Sunday, April 17, 2016

trying lxde in arch

I first set up this Arch installation with Xfce and the xdm-archlinux display manager. Decided later to add LXDE; and, I switched display managers, going with LightDM, which is nice for choosing from different desktop environments/window managers at login.

# pacman -S lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter
# systemctl -f enable lightdm.service

For info and instructions about display managers for Arch, man pages and the documentation at the Arch wiki prove essential.

To get a screenshot of the greeter screen, first I had to add xorg-server-xephyr:

# pacman -S xorg-server-xephyr

Then I used dm-tool to run start a nested display of the greeter screen, and took a screenshot of that:

$ dm-tool add-nested-seat --fullscreen

Alt-F4 gets you back to the desktop. Also, see dm-tool --help.

In Arch's default LXDE, I wasn't able to change the number of desktops/workspaces. The thing to note here is that not all options for configuring Openbox are available with the lxappearance-obconf plugin (and that obconf is needed to change the number of desktops in LXDE). So:

# pacman -S obconf

A clean look at how I've got the desktop set up at the moment:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

keeping curry's scoring in perspective

Golden State's Steph Curry is having another great year, but this season (his 7th in the NBA) will be only the first time he's led the league in scoring.

Number of scoring titles for NBA players not named Jordan or Chamberlain (three or more scoring titles):

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) - 4
Allen Iverson (Sixers) - 4
George Gervin (Spurs) - 4
Bob McAdoo (Buffalo Braves) - 3
Neil Johnston (Philadelphia Warriors) - 3
George Mikan (Minneapolis Lakers) - 3

Very short list. Oh, and Michael Jordan led the NBA in scoring TEN times; Wilt Chamberlain did it 7 times.


Saturday, February 27, 2016


Former Duke Blue Devil Seth Curry, Steph's younger brother, scored a career high 19 points for Sacramento last night, against the Clippers. Hasn't been getting much playing time, finally got some minutes (about 25). How cool would it be if he could eventually elbow his way into a new Splash Brothers conversation?

Seth shot 5-9 from the field (including 3-4 3PT) and hit 6 of 7 free throws in about 26 minutes of court time. Not bad. The Kings should maybe give him some more minutes, see how things go.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

fluxbox in leap

Added Fluxbox to openSUSE Leap 42.1 via the 1-Click Install (see (this added the X11:windowmanagers repo).

When I logged into Fluxbox, here's the desktop that I was presented with at first:

Not bad, actually. The desktop right-click menu didn't have much in it, but it did have a "Run Command" entry, which is enough to get to work. I'd saved my notes and files from my Fluxbox installation in openSUSE 13.2, so I used those to quickly set things up in 42.1.

I'm using the command fbsetbg -r /home/steve/wallpapers to pull random images from my ~/wallpapers directory. I added feh, then turned on transparency by changing the value of the following line in ~/.fluxbox/init from "false" to "true":

session.forcePseudoTransparency:    true

To get a black cursor for Fluxbox, I went to /etc/sysconfig/windowmanager and changed X_MOUSE_CURSOR="DMZ" to X_MOUSE_CURSOR="DMZ-Black", then rebooted for that to take effect.

Here's my ~/.fluxbox/menu file (I think all of these entries work):

# Version 0.1    08.04.2003 -
# Version 0.2   07.12.2004 -

[begin] (Fluxbox Menu)
    [exec] (firefox) {firefox}
    [exec] (spacefm) {spacefm}
    [exec] (konsole) {konsole}
    [exec] (geany) {geany}
    [include] (~/.fluxbox/menu.xdg)
    [submenu] (Tools)
       [exec] (chromium) {chromium}      
       [exec] (dolphin) {dolphin}
       [exec] (mirage) {mirage}
       [exec] (geeqie) {geeqie}
       [exec] (spectacle) {spectacle}
       [exec] (gwenview) {gwenview}
       [exec] (kcalc) {kcalc}
       [exec] (konqueror) {kfmclient openProfile filemanagement}
       [exec] (YaST) {/usr/bin/xdg-su -c /sbin/yast2}
        [submenu] (Fluxbox Configuration) {}
                [config] (Config)
                [workspaces] (Workspace)
                [submenu] (System-Styles) {Choose a style...}
                        [stylesdir] (/usr/share/fluxbox/styles)
        [submenu] (User-Styles) {Choose a style...}
                        [stylesdir] (~/.fluxbox/styles)
    [exec] (Run Command) {fbrun}

    [exec] (Random Wallpaper) {fbsetbg -r /home/steve/wallpapers}
    [exec] (Lock Screen) {xlock}
    [restart] (Restart) {}
    [exit] (Logout)

Tinkered some more with the settings, came up with this:

Very nice set-up.

finding the kde version number

Used to be that when I wanted to find the KDE version number, I'd just open a KDE app and click on "About KDE" under the Help menu.

Open up Konsole in Debian Jessie and go to Help > About KDE and you'll see the following window, which shows the KDE version number:

In KDE apps in openSUSE Leap 42.1, which uses Plasma 5, the About KDE window no longer shows the KDE version number:

So, forget Help > About KDE.

Anyway, there's KInfoCenter (Main Menu > Settings > KInfoCenter). In Debian Jessie:

And, KInfoCenter in openSUSE 42.1:

So, I'm running KDE 4.14.2 in Debian Jessie and KDE Plasma 5.4.3 in openSUSE Leap 42.1, and KInfoCenter is still the best GUI way to quickly find the version number in KDE.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

hammerin' it into shape

Fixed a few things in openSUSE 42.1. I managed to disable KWallet (which was coming on, for example, whenever I went into Chromium's settings) by doing the following: KMenu > KWalletManager > Settings > Configure Wallet... > Wallet Preferences tab > uncheck "Enable the KDE wallet subsystem. After I did this, I could no longer get the KWalletManager app from the KMenu to work properly (it kept freezing up), but KWallet appears to be disabled.

I finally got Mirage installed, via 1-Click Install, here:

I had been unable to play .wma music files, but then I found the following note about multimedia codecs (at

In addition to adding the PackMan repositories, they must be prioritized over the default openSUSE repositories to prevent a change in package version during updates to those in the default openSUSE repositories. This is important for packages like vlc and vlc-codecs where the PackMan versions, besides being ususally newer, support proprietary codecs and the openSUSE ones don't.

It is also important to be aware of the concept of vendor in openSUSE. If software available from the openSUSE repository has been installed, then the PackMan repository is added, already installed packages can be changed to the versions in the PackMan repositories. This can be done in the YaST Software Management module by viewing packages by repositorym, selecting the PackMan repository, then clicking "Switch System Packages to Versions in this Repository".


I followed those steps (this installed/updated a lot of multimedia packages), then logged out of KDE and logged back in. After that, I was able to play .wma, .ogg, and .mp3 files.

There are a few other little things I'd like to get fixed up, but "Leap" 42.1 is shaping up nicely. Always seems to take a bit of post-installation work to get an openSUSE installation set up like I want it; well worth it, in the end.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

simply gnome shell

I run GNOME Shell (version 3.14) in Debian Jessie. I don't use any GNOME Shell extensions. I kinda bought into what the devs were selling back when I first tried GNOME Shell in Fedora a few years back, and I find it as comfortable to use and get around in as any other Linux desktop out there.

It's really simple. Clicking on "Activities" on the panel, or moving the corner to the upper-left hot-spot, or pressing the Windows (or, "Super") key on the keyboard, any of those will open the Activities overview.

Along the left, a handful of icons I've set up for my favorite apps. The icons of currently running apps have little highlights on them. The workspaces are shown on the right, and windows of running apps for each workspace are nicely displayed.

Click on the "Show Applications" button and you can choose between "Frequent" and "All" views.

I have five "pages" of apps, as the five indicators along the right show.

If it isn't too much trouble, the user can always simply start typing the name of an app while in the Activities overview. Three characters is usually enough to bring up the desired icon.

Good 'ol Alt+Tab is available for switching between windows:

See "Useful keyboard shortcuts," here:

I run a number of different types of desktop in Linux, but none are more pleasant to log into than GNOME Shell. It might not be the most "configurable" desktop around -- can't do much with that panel, for example -- but it's nice and easy to use for getting things done.