Applications

Git

Being used to GitHub Desktop on Mac, I found that SmartGit was the closest thing, and IMHO the best GUI client for Linux. It supports GitHub beautifully.

You have to unpack the download and run a script manually, but there’s also a script called “add-menu-item.sh” which will do what it says.

Requires Java (if you don’t have it, install with the following):

sudo apt-get install default-jre

Skype

Skype for Linux used to absolutely suck. Luckily, there is an alpha version of a new tool: https://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-linux/.

It looks like a wrapper of Skype for Web, but it works.

Whatsapp

For Whatsapp, there’s the now-adbandoned Whatsie. I think it was abandoned because there are now official clients for Windows and Mac, but it works perfectly.

Install .deb from here: https://github.com/Aluxian/Whatsie/releases/tag/v2.1.0.

Setup (Loki)

Most things are personal preference, these are the things that I do to customize elementary OS.

Install dconf-editor

dconf-editor is used to change GNOME settings, and is useful to change settings where there is no options in the GUI.

Install with:

sudo apt-get install dconf-editor

Disable aero snap

Since I put windows next to each other, they’d always snap by mistake.

With dconf-editor, open the following setting:

org > gnome > pantheon > desktop > gala > bahavior

Then, uncheck “edge-tiling”.

Install Elementary Tweaks

Elementary Tweaks is a little app that install an icon in System Settings from where you can change a few things.

For Loki, use:
sudo apt install software-properties-common && sudo add-apt-repository ppa:philip.scott/elementary-tweaks && sudo apt update && sudo apt install elementary-tweaks

gnome-software

My favorite app to install and download software is gnome-software. It will enable installing software by double-clicking .deb files.

Install with:

sudo apt-get install gnome-software

Restore user session

One cool thing about macOS (which I come from) is that it restores your open apps and windows when you log in.

There is no such thing in elementary OS at the moment, but I found a script that does exactly that: http://blog.thewebsitepeople.org/2013/07/gnome-session-save-and-restore/.

It works great, just save your session before logging out:

perl ./session save

Then, restore it like so:

perl ./session restore 2

In order for it to work, you need to install the following package:

sudo apt-get install wmctrl

Touchpad

On a MacBook Air, the touchpad driver is horrible.

I did a lot of things, but pretty much switched the driver to Synaptics and change lots of settings until the thing worked for me.

First, switch to synaptics:
http://elementaryos.stackexchange.com/a/7562

When you install Synaptics, you can’t change settings from Switchboard, so you have to set things manually using synclient and adding configuration files in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/.

It’s a mess. I ended up creating a script that I run at startup, with the following contents:

########################### synaptics ###########################
# fix sensitivity
synclient FingerHigh=75

# detect palm
synclient PalmDetect=1

# disable clicking/tapping with two fingers (normally right-click)
synclient ClickFinger2=0
synclient TapButton2=0

# right-button at bottom right
synclient RightButtonAreaLeft=2800
synclient RightButtonAreaTop=3919

# natural scrolling
synclient VertScrollDelta=-111
synclient HorizScrollDelta=-111

# kinetics scrolling
synclient CoastingSpeed=15
synclient CoastingFriction=80

# tracker speed
synclient MinSpeed=0.2
synclient MaxSpeed=3
synclient AccelFactor=0.015

The script takes care of natural scrolling, kinetic scrolling, fixes issues with the MacBook Air touchpad like jumping cursor, etc.