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Linux Desktop Miscellany


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Originally uploaded by sogrady.

A couple of folks have pinged me regarding the apparent disconnect between the Novell/Xgl crowd and the Red Hat/AIGLX, possibly because it’s an area that has impactions on the direction of Linux on the desktop, open source community development, and more. Well, I’ll get to that eventually but have to deal with some travel and so forth before then; in the meantime watch the del.icio.us links for the next couple of days as I have a bunch of related (lingering) tabs awaiting tagging.

That’s not all the desktop news I had, however, as I did want to comment quickly on a couple of changes I’ve made to my desktop recently. If you’re not a Linux desktop guy, you might want to skip the following:

  • NetworkManager:
    The hoops I had to jump through to get this working over the weekend is the best argument I’ve heard yet for Ubuntu, but now that I’ve got it working (it’s the wifi selector in the upper right hand corner) it’s excellent. Unlike a friend of mine here in Denver running XP, it selects and grabs the network first time – no fuss, no muss. I seriously spent 30 minutes a while ago having her reselect her network, only to have it take on the 15th or 20th time.

  • Aesthetics:
    After not having touched them in a while, I got antsy and changed my default themes/fonts around for the desktop and it looks quick a bit spiffier to me. For those curious (read: the geekier folks out there), I’m now running Bitstream Vera Sans Roman as my default application fonts, and am using the following combination for my theme: Tango – Icons, Clearlooks-Visto – Controls, and Clearlooks for Window Border. It’s still not in the same league as OS X visually – at least until I get really crazy and get either AIGLX or Xgl running (Xgl’s likely out for the time being b/c I’m on the i810 chipset), but I’m finding it very comfortable and not terribly ugly. If any of you have other suggestions for fonts or themes, I’m always willing to listen, as my design sense is way south of poor. Don’t forget, incidentally, that you can get my Maine sunset themed NLD derived GDM theme here.

  • Beagle:
    As mentioned previously, I’ve had an ongoing issue with the Beagle desktop search tool. After looking around this weekend, it seems as if the cause is simple: Beagle is running in debug mode by default. Unfortunately, I’m unable to get it to run normally, so for the moment that’s been removed from the startup programs lineup. Tough to take it out of the lineup, even briefly; the Lucene based indexer is both fast and good.

  • Tomboy:
    I haven’t actually changed this yet, but I’ve been toying with the idea of running a transform on the base XML files that makeup my Tomboy notes, then cutting over to a local wiki instance. Might be a self-contained TiddlyWiki derivative (it’s a BSD license), such as the one Davey was showing me at Mashup Camp (very slick), but I’m keeping an open mind. As Alex and I discussed last week, running a local webserver instance just isn’t that big a deal any longer – particularly since Tomboy seems to be working harder and harder these days (Rail’s WEBrick is quite illustrative in this regard). You have to love having your notes in accessible format.

Questions, suggestions or corrections on any of the above? You know where to find me.

Categories: Linux.

  • http://tieguy.org/blogs/ Luis Villa

    The reason I haven’t switched from tomboy to a slightly more capable (tags!) personal wiki is pretty simple- I hate hitting save, particularly in something like tomboy or a wiki. Save is an artifact of a hardware world that doesn’t exist anymore, and it shouldn’t clutter my world. As soon as someone gives me an ajax-y wiki that automatically and reliably saves state regularly (I’m keeping a sharp eye on synchroedit, I’ll probably switch in a heartbeat. But until then, tomboy it is.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/spyderous/ Donnie Berkholz

    The aiglx stuff will show up in portage whenever it’s ready, meaning merged into HEAD upstream and in a released tarball. Development on it remains quite active, with major bugs still being fixed such as yesterday’s VT switching and today’s “Fix Xvfb, Xnest and Xprt build.”

    Hopefully steev can get networkmanager into portage sometime soon as well — not really sure what the holdup is.

  • http://www.redmonk.com/sogrady stephen o’grady

    Luis: that’s a great point, and an excelent reminder. i was myself emphasizing just that feature when describing Tomboy to someone last week, but as you say it’s lack of things like tags is making it less compelling. i was going to say that the TiddyWiki save isn’t that bad, b/c it’s Ajax and local, making it fast, but it’s been giving me a hard time about saving when i’ve been tinkering, so i can’t make that argument.

    what i’d love is a personal wiki that if it doesn’t have constant save capabilities at least does a Gmail/Writely style frequent save. that i’d switch to in a heartbeat.

    Donnie: i imagine it’ll be a little bit, then? sounds like there’s a lot to work out – i haven’t yet looked at the traffic on list yet myself. either way, i can’t wait till it gets into Portage. seems like that’s my best hope for getting some of the Xgl style goodness in place sooner rather than later.

    as for NetworkManager, i hope steev gets it in soon as well, but it’s not too bad pulling it from gentopia. the difficulty is that it touches so many different components that it makes it difficult to install/manage. great little app, tho.