How can I make Ubuntu beautiful?
March 19, 2009 8:00 AM   Subscribe

I am used to Mac OS X and I really like the default fonts, the way anti aliasing works and the default theme as well. Now I am working with Ubuntu 8.10 on other machine, but it kind of frustrates me visually. I'd like to ask general tips on how could I make Ubuntu more visually appealing. I have found a couple of links about how to make fonts smoother. That improved a bit, bit still not there yet. I'd like to hear from you what font you use, themes, etc... So, what are the tricks you use to make your Ubuntu install beautiful?
posted by fcoury to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
If you are coming from OS X you'd probably really like the cairo-dock
posted by mannequito at 8:08 AM on March 19, 2009

Have you checked out You'll find all sorts of themes there--icon, mouse themes, metacity window themes. I'd also recommend avant window navigator for a pretty, Mac-like (customizable) dock. Play around and you'll have the best results. One of the reasons I switched to Ubuntu is that I was frustrated by how uncustomizable Windows XP was, so I speak from experience when I say that, with Ubuntu, prettiness is possible.

Since I spend an inordinate amount of time customizing my desktop, here are some various configurations I've had: current, previous, previous2.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:17 AM on March 19, 2009

@mannequite: wow! those tips are exactly what I wanted when I asked this question, thanks
@PhoBWanKenobi: thanks for the tips and the screenshots and the tips!
posted by fcoury at 8:24 AM on March 19, 2009

There is a really good os-x theme for I believe, gnome. Full write up. Can't vouch for current state of compiz on ubuntu ... I am a kde-fag.
posted by shownomercy at 8:42 AM on March 19, 2009

Assuming you're running gnome:
System->Appearance->fonts tab->Rendering, and also Details is a better place to fool around with than what they are saying in the link you have. I like 'Subpixel smoothing' a lot more than the default.

Also the Visual Effects tab, you can check Extra and see if your graphics card is up to the task. If so, you get significantly more eye-candy. If that works, you can get even crazier stuff to happen by installing compizconfig-settings-manager, at the expense of performance ...
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 8:48 AM on March 19, 2009

I use Verdana 8 or 9 for all my desktop fonts depending on the monitor. This probably won't be to your liking though if you prefer how OSX renders fonts.

I quite like the gnome-art package. It's a frontend to and handles downloading and installing most themes.
posted by valadil at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2009

One of the limitations with a free OS is it will not come with fonts that are not free and unencumbered for redistribution. But you can still install them, so you could potentially copy the fonts from a mac system and install them on to your ubuntu system. There is even a prebuilt package in debian that will give you all the windows fonts if you go download the zip file yourself and point it at the right location (it may be available with ubuntu too).
posted by idiopath at 10:08 AM on March 19, 2009

The first thing I do:

System > Appearances > Fonts

Click the Rendering button. Turn on Subpixel Smoothing and turn off Hinting. It gets me as close to OS X as I can without dabbling in fonts.conf too much.
posted by cdmwebs at 11:06 AM on March 19, 2009

Investigate Gnome-Do - its Docky mode is another animated dock thing, with aspects of Quicksilver as well.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:39 AM on March 19, 2009

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