Linux For Cynics One user's experiences with Linux


How to Make Skype Tray Icon Visible in Ubuntu 12.10

If you're using Skype in Unity (the default Desktop Environment) in Ubuntu 12.10, you might notice that the Skype "tray" (or "notification" ) icon is missing. Here's how to make it appear again:

Open up your terminal emulator (hit WinKey and start typing "term", hit enter). Run this:

gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist

You should get something like this:

['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Wine', 'Update-notifier']

This means that Skype is not whitelisted, thus is not allowed by default to display its tray icon. We need to add Skype to the whitelisted programs.

See how we used "gsettings get" in the previous command to see the whitelisted programs? Now we are going to use "gsettings set" to modify that list.

Put this into your terminal and execute the command. Notice the double quotes around the list, and the single quotes around each item in it! Also, make sure to enter this all as ONE LINE:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Wine', 'Update-notifier', 'Skype']"

Exit Skype if it is running, and run it again. Now you should see the icon.


Unity Panel in Gnome-Shell

One of my favorite things about Unity is the global menu. By "global menu" I mean the feature that combines the title bar and menu of the currently maximized application into the left side of the top panel. It saves screen space and very clean-looking.

I also like how the notification area is in the top right in Unity, instead of having its own ugly bottom panel that autohides like in Gnome-shell.

Well, it's possible to use Unity's top panel in Gnome-shell! Just run:


You'll also want to move gnome-shell's top panel to the bottom with an extension. Panel Settings will do the trick.

Clearly we're not done. Now the normal gnome-shell panel is on the bottom but it still does much of what our Unity-2d-panel does. You'll have to either hide it, or give it different functionality using gnome-shell extensions. I leave that up to you.

Be warned that Unity2D will be deprecated in Ubuntu 12.10.


How to Add Shutdown Shortcut in Ubuntu Unity

I hate that there's no keyboard shortcut for system shutdown in Unity. Here's how to add one:

1. System Settings
2. Keyboard
3. Shortcuts tab
4. Custom Shortcuts
5. Then the little + icon.

You can give it the name "Shutdown", and the command:

gnome-session-quit --power-off --force

, then apply whatever keyboard shortcut you want to it.


How To Install Gnome 3 in Ubuntu 11.10

Alright, you hate Unity, but you still like Ubuntu. Try Gnome 3 (aka Gnome Shell)! Here's how to install it:

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Now just set Gnome as your default DE.Here's how (in case you need directions):

Reboot and on the login screen, there is a little settings icon (looks like a gear) next to the username. Click that icon, and select GNOME from the list, and then login. There! Now Gnome 3 is your default DE.