Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tweaking Ubuntu

Windows XP users who want to tinker around with their Windows XP swear by Tweak UI, a simple, elegant but powerful Microsoft Power Toy that gives easy access to changing registry settings in Windows XP.

What about Ubuntu users? For a long time, many Ubuntu newbie users who want to customize their system settings have to brave the unfamiliar world of the command line prompt to do so. Today, users of Ubuntu Hardy (8.04), Intrepid (8.10) and Jaunty (9.04) have a new option: Ubuntu Tweak. Licensed under a GNU GPL, Ubuntu Tweak is a freeware app that allows users to tweak their settings. I have installed and tinkered around with version on my Dell desktop (running Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit) and my ThinkPad R52 laptop (running Ubuntu 8.10 32-bit) and have nothing but praise for it.

To begin with, the user interface is simple and intuitive. Among other things, the "Applications" Tab provides a one-stop easy access to install the more popular or useful packages. Even more experienced users might find this feature useful compared to navigating through the maze of the Synaptic Package Manager. I especially like the "Third Party Sources" sub-tab within the "Applications" Tab that allows you to easily add third party repositories with the requisite authentication key files without you having to search online for those repositories and their authentication keys.

Ex-Windows users would appreciate the option to add "My Computer," "Home," "Trash" and "Network" icons on the desktop under the "Desktop Icons Settings" Tab. Users who want to tweak their Ubuntu eye candy can do so through the "Windows" and "Compiz Fusion" subtabs within the "Desktop" Tab. The settings under the "Compiz Fusion" sub-tab are very basic. Power users would want to install and use the Compiz Config Settings Manager instead.

In short, Ubuntu Tweak is a configuration tool that both power users and newbies would find useful to configure Ubuntu to their own needs.

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