Is it just me, or is Ubuntu getting worse with each release? I’ve just installed Oneiric on my laptop and, suffice to say, I’m typing this from Fedora now.
The first thing that I noticed was that Unity decided to get rid of the last bit of consistency it had. That is to say, the Dash button. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to move it to the dock and give it that horrible CRT shape. It’s completely inconsistent, and completely ugly.
Then, ignoring that minor issue since I planned to replace Unity with Gnome Shell anyway, I tried installing it. Whoops. After two tries I ditched the USB drive, burned a CD and installed Ubuntu from that. It was really just an annoyance for me, but I think a newbie might not have the same reaction upon seeing “Hard Disk Error” on boot…
After installing, I explored it for a bit, took a look around the completely disorganized (it has magazines grouped with apps?!) Software Center, upgraded the system, decided Unity wasn’t for me, and proceeded to install Gnome Shell…
It was a pain. Obviously, the Ubuntu developers are so caught up with Unity that Shell was completely overlooked. It looked horrific (a mix of Adwaita and Ambiance), it used ugly fonts, Chromium didn’t integrate at all, it… well, let’s say it wasn’t a pleasant experience, and I’m happy to be back to Fedora. It might be a pain sometimes, and it might downright refuse to let my battery last more than one hour, but it works well. And it looks awesome.
Update: I don’t know if these instructions still work. You probably should consider this page outdated.
Am I insane? You decide. Anyway, I just managed to get Opera Mobile to run properly on my Ubuntu machine, and I thought maybe someone wants to do this too. So here I am, posting a guide once again.
And yes, I am posting this from Opera Mobile.
First off, you’ll need the .deb package, which works on Ubuntu and presumably Debian. Get it from Opera’s website (yes, it’s actually hosted by Opera themselves). Install it, take it for a spin and prepare to tweak it. Fortunately, the
operamobile binary has some really neat command line options ready for you to use.
You’ll need to change the menu shortcut and, if you wish, the .desktop file. Install your DE’s menu editor (
alacarte for GNOME), find the Opera Mobile entry and edit the command to look like this:
operamobile -geometry 420x640
The parameter passed to -geometry is, as you might have realized, the size the window will take. Feel free to change this to whatever suits you; I used 420×640 because that way it actually looks good on my desktop (I only have a 1366×768 laptop display at my disposal).
The .desktop file sits comfortably in /usr/share/applications. Editing it wasn’t really necessary for me, since I use Docky to launch my apps (yes, I know, Mono alert, but I stopped caring a while ago) and it takes the parameters from the menu entry. I recommend you don’t edit it, but who am I to stop you?
Next, if you want to make Opera Mobile your default browser (I did), you’ll need to make a couple of changes. First, configure it to be the default browser for http links. With GNOME 2, you can do that by going to System -> Preferred Applications, selecting “Custom” from the web browser drop-down list, and using the following command:
operamobile -geometry 420x640 -url "%s"
If you want to open local html files with it (like I did), things get tricky. You’ll first need to write a small shell script and put it in, say ~/Scripts or ~/.scripts, or even ~/.ridiculouslylongfoldername.
# simple script to make opera mobile open a file
operamobile -geometry 420x640 -url "file://$1"
I called the script “operamfile”, and put it in ~/Scripts, so change the command below if you put it somewhere else/gave it another name.
Then, in GNOME 2 at least, you have to locate an .html file, right-click it, go to Open With -> Other Application…, expand “Use a custom command”, type in
~/Scripts/operamfile, check “Remember this application” and hit Open. Voila! You have successfully opened a local .html file using Opera Mobile. Feel free to give yourself a cookie.
Now, of course, there must be some negative things about Opera Mobile, since it is a mobile browser after all:
- Multi-tabbed browsing is possible, but extremely inconvenient. I recommend you use multiple windows instead of tabs.
- Full HTML5 support? CSS 3D effects? Flash? Silverlight? Don’t even ask about these.
- No AdBlock. You can obviously use a hosts file though.
- # and * can only be typed using the on-screen keyboard. (actually, I just realised * can be typed using the numpad)
- Speaking of the on-screen keyboard, it’s damn annoying. Make it disappear with F6.
- No right click support, you have to click and hold the left mouse button.
- No scroll wheel support!
But fear not, there are some really cool things about it too!
- Pages properly scale to the window size! This is the main reason I love it, actually, because now I only need a small part of the screen to view webpages, and I can have other big windows open (say, an IDE) without covering them. I know of no desktop browser that does this so well.
- Fast and light. Beats the hell out of Firefox, IMO.
- Flicking through pages is awesome!
- Most sites work perfectly with it. Including the WordPress admin interface.
- You can browse with your arrow keys without any problem.
- The mobile version of LastPass works really great with it. Just put the bookmarklet on your fast dial page, in the bottom-right position, and you can hit * and 9 on your numpad to quickly insert passwords.
- Downloading and uploading files works perfectly!
As always, drop a comment if I helped!
Edit: the guys over at WebUpd8 posted easier instructions here.
As reliable instructions seem to be missing from the Interwebs, I decided to put these ones up.
Please note that the links are for 32-bit Ubuntu only. If you run 64-bit Ubuntu, you’ll need to copy the links to your address bar and replace
amd64 where needed.
You’ll just need to download and install the following files, in the given order:
If you want Xfce support (not needed if you’re running GNOME), also grab xfce4-globalmenu-plugin.
OK, that was it. Easy, right? Be sure to tell me if I helped in the comments section.
P.S.: you can
probably omit gnome-globalmenu (the last package), but I put it there just to be sure.
Despite the fact that Sony insists the NWZ-S515 will not work on anything else than a vendor-manufactured PC running 32-bit Windows Vista or XP Home/Pro/MCE and Windows Media Player 10 or 11, the gadget fortunately uses MTP and USB mass storage and not some weird proprietary DRM-encumbered communication protocol.
That basically means that you can just plug the thing into a Ubuntu machine and it will work without a problem. Start up Rhythmbox before connecting if you want instant MTP-powered sync between your computer’s library and the Walkman.
Now I only have to get Rhythmbox to sync proper cover art and find some more music to listen to….
What is “The Powder Toy”? Well, first take a look at this screenshot:
The Powder Toy is a physics simulation game. You can create a 2D scene using a variety of materials (walls, explosives, liquids, solids, semiconductors, etc.), set it alive and see how it evolves.
It’s available as a free download for Linux, Mac and Windows. The version in the screenshot above is 43 beta running on Ubuntu.
The last time I played Powder Toy was in sixth grade; I also translated the then-current Windows (not Linux) version into Romanian using a hex editor (xvi32). For any Romanians passing by, the translated (old) version can be downloaded from here.
Drifting off the topic of Powder Toy, I am now using Awn and a few Compiz plugins for window management, and eGtk Leopard plus the Faenza icon theme.
That’s it for now. Off to school.
So I just got “indirectly rejected” by my crush yesterday. Oh well. But let’s not drift away from this blog’s topic.
I recently tried Macbuntu again. It’s really awesome, to be honest, but I just can’t get away from Appmenu Indicator’s weird bugs: missing icons and items that infinitely repeat themselves. Especially annoying when used with Nautilus Elementary. Also, Macbuntu brings Docky (and, by extension, Mono) in.
So I’m now using Dust Sand.
That is byobu running inside a terminal, with a zsh prompt grinning at me after finishing up maintenance.
And that is Firefox, with the menu, toolbar and statusbar hidden (using the “Hide GUI Bars” extension)
That would be it for now, dear bots, spiders, spammers and the occasional reader.
This will be a post about Charm, Xfce, Puppeee, ROX, PCManFM, USB hubs, 3G modems, CD players and rechargeable Duracell batteries. You have been warned.
I encountered a tiny problem with Charm: it couldn’t actually publish posts. After looking a little at the errors, the source code and a Python shell, I found it was because the “datetime” module wasn’t being loaded (around the first lines). Simply moving “import datetime” above the “try:” block worked… like a charm, actually.
By the way, I am now posting from Charm on the Ubuntu machine. It’s simply better than WordPress’ web interface and I can post HTML from imagehost.org directly.
Remember I mentioned Xfce above? Well, let’s start with the obligatory screenshot:
That is Xfce under Ubuntu 10.10 running Thunar, Mousepad and htop inside GNOME-Terminal. Note that GNOME-Terminal is focused, although Mousepad partly covers it. That’s how RISC OS does stuff.
Xfwm4 uses the theme here; its only defects are the semi-broken titlebar and the undragably (is that a word?) slim borders. I guess I’ll use Alt+Button3 more.
GTK theme can be found here. I’ve also created a Firefox persona which is awaiting approval. Edit: the persona got approval, it’s here.
Panel: clock, battery, notification area, pager, icon box, separator, some shortcuts, GNOME Disk Mounter applet (theoretically, using Xfapplet), lock, quit and the Xfce menu.
I now have to find a way to hide those ugly window menus. I tried using Appmenu Indicator, Xfapplet and an auto-hiding panel, but it looks and behaves ugly.
Feel free to post your opinion about it in the comment section presumably below.
On to Puppeee. I’ve switched to PCManFM as desktop, then back to ROX, and now again to PCManFM.
Let’s compare them. On one hand, you have ROX, which has nice MIME icons for everything, is a lot more customisable and supports actually dragging desktop icons (PCManFM, at least the version Puppeee ships, doesn’t do that), but can’t be customised with a tree sidebar and has icons added at every startup on the desktop which break the appearance.
On the other hand, you have PCManFM, which doesn’t have nice MIME icons, can’t drag desktop icons and is a pain to customise even basically, but fits the look perfectly and, to be honest, makes the limited file management I do easier.
Well, in the end, I chose PCManFM. It’s not perfect, but for what I do it’s great.
So today me and Dad went to an electronics store called “TechnoMarket” or something and we bought a Hama 4-port USB hub and 2 Duracell AAA rechargeable batteries. The hub is for the old Gericom laptop, which has only one USB port and I want to boot Puppy 4.1.2 from a pendrive while having some form of Internet connection. Maybe also plug in a printer.
Well, the problem I have is with the ZTE modem. I tested it on Puppeee, but wvdial simply refused to connect without a username and password (my carrier doesn’t prompt for those, leaving wvdial hanging). I posted a thread about this in the Puppy Linux forum here; let’s see if I get any replies.
The Duracell batteries are for my old Sanyo CD player, a Christmas present I got a long, long time ago. Well, it’s designed to work with 4 batteries, but I discovered 2 are enough. It works pretty well, except I just broke one of its hinges. I am now listening to an Armin van Buuren CD. Well, I was listening 2 seconds ago, but the batteries died.
So, this is the end of a long, long post detailing my weekend. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go charge the batteries and prepare myself for the disastrous history exam tomorrow.
A bit late to the party (well, more like 10 hours late), but Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” has been released today, 10/10/10, at 10:10:10 GMT (or so I hear). The world is finally fixed! Rejoice everyone!!!
To me, it’s not that big of a deal. Ambiance’s borders still suck. Laptop mode still won’t install. Empathy still doesn’t let me become invisible. Pidgin integrates so badly now I can’t replace Empathy with it. And probably other bugs that’ll pester me soon enough.
To end this post, Maverick Meerkat is not a perfect 10 by any means. But it sure comes close, so good job and lots of thanks to the Ubuntu team and developers!
After being unable to download the Romanian keymap in Xubuntu due to some weird bug, I downloaded Ubuntu 10.10 RC, burned it to a CD-RW and installed it on the ProBook. The installation has been immensely improved, Ubiquity installing the STA driver, restricted extras and (supposedly) some updates over a 3G connection. The wireless worked immediately after installation, which is a first for any distro I’ve used.
The software is better than Lucid from what I’ve seen. I finally migrated to Empathy, hoping that it won’t fail on me when I need it like Pidgin did, and it works pretty well for now. The only major complaint I have is that I can’t seem to find an “ignore” option, which is crucial for me on IRC (on Pidgin, I blocked NickServ to get rid of those annoying “this nickname is registered” messages). The only things I don’t like about the software collection are Shotwell, because it seems to lack a “resize, compress and send by e-mail” option (one of the great things that Picasa has), and the fact that Mono is still there. I’d install digiKam if it wouldn’t have brought half of KDE with it. Qt is OK, but installing Dolphin and a few other KDE apps that I will never use is too much.
Now for the glitchy stuff. The fan seems to always go full power after resuming from standby and only dropping the speed after a few minutes of use. The apt database wouldn’t update (gpg error), something for which I have found a fix here. The NetworkManager icon is cut off. I can’t install Laptop Mode because it removes pm-utils. Ambiance has horribly broken window borders that I can’t drag. And there probably are more glitches, but I haven’t discovered them yet.
I took the plunge today and upgraded to Maverick, after messing up my desktop by installing Unity .
The upgrade probably took about one hour in total, and left me with a fully working Maverick system. Except for the PPAs, but that took 15 minutes or so to fix. I also reinstalled Docky and am using it right now (yes, yes, Mono is evil, but Docky is too awesome to let it go). And I’m using Chromium instead of Firefox. Stability is perfect so far, but RAM usage is way too high (~760/1942MB), and this time I blame it on GNOME instead of Firefox.
That is how a plain desktop looks like now. Pretty… OSX, huh? I’ll probably get bored of it soon enough anyway, and by that time you can expect more posts about Debian.