More on compiz themes – the blank title bar problem

If the latest dist-upgrade made your compiz title bar “blank”, just invoke compiz theme application, click on edit on the bottom, go to general tab and select one of the options from Title-bar object Layout. Your title-bar contents including the buttons should reappear. I am wondering why the developers did not make one of these options the default. This may confuse many a newbie. For the solution to a similar problem, read my previous post.


Making compiz themes work

If you are using compiz with aiglx and recently did an apt-get dist-upgrade, you would have noticed that your gcompiz themer does not work any more. You can see a lot of new themes in the gcompiz themer and if you are wondering why those are’nt working, it is because those themes work only with cgwd and not gnome-window-decorator. To fix this, first take a backup of your compiz-start file in your /usr/bin folder. Then open the file in your favorite text editor in sudo mode and replace all instances of gnome-window-decorator with cgwd. Save the file and restart gnome. You are all set.

The following screenshot shows the nice looking theme called Vista-ish (click to enlarge).


My favorite firefox extensions

I try to keep the number of installed extensions on my firefox as less as possible, since many of them have memory leaks which add to the already heavy RAM usage that FF is infamous for. Here is a list of my favorite extensions: – This is one thing I can’t live without. I use delicious for all my bookmarking needs and this is a great add-on, which adds two buttons on your firefox toolbar for easy access to your bookmarks.

DownloadThemAll – Great download tool which integrates well with the browser. Provides almost similar functionality to flashgot without the need for an additional download manager.

IE Tab – Many websites still strictly allow only IE browser – like most sites on my corporate intranet. In order to keep the number of open windows under control, you can use this extension. The latest version even allows you to automagically switch to the IE rendering engine for a set of pre-defined websites. This extension works only on Windows since it needs the IE browser.

Time Tracker – Very useful extension if you have the habit of browsing heavily at work. Check your internet usage at the end of the day, for a real surprise!

Google Notebook – Great plug-in to capture notes and store them online.

That’s it. Thought it is a short list, these little applets greatly improve the functionality of the browser.

Ubuntu install log 6: Finally, OS X like font rendering in Linux!

Ok, I promise. This will be my last post on font rendering in Linux!

As usual, while tweaking some of the Linux font settings, I accidentally discovered that you can make X render fonts **exactly** as in OS X! (Don’t ask me how it works. I do not know. But it works perfectly!)
This is what I did:

  • Removed all the existing font customizations that I have done earlier
  • Made sure that I do not have a .fonts.conf in home directory.
  • Made sure that only the default .conf files that shipped with Dapper are in /etc/fonts folder.
  • Ensured that I have the Turners cleartype patch installed.(If you do not know how to apply patches or if you are too lazy to apply your own patch, grab the precompiled patched binaries from here.). Update: Ubuntu Edgy Eft users can get precompiled binaries with Turner’s patch here.
  • Made sure that I have all the .ttf fonts from my Windows installation in Ubuntu too.
  • Reconfigured fontconfig by running:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig

On the first screen, I selected “None” and on the second and third screens I said no. Fontconfig will update your font settings and regenerate your font cache.

Turned on sub-pixel rendering in gnome font settings.

Restart X: ctrl+alt+backspace.

Here are some screenshots: (Tahoma never looked so better.)

Font preferences:

Apple website



Digg home page:


This post as it was typed:


This blog post (Using wordpress preview. Look at Lucida Grande in all its glory!)


Update : Turns out that Mac uses “byte code interpretation” to achieve this font rendering. The fontconfig that we do in the above steps turns on BCI in freetype too. Hence the similar rendering effects. Because of this, you don’t need to install Turner’s patches – so ignore step 4.

Ubuntu install log 5: Windows like font rendering (non-cleartype) in Ubuntu!

Needless to say, my experminets with Ubuntu as a primary OS is going great! No doubt, I don’t even need to wait for 3 months – I think Linux has already passed most of the tests with flying colors.

As I discussed earlier in this blog, a major problem I had with Ubuntu was the poor font rendering. I tweaked all the settings to death after copying the Windows fonts over to my Linux installation, but I never got any satisfactory results. Anti-aliasing seemed to be the reason for all the troubles. Then I came across this post by Charles at the PC-BSD forums. He has painfully created a set of configuration files which basically turn off the anti-aliasing for all Microsoft fonts. The result is outstanding!!

Just untar all the files over to your /etc/fonts folder.

cd /etc/fonts

cp *.conf /my/home/backup

sudo tar -xvjpf nicefonts.tbz

Log out and login. Here is a sample:

Antialiased Ubuntu!

Edit 16-July: I corrected the command line