Linux Customization

I’m fairly new to Linux (within the last 1.5 year). I’ve tried Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Manjaro, Vanilla Debian, and Mint. To date Mint (with Cinnamon desktop) is my favorite and what I am running on my work laptop now. I really like it and have customized it to my preferences, so far. The date and time is a 24 hour clock. I got rid of the ugly Mint icon for the start menu, replacing it with a JPEG. The icons have been prettied up. The windows are the color theme I want them at. Programs are were I want them on the desktop and launch bar.

Since I am new to Linux and overall happy with my system, my question is: What do I want to customize that I did not even know I wanted to change? ie. Quality of life changes, efficiency, productivity, FOSS software of interest, etc

I mostly use my laptop for gaming and internet browsing.

There’s as many answers as there are different opinions, but I guess since your flow is “casual”? Just wing it and use it.
Did you try the features/workflow of different DE’s?
Maybe as a quality of life improvement down the road; forget what you know and keep testing stuff out.
Did you try Gnome? It can be amazing with the kb shortcuts and plugins

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You should probably try the tiling desktop managers and see if it is one of the things you didnt know you needed.

Have you tried fish vs the usual built in bash? Its good fun for day to day usage but not really for scripting if you frequently copy pasta stuff from the internet.

See cowsay and fortune and integrate it into your shell. also another one of the things that i didnt know I was missing was guake. Remember the Quake/old CS terminal? You can have it in Linux as well. Ive got it bound at the same key.

Have you tried installing Arch? Slackware? Gentoo? Linux from scratch?

If we’re talking shell tools and shell customization, check out fzf. I can’t go back to not having it.

To date Mint (with Cinnamon desktop) is my favorite and what I am running on my work laptop now.

Cinnamon, mmmmm. :drooling_face: Good choice.

What do I want to customize that I did not even know I wanted to change?

  • Set your own keyboard shortcuts.

Obvious ones would be file manager, terminal, browser, and screenshots but it’s your system. Anything you do repeatedly should be considered.

  • Virtual desktops

If you’ve not already done so, take some time to setup virtual desktops. You can have a bunch. If it’s not already there, you’ll want to install “Workspace Switcher” from the Applets menu.

  • Redshift

If you use your screen a lot at night, Redshift will skew colors from blues to reds, making it less strenuous for night viewing. You’ll want to install the redshift and redshift-gtk packages for that.

  • Pulse Audio Volume Control

PulseAudio is the default sound server on Linux these days, but most desktops don’t expose all of the channels PulseAudio has. Install the pavucontrol for a better sound manager app.

  • GVFS integration and protocol addressing

This one is more of a general tip, but Nemo (your file manager) is particularly good at this. You can manage remote file locations directly using virtual filesystem integration.

For instance, say you have a NAS on your local network running ssh. You have a user, called ‘user’, and you store some files in a folder called ‘files’ in that user’s home directory, you can use the following address in Nemo’s bar to manage those files.

ssh://[email protected]/home/user/files

Integration with Nextcloud? Just use a davs:// for secure webdav. FTP? ftp://, et cetera.

  • Manage your menu entries

Create custom menu entries easily with a GUI. Find out exactly what command a menu entry runs when you click it. Hide stuff from the menu you don’t want cluttering things up. Install the alacarte package.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I keep playing with it and trying different things.

Mint is my distro of choice because there isn’t much I feel like I need to customize. One thing I really like though is flatpak. Flathub is like a whole other repo you can use in your browser.