Reclaiming desktop space with Ubuntu’s window-picker-applet

For a long time I’ve customised GNOME to have a vertical task bar on the left and launcher buttons across the top. I’ve struggled with a long-standing bug with using a vertical panel, and I’ve sacrificed quite a lot of screen space to make enough room to see the window titles.

Recently I’ve found myself using smaller screens, and finding certain aspects of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix quite good. In particular, I like the combination of Maximus and window-picker-applet, which I combine with GNOME Do. This setup allows me to have almost all of my screen set aside for programs I am using, without feeling lost or inconvenienced.

I need one setting to prevent Maximus from automatically maximising windows – I just want it to remove the title bar when a window is maximised, because window-picker-applet shows the title in my panel instead:

gconftool –type bool –set /apps/maximus/no_maximize true

and then I add Maximus to my Startup Applications (Click Add, give it a name, and set command to “maximus”), and set GNOME Do’s “Start GNOME Do at login” preference (the Preferences screen can be found on the drop-down at the top right of the GNOME Do window).

Now I am happy, except for a little bug fix and visual tweak I want for window-picker-applet. The relevant bugs are Bug #425813 (see my patch at the bottom) and Bug #798197. On an Ubuntu system it’s amazingly easy to use a patched version:

sudo apt-get install build-essential fakeroot dpkg-dev
sudo apt-get build-dep window-picker-applet
mkdir tmp
cd tmp
apt-get source window-picker-applet
cd window-picker-applet-*
patch -p1 < show-windows-requring-attention-on-all-workspaces.patch wget patch -p1 < faster-deeper-attention-flash.patch dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -b cd .. sudo dpkg -i window-picker-applet_*.deb killall gnome-panel

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