Breathing New Life Into Windows XP and Vista Computers

Normally my blogs are about (l)ibertarian political issues. I have been asked by many friends and acquaintances about their aging computers, some are too far away to do it myself.  So here

On top of being a broadcast engineer I am also a computer tech. I’ve worked with everything from the Commodore Pet, Atari 800 through most of the apple incarnations and most of the PC varients. As a matter of fact my first broadcast digital automation was the now defunct AuDisk, which ran on a 16 bit PC (pre 286/386 days) The entire program and a weeks worth of logs ran on a single density floppy disk and 9 hours worth of audio was stored on a ¼ gig SCSSI disk. The hard drive was carved into individual carts so no defrag was ever needed.

Now that Microsoft has abandoned Windows XP and Vista so have the likes of Google Chrome and more and more customers are having problems even on facebook especially games because of it. While I have always been a fan of Linux it was not user friendly enough for most of my customers, (especially the older ones) While I like the KDE variants such as Kubuntu and Suse as it has a polished windows feel to it. It tends to be a resource hog and tends to be too complicated for most of my customers. My first experience with Macbuntu was when a friend and fellow engineers Mac’s (power PC) motherboard died. He had me attempt to recover his data. I dual booted his wife’s PC with one of my versions of linux in order to mount the drive, He’s never been a fan of PCs or windows and wanted the look and feel of a Mac. Using various themes and modifications I came close. Then in my research I fell upon the MacBuntu theme written by the very people that produce Ubuntu. It is very lightweight (not a resource hog) and simple.

This blog post is being written on MacBook Pro 1,1 with a dual core 32 bit processor and 2 gig of memory. While I recommend the 64 bit version where possible as Chrome also abandoned   the 32 bit versions of linux and OSX but is still fully supported by firefox. I have installed it on dozens of customers computers and everyone of them are pleased with the simplicity and speed of their old computers. First you have to install the Ubuntu operating system (OS)  I normally have several on my thumb drive created with Yumi in windows or Multiboot from linux.  Yumi has the advantage of the option of downloading the software for you.  Here is a good video taking you through the install process.  If you prefer you can just download the ISO file and burn it to DVD.  Here is an excellent video on doing the OS install.

This post is about step by step instructions for installing the Noobslab MacBuntu theme MacBuntu 16.04 Transformation pack

First open a terminal window by holding down ctrl alt and hitting t.

copy and paste the following commands into the terminal one at a time.  Hitting enter after each paste.  Wait for each install to complete before entering the next one.
The first two add the repositories to the software list.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/macbuntu

Hit enter

The first time you enter a sudo you will be prompted for the administrator password for the install.  Software is added under Superuser hence the su.

Cut and paste

sudo apt-get update

Hit enter.

The following will install the theme, icons and cursors.

sudo apt-get install macbuntu-os-icons-lts-v7

Hit enter

sudo apt-get install macbuntu-os-ithemes-lts-v7

Hit Enter.

The following will install slingcold, this brings up a searchable list of all the software on the system.

sudo apt-get install slingscold

Hit Enter

The following will add Albert, a search tool similar to Siri on the Mac or Cortana on windows 10.

sudo apt-get install albert

Hit Enter

The following will install Plank, the taskbar at the bottom of the screen

sudo apt-get install plank

Hit enter

sudo apt-get install macbuntu-os-plank-theme-lts-v7

Hit Enter

The following will make cosmetic changes

cd && wget -O Mac.po

Hit Enter

cd /usr/share/locale/en/LC_MESSAGES; sudo msgfmt -o ~/Mac.po;rm ~/Mac.po;cd

Hit Enter

wget -O launcher_bfb.png

Hit Enter

sudo mv launcher_bfb.png /usr/share/unity/icons/

Hit Enter

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Hit Enter

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Optional you can add the Mac Fonts

wget -O

Hit Enter

sudo unzip -d /usr/share/fonts; rm

Hit Enter

sudo fc-cache -f -v

Hit Enter

This completes the installation, now it’s time to configure it.

Setting up Macbuntu

Copy and past into terminal

gnome-tweak-tool &

Press Enter

Change GTK+ Theme to MacBuntu-OS-X

Change Icons to MacBuntu-OS

Change Cursor to Mac-cursors


Click on Startup applications and then +

Add Plank and Albert


Close Tweak and copy and past Unity Tweak into the terminal window.

Unity-tweak-tool &

Press enter

Under Unity click on launcher and turn on Auto-Hide


Click on Overview at the top. Then under Windows Manager click on General

Make sure Animations is turned on.

Change Minimize to Magic Lamp and UnMinimize to Magic lamp.


Close Unity Tweak Tool

Copy and paste Plank into the terminal window

plank &

 hit enter

Hold the Crtl key and right click on Plank bar across bottom. Change theme to MB-OSXLion turn on Icon Zoom and adjust to taste.


Click on Behavior an turn on Hide Dock

Click on Docklets and add Trash and any others you like.

Close Plank Settings

Cut and paste the following into the Terminal.

nautilus /usr/share/applications &

Press enter.

Drag and Drop desired applications to plank. I highly recommend Files and Slingcold. Slingcold will bring up all applications and is searchable. For some of my older customers who are less tech savy I also dragged down the shutdown app so they shut the machine down properly.

Copy and past reboot into terminal and hit enter.

 Sudo reboot

Hit Enter

Your system will now reboot into your new MacBuntu.




About Marshall Keith

Broadcast Engineer Scuba Diver Photographer Fisherman Hunter Libertarian
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