Saturday, May 10, 2008

Trash Appelet Workaround in Hardy

So recently, in the interest of interoperability between the various desktop systems, Gnome has switched over to the standard for trash -- that is, items in the trash are normally stored in ~/.local/share/Trash/files. Unfortunately, you may be using Avant Window Navigator, and its Trash applet points towards the old location ~/.Trash, and so doesn't work.

There is, however, a workaround. First, remove the old trash directory if you still have it
rm -r ~/.Trash
Next, link the old trash location, so that it points towards the new, correct location
ln -s ~/.local/share/Trash/files ~/.Trash
Now the trash applet will show your trash files like normal.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fix Show Desktop and AWN

Sometimes, pushing the show desktop button will hide AWN itself. This clearly won't do. A way around it is to open up the compiz configuration menu (if you haven't got it installed, it's usually called ccsm or compiz config settings manager). From there, select the show desktop feature under the "Desktop" heading.

Go to the "Misc. Options" tab, and append the line "& !(class=avant-window-navigator)", without the quotes, to the window types list.

Exit compiz, and AWN's show desktop button should now work as expected.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Switch to Gnome

Well, Compiz has finally accomplished what it's been threatening to do ever since I realized my computer could run the silly thing: made me switch to Gnome -- meaning Ubuntu. Overall, the experience hasn't been bad, and in fact Gnome's come a long way from when last I used it. In many ways, it's better than KDE, but in a few others it's sorely lacking.

How is it better than KDE, you ask? Well, for starters, the level of polish. I don't know if this is a Gnome vs. KDE thing or an Ubuntu vs. Just-About-Anyone-Else thing, but I've had much less problems on Gnome. As I mentioned, I use Compiz -- the desktop cube is one of my favorite features on Linux. The problem is, KDE kept quasi-crashing on login whenever I used it, and I wouldn't be able to use my keyboard except to press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace and try logging in again.

By comparison, in Ubuntu I just hit a button and voila: Compiz was activated and so far it's been as slick as oil and stable as a rock (knock on wood).

The applications are a bit worse, however. Nautilus is fine, except for the fact that it can't do the split view Dolphin and Konqueror can, which is a shame 'cause it makes moving files around a pain. There also doesn't seem to be an option to restore from the trash can. Pidgin is alright, in the sense it gets the job done, but it's not nearly as attractive as either Kopete or Kmess were (specifically I miss themes that would show a user's picture next to their message, which made it easier to keep track of who said what in large conversations). Finally, no Gnome audio program can hold a candle to Amarok.

I'm aware I can install either of those inside of Gnome, of course, but I figure I'll give a pure GTK environment a shot before returning to my favorite apps.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Firefox 3 Beta 3

As I write this, I'm on the third beta of Firefox 3. And I must say, so far it seems awesome.

Improvements are legion. First off, it would appear that I was mistaken earlier and it was either not difficult for Mozilla to implement native Linux theme support, or they deemed the investment worthwhile. I'm currently looking at my default KDE icons straight in the face, so I guess they met that goal on all three platforms. Kudos.

Firefox feels faster. I don't know how much of this is the placebo effect but the whole pages seem to be loading quicker. I've yet to really stress-test beta 3 -- as in, have 20 tabs open for an hour or two -- but early reports are that Firefox 3 doesn't leak memory as much, and so shouldn't slow down over time to the extent its predecessor did.

Probably my favorite improvement though, is that now when my mouse hovers over the latest xkcd, Firefox no longer cuts off the long strings of title text that accompany the comic.

Friday, February 15, 2008

KDE Trash + Kmenu in AWN (ugly, ugly hacks)

Some day, I want to be free of kicker and rely solely on Avant Window Navigator to manage my various programs. Unfortunately, AWN is very Gnome-centric: it has a main menu plug-in and a trash plug-in, but both are Gnome-only. Fortunately, there's a way to get a similar effect on KDE -- kinda.


Firstly, the trash. AWN's trash plug-in looks for Trash in a different folder from KDE, so we have to change where it looks. First, remove the old Trash folder:
mv ~/.Trash ~/.Trash_old
Now, create a link so the Gnome trash folder points to the KDE trash folder:
ln -s ~/.local/share/Trash/files ~/.Trash
We have to edit Nautilus, the Gnome file manager, so that it will load KDE the way we want when we tell the trash applet to open the trash folder. So back up nautilus, and then open it as root:
sudo mv /usr/bin/nautilus /usr/bin/nautilus.old
sudo kwrite /usr/bin/nautilus
Now, replace whatever's in that file with the following:
# /usr/bin/nautilus
# Avant Window Navigator Trash Aplet Hack for KDE
# Copyleft 2007 A. Tres Finocchiaro
# This script is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
# modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public
# License as published by the Free Software Foundation

if [ "$1" = "trash:" ]; then
exec konqueror "$@/"
exec konqueror "$@"

exit 0
Save, and you're done. AWN's trash applet now works with KDE.

Now, the menu "hack" is much less tightly integrated. Right-click AWN, select preferences, select launchers and click the add button. Call the command anything you like, and give it whatever icon suits your fancy. Now, make sure the command reads:
dcop kicker kicker popupKMenu 0
Add it to the AWN launch bar however you like. Now, hide kicker by opening up kcontrol and going to Desktop, then Panels, and finally the hiding tab. Select hide automatically. Now you have a button on your dock that will launch the kmenu.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Katapult and Compiz shadow

Does Katapult look funny when you've got compiz enabled? A sort of transparent box seems to appear underneath it whenever you use it, but it looked fine you started compiz?

The fix is easy. Open up the compiz settings manager, and head to the window decoration plugin. In there, make sure the Shadow window box reads:
any -name="katapult"
Now katapult will look just fine when next you use it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Getting Compiz to work on Suse 10.3 with a ATI Radeon Mobility 9000 driver

Recently I had to try and configure compiz for a Suse set-up. Pretty much the same as on Ubuntu, but with some twists and more graphics. I present this post mostly so I'll remember how I did it later; eventually I'll add screenshots and y'know, real explanations to the thing.

First, open up YaST, go to the hardware tab and select Graphics Card and Monitor. In there, de-select dual head support (unless you need it), select 3D graphics support and click "options" next to your graphics card. In there, find the option that says XAANoOffscreenPixmaps, select it and hit ok.

Back up and then open /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Under the server layout section, add
Option "AIGLX" "true"

You should be good to go; however, you may have to get rid of by typing
as root. I did this, and my compiz works fine, but I may have been solving a problem I didn't actually have when I used it. Since I've finally got compiz working fine, I don't want to tinker. Also, it's possible to simply add
Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true"
straight to the device section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf rather than selecting it graphically.

Now, just install compiz using the 1-click install, and you should be good to go.