Installing Ubuntu in VMWare

(TL;DR - Install Kubuntu)

I run a MacBook Pro for almost all of my development needs, but I needed to setup an Ubuntu desktop for some development tasks I have coming up. I don’t have a spare machine with me, and frankly don’t want the headache of maintaining another piece of computing hardware, so I turned to VMWare as my solution for creating the environment.

I installed Ubuntu Roaring Ringtail (v13.04) and rebooted the vitual machine. No surprise, the OS was dog slow and I needed to install the vmware tools - a grab bag of utility kernel extensions that improve the OS performance when running under VMWare. After some struggling, the tools were installed and I booted up into a faster experience.

However, the Unity desktop in Ubuntu is full of OpenGL effects. I don’t need all of that eye-candy in a development environment, especially if when it’s not running native on bare metal. So I set about trying to disable some of the UI effects. I used the Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome Tweak Tool, and the Compiz Settings Manager.

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Compiz Settings Manager was already installed. To find it use the search icon in the vertical toolbar and look for CCSM.

I can’t remember the options I turned off, but anything that mentioned transparency, fade, or timeout, I disabled. After doing this, thigns were better, but still not great.

I’m not sure what I’ll try next. Perhaps a lighter weight theme? Perhaps a different window manager?

Time passes . . . .

After futzing with Unity for an hour, I gave up and decided to try KDE. On the surface, KDE seems just as heavy as Gnome, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised.

KDE rocks. From now on, I’ll be installing Kubuntu!