Compiz & Customization.

Now that Unity has been introduced and uses compiz, I was wondering about a few things.

The global menu-bar for instance:

Is it possible to enable some sort of plug-in for compiz to enable transparency on both the menubar and the windows?

My second question is, I like to customize my desktop a lot and when I “used” to run Windows, there was this program called “Rainmeter”

This program allowed for skinnable desktop apps/widgets.

Here’s one of my very old desktop screenshots. All rainmeter apps/widgets/shortcuts.

I’m looking for something similar, for things like Notes, Shortcuts etc like you can do with Rainmeter, I don’t mind if they’re not skinnable. I just tend to forget things unless I have it jotted down.

OK, Unity panel transparency…

Install compizconfig-settings-manager:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Then in the CompizConfig Settings Manager, go to Desktop>Ubuntu Unity Plugin>Experimental>Panel Opacity (slider)
(Note the “Experimental” tab… there’s probably a reason for that… Unity is very new, so a lot of customization stuff is very new too, or missing)

The Unity “Launcher” (side dock bar) background is transparent by default.

Desktop widgets (if this is what you mean, I have no experience of rainmeter)…

Install screenlets-pack-all:

sudo apt-get install screenlets-pack-all

Then in the Unity “Application Lens” search box, enter screenlets, and fire it up… the rest should be fairly obvious.

Those widgets are along the same basis, but I’m just looking for something simple. Like perhaps a small transparent window (150x350?) with the text on the desktop.

This is about the best I can do…

Open a terminal and enter:

cd /usr/share/screenlets/screenlets-pack-all/Notes/themes
sudo wget
sudo tar -xvjf clearlooks.tar.bz2

Start the Notes screenlet… right click on the note, and select Theme>clearlooks

Right click the note, and select Properties>Options … set Opacity to 0.70

select the Text tab… set text as white, sans regular, 10

Click Close.

Thats much better! cheers Mark! Where would I download more themes if I ever needed any?

Haven’t got the foggiest… maybe ?

Or edit one yourself… just create a folder and name it what you want, and include a 200x200 note-bg.svg and a 21x43 note-pin.svg

You can edit .svg (scalable vector graphics) files in Inkscape.

Mark, I’ve found a native alternative program for linux, but I’m having a lot of trouble trying to get it working. It’s called Conky, but I just don’t seem to know how to set it up, or how to even run it o.O

I’ve used:

sudo conky

It starts up the program but, it’s like it doesn’t finish the process of whatever it’s doing, and as soon as I click on the desktop, Conky disappears.

Although conky is a highly configurable system monitor, it can be a pain to get the config right… I’d suggest installing gkrellm instead. (it’s in the repos)

The window type has to be set to “override” in your .conkyrc … See here:

Be aware that installing conky does NOT create a ~/.conkyrc configuration file… you will have to manually create one, or copy someone elses from the interweb.

See here:
Conky FAQ
another conky FAQ
Conky Documentation

As far as I’m aware, you don’t want to be running it as root… that may change the ownership of your ~/.conkyrc

As I said… GKrellM is in my opinion better/easier to configure, and there are just as many themes out there for it… to configure GKrellM, you just right click the GKrellM panel on the desktop, and you get a GUI config window.