Thursday, September 25, 2014

gnome shell favorites

Nautilus being named "Files" bugs me. Here's how it looks when my cursor hovers over Nautilus' icon on the Dash, in the GNOME Shell Overview (shots taken from Debian Wheezy):

Here, I've got Nautilus running, but "Files" is the name that appears on the top panel:

And if I search for Nautilus in the Overview, the "Files" icon is shown:

With dconf-editor, you can open ​ and look at the "favorite-apps" key. That key lists the .desktop files for the GNOME Shell "Favorites" that you see on the Dash in Overview mode.

The .desktop files are in the /usr/share/applications directory. Nautilus and PCManFM show the names of these files according to the value for "Name=" within each file (SpaceFM shows the actual file names, though). The names of the applications as seen in the Dash Overview, as well as on the Dash bar itself, are also taken from that line in each corresponding .desktop file.

So... Here, Nautilus was called "Files."

In /user/share/applications/nautilus.desktop, I changed Name=Files to Name=Nautilus.

I used the keystroke Alt+F2 to bring up the "Run" dialogue, typed r, pressed Enter. That reloaded the desktop, and now Nautilus is Nautilus. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

window maker menus

A tip about menus in Window Maker, from the Window Maker Guided Tour:

"Menus can be forced to remain open on the workspace by left-clicking the titlebar. This creates a close button on the titlebar."

For example, here's my root menu, with the close button showing:

You can force a submenu to remain open:

And you can move menus and submenus around on the desktop, keeping certain ones open for your convenience:

Another tip:

"The keyboard can be used to open and move through some of the menus. For instance, the root menu can be opened using F12 (default setting). The Up and Down arrow keys can then be used to navigate through the menu or the Left and Right arrow keys to jump between parent menus and submenus. Hitting the Enter key executes the selected item. the Escape key closes the menu or stops menu traversal."

For more info, see

Monday, September 22, 2014

random wallpaper script for nitrogen

Tested this in Openbox in Kubuntu 12.04. Create the following script, substituting your preferred directory path for [wallpapers-directory], save the file, and make the file executable:

#! /bin/bash
ALIST=( `ls -w1 $WALLPAPERS` )
let "number = $RANDOM % $RANGE"
nitrogen --set-centered --save $WALLPAPERS/${ALIST[$number]}

I saved the file as /home/steve/wallpaper-script-nitrogen and added that command to ~/.config/openbox/autostart. I also added a “random wallpaper” entry in the Openbox menu (using the same command) so that I can switch to a random wallpaper on demand.

See man nitrogen and nitrogen --help for more info on options to use with the nitrogen command in the above script. This script should also work fine using feh instead of nitrogen. Thanks to "uname" for providing this in post #26, here in the CrunchBang forums.

Monday, September 15, 2014

international hoop

Article: NBA needs to pull stars from USA Basketball, which is showcasing only Duke's coach

I agree with that article in that it would be better at this point if basketball in the Olympics and the Worlds was an under-22 thing. The rest of the world has gotten better, but they really can't compete when the U.S. teams get serious about it.

Unfortunately, Wojnarowski turned the article into a Coach K hate-fest, which is ridiculous. I'm no Duke fan, but Krzyzewski's a great coach, he's done a great job with the U.S. team, and he's earned the right to be there.

This isn't about Coach K, it's about competition. Same thing I'm always saying about major college football programs scheduling cupcakes. It ain't no fun if the other team has no chance of winning. Why even play the game?

I don't know if "under-22" will make the tournaments more competitive, but it's worth a try. The Worlds were boring this year. They tried to act like Spain was gonna give the U.S. a tough time, and then Spain got upset and didn't even medal, and Team USA blew everybody out. That's a gold medal that you can barely be proud of. Waste of time.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

another controversy crushed

The Linux world has been in an uproar about systemd. People are acting like it's such an awful thing. Some are advocating a boycott of all distros that use systemd, or even a move to BSD distros. The whole thing has become a huge concern for many people.

Debian will be moving to systemd with the next release (Jessie). It's incredible to me that some people are saying that they're gonna move away from even Debian because of all this. I figure that the Debian devs know what they're doing. They certainly know a lot more about all this than I'll ever know.

So does Linus Torvalds, of course... and, alas, Torvalds doesn't seem concerned. Interview: Torvalds says he has no strong opinions on systemd

"I don't personally mind systemd, and in fact my main desktop and laptop both run it."

So much for that controversy. Next?

Friday, August 29, 2014


Earlier this month (see browsers, browsers...), I wrote about switching over from Chromium to Firefox. I haven't removed Chromium or any other web browser. I've been using Firefox most of the time. I want Firefox to be my main browser. I've added Pale Moon to only half of my Linux installations.

The problem is, in my systems, Firefox Australis is slower than Pale Moon, Chromium, or Iceweasel.

I'm in Wheezy GNOME today, and I was using Firefox earlier. Later, switched over to Pale Moon, and the words that come to mind are "blazing speed."

I'm disappointed in Firefox. I've really given it an honest chance this time around. The Australis interface isn't an issue here. But, I'm seeing a huge difference between Firefox and the other browsers in how long it takes web pages to load -- even with only one tab open.

Not cool.

In Wheezy Xfce and in Wheezy KDE, I have Iceweasel installed, but not Firefox or Pale Moon. I'm okay with Iceweasel's performance, so I think I'll keep using Iceweasel in those installations.

Firefox, though, is (sadly) very close to getting kicked to the curb. It's Pale Moon FTW.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Decided to take a look at a live session of the Wheezy-based Handy Linux (with Xfce 4.8) after reading this article: HandyLinux 1.6 - A sample of what you can achieve using the power of Debian

Very nice-looking presentation of Xfce on the desktop, as you can see.

I downloaded handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso. Got the md5sum and verified it:

steve[~/Downloads]$ md5sum handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso
6a82e0dc7aeec0e6135eb27bad708fc0  handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso

Created the flash drive:

# dd if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx

# dd if=/home/steve/Downloads/handylinux-1.6.1-686.iso of=/dev/sdb

With the flash drive plugged into the HP G72 notebook, I booted with the "[EN] Test HandyLinux" option.

First thing that popped up was the Keyboard Selector window. I chose "us English US."

The next window that popped up was the Welcome to HandyLinux window.

The Handy Linux Main Menu simplifies things a bit too much for my tastes.

It's easy enough to get to the Applications List from the Raiders tab.

Or just add the Xfce Applications Menu to the panel.

When I opened up Chromium, everything was in French, including DuckDuckGo and Gmail.

I went to Settings > Show advanced settings... > Languages > Languages and input settings button. In the Languages box, I put English (United States) at the top.

That took care of any language issues in Chromium.

Some comments by Gary Newell in the above-mentioned article (might be important for anyone planning to install this distro):

Incidentally, whilst running the live version of HandyLinux everything worked fine but after installing the full version to disk the HandyLinux menu wouldn't start when I clicked on it.

I therefore ran the menu from the command line and the message that appeared stated that the file "/home/user/.config/user-dirs.dirs" could not be found. To resolve this issue I ran a search for the user-dirs.dirs file using the following command:

find / -name user-dirs.dirs

The file was found in /etc/skel/.config/user-dirs.dirs. I therefore copied that file to /home/user/.config/user-dirs.dirs using the following command.

cp /etc/skel/.config/user-dirs.dirs /home/gary/.config/user-dirs.dirs

After copying the file, the menu started to work correctly.

As you can see in this screenshot, Handy Linux's repos are pure Debian Wheezy (plus backports):

Handy Linux is another attempt to make Debian easy for folks new to Linux. For the experienced Debian user, Handy provides a quick-and-easy installation, loads of default applications (my download was about 1.2 G), and Debian underneath, with the Debian repos available. Nice for folks who love Debian and who want to get a machine up and running quickly.