My Ubuntu Eclipse Development Environment

I spent some time a few months ago getting my development environment set up just right for development. I think I've got it cracked now so thought I'd share :)

Ubuntu 9.10

First up, put Ubuntu 9.10 on your box. I've learnt to love Ubuntu for development as it has a few things about it that make things smooth when developing. Proper multiple desktop support is the killer for me.

List of Simple Things to Install


I press my 'windows' key and space, up pops gnome do. I then type what program I want and it launches. No more searching for programs in a start menu.

MS fonts

Most web sites use specific fonts that aren't available in the default Ubuntu install. As a result they look a bit rubbish in many cases. Add MS fonts to solve this.


Twitter in my browser. Just a personal taste thing.

Download status bar (firefox)

No need to have a downloads window that gets pushed behind your browser and forgotten about.


Automatically changes the colour temperature of your monitor in the evening/very early morning. Much easier on the eyes. Link


Allow configuration of lots of things about how things are displayed. You will also need the settings manager.

sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager

I add this setting under window decoration:

Decoration windows: !state=maxvert
This hides the title bar on any maximised screens, giving you back a bit more screen real estate.


Window management tool that I have a very particular setup for. It allows me to hit my windows key and a number on the numpad and move windows around. E.g. win+4 will make a window take up the left half of the monitor.

sudo aptitude install wmctrl
sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager

Open the compiz settings manager. Then inside general settings open up commands.

Tip: enter a line into a terminal and change it for doing small tweaks.

I used the following settings for a 1680x1050 monitor. It's not perfect but it's pretty damn good :-)

wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b add,maximized_vert,maximized_horz

Left Side:
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,2,0,833,1050
Right Side:
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,849,0,831,1050
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,0,0,1680,472
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,0,525,1680,525

wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,2,0,831,472
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,0,525,831,472
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,849,0,831,472
wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -b remove,maximized_vert,maximized_horz;wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -e 1,849,525,831,472
Fix bug in Nautilus for home folder link

Minor Tweak to Firefox

I move the toolbar (with the address and buttons) up alongside the menu. The net effect is one less row at the top of Firefox and more focus on web pages.

Wine 1.2 (beta)

Needed for...


Music. 'nuff said ;-)

Mozilla Prism

I use this to put gmail on to it's own workspace so that I don't get distracted when looking up things in the web browser.


Vanilla Eclipse doesn't work perfectly in a vanilla Ubuntu install. Buttons sometimes don't response. A fix is here

That's it

This is what I'm running now and I find I'm far more productive in this environment than any previous setup of mine. It's particularly neat on laptops where vertical screen estate can be a premium.


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Colin Howe

I'm Colin. I like coding, ultimate frisbee and startups. I am VP of engineering at Conversocial