the trackpad and randomly clicking/swiping seems to fix the issue temporally but I don’t want to damage my trackpad. So if any of you guys know how to fix this problem, I would be eternally grateful. In the meantime I’ve resorted to a USB wireless mouse. Two finger scroll, and two finger right click are working just fine. It’s just this silly “locking up issue”

Customisation

I’ve done quite a lot of work on my install of Fedora 18 to get it running just how I like it, and now that I have, I’m really starting to settle in nicely. I’ve changed the wallpaper, system font, theme, and installed a handful of Gnome Shell extensions, all have which has resulted in this:

Workspace 1_001

Workspace 1_002This was all very straightforward via the use of the Gnome Tweak tool. However, I did struggle to get the system themes to work correctly when extracting them to /usr/share/themes. I found that installing them to .local/share/themes seemed to work, but that means the theme will only work for me. Not a major problem, but not ideal either.

I also changed the system font to Raleway from Google Fonts (which incidentally is the same font that’s used here on RefuGeeks). I also installed the popular Faenza icon theme, and the blue coloured Faenza Cuppertino theme (shown in the images above). I’ve changed to background to one I had in my personal collection (sorry I don’t have the link any more), I installed the following Gnome Shell Extensions to tweak the system slightly:

  • Remove accessibility - This removes the accessibility icon from the panel
  • Taskbar - This gives me the more traditional icons in the panel for all applications I have open. I much prefer this to the standard way of showing the icon and label of the current application you’re in.
  • User Themes - This allows you to set your own themes.
  • Activities Configurator - This is a great extension that allows you to really customise the panel quite significantly. You can remove the activities text and replace it with an icon (which is what I did – if you want the icon I made, you can download it from here). I also made the panel grey instead of black, you can also add opacity if you like. I decided not to though.

The theme I’m using is Zukitwo, it’s a gorgeous grey and blue theme that kind of resembles the popular Elementary theme. But I like this one more so decided to use it instead. You can find Zukitwo here.

The final thing I tweaked was changing the default close only button on windows, to the more normal, min, max,close configuration that most operating systems use nowadays. This is done very easily via Gnome Tweak from the “Shell” menu. All you have to do is change the “Arrangement of buttons on title bar” to “All”. Log out, login again, and that’s it, you have all your buttons.

So far so good

It may sound like I’ve made a lot of customisations to Fedora 18 looking at this article, but I really haven’t. This is nothing over and above what I and many other Linuxers would do to their systems. I think it’s really important to make your machine your own, and it’s very difficult to do that without customising the look of the OS.

I’ve had a couple of niggles, but so far I haven’t come across anything that’s a real deal breaker, and if I can fix the Trackpad issue then I will be extremely happy. Any advice guys? Join me tomorrow for day three, were I will be looking at working with Gnome Shell.

Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Final Day

Fedora Day Two: Customisation
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