Upgrading to Ubuntu 11.10

When I upgraded to 11.04, I stuck with the Ubuntu Classic desktop. With 11.10, that didn’t look feasible anymore, so I bit the bullet to try and learn to cope with Unity.

After the install, my first issues were:

  1. How to add a program to the Dash, specifically rxvt
  2. I use the terminal a lot, and I want something light, fast, and that doesn’t mess with my hotkeys (GNOME Terminal uses the Alt key for itself).

  3. How to launch more than one rxvt with the Dash.
  4. Many programs have a way to launch new windows or documents, but rxvt doesn’t and I’m sure I’ll come across others as well.

  5. How to switch between multiple windows open in Chrome or other software.
  6. Without the mouse that is.

  7. How to make it faster.
  8. I’m using a 2.6ghz quad core system (Opteron 2218s) with 4 gigs of ram and a NVidia 9400GT and while this isn’t the latest and greatest it should not crawl without a darn good reason.

And the answers turned out to be:

  1. Make a .desktop file
  2. In /usr/share/applications, create rxvt.desktop with these contents:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=terminal emulator for the X window system
    Exec=rxvt -rv -sl 2000

    Then chown the file to root:root with permissions -rw-r–r–.

  3. Middle click on the icon in the Dash
  4. Alt + ` (backtick)
  5. Just like a Mac. Obviously, I didn’t try to guess hard enough before resorting to Google.

  6. Switch to Unity 2D
  7. Unity 2D is based on Qt and is meant for older machines with inadequate video cards. It is shocking to think that I have either, but it made a large difference. Besides, every time I’ve tried a compositing desktop before, I’ve had problems with other OpenGL programs, so I probably would have made the switch anyway.