Friday, February 6, 2009

Gnome Panel auto-hide stop working

Something boring with gnome panel is that it stops hiding automatically quite usually.
A simple way to restore the hide/unhide function quickly when it happens is to use the command:
killall gnome-panel

This command will kill gnome-panel, and it will restart automatically. It's not very nice, but it works.

To ease the process, just create a launcher with this command. This way, you will be able to restore you gnome-panel functionality with a simple click.

Gnome Panel advanced customization

Ok, lets start with a few tricks to customize your gnome panel.
I will talk about few parameters of the gnome panel which can't be changed from the gnome panel configuration interface.

The things I really don't like with gnome panel and which are not customizable from the configuration interface are:
- the time it takes to start showing/hiding
- the fact that the bar can't hide completely
- the slow movement of the panel
- the time it takes before hiding

To change these parameters, it's necessary to launch gconf-editor. To do that press alt+F2, then type gconf-editor in the text area, and press enter.

The following windows will appear:

Then, browse the the folder tree on the left to go to: /apps/panel/toplevels/panel_0
The interface should look like that:
If you use more than one panel, you may have panel_0, panel_1, ... folder. Choose the one which is the panel you want to customize.
If you don't know which folder is which panel, just change a few values. Since changes are effective in real time, you will quickly see which panel you modify.

To change a parameter, just double click on it.

Now here are interesting parameters:
  • animation speed: define the speed of the show/hide movement. Can be slow, medium or fast. If you want the panel to show/hide instantly, uncheck the parameter "enable_animations"
  • auto_hide: check if you want your panel to hide automatically when the mouse leave it
  • auto_hide_size: very useful, it's the size of the bar when it is hidden. Set it to 0 if you want the bar to disappear completely
  • enable_animations: If you want the panel to show/hide instantly, uncheck it
  • hide_delay and unhide_delay is the time the panel takes before hiding and unhiding in milliseconds (1 second = 1000 milliseconds)
All other parameters can be changed from the panel configuration interface.