Ubuntu Netbook Remix Tweaks

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Here are few tweaks that can make Ubuntu Netbook Edition more usable


  • Right click by holding down for 1 second: under system > mouse, enable the option "Trigger secondary click by holding primary button" and set delay to the minimum. This will require a logout, see point about entering passwords below.
  • To make the touch screen much more usable- especially to open application and scroll
    • set "acceleration", "drag and drop threshold", "double click timeout" sliders to max
    • set "sensitivity" to one or two notches above low


  • set the keyboard to uk layout in system > keyboard
  • In System > Assistive Technologies > Preferred Applications, set the Mobility option to "onBoard" and select "Run at start".
  • for onboard to work and not be full screen all the time, add "onboard" and "onBoard" without quotes to (alt-f2) gconf-editor > Apps > Maximus > Exclude_Class.
  • right click on the onboard icon and the change settings to
    • show/hide by clicking the icon
    • start minimized

Power management

  • set the battery icon to "never show" in system > power management
  • set the screen to sleep after e.g. 5 minutes in system > power management

Password entry

  • To enable the "onboard" on screen keyboard for the login screen - click on the small man (A) at the bottom of the login screen
  • So you can enter sudo passwords using an on screen keyboard, set "password dialogues as normal windows" in system > "Assistive Technologies"


  • To get a small weather icon in the task bar, set your location by clicking on the time and edit, next to locations


  • change the background to a dark one e.g. cherries in system > appearance. A dark background really shows of the screen/interface and is more interesting than the default yellow/orange gradient
  • set a screen saver in system > appearance

Installing XBMC

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 91E7EE5E 318C7509

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install xbmc

Disabling admin prompts

Quoted direct from this thread

This will be useful to people without a keyboard and will cellwriter as you can't type in admin prompts..

This will disable admin prompt - I do not advise this unless absolutely necessary. there is an alternative (see Password entry, above)

Open the terminal window from Applications --> accessories --> terminal, run the command:

sudo visudo

Find the line that says

%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL

and change it to


Save and exit the file

Note: Shift and x then enter to confirm to save and exit. I did it with cellwriter to test.

Tip: (Use keys option) I find using the tip of my thumb very accurate for cellwriter.

fstab changes for a speedup

Change the line that says:

"UUID=90923afb-d687-47b4-a001-3d2d4ec755ed / ext3 errors=remount-ro 0 0"


"UUID=90923afb-d687-47b4-a001-3d2d4ec755ed / ext2 noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 0"

Note the change in filesystem type from ext3 to ext2 as well.

Installing Chrome

Google Chrome can be installed directly from its regular website. Browse to it in Firefox, download the .deb version, and just run it via the GUI. There's a graphical installer for .deb packages which will get it installed.

Adobe Flash can be installed in much the same way too.

The Chrome Touch extension works well, once you put it into "Full touch" mode.

Do not put Chrome into Full Screen, unless you have some way to press F11 to get it out of full screen again. If you have some apps that work better in 'almost' full screen, then use the Chrome "Make Application shortcut" feature. This will put a direct link (with an icon) into your launcher's Internet section which will start Chrome without full screen mode, but without the URL bar and so on.

The BBC iPlayer (full website version) works great this way, so long as you don't then try to make the flash player go full-screen itself, which much slower due to the scaling.

Wide Scrollbars

If you have difficulty using scrollbars because your touchscreen doesn't work well at the edges of the screen (or you just have fat fingers!), put the following in ~/.gtkrc-2.0

style "wide-scrollbars"
        GtkRange       ::slider_width      = 23
        GtkRange       ::stepper_size      = 23
class "GtkRange"  style "wide-scrollbars"

Installing x2x

x2x will let you use your mouse/keyboard from another linux device via ssh to your joggler. It means, for instance, if you have the joggler to the right of your pc screen, you can move the mouse to the far right and itll appear on the joggler! Saves the need for a usb hub and second keyboard.

Run the following command on your joggler:

sudo apt-get install x2x

then, from your linux based pc, open a terminal and type:

ssh -X joggler@<your jogglers ip> "x2x -east -to :0"

password is joggler by default. you can change -east to be -west if you have the joggler to your left like me.

Control the backlight

You can turn the backlight off completely

do this -

apt-get install xutils





as a new line

To turn the backlight off

xset dpms force off

If you touch the screen/move the mouse it comes on again

turn it on by script

xset dpms force on

Type xset alone to see the other options

Some more tricks here - http://www.sunspot.co.uk/Projects/Joggler/bright_on_mouse.html