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Making Ubuntu Look Like Windows 7 473

Posted by timothy
from the ok-fine-click-on-the-blue-e dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Although it won't help Linux run Windows-specific software applications, this easy hack produces an Ubuntu desktop that looks and feels a lot like Windows 7. It's particularly suitable for reviving older PCs or laptops on which the main activities will be web-browsing, email, document writing, and streaming music and videos from from the web. The process installs a Windows 7-like GNOME theme on an otherwise standard Ubuntu 10.04 installation, although it might work on other Linux distros with GNOME and appropriate other packages installed. Naturally all this begs the question: why would anybody want to do this? Why indeed!" People have been doing this sort of look-and-feel swap-out for years; it seems best to me as a practical joke.
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Making Ubuntu Look Like Windows 7

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  • begs the question (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:35PM (#33384654)

    Naturally all this begs the question

    No, it doesn't. Proper use of "begging the question. [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:begs the question (Score:4, Informative)

      by zill (1690130) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:43PM (#33384778)
      The "improper" way is so widespread it has become acceptable [answers.com] usage [thefreedictionary.com] now [wiktionary.org], perhaps even the standard usage.
    • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:48PM (#33384868) Journal

      Actually, Wikipedia gave an example of improper use of begging the question:

      More recently, “to beg the question” has been used by some to mean the same as “to raise the question”: for example, “This year’s budget deficit is half a trillion dollars. This begs the question- how are we ever going to balance the budget?” Using the term in this way has been deemed to be incorrect by usage commentators.

      Proper use of begging the question:

      Begging or assuming the point at issue consists (to take the expression in its widest sense) [of] failing to demonstrate the required proposition.

      The article appears to be written from the assumption that I want to make Ubuntu look like Windows 7.

      Now, the obvious question is, why would I want to do that? TFA tries to answer that: I would want to, because, (according to TFA)

      It’s particularly suitable for reviving older PCs or laptops on which the main activities will be web-browsing, email, document writing, and streaming music and videos from from the web.

      That doesn’t explain why I’d want it to look like Windows 7, though – it explains why I would want to use Ubuntu, and (once again) assumes that I want it to look like Windows 7.

      Thus, it begs the question: Even supposing I wanted to use Ubuntu, why would I want it to look like Windows 7?

      • by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:05PM (#33385144) Homepage Journal

        Thus, it begs the question: Even supposing I wanted to use Ubuntu, why would I want it to look like Windows 7?

        You're messing with us, right? If you were to *properly* invoke "begging the question" here your counter argument would need to be along the lines of "it is not proven that potential users of Ubuntu ever want for a UI that looks like Windows 7"...

        • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:13PM (#33385270) Journal

          it is not proven that potential users of Ubuntu ever want for a UI that looks like Windows 7

          That was exactly what my question asked. If I was a potential user of Ubuntu, why would I ever want it to look like Windows 7?

          There are plenty of decent answers to the question, but TFA didn’t give any. It just assumed that I would.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:10PM (#33385224)

      Actually, the project kind of does beg the question "why would anyone want this". The project assumes the answer to the question is that people are afraid of migrating to Linux because it is unfamiliar or that people prefer the windows UI to the available Linux UIs. Without that assumption the project is worthless and wouldn't have been done, so it is safe to say that those who did the work did beg the question after all.

  • by PmanAce (1679902) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:37PM (#33384674) Homepage
    So one one partition, boot Ubuntu that looks like Windows 7, and on the other partion, boot Windows with an Ubuntu theme? Ah, those would be the days...
  • That is dumb... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:37PM (#33384676)

    I'm sure it's better to have something behaving differently actually look different.

  • by swanzilla (1458281) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:38PM (#33384692) Homepage
    ...Gnome I'm not.
  • by zill (1690130) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:38PM (#33384698)
    Why couldn't they just switch back to the default theme [xkcd.com]?
  • idea 105 anyone? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by linhares (1241614) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:38PM (#33384702)
    export look and feel [ubuntu.com] anyone?

    I think a more interesting thing here would be to share desktops in (hopefully) a one-click magical and revolutionary solution. Idea 105's time has come.

  • because... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by polle404 (727386) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:39PM (#33384718)
    it could be to ease the transition from windows to *nix for those that are unaccustomed to the rapid OS changes we /. users are.
    • Re:because... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rndmtim (664101) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:56PM (#33384982) Homepage
      Bingo. One word: Parents. Think it's ridiculous to take the worst computer users and give them Ubuntu? Consider a 75 year old dad who seems to want to click on every pr0n site or anything else that loads up windows with massive amounts of malware. I didn't make him root, didn't give him java, and I'm sure it's not airtight... but he hasn't been able to break it. It's about as fast as it ever was years later. But he complained in the difference that it looked different... so with this... why, he'd just never know.
  • Transitions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sv_libertarian (1317837) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:40PM (#33384728) Journal
    One problem I've had with showing some people (especially older folks, or folks who are very set in their ways) a linux desktop is that they get bogged down fairly quick when they see something that doesn't look "right." Having a Windows-esque desktop could be helpful in transitioning people over.
    • by cptdondo (59460) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:00PM (#33385048) Journal

      My wife uses XFCE; she's not a techie. In her words: "I don't see the difference".

      For most people a computer consists of a browser and possibly an email client, although that's less and less.

      Add an mp3 downloader app and you've got about 99% of home users covered.

      • by sv_libertarian (1317837) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:07PM (#33385176) Journal
        Indeed. Still, I let a friend use my laptop with Fedora 12 and Gnome, and first they looked for a start menu-esque feature in the usual place, then poked around some more until they found the applications toolbar, and then couldn't figure out the network manager...

        Nearly all people will pick it up fairly quickly, but if you are moving someone into a new system anything you can do to set them at ease will make it better.

      • Re:Transitions (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday August 26, 2010 @05:05PM (#33386038) Homepage Journal

        For most people a computer consists of a browser and possibly an email client

        And if the browser's icon doesn't look like a blue e (or like whatever other non-free browser the user is used to, such as Safari or the full version of Chrome), the user might get confused.

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:06PM (#33385164)

      One problem I've had with showing some people (especially older folks, or folks who are very set in their ways) a linux desktop is that they get bogged down fairly quick when they see something that doesn't look "right." Having a Windows-esque desktop could be helpful in transitioning people over.

      I'm not sure. Once they get past the initial superficial impression of "looking right" they may quickly fall into this "acts wrong". Acting wrong is probably a greater negative than looking wrong. Especially since the words "right" and "wrong" are being overloaded here. Looking wrong is more synonymous with looking different but acting wrong is more synonymous with being defective.

      There is also a "false advertising" aspect, the look gave the expectation of certain behavior. With a different look the different behavior is far more acceptable.

  • If the only way... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:41PM (#33384742) Journal
    ...people will use Linux is if it looks like Windows, I don't think we'll be seeing the Year of the Linux Desktop anytime soon.
  • by gauauu (649169) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:41PM (#33384746)

    Unfortunately, if you look at the picture of the explorer windows (particularly, the "icon view" dropdown), it still has the ridiculous amount huge UI widgets and wasted space that the default gnome does. Why do they insist on wasting so much screen real estate? I never understood this.

  • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb&gmail,com> on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:41PM (#33384754) Homepage Journal

    "Why wouldn't I just use Windows 7 then?"

  • Obvious comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:41PM (#33384756)
    I'd really rather have a Windows 7 theme that works like standard Gnome on Ubuntu 10.04, please. Cue (perhaps) irate responses, but I work with both and I prefer Gnome. Add a proper terminal and sudo rather than uac, and my life as a developer would be significantly easier. Oh, and a decent package manager. I have one on my phone, it shouldn't be too hard.
  • The best part is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:43PM (#33384784)
    The window buttons are on the top right again. Yay!
  • Coming up: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thraxy (1782662) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:44PM (#33384802)

    Next week we feature: Make your Ferrari look like a Ford Escort.

  • by odin84gk (1162545) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:44PM (#33384804)

    The end user just needs to Feel comfortable. Once a user gets into a web browser, they don't really care about the OS. Something like this would be great for hotel lobbies (with free internet), libraries, and other public access sites.

    My wife (a linux hater) used it in a hotel lobby to print out some airline tickets. She had no idea it was Linux, but I noticed the differences. She had a great experience (managed to get her items printed out without an issue), and just assumed it was a windows machine.

    Her view of the hotel improved because of a simple amenity that helped her out. The hotel had a PC without a costly OS, saving them money. I can easily see the value in something like this.

    • by war4peace (1628283) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:11PM (#33385240)
      Parent ghost-modded "Insightful" by me. :) - the least I can do!
    • by Whorhay (1319089) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:23PM (#33385434)

      That's the issue exactly.

      I've recently started playing around with a ubuntu guest OS through virtual box. And while I appreciate how it works in many ways. I am also annoyed in various other ways because I have had 15+ years using Windows and am not accustomed to the very different way some things work just on the UI level. I'll probably eventually get over it but why bother learning a whole new layout if it's unnecessary.

      Reskinning a linux install to look and act in all the user friendly ways that the majority of the population is used to is a huge advance. If most people don't notice the difference in the way a linux system acts and windows it'll be easier to get them to switch to linux. For instance my wife never plays graphics intensive or modern games on her computer. The only reason she isn't using a linux OS is that A. she already paid for Vista and B. I don't know enough yet to troubleshoot linux quickly.

      Come to think of it I might try and sell her on switching to ubuntu this evening. If I can show her that she'll still be able to do all the stuff she normally does but faster and safer on linux she might go for it.

  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:47PM (#33384842) Homepage Journal

    it does look better than Ubuntu's default desktop (even Ubuntu's old brown looked better).

  • by supersloshy (1273442) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:59PM (#33385026)

    Ubuntu is not Linux. Ubuntu is not GNOME. This is not Ubuntu specific and it should not be posted as such.

    Also, scripts like this have existed for months and even years. I remember a recent story about getting GNOME to look like Windows XP [omgubuntu.co.uk] as well. Exactly how is this news, and even if it is news, how is it Slashdot-worthy?

    It's particularly suitable for reviving older PCs or laptops on which the main activities will be web-browsing, email, document writing, and streaming music and videos from from the web.

    Exactly how is Windows more usable than GNOME? Yes, more people are used to Windows than GNOME and GNOME-based operating systems, but I find GNOME to be much, much, much more usable than Windows has ever been to me for various reasons. Also, how exactly do these activities benefit from a windows-like visual environment? They're just as easy to do in vanilla GNOME (if not easier) compared to Windows. As the great Wikipedia has often said, [citation needed], and I'm saying this to the original article, not the poster himself.

  • Dock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:59PM (#33385036) Homepage

    The basic idea of a theme isn't new. A friend of mine had an XP theme on his desktop, and had a guest at his home using his computer for over half an hour without noticing anything. He asked "Do you find my Linux computer easy to use?" and the guest hadn't even realized it wasn't Windows XP.

    That sort of thing is mainly useful as evidence to counter the idea that a Linux desktop is "hard to use".

    The major new thing with Windows 7 is its dock. I have never much been interested in docks but it seems like they are popular. Do you use a dock in Linux? If so, could you please answer these questions:

    0) Which dock do you use?

    1) Why do you prefer your dock to others you have tried?

    2) Is your dock similar to the one in Windows 7?

    I know someone who uses Gnome Do and Docky [davebsd.com], so I'm interested in those, but I know there are others around.

    steveha

  • That's appropriate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:00PM (#33385054) Homepage

    Because with lucid, Ubuntu's interface is already on the way to looking like Windows Vista.

  • by ourcraft (874165) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:01PM (#33385074)
    Move to linux if you like freedom and privacy, don't if you don't. But "it looks like windows" ???? sheesh, how 1995 can you get.
  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:02PM (#33385094)

    Is there something that I can load on a Windows box that will make it look like Ubuntu?

  • by inshreds (1813596) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:02PM (#33385102)
    One really great use for a theme like this is hiding your "frowned upon" use of non-standard software if you work in a corporate environment with locked-down computers. Thankfully, hacking Window$ permissions locally is easier than quieting a toddler with tranquilizer laced candy. Once through MS$ tissue security, VirtualBox , a lot of ram, and one of these theme packages will allow running the Nix flavor of choice without alerting passers by. Best of all, all the corporate installed default software can stay intact.
  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:09PM (#33385206) Homepage

    After reading Slashdot for a decade I've finally got Linux on my home desktop and I'm very happy with it, I have it playing my movies and songs, interfacing with my iPhone, and playing World of Warcraft under Wine and connecting to Ventrilo with Mangler. I just installed a native version of Google Chrome a couple of days ago! None of this requiring text editing, and I got a default desktop that looks very pretty with the nVidia proprietary drivers. I'm running legal when there was no way I was going to pay for a Windows retail package.

    So.. 2010 is my year of the Linux desktop, and someone is saying "hey here's how to hose your system so that it looks like Microsoft fucked a penguin". I'll pass on that one..

    On the other hand, if anyone wants to point me to how to move the minimize/maximize/close buttons to the top right hand side of windows I'd appreciate it

  • Windows 7? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rgo (986711) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:11PM (#33385242)
    Looking at the screenshots, it seems they made Gnome look like KDE 4!!
  • Realistic uses. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:35PM (#33385626)
    Realistically this would be helpfull for installing Linux for friends and family. Looking and working exactly like Windows 7 which my aging parents use, is a huge selling point. Especially since they only do basic web, email, the OS choice matters little, only the interface needs only to be familiar and just work. While my dad has expressed interest in linux (use ubuntu happily on occasion) I don't want to go through the trauma of re-training my mother to use a different interface, in this case she would honestly not pick the difference.

    Unfortunatley desktop linux has yet to catch up on some of the usability smarts Windows 7. One killer redeeming feature of 7 is the way the start menu search feature includes a lot of administrative functions. I recall a phone conversation with my dad:
    Dad: "How do I change my account password?"
    Me: "Click on start menu and type 'password' in the box you see there"
    Dad: "Oh there it is, change password, it came up before I finished typing, I click on that ja?"

    This is refreshingly easy and saves me time - he'll likely remember the trick for other tasks, and not call back.

    In gnome or something else it would be several layers deep under a drop down menu that isn't even categorized correctly, and I'd likely have to boot up one of my gnome machines to talk him through it.

    It's perhaps unfair to beat up on gnome over it's infamously poor menu system, it's an easy targt.

    Needless to say I'm not into supporting novices in linux in the same way i'm not into plucking hairs individually with tweasers.

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