If you long for the days of GNOME 2 and just can’t get along with Unity or GNOME 3, MATE is here to save you. It’s an actively developed fork of GNOME 2, and it’s easily installable on Ubuntu.
APTonCD is an easy way to back up your installed packages to a disc or ISO image. You can quickly restore the packages on another Ubuntu system without downloading anything.
There are several different ways to create custom Ubuntu live CDs. We’ve covered using the Reconstructor web app in the past, but some commenters recommended the Ubuntu Customization Kit instead. It’s an open-source utility found in Ubuntu’s software repositories.
Window Maker is a Linux desktop environment designed to emulate NeXTSTEP, which eventually evolved into Mac OS X. With its focus on emulating NeXTSTEP, it eschews the task bars and application menu buttons found in many other lightweight desktop environments.
Windows includes Shutdown.exe, a simple utility for remotely shutting down or restarting Windows computers on your local network. To use Shutdown.exe, you must first configure the PCs you want to shut down or restart remotely.
Whether you’re an inexperienced terminal user or a grizzled veteran, you won’t always know the right thing to type into the Linux terminal. There are quite a few tools built into the terminal to help you along.
Firefox 11 added two new web developer tools to Firefox’s already impressive arsenal. The Tilt feature visualizes website structures in 3D, while the Style Editor can edit CSS stylesheets on the fly.
Whether you want to download files, diagnose network problems, manage your network interfaces, or view network statistics, there’s a terminal command for that. This collection contains the tried and true tools and a few newer commands.
Déjà Dup is a simple — yet powerful — backup tool included with Ubuntu. It offers the power of rsync with incremental backups, encryption, scheduling, and support for remote services.
Mozilla Firefox is an open-source web browser, so anyone can take its source code and modify it. Various projects have taken Firefox and released their own versions, either to optimize it, add new features, or align it with their philosophy.
Avidemux is an easy-to-use, open-source video editor for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It’s ideal for basic video-editing tasks. Unlike more advanced programs, it doesn’t have a lot of complex features that get in the way.
If you’re a Linux user, there’s a good chance you can’t live without virtual desktops. They’re a great way to organize your workspace. Dexpot brings virtual desktops to Windows, complete with 3D effects and extensive customizability.
The Windows Store in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is full of third-party preview apps. They’re not complete, but they give us a taste of what we can expect from Metro and Windows in the future.
Windows 8 always shows the Metro-style Start screen when you log in. You don’t have to click the Desktop tile every time you log in, you can boot straight to the desktop with this quick trick.
With a quick registry tweak, you can add any application to any Windows Explorer context menu. You can even add application shortcuts to your desktop’s context menu and launch your favorite applications just by right-clicking on your desktop.
Ubuntu One lets you easily synchronize files and folders, but it isn’t clear how to sync configuration files. Using Ubuntu One’s folder synchronization options or some symbolic links, you can synchronize configuration files across all your computers.
Windows 8 was clearly designed with touch screens in mind. Using Windows 8 with a mouse can be disorienting at first — many of the tried-and-true Windows interface conventions have changed.
Zenity adds graphical interfaces to shell scripts with a single command. Shell scripts are a great way to automate repetitive tasks, but they’re normally confined to the terminal — Zenity brings them out of the terminal and onto your desktop.
The Windows 8 desktop looks just like Windows 7, with one exception — no Start button. Losing the Start button isn’t the end of the world — Windows 8 exposes all the familiar options in different ways.
Gmail’s a Google product, so of course it has powerful search features. But some of Gmail’s search features are hidden and don’t appear in the Search Options pane. Learn Gmail’s search tricks to master your massive inbox.
LXDE is a lightweight desktop alternative to Unity, GNOME and KDE. It’s ideal for old computers or anyone looking for a fast, lightweight system. It’s even lighter than Xubuntu’s XFCE.
Both the Start button and classic Start menu are gone in Windows 8. If you don’t like the full-screen, Metro-style “Start screen,” there are a few ways to get a classic-style Start menu back.
PlayOnLinux provides a point-and-click interface to automatically install and tweak Windows software on Linux. It’s like a package manager — but for Windows games and other applications on Linux.
If you play a lot of PC games, switching to a new computer or reformatting can be time-consuming. GameSave Manager does the hard work of backing up your saved games for you — it can even back up to Dropbox.
The Linux terminal has a number of useful commands that can display running processes, kill them, and change their priority level. This post lists the classic, traditional commands, as well as some more useful, modern ones.