Saturday, February 23, 2013

nemo in f18

I'm happy with GNOME Shell in Fedora 18, but one thing I don't like about GNOME 3.6 is that Nautilus (which is now also called "Files") no longer has as many features and options as it used to. There's no option for an extra pane (something I really like to have), no tree view, no "up" button, and no option to toggle between a location bar and a path bar, among other things.

Fortunately, the Linux Mint folks created Nemo, forked from Nautilus, and Nemo is available in Fedora's repositories.

Besides including things I mentioned above, Nemo has a handy "Home" button on the panel, and the File, Edit, View, etc., menus are located at the top of the window where you'd expect them to be.

Nautilus in Fedora 18:

Nemo in Fedora 18:

Sadly, in Fedora 18, Nemo has no "Open As Root" option in the context menus; I think that's normally a part of Nemo, though. Otherwise, Nemo is a lot more useful to me than the new Nautilus, although I still prefer other file managers like Dolphin and SpaceFM over either of them.

takin' it to the bridge

I downloaded the latest Bridge Linux (Xfce) (bridge-xfce-2012.12-i686.iso), a "rolling-release" disro based on Arch Linux. Here's what the live session looks like when you boot into it:

On the desktop, there's a README text file containing some instructions for after the installation has been completed.

Here are few screenshots of the menu to show some of Bridge's default applications:

Installing Bridge Linux basically gives you an Arch system, but with an easier installation. However, I didn't think that the installer would be as simple as some others for someone new to Linux.

Once I got Bridge installed and booted into the desktop, a post-installation script started, which updated the system and downloaded some packages. I noticed that the script installed LibreOffice without giving me a chance to decide whether I wanted it installed or not (Bridge comes with Gnumeric and Abiword by default). I referred to the README to get some other stuff, like the flashplugin package.

Like Arch, Bridge uses the pacman package manager. I think there are some GUI front-ends for it, but there isn't one installed by default, so I've been using pacman from the command line. pacman seems fairly easy to use once you take a look at man pacman. I tried my luck at finding and installing a few apps, like Geany, Mirage, SpaceFM, and xfce4-terminal (Bridge comes with Terminator by default).

For the few questions I had, I was able to find solutions at the Bridge forums and/or at the Arch forums, or in the Arch wiki.

Bridge looks like a very good distro. I feel like after installing it, I'm running Arch Linux. The repos are Arch's. I had no problem using pacman to find the apps I wanted/needed, and I found a list of available apps at the Arch wiki. This is my first time around with an Arch distro, however, and I'm still just getting my feet wet.

Here's a screenshot after I finished setting things up:

The Bridge Linux home page can be found at:

Friday, February 15, 2013

chakra installed

I decided to go ahead and install Chakra 2013.02 (Benz) on my Compaq notebook, and it went well. When I clicked on the "Install Chakra" icon, I was taken to a "Welcome" screen, followed by release notes, where I found this interesting note:

“It is 3 years this week since the late Chakra-Project founder Jan Mette called a meeting to discuss his plans to have Chakra continue as an independent distribution. With this first release of 'Benz' (a code name that will follow the KDE 4.10 series), it would have been so nice to know if he'd agree with how the Chakra-Project team executed his dream. With the code name 'Benz' we are back to using names of famous engineers, with this one, we'd like to honor the German roots of Chakra by using one of the top German engineers...”

The installation, using the installer they call "Tribe," was fairly straightforward. I saw no way to install GRUB2 on Chakra's root partition, so I did the installation without installing GRUB2, then created a custom menu entry in Debian Wheezy's /etc/grub.d directory, and was able to use that to boot into Chakra.

During the installation, I added the "bundle" for the Chromium browser so that I could use that instead of Rekonq. Once I booted into the system, I updated with the following command:

# pacman -Syu

Then I installed KWrite and KCalc, which were not included, with these commands:

# pacman -S kwrite
# pacman -S kcalc

By default, Chakra comes with the Calligra office suite intead of LibreOffice. I decided to stay with Calligra for now. There are also community repositories, but I didn't go into that as I'm still trying to learn about Chakra and pacman.

Had no problems setting up the KDE 4.10 desktop, and everything looks good so far.

Seems like a good time to take a look at man pacman.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

a glance at chakra

Taking a look at a live session of Chakra GNU/Linux 2013.02 (Benz).

Chakra originates in Germany, and is an independent distro originally forked from Arch. The latest release comes with KDE 4.10. Here's what the desktop looks like when you first fire up the live session:

They include the Rekonq web browser, with Duck Duck Go as the default search engine. Calligra is the default office suite.

I burned a live DVD using Brasero in Ubuntu 12.04; had no problems running the live session on my Compaq notebook.

Not sure yet about adding Chakra to one of my multi-boot set-ups, as I've got a lot going on and I'm very happy with the distros I'm running now. But Chakra does look like a very interesting distro, and it doesn't look like it would be difficult or too time-consuming to get up and running with it.

Chakra is called a "half-rolling" distro. For more information, check out their very nice website:

Friday, February 8, 2013


A site for determining the strength of a password:

I wouldn't want to enter one of my own passwords there, but by playing around with it you can get an idea of what kinds of passwords might be kind of difficult to crack.

a matter of opinion

In his review over at Linuxed, Arindam Sen heaps loads of praise on PCLinuxOS ("PCLinuxOS KDE 2013.02 Review: The best KDE distro in the Linux world!"). Can't fault him for his opinion, and I certainly had mostly positive experiences running PCLOS, although I haven't tried the latest release and don't have the distro installed at this time.

I took a look at his chart towards the end of the page of that review, where he ranks various KDE distros or spins. Sadly, Mepis wasn't included, or even Debian with KDE installed. Perhaps he'll take a look at those when Debian Wheezy goes to Stable and the next Mepis is released.

I have to take Sen's rankings with a grain of salt. Things that are important to him might not be so important to the next user; for example, one criterion for his rankings is "Touchpad/WiFi Detection," and I don't use WiFi or the touchpad here. Other categories include "Installation time," "Installation Complexity," and "Aesthetics," none of which would necessarily be a factor here in ranking one distro over another. He includes an "Applications" category, but I'm not sure if that means "default applications" or "available applications" (whether in default repositories or not). That can be kind of a gray area. No categories for things that might be more important to me, like documentation, longevity, and the strength of the development "team" (I'm not so fond of one-man distros lately, for example, although I think they're a very important part of the Linux world). I suppose that "stability" would fall under his "Performance" category, but sometimes "stability" is hard to nail down, and a lot depends on which apps a person tends to use. Hardware is certainly a factor, too.

A distro's forums and community can also matter a lot, depending on the user. For example, opinions vary regarding PCLOS's forums, which I don't really care for, and the Mepis community and forums, which are among my favorites in all of Linux. Loving a particular distros' forums and community can create a strong attachment between the user and the distro. A good, helpful, friendly community is often (but, not always) just as important as good documentation.

It should be interesting to see how Sen's rankings change with the availability of KDE 4.10, which was released this week. It could be some time before most of the distros he mentions include KDE 4.10, although I expect to see it rolling into Sabayon pretty soon.

I'll pass on naming a "favorite" KDE distro. Of the ones I'm currently using here, openSUSE 12.2 and Sabayon 10 are both excellent, but for different reasons. I no longer have Mepis installed here, but even with the frustrating lack of communication from its sole developer and an outdated version of KDE (from the Debian Stable repos), it remains one of the best and most stable KDE distros out there -- and also very useful here, still, for live sessions. As for Fedora's KDE spin, I'd be quite hesitant to call it one of the best, mainly because of the short release and support cycles and because frequent kernel upgrades don't make for an especially stable distro. Still, the Fedora 17 KDE spin is quite pleasant to use here, and I'm sure that I'll go with KDE again for the F19 release.

fuduntu gets a "10"

Fuduntu (homepage: looks like a nice distro. Dedoimedo gives the latest release a 10 out of 10 in "Fuduntu 2013.1 review - Fedora done right + awesome!"

Dedoimedo states that Fuduntu is "based on Fedora," but it was actually forked from Fedora and is now considered to be an "independent" distro. Check out its DistroWatch page:

For now I prefer to use Fedora itself. For one thing, I like GNOME Shell better than "classic" GNOME, and Fuduntu has decided to stick with GNOME 2. For another, Fuduntu is a fairly new distro, spun off from Fedora only a couple of years ago, and lately I prefer longer-established distros rather than their spin-offs.

As you can see in the above screenshot, Fuduntu now offers the Cairo dock by default. Doesn't appeal to me, but nobody's saying you have to use it. Linux, as always, is about choice.

I think that Dedoimedo is one of the best distro release reviewers out there, but I don't always agree with his points of view. I'm not surprised that he gave this release a "10" given his disgust with GNOME Shell; he refused to even review Fedora 18 GNOME, and dropped a laughable "2/10" rating on Fedora 18 KDE in "Fedora 18 Spherical Cow review - Bad bad bad," in large part due to his disappointment with Fedora's new Anaconda installer; Fuduntu still uses the older installer.

Fuduntu is a rolling-release distro, which could be a very nice thing. I think I'll let it mature for a year or two before giving it a run here; hopefully by then they'll have switched to something besides GNOME 2.

black byrd

Donald Byrd, R.I.P.

A discography from Wikipedia (from


As leader:

Blue Note Records

Off to the Races (1959)
Byrd in Hand (1959)
Fuego (1959)
Byrd in Flight (1960)
At the Half Note Cafe (1960)
Chant (1961)
The Cat Walk (1961)
Royal Flush (1961)
Free Form (1961)
A New Perspective (1963)
I'm Tryin' to Get Home (1964)
Mustang (1966)
Blackjack (1967)
Slow Drag (1967)
The Creeper (1967)
Fancy Free (1969)
Electric Byrd (1969–70)
Kofi (1969)
Ethiopian Knights (1971)
Black Byrd (1973)
Street Lady (1973)
Stepping into Tomorrow (1974)
Places and Spaces (1975)
Caricatures (1976)
Landmark Records
Words, Sounds, Colors and Shapes (1983)
Harlem Blues (1987)
Getting Down to Business (1989)
A City Called Heaven (1991)

Other labels

Byrd Jazz (Transition, 1955) - also released as First Flight (Delmark)
Byrd's Word (Savoy, 1955)
Byrd's Eye View (Transition, 1955)
Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill (Transition, 1956)
2 Trumpets (Prestige, 1956) - with Art Farmer
The Young Bloods (Prestige, 1956) - with Phil Woods
Jazz Lab (Columbia, 1957) - with Gigi Gryce
At Newport (Verve, 1957) - with Gigi Gryce
Modern Jazz Perspective (Columbia, 1957) - with Gigi Gryce and Jackie Paris
Jazz Eyes (Regent, 1957) - with John Jenkins
Byrd in Paris (Bethlehem, 1958)
Parisian Thoroughfare (1958)
Live Au Chat Qui Peche (1958), Fresh Sound Records
Motor City Scene - with Pepper Adams (1960), Bethlehem
Up with Donald Byrd (1964), Verve
Thank You... for F.U.M.L. (Funking Up My Life) (1978), Elektra
Love Byrd (1981), Elektra
Touchstone (2000) Pepper Adams, Herbie Hancock, Teddy Charles, Jimmy Cobb

As sideman

1955 Kenny Clarke - Bohemia After Dark
1955 Cannonball Adderley - Discoveries
1955 Oscar Pettiford - Another One
1955 Hank Jones - Quartet-Quintet
1955 Hank Jones - Bluebird - one track only
1955 Ernie Wilkins - Top Brass
1956 George Wallington - Jazz for the Carriage Trade
1956 Jackie McLean - Lights Out!
1956 Hank Mobley - The Jazz Message of Hank Mobley
1956 Kenny Clarke - Klook's Clique
1956 Art Blakey - The Jazz Messengers
1956 Rita Reys - The Cool Voice of Rita Reys
1956 Elmo Hope - Informal Jazz
1956 Phil Woods - Pairing Off
1956 Jackie McLean - 4, 5 and 6
1956 Gene Ammons - Jammin' with Gene
1956 Horace Silver - Silver's Blue
1956 Hank Mobley - Mobley's Message
1956 Hank Mobley - Jazz Message No. 2
1956 Art Farmer - 2 Trumpets
1956 Paul Chambers - Whims of Chambers
1956 Phil Woods/Donald Byrd - The Young Bloods
1956 Horace Silver - 6 Pieces of Silver
1956 Hank Mobley - Hank Mobley Sextet
1956 Doug Watkins - Watkins at Larg]
1956 Sonny Rollins - Sonny Rollins, Vol. 1
1956 Kenny Burrell - All Night Long
1957 Kenny Burrell - All Day Long
1957 Gigi Gryce/Donald Byrd - Jazz Lab
1957 Art Farmer/Donald Byrd/Idrees Sulieman - Three Trumpets
1957 Lou Donaldson - Wailing with Lou
1957 Jimmy Smith - A Date with Jimmy Smith Volume One
1957 Art Taylor - Taylor's Wailers
1957 Gigi Gryce - Gigi Gryce and the Jazz Lab Quintet
1957 George Wallington - The New York Scene
1957 Various Artists - American Jazzmen Play Andre Hodeir's Essais
1957 Kenny Burrell/Jimmy Raney - 2 Guitars
1957 Kenny Drew - This Is New (Riverside)
1957 Hank Mobley - Hank
1957 Paul Chambers - Paul Chambers Quintet
1957 The Gigi Gryce/Donald Byrd Jazz Lab - At Newport - One side of LP which also features Cecil Taylor
1957 Gigi Gryce/Donald Byrd - New Formulas from the Jazz Lab
1957 Gigi Gryce/Donald Byrd - Modern Jazz Perspective
1957 Sonny Clark - Sonny's Crib
1957 John Jenkins - Star Eyes
1957 Oscar Pettiford - Winner's Circle
1957 George Wallington - Jazz at Hotchkiss
1957 Red Garland - All Mornin' Long
1957 Red Garland - Soul Junction
1957 Red Garland - High Pressure
1957 Lou Donaldson - Lou Takes Off
1958 John Coltrane - Lush Life - one track only
1958 John Coltrane - The Believer - two tracks
1958 John Coltrane - The Last Trane - two tracks
1958 Johnny Griffin - Johnny Griffin Sextet
1958 Pepper Adams - 10 to 4 at the 5 Spot (Riverside)
1958 John Coltrane - Black Pearls
1958 Michel Legrand - Legrand Jazz
1958 Dizzy Reece - Blues in Trinity
1958 Art Blakey - Holiday for Skins
1958 Jim Timmens - Gilbert and Sullivan Revisited
1959 Mundell Lowe - TV Action Jazz!
1959 Jackie McLean - Jackie's Bag
1959 Thelonious Monk - The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall
1959 Chris Connor - Ballads of the Sad Cafe
1959 Sonny Clark - My Conception
1959 Manny Albam/Teo Macero - Something New, Something Blue
1959 Jackie McLean - Vertigo
1959 Jackie McLean - New Soil
1959 Walter Davis Jr. - Davis Cup
1961 Pepper Adams - Out of This World
1962 Duke Pearson - Hush!
1963 Hank Mobley - No Room for Squares
1963 Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter - released 1986
1963 Hank Mobley - The Turnaround
1963 Jimmy Heath - Swamp Seed
1963 Herbie Hancock - My Point of View
1964 Dexter Gordon - One Flight Up
1964 Cal Tjader - Soul Sauce
1964 Solomon Ilori - African High Life
1964 Duke Pearson - Wahoo!
1965 Dexter Gordon - Ladybird
1965 Wes Montgomery - Goin' Out of My Head
1967 Stanley Turrentine - A Bluish Bag
1967 Sam Rivers - Dimensions & Extensions
1967 Hank Mobley - Far Away Lands
1977 Gene Harris - Tone Tantrum
1978 Sonny Rollins - Don't Stop the Carnival
1993 Guru - Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1
1994 Various - Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool
1995 Guru - Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality
1995 Ahmad Jamal - Big Byrd: The Essence Part 2

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

latest pclos

J.A. Watson, in the ZDNet blog Jamie's Mostly Linux Stuff, wrote about PCLinuxOS 2013.02 KDE in "PCLinuxOS quarterly rollup release: Hands on."

My days with PCLOS go back to the 0.92 release from 2006. Later, I ran PCLOS 2007, stopped using the distro for awhile, and then installed PCLOS 2010.07 back in the summer of 2010. PCLOS is a rolling-release distro, and I kept that last installation going for a couple of years, until around September of last year. It was still running fine, but I simply decided to go in other directions.

PCLOS has a lot going for it, but Watson's article points out some things to watch out for, including the fact that while the 2013.02 release ships with KDE 4.9.5, the kernel is still at 3.2.18, which may be important if you have a very new computer. By comparison, my openSUSE 12.2 installation (12.3 will be released soon) is at 3.4.11-2.16; DistroWatch's package listings show the latest to be 3.7.6, but Watson says that the newest stable kernel available is 3.8.x.

PCLOS is also one of the few distros still using Grub Legacy, which is good or bad depending your point of view.

In the comments that follow the article, "ruel24" mentions something that was one of the reasons why I decided to stop using PCLOS: "The biggest problem with PCLinuxOS is the really small developer team." I found PCLOS to be generally quite stable, but the so-called quarterly update releases weren't even coming close to making it out every quarter. They might as well stop calling them "quarterly udpates" -- the previous one was back in August, 2012 -- but the release announcement for 2013.02 still says, "These are 32bit quarterly update isos..."

While no longer being something I'm interested in running here, PCLinuxOS is a decent distro, especially if you like KDE and the rolling-release model. There's no 64-bit edition, but they're working on it, and the 32-bit version can be installed on a 64-bit machine. Good distro for beginners as well as for advanced Linux users.

icewm in opensuse 12.2

I've been running openSUSE 12.2 (KDE) for some time now. Yesterday, I decided to try IceWM, which comes installed with this release. By default, the desktop looks something like this, with the desktop right-click menu opened up:

You'll notice that there's no clock on the taskbar, and no icons for CPU status or network status, even if you make sure those are enabled in IceWM's preferences file. I went into YaST2 - Software Management and found that the package icewm-lite was installed by default; working on a tip from someone at the openSUSE forums, I installed the icewm-default package (which uninstalled the icewm-lite package).

I logged out and back in, and the clock, CPU status, and network status icons were now visible on the taskbar.

I found information and documentation for IceWM at their home site ( Different distros put the system-wide configuration files in different locations; I ran the following command to see where they were in this release:

$ rpm -q -l icewm

From the output of that command, I saw that IceWM's config files were located in the /etc/icewm directory. I created ~/.icewm and copied the default config files into that directory, then used those to customize IceWM.

IceWM's manual pretty much explains everything, but other nice tips can be found out on the internet. I used xli to set my wallpaper (other folks use feh or icewmbg to set the desktop background), edited the menu file, and did some other tweaks like adding application icons and turning on MenuMouseTracking in the preferences file (so that menus track the mouse with no mouse buttons held, which is the behavior most people are probably used to).

I decided to stay with the default theme for now.

More themes can be made available by installing the icewm-themes package; I'm told that you can get a nice control panel by adding the iceWMCP and and iceWMCP-addons packages, but I haven't tried those yet because I'm okay with simply editing the configuration files.

I like when distros ship with a light-weight window manager to log into as an option to the default desktop environment. Sabayon did the same kind of thing, including Fluxbox with the default KDE; rumor has it that Mepis (another KDE distro) will do something similar with its next release. Personally, I think Openbox would be a nice choice, but one advantage that IceWM and Fluxbox have over that window manager is that they come with their own native panel/taskbar; with Openbox, something like fbpanel has to be added.

I haven't played around much with IceWM before now, but I'm already liking it as much as I like Openbox and Fluxbox.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Doesn't seem to be much of winter left in Albuquerque by the time February rolls around. Today, I added Openbox, with fbpanel, to my Fedora 17 installation. The wallpaper in this screenshot makes me think of the nice, snowy scenes we weren't fortunate enough to get here this year: