Thursday, November 27, 2014

more 13.2

Added Fluxbox to openSUSE 13.2.

Fluxbox isn't in the main openSUSE repos, but it can be found in the X11:windowmanagers repo once that's added. Or -- and this is one cool thing about openSUSE -- users can just go over to the openSUSE Package Search site and take advantage of the handy One-Click Install feature:

That adds the repo and installs the package. Nice!

Monday, November 17, 2014


I replaced openSUSE 12.3 (KDE) with openSUSE 13.2 (KDE). I installed it using the Live KDE option at the Download page, rather than from the full (4.7GB) DVD. This release ships with KDE 4.14.2.

A shot of the default desktop:

And after some customization:

Monday, November 3, 2014

college football and tradition

So many people keep saying that the Big Ten Conference needs Michigan football to return to a position of dominance.

Why? Why return to something like the days of the Big Two (Ohio State and Michigan) and the Little Eight (everybody else in the conference)?

Why do college football fans long so much to keep things the way they were? What is this attachment to tradition all about?

The problem I have with "tradition" is that sometimes it keeps you stuck in the past while the world is changing around you. Further, many times we try to hold on to traditions even when those traditions are not necessarily good for everyone.

A college football landscape where the same old teams rule -- many people think that's a tradition that we need to keep. Not me. I'd like to see Indiana or Northwestern or Purdue string together three or four consecutive Big Ten titles. I'd like to see Vanderbilt win the SEC a few times, or Oregon State and Washington State ruling the Pac-12 for awhile.

I'd even like to see the name of the Big Ten Conference changed to something else. Let go of the past; the conference has had more than ten teams for over two decades now, and currently includes 14 schools from 11 different states. Guess what, folks: Bo and Woody are not coming back.

Change happens, and that's a good thing. The ruling class will always want things to remain the same, while the lower classes will always strive to upset the equilibrium and get a piece of the action. Poor people don't want to remain poor; slaves want to be free. Nobody wants to be told to "know your place."

The Big Ten is not what it once was. College football is not what it once was. The world is not what it once was. The time comes when it's simply best to deal with reality and move on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

no thanks, mint

The "crippled" Synaptic Package Manager that Linux Mint ships with has been one of the main reasons I've stayed away from the distro since I stopped using it after the Mint 9 ("Isadora") release. For users like me, it looks like things have only gotten worse. Here's Ken Starks in "Synaptic Vs. Update Manager in Linux Mint":

Mint had already made upgrades [using Synaptic] a bit more difficult by making you choose all apps with a ctrl+A command and then right click to update all apps. But now, you can’t do even that. The Mark All Upgrades button is completely missing. It wasn’t stripped out; from my understanding, Synaptic had been replaced by Mint’s version of Synaptic. You can search and install applications with it…you just can’t upgrade your system with it.


What I will gripe about is completely neutering Synaptic as an alternative method of system upgrade/update.

There was a work-around for the "crippled" Synaptic in Mint back when I was using it, and I think there's a different work-around now. But Linux Mint does way too much hand-holding for my tastes. Great distro, for sure, but it isn't for me.

In the comments following the article, one person wrote:

Mint forks a huge number of packages from the Debian/Ubuntu repos. Synaptic installs the Debian/Ubuntu versions from the Debian/Ubuntu repos, and the Mint update manager/package manager installs the Mint version from the Mint repos. A full upgrade using synaptic would result in a Ubuntu/Mint hybrid. If you have ever noticed when upgrading with synaptic in mint that it will ask to keep the original config (mint version), or install the package maintainer’s config.

Okay, I can understand that. So, why even include the "crippled" Synaptic in the default Mint installation? Leave it up to the user to decide whether or not to use Synaptic the way it's supposed to be used. Don't make the user have to jump through hoops to do this. If the user wants to install and use the real Synaptic and risk borking Linux Mint, that should be up to the user to decide.

No other distro that I'm aware of does what Mint does to Synaptic. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth back when I was running Mint. I actually liked the distro, for the most part. But as long as the Mint devs feel the need to protect users from themselves like this, I won't be going back. Thanks, but no thanks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

i was wrong

I was wrong in my earlier post. The systemd uproar continues: "Fork Debian" Project Aims to Put Pressure on Debian Community and Systemd Adoption


learning linux

I tend to want to remain quiet these days when folks talk about going from Windows to Linux. Long-time, experienced Windows users often struggle with Linux. They've spent years accumulating Windows knowledge, and it's difficult to accept that, in the same way, it will take a long time to really learn Linux. It takes time for things to sink in, and it takes time for the brain to stop thinking in Windows terms and to begin thinking in Linux terms.

One thing I did, I approached Linux with the thought that it would take at least four years to get to where I wanted to be. And that was indeed how it worked out. I kept looking at it as if it was a college program; after one year, I was barely moving on from freshman year to sophomore year, that sort of thing. After about four years, I had become pretty knowledgeable, but at that point I was only then ready for "graduate school," still not at "expert" level by any means.

Some will disagree, but my opinion is that a good approach is to find a computer that comes with Linux pre-installed, or to have someone install it for you, while keeping your Windows computer around for when you need it.

Another approach is to focus on live Linux sessions, especially if you can run Linux live with persistence. Again, keeping Windows around, untouched, while you learn.

And, lots of reading. Read the documentation that comes with Linux, read the documentation at the distro's website, read what's being written at the forums, read everything you can find. There are no shortcuts.

Not everyone is willing to do something like this. Especially folks who have been using Windows for a long time. You can do it, but you have to accept that there will be struggles, that you have to start at the beginning, with the fundamentals, and work your way up. You don't just switch over to Linux and have your Windows knowledge apply to the Linux world. It just doesn't work that way; completely different operating system.

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. :)