Removing the pointless Plank icon from Plank dock

I like docks in my operating systems. They are a fun and handy way of having easy access to your most used applications and they can actually look good. Back in 2011 I gave it my first go at writing something about docks in Ubuntu, but I only ever got to writing about AWN and it died there.

In Ubuntu MATE I’ve decided to use the Panel layout called ‘Eleven’, that gives you a Plank dock to have your applications in. It looks really nice as you can see here:


It’s nifty and does what I want from a dock. It keeps my applications right at hand. I mean, what else would I want it to do? However there is one problem. As you can see my mouse is hovering over an icon that shows the tooltip ‘Plank’. Clicking the icon gives nothing of use. No settings, nothing. Just this:


So I set out to remove it, as there is no real reason for it to be there. So to remove it I simply pulled the Plank icon away from the dock and ended up with this:


This was a lot easier than trying to fiddle around in settings files, killing the Plank process and so on.

Installing Ubuntu MATE 15.04 in UEFI dual boot with Windows 10

This will be a sort of guide on the steps I had to take to install Ubuntu MATE 15.04 in UEFI dual boot with Windows 10. As I mentioned in my last post, I did not have an easy time of installing Ubuntu, due to issues with getting my computer to actually boot the live USB stick I made.

I know that I installed Windows 10 in UEFI mode, as I forced it to do so, but I never realised that to get an actual working dual boot I needed to install all my operating systems the same way. This explained to me why I had so much issues getting my old computer to boot into GRUB as I had Windows 8.1 installed in UEFI and then I installed Arch Linux in BIOS mode. I always thought it was somehow me who just couldn’t figure out Arch correctly (I guess in way that was the actual reason).

To start with I tried installing my Ubuntu MATE 15.04 ISO-file onto a 16GB Kingston Data Traveler 2.0 with LinuxLive USB Creator, but I couldn’t get my ASUS Z97-A/USB 3.1 motherboard to boot the USB. I then tried creating the USB again, this time with UNetbootin, but again I couldn’t boot the Ubuntu MATE 15.04 LiveCD. This made me think that something must be wrong with one of the UEFI settings in my BIOS and I proceeded to try all kinds of combinations of disabling ‘Secure Boot’, ‘Fast Boot’ and ‘CSM/Legacy Boot Mode’. Naturally none of this helped me either. I did however change the boot order to always boot from UEFI devices first in the following order: USB, SDD, Network, which is how I’d normally want it to be.

After looking around at Ask Ubuntu and Ubuntu Community Help I found out that I should try to make the USB in only UEFI mode and I was rather amazed at how easy it was:

  1. Insert USB
  2. Format USB to FAT32
  3. Mount Ubuntu MATE 15.04 LiveCD by double clicking the ISO
  4. Copy all files from LiveCD to USB
  5. Open ‘Disk Management’ and check if the partition on the USB is marked as active

That is it. No more making the drive bootable through external programs in Windows or from the terminal in Linux. Just copy and go! What a world we live in!

Now it was pretty simple to get Ubuntu installed. Simply reboot the computer and chose to boot from the USB, follow the prompts (remember to chose to either the ‘Install Next to Windows’ or the ‘Something Else’ option to not delete Windows), reboot after installation and be greeted by GRUB.

There you have it. A working Windows 10 and Ubuntu MATE 15.04 in dual boot, both on Secure Boot in UEFI mode.

Next up, customization of the MATE desktop environment and adding different PPA’s to get the applications I want.

Venturing back to Linux

I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘alternative’ operating systems and even though I’m quite satisfied with the performance of Windows 10 on my new computer, I wanted to install a Linux distribution in dual boot again.

I’ve been fiddling around a lot with other variants of Linux like Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora and Slackware. While each of them have their pros and cons (I really, really do like Arch Linux!) I’m simply more at home with Ubuntu variants as I’ve been running Ubuntu on and off since the Hoary Hedgehog days.

The first problem I ran into though, was that I really, really dislike the Unity desktop environment. Just like with the Metro UI in Windows 8/8.1 and Gnome 3, it has the feel of being optimized for touch use. I just want a simple desktop environment. During my fiddling around with Arch Linux I really came to like Cinnamon as it was really efficient and not too shabby to look at.

However much I liked Cinnamon, I did end up defaulting back to MATE as this is was the good old Gnome 2 was like. MATE being a fork of that, means I felt right at home. With the announcement that Ubuntu MATE was picked up by Canonical from 15.04 and onwards I decided that this would be the way to go for me.

The job of installing Ubuntu MATE alongside Windows 10 on my computer in UEFI mode with Secure Boot enabled gave me trouble though. More on this subject in my next post.