Saturday, 5 January 2013

First steps after installing Ubuntu 12.10

After setting up the base system on my W530, I also applied some initial customization to the desktop environment. Obviously, one of the first things was changing the background...

Keyboard shortcuts

There is a set of keyboard shortcuts I got used to. In the majority of cases, shortcuts are uncomplicated to customize - even for multimedia of other buttons. One just presses the Super button to active dash, types 'keyb' and hits 'enter' to active the gnome keyboard panel of the control center...

  • First and foremost, under 'Layout Settings' I configured 'English international w/ AltGr dead keys' in addition to my native layout. I use English layout while coding.
  • I selected 'Use same layout for all windows'.
  • Under 'Options', I configured 'Alt-CapsLock' to change the keyboard layout.
  • Back on the keyboard panel I moved to 'Shortcuts' and reconfigured the logout action to be triggered by 'Ctrl-Alt-Backspace'.
  • Then I added a custom action 'Shutdown menu' that allowed triggering the command '/usr/bin/gnome-session-quit --power-off' on 'Ctrl-Alt-Del'. This command displays a menu allowing to select suspend, restart or shutdown. Another option would have been the command '/usr/lib/indicator-session/gtk-logout-helper --shutdown', but this does not allow choices other than shutdown.

I also wanted to reveal the same shutdown menu when the power button is pressed - I got used to it on my other thinkpads and liked it. I tried using xev and acpi_listen but found that pressing the power button does not send any key or acpi events... However, the unlabelled black button next to my 'mute mic' button was recognized as 'Launch1' so mapped it to trigger the same command as 'Ctrl-Alt-Del'.

Compiz settings

I quickly installed the package 'compizconfig-settings-manager' to tweak the window manager. I am rather conservative in this area, but applied the following changes:

  • Enabled snapping windows to window edges.
  • Disabled 'show desktop in switcher' in the Unity plugin configuration.
  • Tuned the Grid plugin to enable corner and bottom half placement of windows.
  • Set the launcher behaviour to autohide in the Unity plugin configuration. Note that this property can also be controlled from within System Settings > Appearance > Behavior

Fine tuning the touchpad

Many properties of the touchpad can be configured via the GUI, however, in fine tuned parameters related to palm detection to increase productivity. I prefer a sensitive palm detection, as I frequently hit the touchpad with the side of my thumbs during development.

I saved the following script under /home/tibi/.local/bin/touchpad-config:

synclient PalmDetect=1 PalmMinWidth=5 TapButton3=2 HorizTwoFingerScroll=1

Running it made the touchpad behave according to my needs. To make the changes persistent I configured dconf as follows:

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.input-devices hotplug-command /home/tibi/.local/bin/touchpad-config

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