Ubuntu 12.04 Tips and Tricks

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I’ve been using Ubuntu 12.04 a bit at both home and work.  Canonical made some very bold UI changes for this release.  On balance, as a long-term Linux user, some of the changes aren’t my favourite.  That said, it isn’t bad and I encourage everyone to give the new UI a chance.  If you want to tweak things a bit, here are some random tips and ticks I’ve been discovering:

Fix multi-monitor behaviour (aka disable sticky edges)

I wasn’t sure if this was in MyUnity, UbuntuTweak, or ccsm. It turns out, it’s easier than all of these. Just click “Displays” in Systems Settings and turn off Sticky Edges. I wonder when the interface is improved by having this on. Odd.

Sticky edge in Ubuntu 12.04

Hiding in plain sight.

Disable network manager:

vi /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

Change Managed=false to Managed=true

Then configure /etc/network/interfaces as usual.  More good network config tips here.

Setup FreeNX

Good two-part instructions here and here.

Disable Overlay Scrollbars:

# echo export LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0 > /etc/X11/Xsession.d/80overlayscrollbars

Install MyUnity config tool:

MyUnity is a program that provides you with options that really ought to be available for tinkerers.  Adjust font rendering, Dash beahviour, etc.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:myunity/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install myunity


GoSaBe Blog - Jun 18, 2012 | Linux


  1. Ernesto Posse

    I just discovered your blog! Anyway. It’s also taken me a while to get used to Unity, but it is better than in the previous releases. I’ve tried out a couple of other interfaces including GNOME Shell, LXDE, and XFCE, but recently I’ve been trying Cinnamon, and I really like it. I suspect that Windows users making the transition to Linux would appreciate the similar layout. On the whole I find it really snappy. Have you tried it?

    On of the nicest things about Linux is that you don’t really have to marry a desktop environment. I have several installed, and whenever I feel like a change, it’s right there in the login screen.

    For reference:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install cinnamon

  2. bhall

    Hello Ernesto! Thanks for posting a comment. I hadn’t heard of Cinnamon and see that it is the new default UI for Linux Mint (which I haven’t used for a while.)

    I’m actually getting used to Unity but will take a look at Cinnamon. I agree that the distinction between UI and the underlying system is one of the main draws to Linux for geekier people such as ourselves.

    While I don’t use it too much for work, another great Linux distribution is CrunchBang Linux. It is Debian Stable with an updated kernel, newer browser, and a very cool, minimal interface. I certain;y wouldn’t recommend it for new users but it is a very interesting option nonetheless.

    Thanks for reading!