Dual Monitors

Ubunty 12.04 supports dual monitors. Go to “System Settings > Displays” and turn off “mirror displays”.

On my Acer laptop, the laptop's screen was the main display, but I was sitting directly in front of my superior HP screen. So naturally I wanted the HP to be the main screen. There's no option in the gui Displays app for that. But this blog post describes what you need to do.

Basically you need to edit ~/.config/monitors.xml and set your main monitor to <primary>yes</primary> (instead of 'no').

Then, log out (or restart the graphical system) and that's it.

This also works under Ubuntu 14.04. You'll have to generate the monitors.xml file first, though, by saving the configuration once in the “System Settings > Displays” screen.


XMonad is a tiling window manager. By itself, it's a bit lean but you can also use it together with Gnome (or Unity, if that's your taste). Mark Hansen tells you exactly how, in Unity+XMonad in Ubuntu. To ignore the Unity stuff, I did this:

  • sudo apt-get install xmonad
  • Create a file ~/.xmonad/xmonad.hs, containing:
import XMonad
import XMonad.Config.Gnome
main = xmonad gnomeConfig
  • Execute:
    xmonad --recompile

That's it, you should now logout and select the 'GNOME with XMonad' login option.

Retile or rearrange a window

If you keep the mod key (left alt key for me) pressed, you can move a window around, out of the tiling pattern.

To rearrange or retile a window, keep the mod key pressed and hit 't'.

Gnome Classic

Install Gnome Classic Under Ubuntu 12.04

To install the 'classic' Gnome, simply do:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Don't forget to logout and login again, selecting a Gnome Classic session. That's it.

24 Hour Clock

Gnome classic offers the no frills, actually usable desktop for Ubuntu 12.04. There are a few quirks however, and one of them is the am/pm clock (instead of the 24 hour format) in the top bar. To remedy this, install the gconf-editor: sudo apt-get install gconf-editor.

Start the editor and look for com > canonical > indicator > appmenu > datetime. Here, change the time-format to 24 hour. There's also an option to specify the custom-time-format, but that doesn't seem to work.

UPDATE: on a freshly installed Ubuntu 12.04 system, the gconf-editor does not show the keys com or canonical. To set the correct date format, you could also install additional language packs. This is explained here.

Remove Bar at Bottom reports:

The secret key combination with the panels in Oneiric is Alt+Super + Right Click

The Super key is also known as the Win or Windows key.

So Win + Alt + Righ Click: then select 'delete this panel'.

JPilot under Ubuntu 12.04

Ubuntu 12.04 requires that you run jpilot as root… See this gist for more details.

Anyway, just start jpilot through sudo jpilot and your sync will work once again.

UPDATE: an update somewhere in late 2012 or early 2013 seems to have fixed this problem.

UPDATE2: running into problems again. Investigating this German thread.

Bluetooth Sync

Turns out that you can even get the bluetooth sync working!

  1. Under Ubuntu 14.04 (using Gnome Classic), go to the Bluetooth symbol in the upper right corner of the screen. Set bluetooth to on and visible to on.
  2. On the phone, go to the Bluetooth app and set bluetooth to on and discoverable to yes.
  3. In JPilot, go to File > Preferences and select the Settings tab.
  4. For Sync Port choose Other and fill in bt:.
  5. Go back to you phone and start the Bluetooth app. Go to Setup Devices and follow the steps. At the end, you should have synced successfully.
  6. From now on, you can use the Sync app to synchronize through Bluetooth.


Sound on the Mac Mini under Ubuntu 10.04

Follow these steps, but pay attention to step 4: I had to use the synaptic package manager to find and install the right linux-alsa-driver-modules package.

1) Add repository: ppa:ubuntu-audio-dev/ppa
In terminal: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-audio-dev/ppa
Or through menu Software Sources 
2) Reload
In terminal: sudo apt-get update
3) Get to know you kernel 
In Terminal: uname -a
4) Install appropriate kernel
In Terminal: sudo apt-get install linux-alsa-driver-modules-2.6.32-22-generic (it was in my case I mean 2.6.32-22)
5) reboot
In Terminal: sudo shutdown -r now

if you want to have alsamixer back:
In terminal: sudo apt-get install alsa-utils

Switch Between Keyboard Layouts Using a Shortcut

If you're regularly using different keyboard layouts (e.g. US and US International), you can assign a shortcut to switching.

Go to System Settings, select Keyboard Layout and then open the tab Layouts. Under Layouts, click on Options and select “Key(s) to change layout”.

Editing PDFs with Master PDF Editor

To edit pdfs, download Master PDF Editor here:

If your pdf contains and embedded font, chances are that not all characters are actually embedded. In that case, install the font on your own system and use that font instead of the embedded one.


  • Master PDF Editor only recognizes fonts in a specific directory. Under Ubuntu 14.04: /usr/share/fonts/truetype.
  • Your font should be added to a folder containing a font family. E.g. News Gothic Condensed.ttf should be placed in /usr/share/fonts/truetype/newsgothic
  • Make sure the font is readable. Do a chmod 644 on the font file.

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