How To Make An Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop Resemble A Mac (With Elementary, Docky & Gloobus-Preview)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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This article shows how you can change the appearance of your Ubuntu 10.10 desktop so that it resembles a Mac. This can be achieved with the help of Elementary, Docky, and Gloobus-Preview. Elementary is a project that provides a popular icon set and GTK theme; Docky is an interactive dock (like the one you know from a Mac) that provides easy access to some of the files, folders, and applications on your computer, and more; and Gloobus-Preview is an extension for the Gnome Desktop Environment designed to enable a full screen preview of any kind of file or directory.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

Docky requires that you use a compositing manager on your desktop. If you've enabled Compiz Fusion (e.g. as shown in this tutorial: Enabling Compiz Fusion On An Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop (NVIDIA GeForce 8200)), then you're good to go. If your hardware doesn't support Compiz Fusion, you should enable the metacity compositing manager.


2 Installing Elementary, Docky, And Gloobus

Docky is available as a package in the official Ubuntu 10.10 repositories, but Elementary and Gloobus-Preview are not. Fortunately there are packages available on Launchpad, so we have to add software sources to our system so that we can install these packages. Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager:

In the Synaptic Package Manager, go to Settings > Repositories:

Go to the Other Software tab and click on the Add button:

Add the first new repository in the APT line field:

deb maverick main

Then click on the Add Source button:

Do the same for the following three repositories:

  • deb-src maverick main
  • ppa:gloobus-dev/gloobus-preview
  • ppa:am-monkeyd/nautilus-elementary-ppa

Click on Close in the Software Sources window afterwards:

Because of the new repositories, the system's package database needs to be updated...

... to do this, click on the Reload button in the following window:

Now the package database is being updated:

Still in the Synaptic Package Manager, select the following packages for installation (you can use the Quick search field to search for them):

  • elementary-theme
  • elementary-icon-theme
  • elementary-wallpapers
  • docky
  • gloobus-preview

Click on Apply to install the packages:


3 Activating Elementary

To activate the Elementary theme, go to System > Preferences > Appearance:

On the Theme tab, select the elementary theme - the desktop theme should change immediately:

Go to the Background tab and select a wallpaper that you like - the wallpaper should also change immediately:

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5 Comment(s)

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By: Anonymous

Ubunut is ugly as shit from the start. This makes it look soooo much better on the eyes. Who cares if it looks like a mac? This adds so much more functionality to the desktop. This + gnome do = such an easy way to access files and applications. If Ubuntu looked like this from the start, it would probably get a lot more installs and finally be a viable contender to OSX and Windows. Besides, this tutorial is optional. If u don't like how it looks then don't use it. I personally love it so I say thank you to the author

By: akbozo

i'm tired of articles that show me how to make my computer more like a mac or windows, i did not choose ubuntu so i could bastardize it in that fashion. if you prefer mac or windows,, why are you using linux?

By: Anonymouser

This is like a horse trying to dress up like a donkey.... theyre almost identical before you do anything.

Still, its free software and one thing we have is choice and configurability.
We can make our desktops look like anything we like and if someone wants to imitate something else... we can.

Whether I think its butt ugly, bland and boring is not important just like the seniors I install Linux for and who use 2 inch panels and 16pt fonts everywhere.... if its good for you, then thats the only thing that matters.

(still looks ugly though)

By: Anonymous

I really wish people would keep their unnecessary negative comments to themselves. If you don't like something, thats fine, but there's no need to trash other people's comment streams with your personal tastes. Some people need help to spruce up their desktops from the default ubuntu theme, and this article does a good job with that.

People can easily do their own modifications after this primer.

By: Jake

I have a Google Chrome OS CR-48 test product and installed Ubuntu for a dual boot OS.  I have went through solution after solution for a fix to two-finger scrolling without ANY LUCK whatsoever.  Well, I stumbled upon this purely appearance based extension to have my Ubuntu view more Mac-like (since I'm a Mac guy at heart)  well to my surprise after doing these vanity steps two-finger scrolling magically works! How? I have no CLUE! But it does! I felt compelled to comment.