FOLLOW-UP: How-To: Get My Desktop with MATE in Ubuntu

Desktop Cube + Chromium + Marlin + Gloobus-Preview
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post here about how to replicate my current desktop setup (Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora" GNOME) with MATE in Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot". The two things I complained about were the malfunctioning Compiz desktop cube effect and the ugly dark panel using the Zukitwo GTK+ theme. Well, I am happy to report that both of those issues are fixed. As before, I did this by using an Ubuntu MATE Remix live USB session made with MultiSystem, and before I did any of the other things I installed the necessary packages to allow for the use of other GTK+ themes as mentioned in the previous post about this.

I was able to fix the first issue by following the instructions set out comment #32 on this article. There were just two changes to these instructions that I needed to make. The first was to insert "sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libgnome-menu2" just before the line "sudo dpkg install *.deb". The second was to change that line "sudo dpkg install *.deb" to "sudo dpkg -i *.deb" (because "dpkg install" did not work for me but "dpkg -i" did for some reason). After following the rest of the instructions, I was able to install and use Compiz and Emerald as I do on a daily basis on my installed system with no issues of the desktop cube flashing or anything like that, and I was able to use all the other important things that worked even in the newer version discussed before too (like the ability of Compiz to open certain applications on specific workspaces by default). This is all thanks to using Compiz 0.8.6 rather than the latest version. Yay!

Marlin + Linux Mint Menu + Pluma
I was able to fix the second issue by not using the Zukitwo GTK+ theme but instead using the Greybird GTK+ theme that is the default in Xubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot". Because I would use that version of Xubuntu frequently as a live USB in order to run VirtualBox to install other distributions in a VM, I had to interact with that theme a lot, and I happen to like it quite a bit. It is a modified version of the Elementary GTK+ theme, and it retains the smooth, slick, gray, inoffensive look of the original while making the scrollbars normal (instead of ultra-thin). Plus, the panel is dark, yet there is no part of the panel that looks ugly like it did with Zukitwo. I was able to install this theme by issuing the commands "sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shimmerproject/ppa" and "sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install greybird-themes" into the terminal in that order. I was then able to change the theme settings to use that theme, and because Greybird has GTK2 and GTK3 themes both native MATE applications as well as Marlin (which I installed on the side as discussed in the previous post about this) looked quite good. Plus, because the dark panel actually looks nice, it did not require any further modification, so I didn't have to edit the gtkrc or create a "~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini" file as before, which is comforting. The only thing that the PPA seemed to lack (which was weird, because this was promised as being part of the full package too) was the Greybird window decoration theme for Emerald, so I went to the website of the project that created the Greybird theme, downloaded and opened the TAR.GZ archive and extracted only the Emerald theme package to a different folder. I then used the Emerald Theme Manager to locate and use that theme, and the desktop became complete.

And now, I truly do have my old desktop back. The only remaining problem is that Gloobus-Preview claims to be crashing a lot, but I haven't seen an actual crash yet, so I will just ignore those crash dialogs just as with Marlin or the Linux Mint Menu. Other than that, I do not have much else to say besides the fact that I am in all probability just going to install Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" GNOME/MATE (yes, apparently "Maya" is the official codename now) and follow these instructions. Also, given that I am using an older version of Compiz, I would probably have to use the Synaptic Package Manager to lock the installed versions of Compiz and Emerald to prevent any upgrades. This should not be an issue because I already have a few packages locked on my installed system, and that was easy to do and I haven't had any troubles with those packages since then. Awesome!