Changing up the Desktop

Discovering NASA’s Flickr photo archive this week was nice, as it game me an opportunity to update a desktop wallpaper. Notice the use of a.


My Manjaro installation probably could have used a refresh. Now it looks like this.

Manjaro desktop, with the space shuttle Endeavour over New Zealand

It’s KDE with the Sweet Ambar Blue theme, the Candy icon set, and the Plank dock. The configuration file for Plank required some editing to get a darker background; those icons do not show up well against the wallpaper.

The NASA image required a little bit of work. I rotated it so the shuttle Endeavour was (to within two or three pixels) of being vertical in the image, then I cropped it so it’s (again, to about two or three pixels) of being centered.

One of the fonts in the clock is Montalban, the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan opening credits font. The other font is Space Mono, “a monospace from another planet, a typeface from a distant galaxy, an everyday visitor from outer space.” (Source)

It’s a nice environment to work in. Plus, I like looking at that wallpaper.

Nanjaro, with a remote desktop open to Diamond

And, sometimes, when I want a really wild environment, I also have the LCARS desktop environment installed.

Manjaro LCARS, with a matching theme in Vivaldi

One of these days, I’ll write about LCARS DE and my experience with it. In short, it’s a little tetchy. Fun, cool, and also tetchy. For the moment, I’ll recommend Bryan Lunduke’s article on LCARS DE.

Linux Mint

My Linux Mint install is pretty much the same as it’s been. It’s not something I mess around with, because it’s the one I turn to when I log into the office but don’t feel like using Windows on my local machine that morning.

Mint, with the Lewis Chessmen wallpaper

It’s an Ubuntu set-up, but it’s the Cinnamon environment through and through. Right now I’m using the Orchis Dark theme, which looks really sharp, with some edits to make the side and top panels transparent, and the Tela icons. The clock does break from time to time.

The desktop wallpaper also comes from Flickr — CGP Grey’s “The King Defended.” Sometimes, I like minimizing everything just so I can look at it. It’s really quite a striking picture. Mint’s a pretty distro, and that’s a Mint-worthy wallpaper.

Mint, with three applications open in the alt-tab window

I discovered a few months ago, after using Mint for years, that it has a cool alt-tab behavior — Coverflow. Want to switch between open applications? Hit alt-tab, same as windows, but instead of getting little thumbnails in a strip, Mint can do this cool 3D effect thing.


For a couple of reasons, I installed Debian on an external hard drive. This drive is where I save my Mint and Manjaro Timeshifts, and I have a craptop of space left with nothing to use it for. So, sometimes I’ll throw something on it to see how it plays.

For no particular reason:

Debian XP

Yes, Windows XP! Or, something close to it. I always liked the look of Windows XP. Best looking Windows!

I also installed WindowMaker, which I discussed in an earlier post. Trying to upgrade Wine caused things to go screwy with Mint, so I wiped Mint and reinstalled a few weeks ago, and not wanting to go through that again but still wanting to goof around with WindowMaker, I installed that in Debian.

I liked the Calvin & Hobbes wallpaper, and I tinkered around with fonts and the configuration files to give the menus the appropriate feel

It’s a little tricky to get online with. The Network Manager applet doesn’t run in WindowMaker — or I haven’t figured out yet how to get it to run — so I have to use the command line to make it happen. But when I do get online, I can still connect with it to work.

Debian WindowMaker, showing Diamond VPN

I don’t know if I’m actually going to hold on to this Debian — I may not; I certainly didn’t with Fedora — but I also don’t have any need for the space it’s taking up, so it’ll probably stay on the external drive for a while.

Compared to these, my Windows is downright boring. I’ve done nothing to it, and I’m still using a decade-plus old Lord of the Rings: War in the North wallpaper. The only major change has been the adoption of digital minimalism, inspired by my Linux excursions; I have some icons on my desktop, but they’re things I’m working with, and I haven’t filed them away yet. I don’t have any apps or links to major folders on my desktop; those have all migrated to the tiles in the Windows start menu.

Published by Allyn Gibson

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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