Categotry Archives: gnome


Dear Mark: Thanks for Ubuntu 10.04 lts


Dear Mark Shuttleworth:

Thank you for Ubuntu 10.04 lts. It was perhaps the best Linux OS I have used. As it hits end-of-life at the end of the month, I have gone in another direction. Debian/Wheezy. I am not at all happy with the direction that Canonical has taken, in regard to desktop environment. I realise with Unity, you are trying to give the same desktop look/feel to all modes of communication: desktop, laptop, cell phones.

While my cell phone runs a Linux variant, it is customised to the device. One design does NOT fit all. Imagine trying to use a cell phone os, on a desktop. Oh wait. I think that’s windows 8.



Bodhi Linux Review: The Good, the bad, and the really bad


I am looking for a replacement for Ubuntu 10.04. It reaches end-of-life, in April, 2013. I just could not get used to the Unity Desktop Environment, simply because there is no guide on how to use it. (HINT!)

The Good

A friend suggested Bodhi Linux, which is Ubuntu 12.04 based, with the enlightenment window manager.. Enlightenment is small, compact, and very fast.

Windows 98 Floppy

The installation of 2.1 Bodhi was quick and somewhat painless. But I will admit the grub_divmod64_full grub boot error had me in a tailspin. I had to drop back to Windows 98 Floppy to fix the problem. (fdisk /mbr) After nuking the master boot record, I tried a second time, all was well.

bodhi desktop

The Bad

Creating a desktop icon, is NOT straightforward. For example, if you are used to using the gnome-terminal, it is called “Terminology” in Enlightenment.

If you try to create a symlink to this in the Desktop folder, that won’t work! Instead, you have to copy the .desktop to your home Desktop folder. So:

cp /usr/share/applications/terminology.desktop ~/Desktop

Thanks to conspiritech and deepspeed on the #bodhilinux for solving that mystery, and the file manager mystery (below.)

Trying to put an Enlightenment File Manager (EFM) desktop icon, proved impossible. They suggested using Thunar or Pcmanfm

And the above code snippet (substituting Thunar.desktop or pcmanfm.desktop) works!

When I tried to install boinc, things got ugly quick!

Here is what I did, and the explanation below:

w@H:~$ ssh w@p
w@p's password: 
Welcome to Bodhi Linux 2.0.0

 * Documentation:
Last login: Sat Jan 26 08:02:16 2013 from
w@P:~$ sudo apt-get install boinc
[sudo] password for w: 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
You might want to run 'apt-get -f install' to correct these:
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 boinc : Depends: boinc-client (>= 7.0.27+dfsg-5ubuntu0.12.04.1) but it is 
not going to be installed
         Depends: boinc-manager (>= 7.0.27+dfsg-5ubuntu0.12.04.1) but it is
 not going to be installed
 libc6-dev : Depends: linux-libc-dev but it is not going to be installed
 nvidia-173 : Depends: linux-libc-dev but it is not going to be installed
              Recommends: nvidia-settings but it is not going to be installed
E: Unmet dependencies. Try 'apt-get -f install' with no packages (or specify a
w@P:~$ sudo apt-get -f install
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Correcting dependencies... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  gir1.2-appindicator3-0.1 9menu gir1.2-json-1.0 gstreamer0.10-x pkg-config
  gir1.2-javascriptcoregtk-3.0 ratpoison libiec61883-0 gir1.2-timezonemap-1.0
  gir1.2-gstreamer-0.10 gir1.2-soup-2.4 libraw1394-11
  gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gir1.2-webkit-3.0 libtag1-vanilla libavc1394-0
  libtimezonemap1 libshout3 libdv4 gir1.2-xkl-1.0 screen-resolution-extra
  libtag1c2a libxklavier16 python-xkit
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following extra packages will be installed:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
5 not fully installed or removed.
Need to get 948 kB of archives.
After this operation, 3,177 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
precise/stable linux-libc-dev i386 3.5.0-11.11
  404  Not Found
Failed to fetch
/l/linux/linux-libc-dev_3.5.0-11.11_i386.deb  404  Not Found
E: Unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with --fix-missing?

The Really Bad

I tried to install boinc, as shown above. But it complained that the libc6-dev was actually a later version than it needed. I tried to “fix” the broken packages, but I got a 404 error. The needed file, was NOT found in the Bodhi 2.1 repository. FAIL.

While I could probably get around this, by adding the correct Ubuntu repository, this is NOT something a n00b (novice/new) user would know how to fix. The combination of the repository failure, and the methodology of adding desktop icons, gives bodhi Linux a grade of: D-. Not ready for primetime.

Another review, called it a square peg in a round hole.

When I tried to install the nvidia-173 legacy mode drivers for my graphics card, it completely broke Bodhi, so much that it would not boot. Went into recovery mode, purged the nvidia driver, and then rebooted back into Bodhi.

Kubuntu is starting to look pretty good.



First Look: Ubuntu 12.04 lts


I installed the Ubuntu 12.04 beta. Very slow login. Over 2 minutes. There is no way to adjust mouse sensitivity. (even with mouse adjusted as low as it will go, it’s far too fast.) I tried the gnome-fallback (gnome-panel). Unity was way way too confusing.

I will try KDE before totally abandoning Ubuntu, (a 584 meg download!) but I will be probably be installing Debian Squeeze. Thanks Ubuntu for many years of loyal service. But it is time for us to part ways.



A mini guide on converting from Ubuntu to Debian


How to convert from Ubuntu to Debian

This article will encompass a LOT of previous posts. This is NOT recommended for n00bs.

1. While you are downloading the Debian iso, it would be a good first step to backup /home/ and /etc/.

2. You can find simple rsync backup/restore scripts here.

3. Once the debian iso is downloaded, you should md5sum check it first. You can find the debian cd iso image checksums here.

4. Burn the iso (not copy to a cd – why this is NOT for n00bs) to a cd or dvd, depending on what you downloaded.

5. Installing from the DVD is quite different then Ubuntu. This is NOT a live cd, so you can’t experiment first.

The rest of this article will ass/u/me that you were able to install Debian sucessfully. Configuring Debian, requires some work!

1. The first thing that bit me in the buttocks (can we say that here?) – is rebranded software. You won’t find Firefox or Thunderbird. Instead you will find re-branded software. So icedove instead of Thunderbird, and IceWeasel instead of Firefox. Those are in the Debian Repositories. The problem with re-branded software, is that it is NOT upstream compatible. You can always choose to install the branded stuff (Firefox/Thunderbird) from the Mozilla site. If you need 64 bit Firefox or Thunderbird you can get find that here.

NOTE: the following code block assumes sudo (#3 below is fixed:)

As always anything with an octothorpe (#) is a comment and need not be coded.

sudo apt-get install icedove # get the re-branded thunderbird
sudo apt-get install iceweasel # get the re-branded firefox

2. The second thing is .profile so you will want to deal with that next.

3. Next, was how to easily do sudo in debian

By default – sudo does NOT work in Debian. And as you know, you get sort of used to using sudo in Ubuntu. There are some crazy ideas on how to fix this, but this is pretty easy and straight forward.

4. You probably need java run time

Guess what? That does NOT come pre-installed on Debian! You can easily add the java runtime environment (jre) for Debian.

5. if you need to restart the gdm in Debian, it’s gdm3 NOT gdm as in Ubuntu. So

sudo service gdm3 restart

6. By default, /usr/sbin is NOT in your path in Debian, but is in Ubuntu. How to fix? This was a little more complicated then I thought. But Joe had a neat fix! (so none of the system tasks are available – things like I dunno gparted, vsftpd, useradd, etc — are not accessible.)

By default, when Linux comes up, it executes /etc/profile. Within /etc/profile it sources /etc/profile.d/

What do I mean by “sources?” Joe explains:

Executing a script is the normal way to do it. The script executes, then it exits, and it’s environment is gone forever.

When you source a script, you execute all the commands in the script and (it) remain(s) in the environment – keeping all changes made to same.

execute: /path/to/

source: source /path/to/script or more succinctly:

. /path/to/script

And that is what the following script does/ It uses a function called pathmunge to add the missing paths:

# /etc/ for Linux
# Local environment variables
export ORGANIZATION="Mirai Consulting"

#if [ $SHELL == '/bin/bash' ]; then

# Set prompt and aliases to something useful for an interactive shell

case "$-" in
# Set prompt to something useful
case "$is" in
set -p
if test "$UID" = 0 ; then
PS1="u@h:w> "
PS1=`uname -n`': $PWD n(tty${tty#/dev/tty}): bash: ! > '

case $TERM in
PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "�33]0;${USER}@${HOSTNAME%%.*}:${PWD/$HOME/~}�07"'
PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "�33_${USER}@${HOSTNAME%%.*}:${PWD/$HOME/~}�33\"'

# fix broken non-root path -

pathmunge () {
if ! echo $PATH | /bin/egrep -q "(^|:)$1($|:)" ; then
if [ "$2" = "after" ] ; then

# Path manipulation

pathmunge /sbin
pathmunge /usr/sbin
pathmunge /usr/local/sbin
pathmunge $HOME/sbin

unset pathmunge

set histexpand
export HISTCONTROL=ignoredups

alias ltr='ls -latr'
alias ll='ls -laFL'
alias lll='ll | less'

alias cls=clear
alias f=finger


alias maillog='$sudo tail -20 /var/log/mail.log'
alias postlog='$sudo grep postfix /var/log/mail | tail -40'
alias poplog='$sudo grep pop3-login /var/log/mail | tail -40'
alias msgs='$sudo tail -20 /var/log/messages'
alias krnl='$sudo tail -20 /var/log/kernel'
alias cmo='ls -Lltr /var/spool/mail'
alias psu='ps -FHu'
alias mqt='mailq|tail'
alias dmesg='/bin/dmesg|tail -40'

/bin/rm -f ~/.project
set `date`
echo "" >> ~/.project
echo " $LOGNAME logged in on `hostname` $1 $2 $3 $4" >> ~/.project
echo "" >> ~/.project


#[ -r /etc/ ] && . /etc/

alias addkey="sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys"


7. If you have Skype you will probably need to fix that as well.

This is just a first cut draft on the differences I noted between Ubuntu and Debian.

Thanks always to Joe and Loni.


Installing gnome-3 on Ubuntu 10.10/10.04


(do NOT try this!)

My friend Erick in Mexico City sent me this link:

installing gnome 3 on Ubuntu 10.xx

Yes, the original post is in Spanish, and my espanol is not up to par. So I translated the page into English.

The directions were pretty clear, but there is one error. I will repost the recipe here with the correction. (Yup,
It IS in Spanish. I was a little intimidated since sudo got translated to: I sweat!) Note, the original post had a space between the ppa name and gnome3. Nope that didn’t work, but was easily fixed.

Here’s the recipe:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome3-session

Also note, the I did NOT do the dist-upgrade as posted in the original article.

Logout. Choose gnome-3 at the bottom centre of the login, screen and go for it!

Gnome 3 desktop in Ubuntu 10.xx

Thanks Erick! (now I just have to figure out how to use it!)

Extra points if you can figure out where my desktop image was taken. Hint: It’s NOT in Arizona!


Second look at Ubuntu’s Unity Interface (for Natty Narwhal) 11.04


Usually when a new release of software comes out, I am game for giving it a fair trial.

I downloaded the iso for 32 bit Natty (Ubuntu 11.04), put it on a flash drive and took it out for a test drive.

Within 3 minutes, I had broken Unity, without trying. The livecd does NOT give you the choice of Gnome or Unity. You get Unity, like it or not!

I said, well it could just be my hardware (an acer aspire netbook). So I begin to monitor things on irc (#ubuntu on

The horrors I am seeing! Problems with Nvidia Graphics cards, breaking Unity, menus disappearing, screens going dark, and a boatload of grub issues. And the release has been out for just over a day now.

This is absolutely the most seriously “quality challenged” issue of a major release I have ever seen.

Here’s how to change from Unity to classic Gnome in Ubuntu 11.04, just in case you have already taken the plunge.

Bottom line: If you haven’t installed Ubuntu 11.04 (natty), DON’T! You will be happy you didn’t!

At this point, I’d recommend staying with what you have already installed, or at least going to back to Ubuntu 10.04, which is an LTS (long term support) release.

Debian Squeeze (6.x) is an alternative, but it is NOT recommended for a n00b, or someone that doesn’t have a good year or so of using Linux behind them.

As always, YMMV (your mileage may vary) applies.

“And oh Auntie Em! There’s NO place like Gnome!”



Updating .profile when changing Linux Distributions


Ever had one of those Twilight Zone experiences? You know where something works one minute, but doesn’t the next? It’s like the universe just getting suxed into a black hole?

Okay well my experience wasn’t quite that dramatic, but this took over a year to figure out.


If I was locally connected to a machine, .bash_aliases worked fine. (.bash_aliases are user added aliases to the bash shell). But, if I ssh’d (secure shell) into the machine, it was like, huh? What are you talking about?

I fought this for a year.

So someone on ubuntu (yofel) said: “Hey, look at your .profile!”

So I did. Here’s what I got:

nwayno@Phoenix:~$ ls -l -t -r .bash*

-rwxr-xr-x 1 nwayno nwayno 925 2007-05-20 00:45 .profile.old
-rw-r–r– 1 nwayno nwayno 675 2011-01-26 23:48 .profile

nwayno@Phoenix:~$ cat .profile.old
# Sample .profile for SuSE Linux
# rewritten by Christian Steinruecken
# This file is read each time a login shell is started.
# All other interactive shells will only read .bashrc; this is particularly
# important for language settings, see below.

Uh oh! SuSE .profile, on a Ubuntu machine? Who would have thought? So I renamed the .profile

copied it over from another machine (using scp)

logged out/back in again (to re-read .bashrc)

and TADA! .bash_aliases worked when I ssh’d into the box.

So, the lesson here is, if you change Linux distros, you will probably need to change the .profile file as well.

The weird flakiness is gone!

And so it goes….


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