Tweaking Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.10 on a Dell Mini 9

I recounted the installation yesterday.

I am not a big fan of desktop environments. I also don’t like the “remix” style desktop, with the huge icons and the automatically maximized application windows (see the pictures in yesterday’s post).

I use my netbook as a small laptop, not as a big padtop. I commonly run at least three applications, sometimes more, and prefer a standard interface in which I can easily switch between applications.

My first tweak was to download and install the wicd network manager (commonly pronounced “wicked”). It far outperforms the default Gnome Network Manager. Wicd loads more quickly and is more reliable.

In particular, at least on this netbook (I’m using it right now), Gnome Network Manager did not want to connect to a wireless network unless I also used the Gnome desktop. If I restarted the computer, I would have to start up Gnome, connect to the wireless network, then exit Gnome and return to Fluxbox until the next restart or power off. (No, I don’t understand why, but it was mildly inconvenient.)

Wicd reliably connects regardless of the destop environment or window manager I use.

Here’s a picture of the wicd connection dialog under Fluxbox (the background is a picture I took during our one Virginia Beach snowfall last year):

wicd network manager

Once I verified that wicd was working, I removed the Gnome Network Manager. (Wicd had disabled it, but I wanted it gone.)

In addition to wicd and Fluxbox, I downloaded and installed

I also restored my home folder and my Fluxbox configuration files from the backup on my file server.

Here’s a shot of the Fluxbox menu with Gkrellm running in the slit, with my restored menu and transparency settings:

Fluxbox and Gkrellm

After all this, I have used only 3,967,704 of 26,913,012 1k blocks or 16% of the drive and have a fully functional installation with multiple browsers, graphics programs, an office suite, and all kinds of other good stuff.

I know I shall do a little more tinkering. In particular, I’m trying other email programs. I’m still loyal to Opera’s M3 for mail, but, since this is not my primary email computer, I am experimenting with slimming down the load I place on Opera by moving mail to another application.

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