Ubuntu: coping with a height restricted display

December 10, 2008 at 01:06 PM | categories: linux | View Comments

I'm eagerly awaiting my new Samsung NC10 to be shipped from Amazon. It's a nice little netbook that I can use when traveling and when going to social occasions. I'm specifically buying this laptop because of its small size, but I know that one thing specifically will bother me: the screen resolution, at 1024x600 is wide enough for most tasks, but not very tall at all.

So while I'm waiting, I'm playing around with Ubuntu 8.10 inside a VirtualBox instance. I've got the window resized to 1024x600 and am playing around with different settings to make maximum use of the screen. Here are my tweaks:

Gnome Panel (the toolbar):

Open gconf-editor (Alt-F2 'gconf-editor') and navigate to apps -> panel -> toplevels -> top_panel_screen0 and change the following:

  • auto_hide: checked -- makes the main toolbar panel autohide
  • auto_hide_size: 0 -- makes the toolbar completely hide instead of leaving a few pixels visible
  • enable_animations: unchecked -- make the hiding/unhiding as fast as possible
  • hide_delay: 500 -- makes the toolbar stay on screen for half a second after using it
  • unhide_delay: 0 -- makes the toolbar immediately popup when your mouse goes to the very top (or bottom) of the screen

Gnome Terminal:

Open the default profile properties, right click in the window and click "Edit Current Profile"

  • Turn off the menu bar: on the General tab uncheck "Show menubar by default in new terminals"
  • Turn off the scrollbar: on the Scrolling tab select "Scrollbar is: Disabled"

Oversized windows:

Uncheck the following key in gconf-editor:


Now you can Alt-left-click any window and drag it around even above the top of the screen.


  • Move the bookmarks bar up to the file menu bar and get rid of the bookmarks bar:
    • Right click on the Home button and click customize.
    • Your bookmarklets should now disappear and read "Bookmarks Toolbar items."
    • Drag "Bookmarks Toolbar items" along the right hand side of the File .. Edit .... Help menus.
    • Click "Done."
    • Right click on the now empty bookmarks toolbar and uncheck "Bookmarks Toolbar."
  • Get rid of the status bar: Go to View -> uncheck "Status Bar."
  • Install a theme that uses smaller buttons and text: I like Classic Compact.
  • Remember that Firefox has a nice fullscreen option : F11.
  • Check out Tree Style Tabs. It puts the tabs vertically on the left side of the browser and visually keeps track of what sites you were at that prompted you to open a new tab, all in a tree like fashion.

Here is the desktop with gnome panel completely hidden and one terminal with menu bar hidden (click to see native size):

Here is firefox maximised with two tabs open (click to see native size):

Here is firefox in fullscreen (click to see native size):

Firefox maximized with Tree Style Tabs:

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