How-To Geek

Make Your Coworker’s Day in Ubuntu

It can be difficult to express your appreciation for your coworkers in person – what if they take it the wrong way, or think you’re fishing for a compliment of your own? If you use Ubuntu in your office, here’s a quick way to show your appreciation while avoiding the social pitfalls of face-to-face communication.

Make sure their computer is locked

An unlocked computer is a vulnerable computer. Vulnerable to malware sure, but much more vulnerable to the local office prankster, who thinks it’s hilarious to make a screenshot of your desktop, change your background to that screenshot, then hide all of your desktop icons.

These incidents have taught us that you should lock your computer when taking a break. Hopefully your coworker has learned the same lesson, and pressed Ctrl+Alt+L before stepping out for a coffee.


Leave a carefully worded message

Now is your opportunity to leave your message of appreciation on your coworker’s computer. Click on the Leave Message button and type away!


Click on Save.

Wait, possibly in the shadows

If you sit near your coworker, then wait for them to return. If you sit farther away, then try to listen for their footsteps. Eventually they will return to their computer and enter their password to unlock it.


Observe smile

Once they return to their desktop, they will be greeted with the message you left.


Look to see if they appreciated the message, and if so, feel free to take credit.

If they look annoyed, or press the Cancel button, continue on with your day like nothing happened. You may also try to slip into a conversation that you saw Jerry tinkering with their computer earlier.


Leaving your coworkers a nice message is easy and can brighten up their dull afternoon. We’re pretty sure that this method can only be used for good and not evil, but if you have any other suggestions of messages to leave, let us know in the comments!

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 03/26/10

Comments (9)

  1. Matthew Lucas

    Who has co-workers that use linux?
    Not trying to be an ass but seriously what environment would this fall in?
    If you are in a large comapny odds are they use windows xp and if you are in a small company using linux then odds are it’s not going to be ubuntu.
    or maybe i am just completely wrong.

  2. Trevor Bekolay

    @Matthew Lucas

    We use Ubuntu at my workplace (though I think any Gnome-based distribution will do). I guess to be fair, I should say it’s a university environment, which is probably atypical.

  3. Matthew Lucas

    @Trevor Bekolay
    i was unaware that this works with most GNOME flavors.
    And it does make sense in a university environment.

  4. Mysticgeek

    A good message to leave on this would be “Stop eating my lunches in the break room ya jerk!”

  5. Trevor Bekolay


    Dude I told you it was just a one time thing that may or may not have been hangover related! GET OFF MY BACK

  6. Brian

    We don’t use Linux but have LCLOCK installed on most of our Windows machines. Anyway, I pasted every verse of the RickRoll and had a notification pop up every minute until the song was done…. I wouldn’t say that was evil… ;-)

  7. Brian Campbell

    My girlfriend and I make use of this feature to leave little messages for each other at home. Thanks for sharing this tip for use at the office!

  8. Trevor Bekolay

    @Brian Campbell

    That’s adorable!

  9. gyffes

    Man, when I come across an unlocked machine, I always compose an email to them on their account that begins, “Dear Mister President: You jerkface, I just want you to know that every dollar of counterfeit money I make goes towards electing someone else to your Office…!”

    As for who uses linux — people who want to get work done. MOST of our programmers use XP, but the four who use Linux have more uptime and general satisfaction with their tools than the bulk of the XP users (although we have one fellow who’s gone back and forth, unhappy with both; we refuse to buy him a mac, though, because he’s just not a nice fellow). We do have an increasing number of macs in the office, but those’re mostly in the hands of the non-programmers (although 4 do have macs as their personal machines).

    And those linux users? They’re using ubuntu. It (to coin a phrase) just works!

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