GNOME tips

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Revision as of 11:57, 19 January 2008 by Alex anthony (talk | contribs) (→‎Useful Add-ons: Alacarte)
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Configuration Tips

Better Video Performance

Some users report that, if they move the player window while playing a video file, a blue border appears around the video while it is moving. If you experience this, go to Desktop->Preferences->Multimedia Systems Selector, and under video change the "Default Sink" to "XWindows (No Xv)". When you click test, the blue border should be gone and on the whole, video should perform better.

Edit: This no longer applies to Gnome 2.20 and later (Evanlec)

Add/Edit GDM Sessions

To add or edit sessions to GDM: The GDM configuration file is located at /opt/gnome/etc/gdm/gdm.conf. The gdm.conf file links to the desktop/window manager sessions in the folder /etc/X11/sessions. The sessions are in the format *.desktop. To add a new session

  1. Copy an existing *.desktop file to use as a template for a new session:
cd /etc/X11/sessions
cp enlightenment.desktop waimea.desktop
  1. Modify the template *.desktop file to open the required window manager:
nano waimea.desktop

Alternatively, you can open the new session in KDM. This creates the *.desktop file. Then return to using GDM and the new session will be available.


If your gnome applications seem sluggish and gnome hangs at start-up after killing the previous session, it's likely you haven't set your /etc/hosts file correctly and enabled the loopback device. Make sure your /etc/rc.conf file includes:


if you have a router for your broadband connection then last line looks like:

INTERFACES=(lo eth0)

where "eth0" is the ethernet card connecting to your router.

and your /etc/hosts file includes:       localhost.localdomain     localhost      YOURHOSTNAME

Then run "/bin/hostname YOURHOSTNAME" and "/sbin/ifconfig lo up" as root.

also see [1]

Misc Tips

Screen Lock

  1. Install xscreenserver
 pacman -S xscreensaver
  1. Go to Desktop -> Preferences -> Screensaver
  2. Enable one or more screensavers
  3. Lock Screen will now start your screensaver and require your password to stop it.

or you can install gnome-screensaver

pacman -S gnome-screensaver

Nautilus Tips

Get a certain path in spatial view? Just type:

control + L

Change Browser Mode (Spatial View)

  1. Start gconf-editor
  2. Browse to apps/nautilus/preferences
  3. Change the value of "always_use_browser" (it's a yes/no value and should be visible as a checkbox or say "false", for the later change the value to "true")

Or you can do this through the preferences:

  1. In a Nautilus window go to Edit>>Preferences
  2. Change to the Behaviour tab
  3. Check (or uncheck) Always Open in Browser Windows

Useful Add-ons


FAM allows gnome to do such useful things as automatically update the menu when new applications are installed, and refresh nautilus when a directory it is viewing is changed.

See the FAM Wiki for instructions on how to install it.

Gnome System Monitor

This application appears when the "System Monitor" applet is clicked, and displays the processor/memory usage of all running applications. It is not installed be default in the gnome group, so you need to install it separately using:

pacman -Sy gnome-system-monitor

Burning CDs from Nautilus

pacman -Sy nautilus-cd-burner


This is a more powerful menu editor than the built in. Many other distos have this bundled in, so you may find it more as you expect. Once installed, it is run by right-clicking the menu and clicking Edit Menus. Install with

pacman -S alacarte

Other Applications

These are some other nice applications and utilities for gnome, most of which can be downloaded all at once with:

pacman -Sy gnome-extra

This is a group, so it is quite easy to choose not to download some of the packages, such as the documentation.


Install this application before logging into gnome for the first time unless you prefer to use xterm.


A text editor with syntax highlighting.


Eye-of-Gnome, a handy, fast little image viewer which can re-size and rotate photos.


An archive manager which supports many different formats. (Install unrar, unzip, ... to get the respective formats)


A calculator, what else?


An iTunes like audio library and player.


CD Ripper, integrates with rhythmbox.

To enable default mp3 profiles in preferences menu:

pacman -S gstreamer0.10-lame gstreamer0.10-taglib

If you're having other problems with SoundJuicer , click here


A video player which uses gstreamer for decoding its input.


Photoshop alternative for linux, only better and open-source. A must-have if you ever do anything with graphics.


An nice little FTP client for gnome.


A small, fast, .doc compatible word processor.


A very nice, excel like spreadsheet editor.

Leave message feature in gnome screensaver

This is a cool feature provided by gnome-screensaver 2.20, somebody can leave a message for you when you are not at your desk. Please install notification-daemon to make this work.


Do not keep any important or secret information in your clipboard before you lock the screen and leave your machine unattended. See : for more information


A very useful application that can be run as a daemon within gnome. It manipulates windows allowing you to start programs on a desired desktop or in a size of your choice among many other things. Brings a whole new level of control into the metacity engine. There's a pretty good HOWTO on their homepage,

See also