Friday, June 19, 2009

GNOME desktop layout for small screen

Default GNOME desktop layout is for typical workstation screen (> XGA). For smaller screen such as netbook (typically 1024x600), too much vertical space is been occupied by two desktop panel and window title bar. This is worse for wide screen, which has relatively small vertical space.

Desktop screenshot before optimizing

To optimize vertical space utility, the following method can be used:

  • Remove bottom panel (or top panel)
  • Replace expanded menubar in panel with collapsed one.
  • Compile and install window-picker-applet, which provides a compact task icon list and focus task title.

    It can downloaded from here. I write a small patch to add window maximizing toggling support to it, which can be downloaded from here.

  • Remove window title bar for maximized window. For metacity this can be done via theme customization, that is, change the "frame_geometry" with name "normal_maximized" as follow:
 <frame_geometry name="normal_maximized" parent="normal"  rounded_top_left="false"
rounded_top_right="false" rounded_bottom_left="false" rounded_bottom_right="false" has_title="false">
<!-- strip frame spacing off the normal geometry when maximized -->
<distance name="left_width" value="0"/>
<distance name="right_width" value="0"/>
<distance name="bottom_height" value="0"/>
<distance name="left_titlebar_edge" value="0"/>
<distance name="right_titlebar_edge" value="0"/>
<distance name="title_vertical_pad" value="0"/>
<border name="title_border" left="0" right="0" top="0" bottom="0"/>

Desktop screenshot after optimizing

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