Ubuntu Linux, Day 4: Tweaking the Look and Layout

30 Days With Ubuntu Linux: Day 4

People don't like change. One of the things that some people get hung up on is the look and feel of the desktop. More precisely, some Windows users who look at Ubuntu Linux get hung up on how it doesn't look and feel like Windows. Well, it isn't that difficult to customize the look and feel of Ubuntu Linux to make it be whatever you want it to be.

Before we dive into that, though, let's recap yesterday's post. I detailed my efforts--unsuccessful, fruitless efforts--at trying to get iTunes installed and functioning properly in Ubuntu so I would be able to sync my iPhone and iPad without having to reboot and switch over to Windows 7 first. There were a lot of comments, the vast majority of which focused either on alternative solutions for syncing music and photos with an iOS device, or offered helpful tips like "ditch the iPhone".

By default, the menu bar is at the top of the screen in Ubuntu Linux.
None of the tips thus far seems to have actually addressed the problem--which is getting iTunes to actually work so that the iPhone and iPad can stay up to date with iOS updates as well as music and photos. It does seem like it is possible using some combination of a Windows emulator of some sort and outdate versions of iTunes, but it is more effort than I am willing to invest right now. It seems that Apple might soon cut the cord and offer updates over the air, in which case it would be a non-issue. We'll just shelve that issue for now.

Suffice it to say, as long as it is that complicated to get things done, Linux geeks of the world should not expect the Linux to catch on as a mainstream OS. I realize it is not the fault of Linux that Apple has not developed a Linux version of iTunes, but Linux has to live with that catch-22 anyway. Because it is not a mainstream platform, mainstream software is not developed for it, and because mainstream software is not developed for it, it can't be a mainstream platform.

Now, let's move on to today's topic. In Windows, the Start button is part of the Task Bar, and it is located at the bottom of the screen. In Ubuntu, there is a sort of task bar and systray equivalent at the bottom, but the menu options are on top of the screen. No problem. Just right-click on the bar-called a Panel in Ubuntu Linux-and select Properties. In the Properties box, expand the list next to Orientation, and click Bottom to move the Panel to the bottom. Simple.

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