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Monthly Archives: June 2011

GNOME 3 tip: remove title bar from maximised windows

Note: This tip was presented by the Web Upd8 site but I wanted to mention it here in case people hadn’t already seen it there.

In a standard GNOME 3 windows have a titlebar which contains only the window’s title and a close button. To maximise the amount of vertical space available, the tip presented on the Web Upd8 site changes the theme so that maximised windows no longer have a title bar. Since the name of the application also appears in the panel at the top of the screen, there’s no information lost there. And even though the close button is no longer visible, you can easily access the window controls menu by pressing [Alt] + [Space].

If you have a netbook or simply want a little extra vertical space, try this tip for yourself.

Searching for the “right” application

As I often do, I have recently been trying to find just the right application to meet my needs. My latest search is for a “communications client”, whatever that means. I am usually online when I use my PC but there are also times, usually when I’m writing the Frugalware Linux newsletter, that I am not so I need offline access.

Like most people, I use both online and offline communications:

  • Online – instant messaging: usually IRC;
  • Offline – mail and RSS feeds.

For offline access I believe a traditional email client would probably suit since I use an IMAP server and so can download select IMAP folders. I have tried several email clients and the results so far are summarised below. In this case I was trying to find an application which had several features, which I know goes against the Unix way but that’s my preference in this case.

Thunderbird

* Mail

It looks good, works well in sync-in select IMAP folders, just as I want. Thunderbird’s configuration seems more complex than that of most other applications, especially when you have multiple mail accounts. Like all other mail clients, you can easily maintain a list of contacts. In summary Thunderbird works as I expect it to but I can’t seem to get comfortable with its user interface with elements that I think take up too much space. I could use it if I need to.

* RSS feeds

Thunderbird works well with RSS feeds, including allowing you to import your RSS feed list.

* Extra features?

Thunderbird can also sync calendars via the Lightning extension so that’s a bonus. The only problem here is that Lightning is an add-on, not an integral part of Thunderbird so as I upgrade I need to wait for Lightning’s development to catch up. Of course I didn’t mention above that I want sync-in of my calendar but if the application can do it I think it’s a bonus.

Evolution

* Mail

Same as Thunderbird. Evolution’s configuration dialog boxes seem a lot simpler than those of Thunderbird.

* RSS feeds

It seems that there was once an extension for Evolution to allow this but the project appears to be dead. Of course I can use something like Liferea but that means I don’t have all my offline communications in one place.

* Extra features?

Evolution offers calendar sync-ing as a native feature and works well with Google Calendar, for example.

Opera

* Mail

I like the look and feel of Opera, user interface and so like its mail interface. I particularly like that you can compose messages in a tab, which it seems none of the other two offer. There are of course reasons for and against this so it’s usually a matter of personal taste. What is annoying about Opera is trying to troubleshoot problems with mail sync-ing. It only offers a log file and then only if you manually configured it to do this. Otherwise its error reporting is poor because it doesn’t help you find what’s wrong. In summary I like Opera a lot but it’s not open source. 😦

* RSS feeds

Like Thunderbird, RSS feeds appear in Opera’s mail panel and are easily managed and read.

* Extra features?

Where Opera is lacking is that there’s no calendar sync-ing function, even as an extension. It has several other features that neither Thunderbird nor Evolution offer but they’re not really related to this blog post.

 

I haven’t yet found the “right” application but I’ll keep looking…