What Does Your Desktop Look Like?

by Doug.Roberts
After my fourth desktop installation in as many days, I suddenly realized a couple of things.  One:  I like trying out new distributions, and two:  I noted how uncluttered my preferred interface is.  See below.

Driven by an urge to move out of my old, stale (to me, anyhow: I've been using KDE for years) KDE desktop environment, I went on an install binge,  successively slapping Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 (UNE), plain ol' Ubuntu 10.04, and Linux Mint 9 onto unsuspecting hardware that I had laying around.  Yes, I know these are all Debian-based distros.  I've served my RPM time with Mandrake/Mandriva, RHEL, CENTOS, and Fedora.  It's Debian-based distros for me from now on, if I have a choice.

The install sequence went something like this:

  1. UNE 10.04 on the new Acer Inspire One 532h netbook.  Reactions: nice, clean layout.  Everything works.  Effective use of the limited real estate provided by the 10.1 inch screen.
  2. Ubuntu 10.04 on the Dell Inspiron 6500 laptop.  Reactions: not bad, buy why did Canonical move the buttons over to the left side of the window frame?
  3. Linux Mint 9 on my Kubuntu/Ubuntu AMD-64 Frankenstein desktop/server. A bit of explanation:  this machine has been running successive Kubuntu releases from 7.04 on over the years, with appropriate hardware upgrades every few years.  I recently found myself finally becoming fed up with certain KDE idiosyncrasies, and so just a week ago I had installed the gnome-session packages and was running the Gnome interface on it.  Reactions to the new install: Wow!  Mint is Nice.  Everything just worked, including (surprise!) PulseAudio with my SoundBlaster Audigy card.
  4. Mint on the Insprion 6500, overwriting the fresh Ubuntu 10.04 install, because I liked Mint so much on the desktop.

Now that the dust has settled, here's what my Mint desktop looks like on the AMD-64:

Look at all the Icons lined up at the bottom -- that's how I like to organize my most-used apps.  I have highly visual-type memory, but if I do forget what one of the icons is a brief mouse-over pops up the launcher comment.  Left to right, what they are:

  • A 32-bit Firefox installation.  My company uses Juniper's Network Connect in order to access the corporate network.  Juniper's NC only runs on 32-bit browsers.  Juniper has been taking lessons from Adobe.
  • Google's Chrome browser -- what I prefer.
  • A 64-bit Firefox.  I seldom use it.
  • A terminal launcher
  • Amarok.  Yes, Amarok is a KDE app, but it is the best all-round Linux music app that I've found.  I'm listening to RadioParadise.com streaming via Amarok as I write this.
  • Picasa
  • Sun (now Oracle) VirtualBox
  • Thunderbird email client, for reading my corporate email via an encrypted Juniper Networks VPN tunnel.
  • Skype
  • KMix, another KDE app
  • Simple Scanner app
  • Kompozer, an html WYSIWYG editor
  • Hulu Desktop
  • Screenshot
  • XKill
  • Calculator
  • GoogleEarth
  • Startup Disk Creator
  • Cheese, a webcam app
  • Emacs

So there you have it:  the ideal desktop for me.  Today.  Until I get tired of it, too.