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I'm a recent OS X-to-Ubuntu convert, but one feature I sorely miss is the quicksilver/applescript combo. Briefly: I would use applescript to write very simple, functional scripts (e.g. "resize the current window to take up exactly the left half of the screen", or "add the current date to the clipboard in a particular format") quicksilver to assign them to a hotkey (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-j for the first one).

I'd like to recreate this in ubuntu; where do I start?

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wmctrl can be used to control the window manager from a shell script. You can then add a shortcut to the script in GNOME. If you're running an old version of Ubuntu, you might have to add them directly to gconf.

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GNOME Do is very similar to Quicksilver, but runs on Linux (among other systems). I'm sure it allows calling scripts, but I'm also fairly certain the GNOME window manager is not as scriptable as the Mac OS X one. There is the Window Manager plugin, but it doesn't appear to be as powerful as what you can do through AppleScript.

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Compiz might hold the key to what you're trying to do. With it's vast variety of plugins, it allows to configure nearly every behavior.

Install the CCSM (CompizConfig Settings Manager (the real one, not the Simple one)) and have a look at it.

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