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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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  • Well... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:35PM (#33384656)

    You do want to make your distro look good? Also helps to not have to train someone where stuff is.

    Might the some of the "elitists" up at arms tho. God forbid "your" linux distro goes against "your" likes.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:35PM (#33384664)

    There are far better alternatives on Linux. In fact most Linux window managers are significantly superior to Win7. Personally, I find that the pager already makes fvwm (now decades old, although diligently maintained) a lot superiour in usability, speed and features to the Win7 window manager.

  • 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.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by techcodie (1140645) <techcodie@gmail.com> on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:41PM (#33384740)
    Actually, I sort of like it. My friend, and her 4 year old can now both use her windows 7 machine, or my linux machine equally as easy. Win - win.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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 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.
  • Re:begs the question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:13PM (#33385260) Journal

    for example, there was a time when a foregone conclusion was one that was so unlikely you may as well not think about it

    When was that? AFAIK, "Foregone conclusion" comes from Othello, where it means not "unlikely conclusion" but a conclusion that already happened. Not quite the modern sense of "predetermined conclusion", but pretty close.

  • 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.
  • Re:begs the question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:38PM (#33385672) Journal

    It was circular, in a sense. Look at the following:

    [T]his 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 Pandora, YouTube, and elsewhere on the web.

    The claim in bold is only a true claim if you already wanted the UI of your system to look like Windows 7, but it is given as a justification of the implication (made by the non-bolded statement) that you’d want your Ubuntu desktop to look like Windows 7.

    Maybe the circular reasoning would be clearer if it was written like this:

    This easy hack produces an Ubuntu desktop that looks and feels a lot like Windows 7. Now – “Why would anyone want to make a Ubuntu desktop look like Windows 7?”, you might ask. Well, Ubuntu is 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 Pandora, YouTube, and elsewhere on the web, and if you did decide to install Ubuntu you’d obviously want it to look like Windows 7.

  • by bazorg (911295) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:43PM (#33385742)
    aye [crystalxp.net]
  • Re:Dock (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:58PM (#33385930) Journal

    Linux Desktop isn't hard to use. That hasn't been the case for years now. Linux Desktop (KDE or GNOME) are acceptable for most people. THE problem with Linux, even to this day, is the underlying system(I'm looking at you wireless drivers), and applications. Ubuntu makes this much easier, and once a system is fully setup and working it is very usable.

    The second major problem is "Programs", on Gnome and KDE programs are often clumsy impersonations of Windows applications. Clumsy in as much as one might have to touch the underlying system to get them to run right. These applications are written by power users, for power users. If these same programs had a "grandma mode" that just worked, it would be awesome.

    But once setup Linux is very usable by just about everyone. One of the things I like about Android, is that it is "Linux" and it is looking polished. It works very nicely and I was able to get things working on my co-workers phones fairly easily. THIS is the year of the Linux Desktop (ANDROID).

  • Contronyms (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:59PM (#33385934) Homepage Journal

    it's pretty frustrating when there are two meanings for a phrase and the meanings are contradictory.

    You mean like "cleave" and other contronyms [wiktionary.org]?

  • Re:begs the question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TeknoHog (164938) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @05:28PM (#33386372) Homepage Journal

    I cringe whenever somebody uses "bandwidth" to mean data transmission rate. It is not exactly contradictory, though, as the two quantities are proportional to each other (when you ignore other factors). The use of "broadband" as a marketing term is particularly annoying, as if a certain modulation technique would guarantee higher channel capacity. But I guess people have a propensity for using fancy technical terms, even when they are incorrect.

    Then people tell me, language changes, get over it. IMHO, language should be evolving into a higher complexity, in order to describe an increasingly complex world. Collapsing several meanings into one word is the complete opposite of this.

    I extrapolate that future people will be content with the single word "ugh", whose meaning is apparent from the context.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @10:13PM (#33388688)

    But, they do spend a lot of time and money on usability testing.
    Yes, it's not perfect, but it's not just a bunch of morons throwing crap on the screen either.
    I remember seeing the presentation they posted on the development of the ribbon. Seems like smart people doing reasonable things.

    Well, what I don't get is why they are having so bad usability despite all this testing? The ribbon is really an awful idea. I cannot find anything there plus it takes far too much precious vertical screen area. I also know that basically all our customers (a lot and very IT savvy people) use pre-ribbon Office.

    Then there is the fact that win7 does not have virtual screens. I find that I am not happy with at least a 3x2 grid of them and usually use 3x3. Is this why some people doing development work on Windows want two monitors? They would not nearly be enough for me. And with edge-scroll (fvwm has had this 20 years ago) it is actually faster to switch virtual desktops than turn your head.

    There are other things, like no icon boxes, hard to customize menus and the like.

    I guess, I am just not in their target group, possibly because I have not only seen how to do it better, but also used something better for more than 20 years.

  • by Risen888 (306092) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @12:20PM (#33403676)

    I bloody hate Virtual Desktops. Why do they even exist? I'm serious... I don't get it. What's their advantage?

    Two responses to that.

    1. Have you ever had more than >5 windows open while working on >1 project?
    2. You are the only person I have ever heard say that ever. Virtual desktops are always the #1 "oooh" feature every time I've ever shown someone a free desktop.

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