Tag: terminal

Reigning in the Dash

The Dash in Ubuntu 6.04 had decided to come up in full screen mode every time I opened it. This wasn’t what I wanted. After a period of Googling (during which I was surprised to discover that most questions on the Dash were asking how to make that the default behaviour) I found the command I was looking for:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity form-factor Desktop

Entering this in a terminal forces the Dash to adopt my preferred fashion, taking up the top left of the screen only.


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Transparent Terminal Windows

I saw an Ubuntu desktop recently with semi-transparent terminal windows. I’m not a great one for UI tweaks and themes but this looked good to me, and I was intrigued about how it was achieved. My Unity UI is more or less standard. I’ve changed the wallpaper, reduced the size of the icons within the launcher and have Conky running. Apart from that it is basically your standard Unity.

I didn’t want to have to install new themes or UI tweaking applications just to achieve transparent terminal windows which, let’s face it, are nothing more than eye-candy, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out it is controlled by a setting that is built right into the standard terminal window.

Open a terminal window and from the main menu select:
Edit, Profile Preferences, Background Tab and then select the Transparent background option. You can use the slider to set the degree of transparency.

Desktop with transparent terminal windows
Desktop with transparent terminal windows
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Tree view in Terminal

I use the terminal windows a lot. Sometimes it is useful to see a tree view of your files and folders. To obtain a tree view for the command line, type the following into a terminal window:

sudo apt-get install tree

When you issue the tree command you’ll see an output in this format.

Output from tree
Output from tree
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Get a Colour Command Prompt in your Terminal Windows

Whenever you open a terminal window a script file called .bashrc is run. This establishes certain settings within your terminal environment.
In your home folder, if you type:

cat .bashrc

You will see the contents of this file listed to the screen.

To stop the output whizzing past in a flash type the following:

cat .bashrc | less

This will allow the less program to handle the output. You can then scroll backwards and forwards through the contents of the file using the Home, End and Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys. Q will exit back to the prompt. This is a convenient way to examine text files safely – there is no danger of you accidently making changes to them.

Within the .bashrc file are some lines that look like this:

# uncomment for a colored prompt, if the terminal has the capability; turned
# off by default to not distract the user: the focus in a terminal window
# should be on the output of commands, not on the prompt

if you want to have a colour prompt in your terminal windows, in your home folder type:

gedit .bashrc

This causes the gedit editor top open the file so you can make changes to it. Be Careful! Change the line that said:


to now say:


Save the file, and close gedit. Close the terminal window and open a new terminal window. I use keyboard shortcuts a lot, so I do this through:


You should now see a colour prompt.

It’s not life-changing perhaps, but it helps to visually distinguish the output from the shell prompt.

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