This week I spent a bit of time modifying my favourite operating system, giving it a fresh new look and replacing some functionality. It also took a bit of work–changing the default file manager in Lubuntu 12.10 isn’t very straightforward. Although I haven’t managed to set an entirely consistent scheme, I’m satisfied–it’s a nice change from the usual. For memory’s sake, and in the interest of maybe a few fellow Linux admirers, I’ll jot down what I did.
As for the icons, replacing my AwOken set are the awesome Any Colour You Like icons. They really are any colour you like. However, I ran into a problem with the tool that ships with these icons. It’s used to set icon colour and texture, but initially I wasn’t able to run it. After some investigation, I discovered the solution on my own–I just had to install the Python module gtk.glade:
sudo apt-get install python-glade2
And with that, I ran the tool successfully and set my icons to blue.
The Conky theme in the screenshot is a version of the CathexiS Conky config that I’ve modified over time to suit my hardware and preferences, so it’s been there for a while. Although I think the colours should suit the current theme better, I don’t want to bother changing them.
The other thing I did was switch file managers. PCManFm was fine, however I wanted something with a little more customisability. I tried SpaceFM but it was a bit complicated for my tastes. Then I learned about Thunar. I immediately sought to replace PCManFm with Thunar when I learned of its Custom Actions feature, in addition to its familiar simplicity. Thanks to this feature, I’m able to add a GnuPG encrypt/decrypt context menu action for files (with a little help from Zenity), which I’m working on right now. Amazingly, I have the encryption part down. You can also install plugins, such as the archive (adds a context menu option to archive/compress files and folders using your default archive manager) and media tags (lets you view and edit tags such as artist, album, etc. for MP3s) plugins. As a plus, when I select an image I can set my wallpaper right from the context menu.
I decided to make Thunar my default file manager. However, there didn’t seem to be any simple way to do that in Lubuntu 12.10. After some research I found this helpful thread. It turns out that PCManFm handled desktop icons and background in Lubuntu, so if I had opened folders from the desktop, PCManFm would still be the application opening them. I followed the advice in the thread and installed the xfdesktop, which is a fair replacement, as it handles those things fine while integrating Thunar as the file manager. It was also a very light download. I like the little thumbnails and info it generates when you hover the mouse over desktop icons.
So I made a few changes to files here and there, including modifying the shortcut
Super + E to bring up my new file browser, and although the whole process wasn’t very elegant (I had to trick the system into thinking Thunar was PCManFM), nothing is broken, and everything works smoothly so far.