Switching from Mac to Ubuntu GNOME 17.04

This article will help you configure Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 to behave equal to or better than your Mac.   Context I’ve been a lifetime Mac user. But I wanted to play some games that aren’t available on the Mac, or no model of Mac laptops had a graphics card capable of running them at optimal […]

This article will help you configure Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 to behave equal to or better than your Mac.

 

Context

I’ve been a lifetime Mac user. But I wanted to play some games that aren’t available on the Mac, or no model of Mac laptops had a graphics card capable of running them at optimal performance.

This lead me to switch to Windows 8.1, eventually Windows 10.

But no matter how far I pushed Windows to match the productivity tools and UI / UX, it simply doesn’t compare. Primarily in the area of how the mouse feels (acceleration, momentum, sensitivity, etc…). Since I employ staff to do our production labor at The Portland Company, WP Plugin Co. and Brittany Hill Boutique, this was permissible because it left me in Google Inbox and Teamwork basically all the time. Meaning, productivity tools were of drastically less importance.

 

Initial Issues

Out of the box, after a fresh installation of Ubuntu “Budgie” Flavour here are the issues I encountered:

  • Mouse
    • Middle Button – By default, there is a middle button click enabled for the Apple Magic Mouse. I had to create this file, place it in my user folder (~/), log out and log back in to disable that.
    • Natural Scrolling – I had to create this file, place it in my user folder (~/), log out and log back in to disable that.
    • Scroll Speed 
      • Note: While modifying the scroll speed I ran a command: sudo rmmod hid_magicmouse and this caused the Magic Mouse to stop working. I discovered that I could instantly add it back by executing sudo modprob hid_magicmouse.
    • Mouse Speed
      • The first change I made was to open Terminal and execute xinput --set-prop 17 "Device Accel Constant Deceleration" 2.
  • Trouble installing Google Chrome and other packages.
    • I had to install GDebi, an alternative Package Manager to Ubuntu Software.
  • Using the Software application to install Packages (via the Apt repository) is not what it’s designed for. I found this confusing because I thought previous version of the Software application allowed that. Solution: I recommend installing General Package Manager from the Software application. It’s a GUI for the apt repository.
  • Workspaces
    • In Mac you have Mission Control which shows you Spaces. You also have the App Switcher as well. And then there’s the Launchpad which reveals all of the Apps on the computer. Well in Ubuntu 16.04 you have Workspaces.
      • Workspaces are manually added not dynamically. But when this is enabled you get an icon on the Launcher (AKA Dock) that’s always there. To remove this:
        • Open Terminal
        • Execute `gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites`
        • Then execute gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites "['application://nautilus.desktop', 'application://chromium-browser.desktop', 'application://ubuntu-software-center.desktop', 'application://ubuntuone-installer.desktop', 'application://ubuntu-amazon-default.desktop', 'application://UbuntuOneMusiconeubuntucom.desktop', 'application://gnome-control-center.desktop', 'unity://running-apps', 'unity://devices']"`
      • The GNOME Theme resolves this issue. 
      • The GNOME Theme introduces an alternative to Mission Control which combines Search with App
  • Multiple Keyboards with one layout.
    • You can customize the keyboard layout in Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts
      • When there is not an existing Shortcut for a command you can create custom ones but you must know what the command is. Where is the list of Ubuntu commands? Is there a list?
        • Ex. This requires you to install a separate application to control the dimming of the screen even though it’s built into Ubuntu 16.04.3 and GNOME: https://askubuntu.com/questions/798203/changing-screen-brightness-through-keyboard-functions-on-my-notebook
  • GNOME 3 Desktop
    • I chose to install the GNOME 3 Desktop (which is essentially a theme for Ubuntu) because Ubuntu announced they will be retiring the current theme (Unity 8) in favor of GNOME in next years upgrade.
    • In GNOME 3 desktop I wanted to display the date in top Task Bar, but there was no setting for this in Settings > Date & Time. So I Google’d it and discovered this solution:
      • Open Terminal and execute gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface clock-show-date true

 

There is a different between Ubuntu 17.04 with GNOME 3.24 installed after Ubuntu installation and Ubuntu GNOME.

Which is stupid, the community should fix this so people that are new don’t get confused.

Ubuntu GNOME has several major bugs. Whereas Ubuntu 17.04 with GNOME 3.24 has fewer bugs.

  • GNOME Software simply doesn’t work. Nothing will install.
  • Wifi seems to have some sort of issue that prevents it from working properly. Running sudo apt-get update spits out errors – presumably because of connection. Other issues like web pages not loading.
  • Bluetooth mouse (in my case Magic Mouse version 1) doesn’t automatically connect.

Shopping for Packages and Software

I wish the Software application and the third party General Package Manager would tell you a list of newly added Software and Packages. I can’t tell how much of the market I’m seeing. For example I searched for Magic Mouse and discovered a package called “Worker” that introduces a two-pain File Manager. Although I have not tested it, nor have any opinion on it, it made me realize that I could replace that and maybe there were better options out there. So I would like a way to be introduced to these things 

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