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Topic: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux (Read 6462 times)

  • Belfrager
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The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
The alternative title would be: Everything you always wanted to know about Linux but always were afraid to ask...

So, as you can see bellow my avatar, I'm posting under Linux. :)

Well, not entirely exact... I'm just experiencing Linux, I didn't installed it yet.
That's a good thing Linux has. You can see it "working" before install it.

Not only you can get a feeling about what this thing is but you can also see the kind of trouble you're in... :)
First thing I noticed is that I can connect to the Internet. Nice.
The second one is that I have no sound...

But first things first.
Linux comes in a seemingly endless variety of "distributions" (the natives calls it "distros") and "flavours".
Don't worry, they're basically the same just wrapped into different appearances to better catch us, the Windows Knights.

I've chosen a particularly attractive specimen that goes by the name of "Ubuntu Mate". She told me that she would be very light on consuming my old laptop resources so I kept her... besides "mating" was something that seemed to me interesting.

Now, for the scientific part. You have three options for the most of these distributions.
1. Install it. (no more windows)
2. Dual boot. (you'll have a screen asking you each time you open the pc what operative system you want to use)
3. What I've done so far. See how it works.

The third option will allow you to, if you want, jump to the second. Not my plan, I intend to jump directly into the enemy's territory... :)

To be continued... (depending on my mood... and survival :) )
A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #50
System-wide config tends to reside in /etc, but for most of your daily purposes thing'll just be stored in your home directory (/home/Belfrager or whatever :P). Meaning you could just reuse that entire thing, although that might not always be the best idea.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #51
/etc? what a name for storing important things... :)
Well, it seems to be the right place, it's full of enigmatic content.

I need to study it, /home/Belfrager directory being just the windows like division for storing documents, music, pictures, etc.
(And nope, it's not Belfrager.  :P )
A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #52
If you're interested, you can find out what the directories mean here. I agree that /etc sounds somewhat odd. Much (but not all) of your own config is in ~/.config (~ is a shorthand for /home/username). Putting a . in front of a file or directory name makes it hidden.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #53
Ah, thank you very much Sir Frenzie.
Most material in the internet is written by Americans and they don't know how to explain things. Even worst are the videos, no patience.  :whistle:
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #54

I have been quite satisfied with Xfce for long now, but lately some minor details get on my nerves. In Openbox and i3wm I can tell specific programs to spawn a certain kind of window. For example VLC to launch Always On Top. And when I need to toggle Always On Top away, I can configure midclick or something similar really simple for this. Not so in Xfce (xfwm). This is why I have been using Openbox as the window manager for Xfce for a while now.

I didn't know Openbox could do that.

Openbox does everything like Xfce and is generally more configurable, except for two things that matter to me.

1. There's no inbuilt drag-and-snap feature. (Snapping and tiling by keybinds can be emulated though, without any need for external apps, and it works better than in Xfce, if configured carefully.) 
2. The titlebar ellipsis occurs in the middle of the titlebar text, instead of truncating the end of it. I need to read filenames from VLC's titlebar, but I can't quite do it in Openbox. In Openbox, I have to enable VLC's statusbar to see the filenames properly. I have not found how this titlebar ellipsis could be configured (without recompiling, I mean).

Other than the annoyance #2, Openbox is the most perfect window manager for the way I work.

My first encounter with Openbox was on Crunchbang. This is a Debian-based distro where Openbox is configured to perfection out of the box. It needed hardly any tweaking after the installation. (Except that I was not so happy with Debian.)

My second encounter with Openbox was on Manjaro. Manjaro used to provide an official Openbox version, but it required some tweaking to get it right for the way I work. This nice tutorial got me started https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5RO9H2bw9U



When someone is looking for a lightweight window manager, I recommend Openbox above anything else. But when someone is looking for the absolute best window manager in the Linux world, then that's Cinnamon.

Besides looking nicer and feeling more comfortable than any other window manager, Cinnamon provides more features and configuration options for snapping and tiling, titlebar handling and window layers than Xfce. These are the features that matter to me most.

At the same time, there are some annoyances in Cinnamon.

1. A window on the top layer sometimes stays on top of a fullscreened app. Fullscreen should always get priority over everything else.
2. A window set to display on all workspaces seems to occasionally lose its all-workspaces status for no apparent reason.
3. The design of the sound applet (the volume icon) is just plain wrong in principle. And it's getting worse.
4. There's a neat highly useful window list button in systray that lists windows on all workspaces. I wish it could be set under Alt-Tab like in Openbox. Probably there's a downloadable applet that does this, but I haven't found it. Instead of ruining the built-in sound applet, Alt-Tab should have development priority as a highly configurable built-in core feature. (Cycling windows on all workspaces is still available via Ctrl-Alt-Tab.)

Cinnamon developers also provide Linux Mint, indisputably the best distribution for Linux newcomers. In my opinion, Mint fully deserves its #1 fame.



Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. Ubuntu was originally a comfortably installable Debian, but now Mint is an improvement over Ubuntu.

Debian is a respectable historical distro. There are a number of respectable, more fundamental distros that provide the base for derivative distributions. Debian originally provided the base for its derivative Ubuntu, but now Ubuntu is independent to the extent that it's itself the base for innumerable other distros.

Fundamental distros are often hard (geeky) to install, such as Slackware, Arch or Gentoo. I have never even tried those. So it's nice to have derivative distros that make fundamental distros easy to install. Salix is a comfortably installable version of Slackware. Manjaro is a comfortably installable version of Arch. Sabayon is a comfortably installable version of Gentoo.

PS Microwatt R8 (wattOS) also has a reasonably well configured Openbox, but the more recent Microwatt R9 features the tiling i3wm instead.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #55
for the way I work.

You work in a very complicated way... :)
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #56

for the way I work.

You work in a very complicated way... :)

It only seems this way when I explain it. It's true that I waste a lot of time tweaking things, trying to figure out ways to be more efficient. But this is okay because it has indeed substantially reduced my work load and it's an important hobby for me at the same time.

Here's a little about my workflow.

1. Point the home browser to my job intranet.
2. Download a bunch of sound files to harddisk.
3. Play the files as a list in VLC.
4. Open up the editor on top of the browser (because I insist on maximum space for composing texts).
5. Since the editor is on top of the intranet interface where I must see some stuff, make the editor transparent.
6. In order to not lose VLC while switching between other windows, VLC must be set Always On Top (and I actually use several workspaces, so VLC must be Omnipresent or Show on All Desktops too), but to keep it reasonably out of the way, it has to sit in screen corner with just the essential info and buttons visible.



I just booted into Manjaro Mate. Last time was almost a year ago. This edition has considerably improved. Mate, Xfce and Cinnamon are equivalent in most ways. Preference between them comes down to taste and familiarity. Only some more advanced aspects may prove decisive when choosing between them.

For example, if I wanted to embed Openbox or some other window manager into the desktop environment, I think I'd have to pick Xfce. If I wanted a screensaver nicely integrated with the desktop environment, then I'd have to go for Mate or Cinnamon, whereof Cinnamon has more other bells and whistles (literally, for example sound themes).

This screensaver/screenlocker detail is important because Wine apps invariably crash for me when I lock Xfce which directs into login manager. But in Mate, both under Manjaro and Mint, I have noticed that compositing (=the transparency effect) is not switched on by default. I wonder why.

Mint's Cinnamon has the best uniform app interface design in the world. In other distros, Cinnamon fails to provide a menubar and a sensible titlebar in Evince and Gedit, but Mint still does it. In Mint Cinnamon, Evince and Gedit are probably patched somehow. (Don't look for Evince and Gedit in Mate. Their equivalents in Mate are Atril and Pluma. And it's good this way.)

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #57
1. Point the home browser to my job intranet.

Leave the job. You'll spare all the other subsequent steps. :)

Until now I find most of these Ubuntu apps to have maybe too much childish level kind of options and settings. But if this gives me processing and memory power then that's enough. The more I use computers the less I have patience for waiting and spending my precious time around these idiotic machines.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #58

The more I use computers the less I have patience for waiting and spending my precious time around these idiotic machines.

Same here. Which is why I take the time and make the effort to figure out how to automate tasks ever more efficiently.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #59
Yes, I understand that Ersi, it's a matter of sagesse. :)




Now, I have a problem under Linux, I'm needing three different browsers.

  • One, Firefox, fails to render my rss feeds aggregator (netvibes), it says that particular website doesn't allow for something (iframe?) wich is false, it works perfectly with other browsers.

  • The other, Otter, fails to keep cookies, what forces me to login every time I enter DnD and other sites. No patience.
    (keep the excellent work, Emdek, I look forward to Otter to become my only browser. :) )

  • The third, Midori, it's a very honest, light and clean browser, that also reminds me the old Opera, but the bookmark system it's horrible. Besides, it also crashes with one of my daily newspapers.


:mad:
A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #60
Firefox is the browser that should be compatible with just about everything. I don't understand why it wouldn't work.

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #61
- I just tried to subscribe to Netvibes with FF. What's the issue you are having?
- I also get cookie problems with Otter, when I block all and then allow them per-site. And certificates throw up repeated warnings.
- Midori could be nice, but somehow isn't (crashy, and the direction of the development is lately to remove options instead of adding them). Qupzilla also has its quirks. I only have them these days if they were on board from the beginning and I didn't care to uninstall them.

My home browser for the last few years has been Seamonkey. I keep also Opera 11 around for the mailer and for sentimental reasons.

Firefox because I see no reason to uninstall it. When I borrow my computer to someone else, they usually use FF. I have zero interest in Vivaldi these days, but sustained interest in the likes of Luakit, Qutebrowser, Elinks...

And I made this post in Otter, which is one of the browsers where DnD cookies are intact. I have forgotten the password :(

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #62
And I made this post in Otter, which is one of the browsers where DnD cookies are intact. I have forgotten the password  :(

You can simply reset your password provided the e-mail address you provided is still current?

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #63
Firefox is the browser that should be compatible with just about everything. I don't understand why it wouldn't work.

It did. Recently Netvibes stopped displaying some websites content and says "this website prevents embedding via iframe" but it works perfectly with any other browser so the sites aren't preventing anything.

The main reason I still need to use Firefox it's because Otter and Midori freezes/crashes with a pt daily newspaper, a problem with scripting. Disabling scripts prevents freezing but makes that I lost the hability for reading each article's second page.
Firefox was fabulous against IE, these days it irritates me with all those extensions.

Meanwhile a new Otter install solved the cookies thing. It seems that I need not to login each time.
Probably the repeated amount of times I had to shut it down abruptly did damage something.

By the way, I just remembered that I need to see if Tor works well in Linux.
This never stops...
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #64
 ersi wants to move the mouse pointer by means of keyboard.


Hard to do in Linux. Windows apparently has a tool for it http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000542.htm

Specifically, I sometimes want to centre the pointer to the focused window by hitting a key on the keyboard. That's it.

When you cycle to the wanted window by keybind, but your mouse pointer is elsewhere and you have "focus follows mouse" switched on, then the selected window will lose focus. To keep the focus in these cirumstances, the mouse pointer must be centred to the window. Since cycling occurred by keybind, it would be convenient to centre the mouse pointer also by keybind, not by reaching for mouse.

Searching the net for a solution, I found that there's a Sawfish extension that does it http://sawfish.wikia.com/wiki/Move-resize-by-key-cursor "If mouse is not used for doing move/resize, the cursor will be placed in a good position for moving/resizing using keyboard."

Except that I have no plans to use Sawfish. I also found a tool called xwit but this apparently doesn't distinguish windows by focused versus unfocused to move the mouse pointer. It can only select/focus the window that is currently under the pointer or move the pointer relative to windows identified by other features than focus.

Looks like this minimal move for the mouse pointer by keybinds would be something for window managers in general to consider, specify and implement. For example it would be cool to have "focus mouse pointer to the selected window" as an option in window cycling (Alt-Tab).

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #65
Hard to do in Linux.

Maybe, maybe not. :) (NB I haven't actually tried it myself.)

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #66

Hard to do in Linux.

Maybe, maybe not. :) (NB I haven't actually tried it myself.)

Wow, it works as described for Windows! Like this:

- Do setxkbmap -option keypad:pointerkeys
- press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+NumLk

Now the number keys in numpad move the pointer. However,

- 5 does not move the pointer. It only focuses the window that resides currently under the pointer.
- My specific request to bring the pointer, either by means of a keypress or automatically upon cycling, to the currently focused window remains unaddressed. Only Sawfish has an extension for it, as far as I have found.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #67
* ersi wants to move the mouse pointer by means of keyboard.

You can do it with a wacom tablet and a pressure pen. It adds a new vector, pressure, over all the 360 degrees directions.
Up, down, left and right seems to me very limited in terms of directionality. Very squared kind of movements, you'll miss circles and spirals, the biologic movements.
You'll die.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #68

Up, down, left and right seems to me very limited in terms of directionality. Very squared kind of movements, you'll miss circles and spirals, the biologic movements.
You'll die.

Actually, it moves diagonally too.

Anyway, my plan was not to replace my awesome newly acquired Kensington trackball with keyboard. I had a slightly different specific aim: To centre the mouse pointer on the active window either automatically or by a single keypress.

After more searching, I found that a thing called Autohotkey does it for Windows, among many other functions it has. In my opinion, this simple mouse pointer move should be part of window managers' specification in general.

Edit: Here's a link http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=16997.msg158575#msg158575
  • Last Edit: 2015-11-18, 11:17:48 by ersi

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #69
After more searching, I found that a thing called Autohotkey does it for Windows, among many other functions it has. In my opinion, this simple mouse pointer move should be part of window managers' specification in general.

A few years ago I read that autokey is basically the Linux AutoHotkey equivalent, but I'm not sure whether it's currently still maintained nor have I tried it.

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #70
Thanks for the tip, Frenzie. This version seems perhaps more update https://github.com/guoci/autokey-py3

But it's a thing that does too much. Learning to use wmctrl (a dependency of autokey) would achieve the same effect.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #71
But it's a thing that does too much. Learning to use wmctrl (a dependency of autokey) would achieve the same effect.

Eh, you could say something similar about devilspie2. To do the things I'd want to do with wmctrl I'd have to write something that'd essentially be devilspie2. But I've never used AutoHotkey or autokey, myself. Do they have any sample scripts to illustrate what one would use it for?

  • ersi
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #72

But it's a thing that does too much. Learning to use wmctrl (a dependency of autokey) would achieve the same effect.

Eh, you could say something similar about devilspie2. To do the things I'd want to do with wmctrl I'd have to write something that'd essentially be devilspie2. But I've never used AutoHotkey or autokey, myself. Do they have any sample scripts to illustrate what one would use it for?

Autokey has a wiki https://code.google.com/p/autokey/wiki/ContributedScripts and Autohotkey has forums.

I have thought about devilspie2 and pytyle3 earlier, but didn't use them. They do things that in my opinion the window manager itself should provide somewhere somehow via configs. And what devilspie and pytyle provide, I don't need too badly. I don't even need the autocentring of the pointer too badly. I can drag the pointer with the trackball or on the trackpad as I've done thus far, until it occurs to more people that autocentring to the focused window would be a nice touch, just like focus-follows-mouse is a nice thing to use in netbooks.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #73
They do things that in my opinion the window manager itself should provide somewhere somehow via configs.

Eh, the Unix philosophy is basically more dedicated relatively simple tools rather than one super complicated tool. On the other hand a window manager could do these things more organically, like right clicking on the Skype titlebar to tell it to always start minimized or in the background. But I might like it even more if that were just a GUI for e.g. devilspie2, much like the monitor configuration dialogs are a GUI for xrandr.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The adventures of an Windows Knight at the Wild-Lands of Linux
Reply #74
Upgraded from Ubuntu Mate 14 to 15.10 via software update built in app. Strangely, everything went fine or so it seems.
Notice no differences...
A matter of attitude.