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Linux Mint + Windows 10 look


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#1 Nuno Brito

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 04:01 PM

Hello,

 

This weekend finally took the time to upgrade Windows 7 on my old laptop to the free Windows 10 download.

 

Was surprised, that was an old laptop from 2009 with the stock Windows 7 version and it worked. Have to say that the new interface is indeed good looking and simple. Really enjoyable, but the fact it beams up to Microsoft whatever I'm doing with this laptop is still a bother.

 

On my work laptop I run Linux Mint. Old version from 2013 that could really use an update. So, decided to simply go ahead and bring up the Linux machine to a more recent version and see what had changed over the past two years. While doing this upgrade kept asking myself "how about adding some of the simplicity of Windows 10 on the mix?"

 

And this is the result:

post-1-0-31345400-1445181094.png

 

 

This is not an exact look-a-like, but (in my opinion) tried to mix and get a relatively good result on Windows, without forcefully opening hand from your privacy.

 

Operating System

 

I've started with Linux Mint 17.2 (Cinnamon edition for x64) downloaded from http://www.linuxmint...tion.php?id=197

 

Instead of installing to disk, this time I've installed and run the operating system from a MicroSD card connected to the laptop through the SD reader using an SD adapter. The MicroSD is a Samsung 64Gb with advertised speed of 40Mb/s for read operations. Cost was ~30 EUR.

 

Installing the operating system followed the same routine steps as one expected. There is a GUI tool from within Linux mint to write the DVD ISO into a pendisk connected on your laptop. Then boot from the USB and install the operating system on the MicroSD, having the boot entry added automatically.

 

 

Window 10 theme and icons

 

Having the new operating system running, starts the customization.

 

Windows style can be used from here: http://gnome-look.or...?content=171327

 

It comes with icons that look exactly like Windows 10, but wasn't looking balanced. Found instead an alternative as Sigma Metro: http://gnome-look.or...?content=167327

 

If you look around the web, you'll find how to change the window themes and icons.

 

 

Firefox update and customization

 

Install Ubuntu Tweaks. From there, go to Apps and install the most recent edition of Firefox because the one included on the distro is a bit old.

 

Start changing Firefox, open it up and go to "Addons" -> "Get Addons". Type on the search box "Simple White Compact", this was the theme that I found the simplest and it will change everything on the browser, from icons to tab position. Other extensions you might enjoy are "Adblock Plus" to remove ads, "Tab Scope" to show miniatures when browsing tabs and "Youtube ALL HTML5" to force youtube running without using the flash player.

 

 

Office alternative and customization

 

Then comes to Office. I only keep the old laptop because it has the Adobe Reader (that I use for signing PDF documents) and Microsoft Office when I need to modify documents and presentations without getting them to look broken. So, I was prepared to run both these apps using Wine (it is possible) but decided to first update and try using only Linux native apps. Was not badly surprised.

 

LibreOffice 4.x is included by default on the distro and was always displaying badly a set of powerpoint slides that I need to change with some frequency. To my surprise, when trying version 5.x those issues are gone. Both the slides and word documents are now displayed with just about what I'd expected from Microsoft office.

 

To install LibreOffice 5.x visit https://www.libreoff...reoffice-fresh/

 

For the Linux edition, read the text document with instructions. Quite straightforward. So, I was happy with LibreOffice as a complete replacement to Microsoft (no need to acquire license nor run office through Wine). However, those icons still didn't look good. Again on this aspect Microsoft simply "looks" better and I wanted LibreOffice to look that way too. So, got icons from here: http://gnome-look.or...?content=167958

 

It wasn't straightforward to find out where the icons could be placed because the instructions for version 4.x no longer apply. To help you, the zip file with icons need to be placed inside:

/opt/libreoffice5.0/share/config/

Then you can open up "writer" and from the "Tools" -> "Options" -> "View" choose "Office2013" and get the new icons being used. The startup logo of LibreOffice also seemed too flashy and could be changed. So I've changed with the one available at http://gnome-look.or...?content=166590

 

Just a matter of overwriting the png image found at

/opt/libreoffice5.0/program

Alternative to Adobe Reader for signing PDF

 

Every now and then comes a PDF that requires being printed, signed by a pen and then scanned. I stopped doing this some time ago by adding a digital signature that includes an image of my handwritten signature on the document. This way, no need to print nor scan any papers. Adobe Reader did a good work on this task but getting it to run on Wine with the signature function was not simple.

 

Started looking a native Linux alternative and found "Master PDF Editor". The code for this software is not public but at least they provide a native Linux install that supports digital handwritten signatures: https://code-industr...asterpdfeditor/

 

If you're using it for business, you need to acquire a license. Just for home-usage, you can use it free of cost. Just head out to the download page and install the app. I was surprised because it looked very simple and customizable. Having LibreOffice and MasterPDF as alternative to MS Office and Acrobat,  there is no more valid reason (on my case) to switch back the old laptop whenever editing documents. Can be done with same quality from Linux now.

 

 

Command line

 

A relevant part of the day-to-day involves in my case to use the command line. In Linux it is usually a very pleasant task because it can be adjusted, customized and doesn't ever feel like a second class citizen on the desktop environment. With the recent changes, was possible to improve it by showing the tool bar. Open a terminal, "View" -> "Show tool bar". Usually I'm against buttons, but the tool bar has button for pasting code directly onto the console. I know that I can do "Ctrl '+ Shift + V", but it also practical to just use the button and mouse.

 

 

Non-Windows tweaks

 

There are tweaks only possible on Linux. One of my favorite keeps being the "Woobly windows". Enable Compiz on the default desktop environment: http://askubuntu.com...-wobbly-windows

 

With Compiz there are many tweaks possible, I've kept them to a minimum but certainly is refreshing to use some features rather than the plain window frames.

 

 

Skype alternatives

 

Many of my friends use Skype. I'd prefer to use a non-Microsoft service because the client gets installed on my computer and who knows what it is doing, so we'd end up losing privacy by just installing that client. One interesting alternative that I've found was launching the web-edition of skype that you find at https://web.skype.com/

 

From firefox, there is the option to "Pin" a given tab. So I've pinned skype and now it gets open automatically whenever the browser gets open, in practice bringing it online when I want to be reachable. A safe desktop client and alternative would be better, still this was the compromise that felt possible on my case.

 

 

Finishing

 

There were other small tweaks happening to adjust for my case, but above were described the big blocks to help you reach a similar desktop. If you have any questions or get stuck, just let me know.

 

 

:cheers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 04:52 PM

A very nice post/comment. :thumbsup:

But you should not confuse "simplicity" with "ugliness" :w00t: (I know you are not native English speaker, still ... ;)).

 

:duff:

Wonko


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#3 Zoso_The_Internet_Tard

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 05:27 PM

Windows 10 looks quite nice IMO, but its' performance and (lack of) stability (on my PC) left something to be desired. The only other OS/distro I've tried that beats 10's looks is Fedora, it's just liquid smooth, well-designed, intuitive, and a nice interface.

 

@ Wonko: You spend so much time dissing 10 and anything modern that contradicts your old-fashioned ways, so tell us, *PLEASE*, if 10 is so ugly to to you, then how would *YOU* make it look? A few screenshots, perhaps? Are you a professional graphics designer? Have you ever had a hand in designing an OS? I seriously doubt it..........


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#4 Blackcrack

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 04:20 AM

windows metro style, who's need.. but for me who like fvwm2 and windowmaker/nexstep/Blackbox and KDE4/Trinity
is this Metro corner-style nothing because it look's like a unnatural thing no round corner,
no soft design, easy 2D plates and 2d pictures :\

but who loves .. in any case me not ..

and who say's, it mus be in any case the Mainstream Distro,
take a look on openmandriva.org there is also an
nice Linux with a drakconf as control centre .
and rpmdrake as package-manager. Really easy to configuring ..

But the other.. LibreOffice .. OMLx have a friendship with Libreoffice :)
OMLx (OpenMandrivaLinux)

and if any one the best port of call, it is Itchka or Rugyada
from http://mib.pianetalinux.org/blog/and also a Member of OM.

Rafa and his Friend Jean-Vanier is poison for OMLx but he was the first Presi..
but he have work together with persons who like to kill OM in silence ..
how ever.. The former Mandrake now the CommunityLinux OpenMandriva
and no more commercialism , should build up like in the past and
it is worth to rebuild again.. and needs many hands ..
The MCC should reprogramming like in the past but maybe
in QT for prompt and independent Gui configuration and so on..
and should bring back in the direction who have Gnome and KDE and other WM's
as equal/ of the same value Windowmanager as the other

Because this is Linux, an kernel with many tools and Servers windowmanagers.
and i see there the chance of it for us all.. to become OMLx the same state
like in the past .. because it is now a small Linuxdistro who need help to grow
up like in the past.. but now in the community and no more with a factory like Mandriva SA in Paris.
This Distribution it is give free and back to the community and hold up now via an Community Association .

well, would be nice if OpenMandriva become new Members and grow up again..
(p.s. mageia it is a robbery/rape branch of Mandriva and the OpenMandriva
it is the real successor of Mandrake/Mandriva in Community now !! )

best regards
Blacky

#5 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 08:16 AM

Do I need to be a professional graphic designer or be involved in a design of an OS to have an opinion? :dubbio:

 

Naah, and as usual you completely missed the point.

 

The "ugliness" of the Windows 10 interface is self-evident, but Nuno - like anyone else - has all the rights in the world to like it, just like everyone else has the right to not like it, the issue is that both "likers" and "dislikers" have lost a large part of the possibilities to change, adapt or customize the interface.

 

As Nuno showed us, he can easily have Linux have a similar (IMNSHO terrible) interface to Windows 10.

 

But if you run Windows 10 you have not the possibility to have an interface similar to that of - say - Unity (as an example of an interface that has actually a worst look and feel than the Windows 10).

 

And besides the looks, the Windows 10 GUI has several other issues, including Control Panel/Settings, and more generally readability and ergonomics.

 

The OS underneath is not much better than 7 or 8/8.1, but is not much worse either, it is the forcing upon all users of a (IMNSHO flawed) graphical interface and the extents to which they went to make it difficult to customize it in a sane way (and the way they try to force everyone to use it) that makes me "diss it" as you say. 

 

:duff:

Wonko 


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#6 Nuno Brito

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 09:41 AM

But if you run Windows 10 you have not the possibility to have an interface similar to that of - say - Unity (as an example of an interface that has actually a worst look and feel than the Windows 10).

 

Quite true. Can't really understand how someone would ever be productive using Unity but can't argue that it has been around for quite some years now: http://nunobrito1981...d-stallman.html

 

 

btw. A friend recommended to take a look on the free tooling from O&O to reduce the amount of snooping on Windows 10: http://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

 

Anyone here tried it yet?

:cheers:



#7 crashnburn

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 09:49 AM

Which OS look do you like best Wonko :) ?



#8 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 11:29 AM

 

btw. A friend recommended to take a look on the free tooling from O&O to reduce the amount of snooping on Windows 10: http://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

So, at the risk of being again criticized, not being a security expert or long time privacy compliance officer, I will re-state how that tool (like the n similar ones) are "dangerous" because none of them seemingly block "everything" or lists what it is blocking or allows fine-tuning of the blocked parts and does not helps in understand what actually each item (blocked or not blocked) actually does, they might provide a false sense of security :dubbio:.

See also (JFYI):

http://www.msfn.org/...-in-windows-10/

 

@crashburn

2K, of course.

JFYI:

http://www.msfn.org/...-5#entry1020941

http://www.msfn.org/...43#entry1013639

 

:duff:

Wonko



#9 crashnburn

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 01:02 AM

ha ha :) My Win 2000 was rock solid.. and even faster was NT4 SP6 and in that tradition my XP, Win 7 & 8.1 all look like 2000 .. Silver, Mid or Dark Gray.. monotone.. easy on the eyes, :) .. I could never stand the crazy jazzy color & drama that MS added from XP to Vista to Win 7. 



#10 Blackcrack

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 06:30 AM

hi crashnburn

well, the msstyles was not bad,
there was an possible for use dark colors and styles
where really save the eyes..
imho, if you look from near on the whole Windows-Style
and the design, it is more, to be the users move from
all open and able to learn how the whole works to the
"you have only to use or produce some program where can you make money"
and not "come, learn how windows works and it is building up"
no, Windows it is styled through from front to end and mus price
the Microsoft commerce factory style and image ...
Nice and look's good but you don't see and make complicated and complex internal,
instead of building Windows simply on and transparently..
no, the User have now to eat any update and have to use the Windows like it is.. end..

First the the Programmers in the Net and community make the Windows
like it is .. with the whole tools and lil' security helpers..

the unasked steal if informations it is a huge impudence !
but USA have laws and has to pay / have to fellow this MS also ..


how ever.. i wait for Reactos and this would be my next step..
Because Reactos it is not from any country/land, ReactosWinNT it is
from the net with own law and orders .. the Open Source

best regards
Blacky

p.s.: and Win2000 was rock solid... with msupdates .. ;)




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