Saturday, May 18, 2013

Random Thoughts: Desktop Efficiency for Linux

Also see my post on windows desktop efficiency.

I just spent some time making my laptop dual boot ubuntu and windows. While I have played with ubuntu before, I never took the time to customize it for efficiency before. So here are my thoughts.

  1. windows shortcuts still work
    • win + 1,2,3 etc still calls your applications on the task bar
    • I added win + d to show desktop
  2. new shortcuts/desktop management tools
    • a bunch of ctrl+alt shortcuts for manipulating workspace
    • this takes the place of stuff like win + arrow key: presumably you rarely need to tile windows because you can put stuff into different workspaces. There are also windows tiling managers but I haven't looked into that yet. (CompizConfig has a plugin called grid that does this)
  3. for autohotkey equivalents
    • xmodmap for the basic mappings. I'm thinking that this is actually a lot better than my current windows solution- more below.
    • autokey is pretty well developed- you can apparently call python scripts from it
My new ubuntu key mappings maps mode_switch to tab (ie. altgr without the alt). This is a whole new key modifier. (ie. imagine, in addition to ctrl, alt, win, you also have mode_switch) When I was in windows, I had some problems with overloading the functions of the ctrl key For example, I wanted ctrl+l to be right arrow, but then I also wanted ctrl+right to move one word right). My solution then was to differentiate between right ctrl and left ctrl. Rctrl + j -> down, Lctrl + j -> Ctrl + down.

Now, I have my own modifier separated from normal Ctrl functions.This allows you to keep stuff like ctrl + h in your browser to be history (that was a problem before).

Had some installation difficulties along the way, but all-in-all seems quite manageable.