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Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to: Newbie's Guide to the Ubuntu 3D Matrix Cube - As seen On Youtube! :p

I have written this guide to show Linux newbies how to get their desktop looking like the My Ubuntu Beryl Matrix 3D Desktop video on Youtube. I will tell you what you need to install, where to get it, and how to actually install it.

Here's the video if you haven't already seen it:

Please bear in mind that I also am a newb to Linux (I've had it installed for 3 days now!), but having had to use Unix(AIX) when I was an Oracle Dba meant that I have been able to find my way a bit more quickly than someone who's never used Unix commands before.

This guide will not get your desktop looking exactly like that of the video, because I don't know exactly what plugins the guy is using, but I'll get it close, and I can assure you, it will still look sweet! :)

Install Ubuntu:
If you haven't done already, install Ubuntu Linux on your computer.
Go to Ubuntu.com and download the live CD iso image. Use that to install it, it's very easy.

If you're setting the machine up for dual boot and you want to manually edit the partitions, remember to create a partition for Ubuntu, plus a small partition (500mb-1gb) for the swap file.

When assigning the mount points to the filesystem (the next step after creating the partitions) the absolute minimal you need to assign is / (root) and swap. Assign / to your OS partition and swap to the small partition. Assign other mount points if you want, such as a seperate directory for /home (think of it as the equivalent to My documents on Windows).

If you have any issues, the Ubuntu.com website has a lot of help on there, as well as forums.

Install Beryl:
Go to Beryl Wiki and choose your installation type.
I chose the "Install Beryl on Ubuntu Edgy with nVidia (1.9xxx or higher)" option, as I have an nVidia 7900GTX card in my laptop.

This will also install the nVidia drivers, set up your X-console to use the nVidia drivers and also prepares settings so that Beryl can be attached to the X-console. - I think. Still figuring out how everything slots togerther! :)

If you don't have an nVidia card, please choose the appropriate setup for your system.

After the install of < href="http://www.beryl-project.org" target="_blank">Beryl, I also had problems with my wireless. I just disabled the connection, re-enabled and re-entered my settings, and that seemed to fix the problem.

Another problem was that my windows were missing the top bar, containing the minimise,close buttons etc.

With Title Bar:

Without Title Bar:

If you have have this problem, open /etc/X11/xorg.conf and change the default depth to 24.

Log out, then Ctrl+Alt+Backspace - this will restart your window manager.

Right, now you have Beryl installed, on to getting the Matrix stuff! :)

Matrix Stuff: Themes

Firstly, Themes. The Emerald theme manager you get with Beryl only really applies to the border of and topbar/titlebar of your current window.
It does not change the colour of the inside of the window, such as the file/edit menus etc. Some themes have extra controls for the title bar as well as the obvious colour variances.

For Emerald themes, see www.gnome-look.org under Beryl Themes. To install, simply open Emerald Theme manager (right click on the beryl tray icon) and choose import theme.

To change the properties of the insides of the windows, the Gnome Desktop manager seems to be the beast to use.

Go to System>Preferences>Theme. This is the Gnome Theme Manager. Here you can change the colours of the text, the background colour, the icons, etc. With a bit of fiddling, you can customise your theme to look exactly how you want. Plus, as with the emerald themes, you can download more online.

See www.gnome-look.org for more themes. The secton you want is GTK 2.x themes. Open up your gnome theme manager and drag and drop the theme.tar.gz files straight in.

For the matrix effect, you'll need black and green themes for both emerald and the gnome desktop. If you can't find one, tinker until you get the effect you want.

This is a good theme for the effect we are going for:

Additional Software:

Go to Trevino’s Ubuntu Repository and install the following:

Beryl Vidcap.

Now right click here and ‘Save As’ Kiba Dock deb file

Kiba dock is, funnily enough…a dock…for application shortcuts, much like the OSX's, except that this integrates the physics provided by the akamaru engine, which provides some interesting effects...

Once done, go back to Trevino’s Ubuntu Repository

And install the following:

Now go to system>administration>synaptic package manager. Install xscreensaver.

Now go Here

Scroll to the bottom of the page, and download the file called qxwinwrap.tar.bz2

Extract that, and start the program qxwinwrap. You can then simply set the glmatrix screensaver, click start and then close the program if you wish. Viola! Matrix code running down your desktop!

For added effect, download one of these files

Matrix Skydome 1
Matrix Skydome 2

Set it as your skydome in Beryl Settings Manager, and animate it.

To get the fire effects play with the animations section in the Beryl settings to get the effect you desire. Word of advice - you may want to turn off the animations of tooltips for both create and close actions. It can get very annoying otherwise.

I will post a video of the end results as soon as I can figure out why Beryl's vidcap isn't showing up in the settings, despite the fact it's showing as installed in the Synaptic Package Manager!

Here's a couple of screenshots of my current setup. Click the pictures for full sized-mega detail!!!111!!!

Note: This is edit 1.0 - Please let me know if I haven't got something right - I'm still a newb at this myself! :)
I will also tidy up this document a bit more, to make the whole thing look a bit nicer, not just the first half!