GNOME is highly customizable and can be tweaked to suit every user’s needs. That’s why I think its versatility makes it a perfect desktop environment for Linux netbooks.

Since netbook displays are small, desktop space should not be wasted. I have here some tips that I hope you will find useful on how you can optimize GNOME for your netbook’s diminutive desktop area.

Customize Panel

* Use one panel only
GNOME comes with two panels by default. For netbook displays, it is best to use a single-panel layout to save some desktop space.

GNOME desktop with single panel

* Shrink the panel size
There are two easy ways to make the panel thinner. One is to adjust the panel size; the other is to install and use a minimalist theme.

* Change “Window Selector” to “Window List”
Window Selector can fill the panel area when you open plenty of applications together. With Window List, you don’t have to worry about this as opened windows are displayed as vertical drop-down list.

Window Selector

Window List

* Autohide panel
Autohiding panel is optional as some people find it convenient to have the panel objects like the main menu, notifications, and icons present at all times.

Optimize Fonts

To make fonts look a lot clearer on a netbook’s small display, I recommend you set the fonts preferences to this:

Experiment with Themes

* Use a GTK theme with slim window borders
There are plenty of available space-saving themes HERE and HERE. I usually use ThinMC, Bentham, and Simplebox so look for them. However, there are still plenty of themes that I haven’t explored yet so don’t be afraid to try some.

* Utilize tiny themes for different applications
Since you can change the theme of Firefox, Thunderbird, and other desktop applications, it is best to utilize space-saving themes. Like for example, I use the Littlefox theme on Firefox.

So there you have it. If you have better ways to optimize a desktop for netbook display, you can always ignore my tips. However, please share with us how you did it via comment so that we too can learn from you.

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