Thursday, August 27, 2015

still not happening

Here's the deal: Back when I installed Ubuntu 14.04 last year, I also added GNOME Shell to it. Sometimes I log into Unity, other times I go with GNOME Shell.

In the GNOME Shell session, under System Settings > Brightness & Lock, I have "Dim screen to save power" checked, and "Turn screen off when inactive for:" is set to "10 minutes."

Yet, the screen never turns off. There's no problem in the Unity session -- the screen turns off after the time interval that I've set. But I can't get it to work under GNOME Shell. I've resorted to running the following commands:

$ xset +dpms
$ xset dpms 600

That'll make the screen turn off after 600 seconds (10 minutes) of inactivity. But I have to do that every time I start a new GNOME Shell session.

I haven't seen this issue with GNOME Shell in other distros, only in Ubuntu. I'm not sure if it has something to do with having GNOME Shell installed along with Unity, or if some other settings are messing things up, or if it's just a bug from Ubuntu.

I've actually given up on trying to find a fix. Next year when 16.04 comes out, I'll install GNOME Shell and see if the same thing happens.

Monday, August 3, 2015

simple panel

Playing around with fbpanel (for the first time in a long time!) in Openbox in Debian Jessie, I ended up with probably the simplest panel I've ever used. Placed at the upper left side of the screen, this panel contains time and date displays, a taskbar showing icons for running apps, a "show desktop" icon, a volume icon, and an icon for fbpanel's main menu.

I couldn't get fbpanel's pager to look nice in this configuration, so I decided to go without it. That works out fine because I can switch workspaces with the mouse wheel, with the cursor anywhere on the panel or on the empty desktop, and Openbox pops up a message showing me which desktop I've moved to.

A right-click on the empty desktop brings up my Openbox menu.

Here's a look at fbpanel's main menu:

If you install fbpanel in Debian Jessie, check to see if ~/.config/fbpanel/default has been created. If not, you can run the following, which creates the file from /usr/share/fbpanel/default:

$ fbpanel -p default

I edited ~/.config/fbpanel/default until I got a panel configuration that I liked, then added the following to ~/.config/openbox/autostart:

fbpanel &

For more info, see man fbpanel.

Might be time to switch back to fbpanel as my preferred panel for Openbox (I've been using tint2 for some time now).

Another look, after more tweaking:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

antiX installed

I downloaded antiX-15 and played around with the live session. I was impressed enough to decide to replace LMDE-2 (Cinnamon) with antiX-15 on one of my Compaq CQ57 notebooks. Overall, it's been a nice experience. The installation was so quick and easy that for once I didn't even bother to take notes. I've decided to use the "Space-Fluxbox" desktop for now. After a good amount of time spent tweaking, I settled on a set-up that works for me:

antiX's Control Centre is helpful for getting some things configured:

In some situations the user might prefer to just to edit config files directly:

So, now I have both antiX-15 and Lubuntu 14.04 LTS on this CQ57. Both are light-weight distros that do okay with the hardware.

antiX seems to have a lot more going on, from multiple desktop choices to the wealth of tools included by default to some of the creative configurations and ideas that make antiX so unique. I'd say that antiX would be best for folks with at least a moderate level of Linux experience.

Lubuntu, on the other hand, seems less complicated once installed; pretty much just Ubuntu with LXDE instead of Unity. But Lubuntu also seems a little less fun than antiX.

Many users will enable the Debian Testing repos and run antiX-15 as more of a rolling-release distro with newer software. I'll stick with the default set-up, with the Stable repos enabled; that should give me a problem-free installation for the next couple of years.