Ayatana Project

The other day, I ran across the Ayatana Project.  I guess that is the parent project for some of the applets at the top of the Ubuntu desktop.  The home for the project is here.

I noticed that they have a Evolution indicator.  A Thunderbird version might be nice, and a GMail version would be even better for me.

The indicator applet is what got me started looking at this project.  I currently have Empathy (allows me Google-Talk access) and Evolution in this applet.  I saw a question about Skype, which looked really great.  I would love to see what else they can put in here, like GMail, Skype, Facebook, etc.

Gnome Keyring Password Issue

I just upgraded my desktop to Xubuntu 9.04, and my Gnome Keyring password quite working.  This meant that I could not connect to wireless with the network manager.

So, I deleted the file $HOME/.gnome2/keyring/default.keyring.  I had to reenter the passwords, but this was no problem because it is a Desktop that is only on one network.

Hope it helps someone else.

Resources

XRandr

I found that the xrandr features did not work with my NVidia driver in my old laptop.  I had to use the nvidia-settings tool, which worked with shortcomings.  But, my new laptop has an Intel video card.  The xrandr works with it.

Here are the commands that are working for me:

switching to dual monitors

xrandr --output VGA --auto --output LVDS --auto --right-of VGA

What did not work:

  • Leaves a black section on three quarters of the bottom of my laptop LCD panel.
  • only puts the applications menu and application switcher on the external Monitor -- I would rather it be on the LCD panel
  • Only displays the monitor at 1024x768 @60hz.  I need it higher than 60hz for the flicker.

switching back to a single monitor

xrandr  --output VGA --off

What did not work:

  • did not move my windows back to the center, may have been because it thought they were on the left screen.

Changes to xorg.conf

I had to add the virtual setting in the Screen section.  Also, I had to add the mode to make the monitor use a 85hz instead of 60hz.

What did not work:

  • I have to start XWindows with the external monitor unplugged.  Otherwise, the laptop uses the 1024x768 setting from the monitor for the laptop screen, which is normally 1440x900.

Resources

Screenlets

From Desklets to Screenlets

I tried to install gDesklets, but I had trouble with them.  I found a post that explained how to do it in Ubuntu.  And, I found a package in the Fedora repository for yum.  But, I had the following problems:

  • I never could get the good weather applet to work.
  • I couldn’t get the shortcut key to work for bringing them to the front.
  • The icon displayed by the clock, but it didn’t seem to do anything when I clicked on it (either left or right click)

So, I decided to try screenlets instead.  Maybe I am a little impatient, but I had had trouble with them in Ubuntu too.  I thought a change of scenery might me nice.

Installing Screenlets

To save you a few steps, you might want to run the following command right now.  That will save you from the errors I got as I went through:

yum install python-devel gnome-python2-gnomekeyring

I found the installation instructions on the FAQ.  I found the latest download on the main page at launch pad. I downloaded it to my Download directory and ran the following in a terminal:

cd ~/Download
tar -xzvf screenlets-0.1.1.tar.gz
cd screenlets
sudo python setup.py install

I did get the following error:

error: invalid Python installation: unable to open /usr/lib/python2.5/config/Makefile (No such file or directory)

That was easily fixed by using yum to install python-devel (see this post).

At this point, screenlets was installed, but the next step was to configure it.  I ran:

screenlets-manager

That command gave me this error message:

ImportError: No module named gnomekeyring

This was easily fixed by using yum to install gnome-python2-gnomekeyring (see this post).

After fixing that, the Screenlets Manager opened, and that was all that I had to do.  I rebooted at that point, not that I had to, but I wanted to for another reason.  Amazingly enough, the screenlets was already running by the clock.  I didn't need to do anything to get it to auto start.

Adding Screenlets

I chose to add the following screenlets:

  • Battery: Displays the battery status of my laptop
  • GMail: I added my email address, and it displays how many messages I have unread
  • Weather: I added my zip code, and it shows the weather for my area
  • SysMonitor: Displayed info about my computer
  • DigiClock: A simple digital clock

Displaying/Hiding

When I first added the screenlets, they were on the top all of the time.  But, I found that I could hide them by making them a widget and removing the Keep Above option:

right click > Window > Widget (checked)
right click > Window > Keep above (unchecked)

Then, I had to configure Compiz.  I opened the CompizConfig Settings Manager, and found Widget Layer under Desktop.  I checked this option, and then looked at the settings.  F9 was the shortcut key, and I added the bottom right corner as another option.

Installing More Screenlets

  • Download the screenlet you wish to install (you don't need to unzip it)
  • Open the Screenlets Manager
  • Click the Install option on the left panel
  • Choose "Install Screenlet"
  • Browse to the location where you saved the screenlet
  • Find the new Screenlet in the list and start it

Here are the additional Screenlets I downloaded:

Customizing Fedora 9

Now that my 3D driver is working, I can play with making things look nice (or, at least different).  Here are some of the things I did:

Installed the Zekton font.  To do so, I downloaded the tar file.  I unzipped it into my Download directory and copied the files to /usr/share/fonts/zekton.

I installed Emerald and got it working.  I lost track of the steps that I went through, and so, I am not the best resource for how to do this.  But, basically, I installed the emerald package from yum along with the compiz-fusion packages.

One package that was very helpful was the ccsm package.  It provided a menu by the clock that would allow me to pick Emerald as the Window decorator or restart it if something broke.  It also had a quick link to the emerald settings and the compiz settings.  To get it to start automatically, I had to add “fusion-icon” to the session (System > Preferences > Personal > Sessions).

Next, I downloaded and installed the Smoke theme.  I used the Emerald Theme Manager to install the theme, and then, I tweaked it a little:

  • Changed the Title/Text Font to “Zekton Bold | 10″
  • Changed the Minimum Title Bar Height to 9
  • Vertical Button Offset to 2
  • Horizontal Button Offset to 4

I tried to update the login screen, but that proved to be a little more difficult.  Here are some links that might help, if you want to try it:

Resources

Gnome-Look.org

Linux Mac Crossover

I found an interesting article today about making Linux look like a Mac.  The thing is that I don’t necessarily want to go all the way, but I would like to steal a few things from their side of the world.

Make Your Linux Desktop Look Like A Mac – Mac4Lin Project Documentation

The big thing that caught my eye was the AWM on page 3.   I had trouble following the instructions though.  These instructions worked a little better:

HOWTO: functional eye-candy with Avant-Window-Navigator and Affinity

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