Xubuntu 13.10 – Ugly But Honest

I’ve been using Ubuntu over eight hours a day since 12.04 and I couldn’t take it anymore. I wiped my partition and replaced it with Xubuntu. Here’s how I made it my home.


I changed the window dragging behavior to be more like vanilla Ubuntu by 1) Enabling “Snap windows to screen border,” 2) Disabling “Wrap workspaces when the pointer reaches the screen edge,” and 3)  Setting mouse double click time to 400ms so that double clicking a window bar would maximize it. [ Source ]

Xubuntu-Fix-Window-Double-Click   Xubuntu-Disable-Wrap


I had to learn some new shortcuts and abandon others. Bye bye Dash, hello RAM and speed? I’m cool with that.

By default Super+r is mapped to a decent Application Launcher. To compliment this, I mapped Super+s to Catfish, a minimal but versatile file searching tool included with the distro. Finally, I deleted mappings I didn’t care about so that there would be minimal conflict with my keyboard heavy workhorse apps PHPStorm and Renoise. (Yes, I’m here for the free beer not the freedom. Sorry enthusiasts…) To make the window switching more like Unity (and OS X) I mapped “Switch Window for same application” to Alt+`

Xubuntu-Shortcuts-2   Xubuntu-Shortcuts-1


I use the Desktop as an actual workspace; keeping work-in-progress on my Desktop then moving those into “folders” when I’m done – as the metaphor was intended.

The default Xubuntu Desktop is kind of ugg boots. I made it more to my liking by creating  ~/.gtkrc-20 and adding the following configuration to it: [ Source ]

style "xfdesktop-icon-view" {
    XfdesktopIconView::ellipsize-icon-labels = 0
    XfdesktopIconView::cell-text-width-proportion = 3.0
widget_class "*XfdesktopIconView*" style "xfdesktop-icon-view"


There’s a bug with the sound indicator. I temporarily fixed it by following these instructions on WEB UPD8. Keep an eye open for the official patch by following this bug report.


XFCE Terminal. Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced: Unchecked “Disable Menu Shortcuct keys (F10 by default)”

I ran `$ sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq` so I could easily control my CPU governors.

I installed Deja-Dup. Then: Settings Manager -> Main Menu -> System – Enabled the Backup item that launches deja-dup-preferences. This brings back the Ubuntu Backup interface I was accustomed to.

Mostly, I spent a couple hours mucking about “Setting Manager” and learning the environment. This helped me appreciate (and learn) the new distro. When I screwed up I ran `rm -r ~/.config/xfce4` and started over. (Warning: don’t run this command unless you are an idiot, like me.)


When restoring backups I had to learn deja-dup from the command line. In vanilla Ubuntu it was one simple right-click away.

I’m annoyed that I don’t have a global menu and HUD anymore but the feature is so horribly unsupported that, frankly, it’s easier to pretend that it never existed instead of hoping that Canonical will take ownership of their own flag ship. Yes I understand Linux users “hate” this feature. To this I say you’re morons and fuck you! 🙂

Menus and task bars at the top (or bottom) made sense when we had square CRT monitors. Nowadays all (my) monitors are wide screen. That means I have more pixels to waste from left to right than I do from top to bottom.  Stacking menus is stupid and a waste of valuable space:


On the subject of task bars I tired to make a vertical Panel with Xubuntu but it was aesthetically disappointing. It’s felt like putting pants on sideways Ie. it doesn’t work. IMHO a designer has to design for this space, not simply move a bar.

But, at the end of the day I spend most of my time looking at text, wear glasses and can’t see for shit so do I really care about eye candy? It’s F11 for now…


Xubuntu is a slick, tightly packaged Linux distro that accomplishes one thing well: Not sucking. Thank you to the people who made this. Long live Xubuntu.

4 thoughts on “Xubuntu 13.10 – Ugly But Honest

  1. Kenneth Herring

    I totally agree that Ubuntu with the Unity and HUD is a real disappointment not to mention the intrusion with the scopes. When Unity was first introduced back with 11.04 I really tried to get on board with it and learn to like it but unfortunately I had to switch so I installed Mint and found I really liked it better.

    As for Xubuntu I recommend it as a place to start for those who are just getting into Linux since it has so much to offer. As a matter of fact when a new version of Ubuntu comes out I usually install Xubuntu because I like the customization features and ease of use.

  2. Pingback: Xubuntu 14.04 – Good Looking Desktop | Trotch

  3. John

    If anybody knows if there are problems or issues with running PHPstorm on Mint-XFCE, please post. PHPstorm system requirements list KDE or Gnome as the only desktop environments officially supported. But I would prefer to run PHPstorm on Mint-XFCE because it’s a lighter-weight environment. However I’m worried because XFCE is not officially supported for PHPstorm. Thanks for any advice.

    1. conner_bw Post author

      What? I can’t speak for Mint but I run PHPStorm 8 in Xubuntu every day. It’s fine.


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