I might look into this. Icons are pretty. I like icons. Having them appear to represent an SFTP session is wild!
An elegant desktop environment for *nix I switched over to when KDE 4 came out. RIP KDE 3.x.
I might look into this. Icons are pretty. I like icons. Having them appear to represent an SFTP session is wild!
While Polly is understandably optimised for Ubuntu, it runs well enough on Fedora to still be my favourite multi-column Twitter client! Here's the quickest way to get it running.
Polly doesn't ship with an RPM, but we can install it ourselves without too much trouble. Head to their Launchpad download site and download the latest source tarball. As of writing, the latest is:
Polly-0.93.4 (pre-alpha 3.4).tar.gz
The tarball's README list dependencies for Ubuntu, but it didn't take long to find their Fedora equivilents.
And here they are on a single line to make installing easier. Depending on which spin you're running, you may already have most of these.
# yum install pygtk2 dbus-python pyxdg notify-python python-oauth2 gnome-python2-gconf python-SocksiPy python-httplib2 python-pycurl numpy python-keyring gnome-python2-gtkspell
These also bring in several dependencies, including:
atlas, gnome-python2-extras, gtkspell, libgfortran, python-nose
Now it's just a matter of extracting the tarball, and running the install script.
% tar xzvf "Polly-0.93.4 (pre-alpha 3.4).tar.gz"
% cd "Polly-0.93.4 (pre-alpha 3.4)"
If Polly works now, you're done! Add your accounts, and tweet away!
Even with the latest alpha versions, Polly still refuses to load on any of my Fedora machines unless I restart gconfd-2 before I run it the first time. According to the GConf site, the safest way to do this (other than outright killing it) is:
The friendly Polly developers I've talked to on Twitter expressed surprise that this was still needed. This leads me to believe it's a localised Fedora issue, which means when I research this further I'll be filing a support ticket with them, and not Polly. We'll see.
Qt applications look acceptable in Gnome 3, but with the Qt4 Configure utility you can change the colours and fonts to match their GTK+ brethren!
This is a potential gotcha; depending on your distribution you may have to specify qt4, or not. For example, in Fedora:
# yum install qt-config
# cd /usr/ports/misc/qt4-config
# make install clean
Once you've installed it, a beautifully large Qt4 Configure icon should appear in the "Other" category of your Gnome 3 Shell. Given many of my GTK+ applications still have crappy icons, having the Qt4 Configure app fit in so well was a pleasant surprise!
The default GTK+ theme for Qt looks passable, but Gnome 3 uses a whiter shade of pale. This is most noticeable between the title and menu bar in Qt applications.
You can correct this by clicking "Button Background" and "Window Background" under "Build Palette", and slotting in the following values:
To get the right shade of blue for selected menu items, click "Tune Palette..." under "Build Palette", then choose "Highlight" under "Central color roles". Slot in the following values:
I derived these colours from using the GColor2 utility, so they may be approximations. I can't tell the difference!
For better or worse, Gnome 3 uses Cantarell for its default font. To get Qt applications to match, set the font to "Cantarell" on the "Family" dropdown box under the "Fonts" tab.
Curiously, I had to go through this rigmarole on my Fedora 16 x86_64 tower, but on my MacBook Pro running Fedora 16 i686, Qt had the right colours set for Gnome 3 by default.
I've since discovered it has to do with installation order. If you install Qt4 Configure before any Qt applications such as VirtualBox, Amarok or Opera, the Gnome 3 colours will be included by default. Interesting!
I got some great feedback from people on my Gnome 3 review post, which in itself was a comment in a way. Is that GTK3+ Inception?
I tried to use GNOME 3 when I was utterly disappointed by Unity in Ubuntu 11.04. And after three days of trying it still felt very wrong to me and too many functions were missing. I ended doing the unthinkable (at least for me) and tried Kubuntu with their latest KDE desktop. I was completely shocked. Everyone was telling me before how bad KDE is and then I was finding out more and more how very wrong they were. After a couple of days of getting used to it and discovering different ways of doing things with KDE I actually find it even better than the good old GNOME 2. Looks like KDE will be a keeper for me.
That’s funny, I had the exact opposite response with KDE4 and Gnome3! I guess that’s one of the strengths of having multiple environments, each to their own :)
Wow, there is a lot of glitches there, and I got it when it hit testing.
Also, I usually don’t do this shameless plug thing here – but I wrote a review too if you want to read it. http://ignorance.kokidokom.net/2011/04/gnome-3-review/
A much better review than mine, and by a guy who also blogs random infocomm stuff laced with a solid dose of anime goodness. Or is it the other way round? Either way, his desktop background rocks.
I'll admit I had reservations about Gnome 3 and the new Gnome-Shell, but having used them for 48 hours now I'm pleasantly surprised... despite some serious artefacting issues!
After years of work, the latest iteration of the Gnome desktop environment was unleashed upon the FLOSS world in late April. Like the fateful KDE 4, Gnome 3 brings with it a slew of controversy, most of which surrounds its fundamental rethink of the typical desktop metaphor... something I personally think has been long overdue.
It's no secret most contemporary desktop environments for *nix have been modelled on Windows. While I could sympathise with their reasons for doing so, Mac OS X demonstrated you don't need be constrained by start menus and taskbars, and it always felt to me as though they were missing an opportunity to be bold and try something new themselves.
So how did they do at it?
My test machine is my venerable IBM ThinkPad X40 with a freshly installed and updated Arch Linux i686. The Intel integrated graphics are crappy, but they sure made it a cinch to get 3D acceleration working with the open xf86-video-intel drivers.
Gnome 3 is also the default version of Gnome in Arch now, and my hat goes off to the team for making it so easy to install.
# pacmam -S gnome
# pacman -S gnome-extra
Like previous Gnome releases, you also need dbus. I went ahead and installed fuse and NetworkManager as well given this was for a laptop I'd be taking to coffee shops and wanting quick WiFi access with.
Having used Gnome 3 for two days at uni and at my favourite coffee shop, I've been surprised at just how responsive and fast the system is even on this old machine (no, really!), and how quickly I've adapted to the Gnome-Shell way of doing things.
Instead of a messy desktop of icons or a Start Menu, Gnome-Shell puts your application shortcuts and active windows behind a screen you activate by merely throwing your mouse into the top left corner. I forgot what rule of GUI design this adheres to, but its the same philosophy behind Mac OS X's application menus: instead of having to specifically aim for something, you just throw the mouse against the screen edge and you're where you want to be. Threshold something, I forget.
When you activate the Gnome-Shell, the screen of icons and active windows takes up the entire screen, which also makes sense to me. The Start Menu on Windows (or KDE) has your complete attention when you're using it, so why limit its size to a tiny box?
Like Mac OS X's dock, your favourite applications are located in a favourites panel for easy access, or you can navigate all your applications in categories. Previews of all your active windows are also contained in a tab, much like Mac OS X's Expose which is vastly superior to Windows's awkward Alt+Tab and cluttered taskbar.
Unfortunately like Windows, Linux applications put their files all over the place so you can't merely expose an Applications folder in a file manager and let users launch what they want, like in Mac OS X. This seems to be an acceptable compromise.
What I'm really excited about however is the quick keyboard application launcher. I religiously use Alfred on my Macs (QS before that) and dmenu on my Linux and BSD boxes, so being able to simply type the name of an application I want and hitting enter is so convenient I'm lost when I go to a machine that doesn't have it!
Unfortunately, while great to use even on this older ThinkPad, there are few glaring problems.
1. For some reason some of the fonts are rendered virtually unintelligible despite installing a ton of FLOSS fonts from pacman before installing xorg.
2. There are persistent white artefacts over much of the UI, specifically corners of windows and icons. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was a CSS border-radius rendering error!
3. Finally, the top bar in Gnome 3 is supposed to be black, but in my setup its completely transparent, and many of the notification icons are missing unless I hover over them with my mouse.
I suspect these issues are PEBKAC though; I'll be enquiring on the Arch forums.
A solid release, and I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying using it! I go back to Xfce on my FreeBSD tower and even my Macs and they feel like a step backwards. I suspect a few of the detractors might like it if they were to actually give it a try. I haven't been this pleasantly surprised by a piece of software in a long time!
I've been running Fedora 13 Goddard on my ThinkPad X40 for the last few days. Aside from some rendering and install issues, things are pretty smooth sailing.
Fedora 13 is the latest version of the Fedora operating system sponsored by Red Hat that I switched over to from Slackware as my Linux of choice last year. On the whole I prefer it to Ubuntu because they keep more of the original Gnome interface in tact, and I've grown to like YUM for installing packages. Pkgsrc works great on Slackware, but being able to simply enter "yum update" is a real boon.
Since toying with Red Hat Linux 5.0 in the bad old days, for some reason the Anaconda installer and my computer hardware have generally not played nicely. I remember wanting to use Red Hat's then-new Bluecurve theme back in the day but I couldn't get past the timezone screen without it crashing, despite the BSDs and Mandrake Linux installing without any issues.
Fortunately Anaconda has worked reasonably well for me since Fedora 12, and aside from the internal ThinkPad TrackPoint mouse not being detected throughout the entire install process (necessitating a ton of [TAB]-ing) things went fairly smoothly.
Of note, I like to configure my own partition layout but for those who just want it installed fresh or to have it overwrite an existing Linux install, Anaconda's new layout was very slick. I also noticed Joe was available as a pre-installed editor option on the software screen; not sure whether that's always been there but throwing that out there for what it's worth :).
A fresh install and a yum update later, Fedora 13 was booting just fine on my ThinkPad X40, the mouse had even been detected which Anaconda couldn't do. The document icons look suspiciously Mac-like, but that's okay because I'm also a Mac user and find them rather fetching!
Now for the bad news. I'm not sure whether it's the new open intel X11 video drivers (with otherwise work beautifully), but unfortunately the interface looks terrible. Icons displayed in menus and toolbars are either poorly rendered with jaggered, ill defined edges or in some cases not even existent. All the default Gnome icon sets and icon sets I've installed myself (I like Nimbus and Tango) look this way.
On a Windows machine I would diagnose this problem as being caused by a low colour depth, but photos and Metacity render gradients and colour just fine, so I'm thinking it must be a GTK issue. Lending support to this theory is that icons in Firefox look the way they should too, which means (I'm assuming) Cairo is okay but plain GTK isn't.
These visual artefacts are not present on the FreeBSD 8.0 partition on this machine, nor were they there in Fedora 12. To make sure the installer didn't do anything funky or forget to install a package, I reinstalled Fedora 13 from a DVD and a USB key from different sources with the same results.
Oh yeah, and Metacity still can't handle double width characters in window titles. I suppose this is an issue with the Gnome folks and not Fedora though, so I'll leave it at that.
As Stewie Griffin would do, I thought I'd structure this review as a compliment sandwich, with positive things on the outside and the negative things in the middle so we end on a high note :).
Firstly, kudos to the Fedora team for continuing to reduce their dependency on Mono! Fedora 12 implemented the beautiful Gnote in place of Tomboy, and with 13 they replaced F-Spot with Shotwell. I have to admit I'd never heard of the Vala language until I read up about Shotwell, it looks really interesting and the perfect antidote to Mono which has always made me feel uneasy. Could Gnome finally be able to compete with KDE and Qt in this regard now?
And of course I'm delighted that a fully featured Python 3.0 stack is now available in the default install! Granted my primary Python haunt is Django, but my personal scripts have been running on 3.0 on my Mac for a long while now, so it'll be great to port them over.
Overall aside from a couple of glitches on my specific hardware, Fedora 13 looks like a solid release.
Gnome 2.30 has been released. It could have been an April Fools joke.
Despite preferring Qt over GTK+ for application development, I still prefer Gnome to KDE4 from a user's perspective, it's almost like comparing Mac OS X to Windows. Gnome is elegant and clean, and while KDE4 has some impressive composting effects they just don't feel well executed. Then again my favourite desktop is still Xfce.
After doing some more experimenting with the unstable release of Debian, I so royally messed up my ThinkPad I decided to wipe it clean and start again! For a change and given 12 is coming in 6 days, I thought I'd try out Fedora. So far I'm impressed. Now if only it could take screenshots and go on standby...!
Given the now defunct Red Hat Linux was the first GNU/Linux distribution I ever used (I bought a boxed version of it from Challenger in Funan Centre!), it was a bit of a nostalgia trip to see the Bluecurve icons in the Anaconda installer... I was using Red Hat Linux before Mac and FreeBSD! To save myself burning another CD I created a bootable USB key from a LiveCD following the easy instructions on the Fedora wiki.
In keeping with the Red Hat tradition I remembered, Fedora ships with Gnome by default. I tend to switch between Gnome and Xfce on different machines, but for notebooks I find the flexible and easy to use Gnome networking tools put it ahead.
Debian and FreeBSD implement Gnome in a fairly vanilla way, but Fedora does things a bit differently which caught me off guard. Fortunately it didn't take long to rearrange the desktop to resemble what I was used to :).
I'm so thoroughly out of practise with RPM having got so used to pkgsrc, FreeBSD ports and Debian's apt-get that I took the easy way out and used gpk-application to install my apps. Curiously, Fedora 11 didn't install the Gnome Configuration Editor which I would have considered to be a core application, nor did it come with Gnome Games so I couldn't get my Python Sudoku and Tetravex freak on, but gpk-application made it easy to get them installed.
I haven't ever felt the need to use the infrared or Bluetooth with this ThinkPad X40 so I can't vouch for whether they work or not. What I can say though is the SD card slot recognised my data card, xorg mostly worked without problems (see below) and the Intel wireless card was detected and connected to a WPA network sooner than I could say our gibberish 64 character password.
Disappointingly, Fedora does have a small quirk that neither Debian or FreeBSD had. Whenever I bring the machine out of standby, the backlight refuses to come on. I can just make out the screen enough to fire up a Terminal and initiate a shutdown so it'll restart and the backlight will come back on, but it's a pain. This ThinkWiki page details a few kernel parameters to define in the grub configuration, but that only seemed to solve the problem for me sometimes.
Also, for some reason taking screenshots results in the same garbled mess as shown at the beginning of the post. This is probably an xorg problem, but it's also one that fresh installs of Debian and FreeBSD didn't have.
Aside from the standby issue, so far so good. I've got the OpenSolaris Nimbus theme installed for a change (look at that, my ThinkPad looks like the computers at uni!) and am finding it to be a productive environment to work in.
From my experience I reckon Fedora and Slackware with the Slackbook are the the closest any Linux distribution has come to the FreeBSD Handbook. Fedora's online documentation is excellent, and their wiki contains a ton of useful information.
I'm counting down the days until Fedora 12, here's hoping it irons out some of these bugs. I've got too much work and studying to do to chase them down myself!
Given my MacBook Pro's sudden loss of a screen I've had to rely on my ThinkPad X40 with Debian to be my mobile workhorse not just a netbook while I get it fixed. As such I've decided to start a small series of posts on how to make the Gnome desktop more Mac like. Riveting stuff!
If you're used to Mac OS X, the title bar buttons all seem to be in the wrong places in Unix like desktop environments. In KDE and Xfce it's easy to modify their positioning, but in Gnome you have to use the Configuration Editor.
Fire up the Configuration Editor from the Applications > System Tools menu, then expand out the
apps folder, then the
metacity, then click
general. The eighth item down is titled
button_label and by default has the following:
You can emulate the layout of Mac OS X by changing it to:
Note the American spelling, a few times I wrote that line and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working, turns out I was spelling the words with s not z!
These steps are current as of Gnome 2.26.1.
This might be an old feature, but its one I've found wildly useful: the ability to set locations in the panel clock. Other desktops let you do this, but it's all the little extras that Gnome does. Perhaps KDE 4.2 does, I haven't had the chance to try yet.
When you define a series of locations they appear on a map of the world complete with an approximate night/day cast. Under the map each location is shown with digital and analogue clocks, and what I've found absolutely brilliant is each timezone is displayed relative to where you are, NOT to GMT! For example I can see Singapore is 1:30 behind us here in Adelaide, and Jim Kloss is 17:30 behind.
By default it's turned off, but if you use Gnome click the clock on your panel and click Locations.