Linux Standard Desktop

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--Apos 21:07, 8 January 2012 (CET)

First entry: --Apos 22:09, 25 June 2008 (CEST)


This article is the summation in my experiences with the linux desktop in real world office work. None of the existing linux distributions come with all these settings preinstalled for a lot of good reasons. Each has it's own philosophhy or simply licence restrictions. I don't like to go into detail here.

This article is bound to the gnome desktop for several reasons:

  • Completely written for free use and development under the GPL without any restrictions for both: development platform and development community
  • Very good documentation
  • Commonly and widely used as standard desktop on different linux/unix/solaris platforms
  • Continuous and reasonable development - not bleeding edge - but with a major sin for keeping stability and backwards compatibility
  • Project with one of the first usability guidelines for desktop usage that apply to the linux desktop, the HIG (Human Interface Guidelines)

Other major programs that are described are

  • The firefox webbrowser
  • Openoffice
  • The CUPS linux printing system
  • Evolution Mail and Taskmanager
  • Exaille Musikmanager
  • Multimedia settings
  • Java

For some of these programs / environments exist other article's in this wiki and you will be guided there in case of such.

There is no preferred distribution, but I personally recommend using debian based distributions like debian itself, ubuntu and others. The reason's for debian based distributions are almost the same as for the choice of gnome as user interface, but one additional is

  • the debian package management deb and the according package management software apt, aptitude, synaptic, update-manager, ...
  • the relativly easiness of upgrading major versions

This is not the place to discuss this issues. I only want to mention, that my experiences from an administrative point of view over much more than a decade now lead me into this decision. This is correct for me as an administrator and experienced linux user, there are a lot of good reasons out there to have another point of view ;) Almost anything on any distribution is possible with linux!

All settings in one batch file

Be careful what you are doing. There is no guaranty in any way that this file is correct but I hope that it will be usefull.


This section recommends the usage of this settings for gnome 2.22 and above. All settings in gnome can easily be read out and set via the gconf program. All settings are stored in an xml based file hierarchy with can - but should not be - edited by hand. Either the gconf commmand or the graphical gconf-editor should be used to alter the settings. We will see that this can be very handy using a batch file.


  • ubuntutweak
  • drive-manager


  • View settings for listview and iconview
  • Listview as default
  • Document folders hierarchy
  • ACL's


  • Large bottom menu




Multimedia and other default programs


Mplayer is one of the best and commonly used multimedia apps for linux/unix. Despite there exist a lot of user interfaces for mplayer, not much of them are teally useful. A very good an feature rich user interface for mplayer is the smplayer. Install it and make it the default.

Adobes Acrobat Reader

The default PDF reader in the gnome desktop enviroment is evince. There are several severe problems with evince specially with printing. If you experience these problems, then install Adobes reader and make it the default program for PDF files:


  • playonlinux



If you experience problems with playing multimedia files within firefox, then install mplayer-plugin instead of the totem-plugin.


  • Alter the behaviour of saving files to "save as ..."
  • Alter the usage of the default PDF reader to acroread (importand for official documents)

Blocking Flash

Block animated gif

  • [about:config about:config]
  • searcj image.animation_mode
  • Change the string value to none

Power management

  • pm-utils



  • autosave 3 minutes
  • always make backup
  • database - see extra article

Multimedia settings


Use for music, internet radio and podcast settings

Adobe flash


Use for scheduling, watching,recording and archiving tv and videos.