Community Blogs

Canto in Fluxbox


How to Canto

Canto is a python RSS reader that sits in a terminal. Screenshot:

It is highly configurable, and fairly easy to use.
I have mine sitting in a pre built xfce-terminal window for ease of use. You can of course, just use a regular terminal and invoke "canto", but it just won't be nearly as fun.
Read more... Comment (0)

Event sounds in Fluxbox


Sound events in fluxbox

How to add event sounds to any fluxbox menu item.
This includes the login and logout sounds, as well as sounds for exit to login and restart fluxbox, and any other item you wish to have open with a sound event.
Read more... Comment (0)

Fluxbox Transparency with xcompmgr



How to have decent transparency and fading in fluxbox using xcompmgr.

It used to be an issue to have composite effects with fluxbox. Not anymore.

Screenshot: **Here**
Read more... Comment (0)

Hello World!

Hello World!

Ubuntu 9.04 InstallFest: Recap

Today I attended the Ubuntu 9.04 InstallFest in Atlanta, and as always, the event was a shining example of the Linux community in action.  Free from debates, namecalling, and other disputes that have become the stereotypical Linux discussion, people were helping each other, discussing new ideas, and installing the latest version of Ubuntu, 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. 

Roughly 25-30 people showed up throughout the day, and there were many new faces.  I'm looking forward to the next InstallFest coming in November, and thanks to all who came out today!


Exciting Future of the Linux Desktop

Below is a list of exciting projects happening in the Linux ecosystem. This is a list I've compiled over time from reading, the "distro planets", and developer blogs.  Not all of these things have arrived yet - many are a work in progress. For each project, I've provided short summaries and links for further reading. Don't forget to leave a comment! ;-]

The Popular Stuff: 

  • Gnome3.0 - GnomeLive
    • a new 3D-accelerated UI for the Gnome Desktop.
  • Compiz++ - smspillaz
    • a "better suited" C++ rewrite. Its future is uncertain - it may become a WM in future because of Gnome Shell.

The Low-Level Jungle: 


  • Btrfs - BtrfsWiki
    • what will be the most modern and featureful filesystem to date.
  • Kernel ModeSetting - KernelNewbies
    • a new way of managing video cards that provides a Flicker-Free & native resolution gfx experience. Makes running X non-root possible and thus, safer.
  • Gallium3D - TungstenGraphics
    • a new driver development model/core that is based on modern hardware; will provide for simpler, smaller drivers that can run multiple graphics APIs.
The Inter-Distro *Kits of Unity:
  • DeviceKit - Creator's Blog
    • a cleaner hal reimplementation that will leave device management to udev.
  • PolicyKit - Creator's Blog
    • a dbus-like privilege-escalation model to replace apps running as root.
  • ConsoleKit - Fedora[FUSA]
    • an common framework for handling FUSA and session management.
  • PackageKit - Creator's Blog
    • an interdistro package manager that works on multiple backends.
And if these weren't cool enough, just take a peak at the F11 feature list.

The Cult of the Terminal

I just signed up for a group celebrating the Terminal. It's weird that I would join a group where, in plumbing, this would be the equivalent of celebrating a monkey wrench. I still like the terminal (it certainly makes my job a hell of a lot easier). But preferring the terminal to the GUI strikes me as a bit odd.

It's not so much that the terminal is better conceptually than a GUI but that in practice most OSS GUI's are wretched. There's very little fore-thought, and the lack of design acumen simply makes using them a drag.

When a GUI is terrific, it stays out of your way and allows you to accomplish your goals in a simple manner. Your web browser is a good instance of it. You simply type in your desired destination, et voila! It brings you to a page that will betray you with a good old Rickrolling.

What I'm trying to get at is that there's not a whole lot to terminal output design, but there is for graphical design. Therefore, it requires a whole lot more care than it currently receives from the OSS camp. With positive iterative GUI design improvements though, the terminal will become less and less necessary (and that won't be a bad thing). The KDE project is doing some pretty fascinating things with the desktop, and it's getting to be less that I want to fuss over the irrelevant (read: distracting) details.

I love the terminal, I use it a lot. At the end of the day though, it's just a tool. When there's a better tool, I'll drop it like a bad habit.


Simple scripting to save your Wifi connection

Wireless device support and stability have come a long way in Linux since i started using Ubuntu a few years ago.

Now and again though, something can happen to make you lose your wireless connection.  Many people solve this by restarting network manager or by simply restarting the computer.  

With a small script file, you can restart your wireless driver when its on the fritz, quicly and easily.

First create a file: 

gksudo gedit /usr/local/bin/name-of-file

Then add the script code:


modprobe -r your-wireless-device
modprobe your-wireless-device

Save and close your file and give permissions to run it:

sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/name-of-file

Finall, run the script by typing in the terminal:

sudo name-of-file


Hope this helps some people, not only with keeping you wifi going strong, but also with how to implement simple scripts to make computing easier and funner.





Excellent Beginning Python Series on LinuxPlanet

Hey all,

I wish to shamelessly plug a series of excellent Python articles on LinuxPlanet. Akkana Peck, ace coder and all-around cool person, has been writing a series of howtos for Python beginners.  Python is a great language for anyone wanting to learn to code; it has a nice clean syntax, an orderly structure, and because it's an interpreted language you don't have to mess with compiling and linking and all those fun things. Which are fun, after you get a grounding in a nice interpreted language like Python.

Intro to Shell Programming: Writing a Simple Web Gallery
GUI Programming in Python For Beginners: Create a Timer in 30 Minutes
Graphical Python Programming With PyGTK

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!


Buying or Building - System Options

I'm probably slightly older than the average member here at at 47 years of age. I was an early... and a late comer to computers. How could I be both? Well, it's a long story. Go grab that cup of coffee you wanted. I'll wait for you to get back...

My actual career, which no longer exists in the U.S., was RF communication (radio) and audio repair specialist. I was something you may have heard your dad talk about... a component level bench technician. I did this for about twenty years. Then one day I woke up and my job had moved to Korea, then on to China, eventually.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s I was in college learning about microprocessors and machine language. Some of you older folks might remember the 8080A, 8085, and the Z80 processors. They were the bleeding edge of the technology at that time. Nowadays, they're used to control sprinkler timer systems to keep your neighbor's grass pretty and green.

My first experience with what you might call a modern computer was the Commodore Vic 20. It was a pretty amazing machine at the time. Shortly after that I acquired a Commodore SX-64 briefcase computer system. This thing was the cat's meow. Let me tell you! It had a built-in 5¼" floppy, a game slot, and a 5" color monitor. With 64K, you were rockin' and rollin'. Here's what one looked like:

It has a 300 Baud modem that I used to access Compuserve and some local BBS (electronic bulletin boards). Lotsa' fun! I wasted hours with this thing online or playing text-based adventure games like Infocom's Zork series. Shortly after this time (early 80s), I moved on in life and left the computer in the closet collecting dust. 

One day in '93, I was at my brother's office. He showed me his new system. It was a 486 DX-66 running a new operating system called Windows. Cool! This thing was amazing compared to my old Commodore. Time went on by... Early in 2000, my brother asked my advice about purchasing a new personal computer system. He knew I had friends who were big muckity-mucks locally for the Gateway store. I set my brother up with them. He got a nice new system.

He called me a few days later and asked if I'd like his old system. He knew that I didn't have a computer. At this time, I had just started flirting around with the World Wide Web and USENET using a friend's system or the one at the public library. I told my brother that I would definitely like that old system. I went over to his place and picked it up right away.

It was a Pentium I 90 with a 2Gig hard drive and 64M RAM. It was running Windows 98SE. With that little system, I entered what was to me the modern computer age. This Windows stuff was pretty cool! Oops! What's this blue screen error notice I get once or twice a day?

Hey! This is frustrating!  Heh-heh. Ah... the memories.

Anyway, that's when I became a serious USENET/boards/forums junkie. To me the Internet is about two things: knowledge and community. I've spent the last nine years partaking of both. So, getting to the point of this entire, long-winded posting... is it better to buy or build your own systems?

For me, with my technical experience, it's much better to build I can build a very customized, top-of-the-line machine for about a third of what it would cost me to buy one. That's how the ericsbane series started. I built ericsbane01 with an AMD K7 Thunderbird CPU. I built ericsbane02 with an AMD Athlon 2600+. And I built my current ericsbane03 with an AMD Athlon XP-64 3800+. Yeah, I kinda' like AMD processors.

Building your own system is not for everyone, but it's really not that difficult. Do your research. Price your hardware and peripherals. Put it all together. Install your favorite GNU/Linux distro and you're all set.

Until next time...

V. T. Eric Layton

***Tempus Fugits***

Page 121 of 137

Upcoming Linux Foundation Courses

  1. LFD312 Developing Applications For Linux
    05 Jan » 09 Jan - Virtual
  2. LFS220 Linux System Administration
    05 Jan » 08 Jan - Virtual
  3. LFD331 Developing Linux Device Drivers
    12 Jan » 16 Jan - Virtual

View All Upcoming Courses

Who we are ?

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit consortium dedicated to the growth of Linux.

More About the foundation...

Frequent Questions

Join / Linux Training / Board