by Juliet Kemp

There's lots of stuff out there about improving your workflow on Macs (lots of it based around Getting Things Done or similar ideas). I do have a Mac, and some of this I've found very useful (and some less so, admittedly).

But I've not seen much out there on similar tricks for Linux. Bash & vim (& prob emacs but I don't use that ;) ) tricks, yes, but are there any other apps or tricks that you've found to make your working life easier on LInux?

For me, the two that spring to mind immediately:

  • ClusterSSH, which I've blogged about before.
  • Nostalgy Thunderbird extension, which provides keyboard shortcuts for moving messages & auto-completes folders. (seriously, this has made my email life much happier!)
I'm experimenting with Desktop for Gnome atm (as suggested in the comments to my last post), but it's not really there yet (in other words, Quicksilver has spoiled me!).


Jeremy Jones
2007-04-13 05:48:16
A good general principal for me is "keep your hands off the mouse as much as possible". So, configuring keyboard shortcuts in Gnome to launch a terminal, switch desktops maximize a window vertically/horizontally/both, move a window to the next desktop, close window, run program, all make me feel more productive.

Another thing I do is actively use 8 virtual desktops with different groups of applications on each desktop. Instead of fighting alt-tab to get me to the application I want, I go to the desktop and *maybe* have to alt-tab a time or two to get to it.

Concerning email, I'm kind of stuck with Exchange at work, so Evolution is the best thing available for Linux. It has a surprising number of out-of-the-box keyboard shortcuts including moving messages to folders like nostalgy.

And again on the "keep your hands off the mouse" front, when I'm browsing in Firefox, I *never* click in the address field or the search engine field. Control-L puts focus in the address field and Control-K puts focus in the search engine field. I almost never click on a particular tab. Control-page(up|down) works great. And I never click on the back button. Alt-leftarrow does just fine. Konqueror takes things a little further if you're interested in trying KDE (or installing Konqueror under Gnome). I think it's the control key that toggles what look like tool tips popping up above every link on a page. The "tool tip" contains a number of letter (can't remember which). When you type in that number/letter on the keyboard, it'll take you to that link. I think that's pretty cool. There's probably a plugin for it for Firefox, though.

Anyway, thanks so much for your excellent blog. I really enjoy reading it!

2007-04-13 12:49:57
I also like using my keyboard in my windowmanager. And I want to not waste any place on my screen for things like window-bars.
So, my windowmanager of choice is ratpoison ( If you know Screen, you shouldn't have any problems with ratpoison. If you don't, it may take some hours to get productive.
Juliet Kemp
2007-04-23 06:13:40
Jeremy - thanks for the Firefox shortcut tips. I too have quite a few Gnome keyboard shortcuts defined.

queltos - think ratpoison is going a bit far for me! Although I may give it a go at some point. Thanks for the link though. I do use screen a lot.