Dear Lifehacker…

Dear Lifehacker,

I’ve noticed your new feature showing different desktops. Some of them are quite pretty, including the one you posted last night.

Not everyone, though, treats computers as an extension of darkly secret and unfulfilled ambitions to be an interior decorator. Some of us actually use our computers to accomplish tasks — to work and get stuff done. And, ultimately, it’s that utilitarian philosophy that leads us from playing with widgets and decorations to a more functional environment.

I’m submitting my own desktop for your consideration — so your readers will see how people can use computers to actually do stuff beyond add to the ambiance of their living rooms, offices, or (in some cases in which your readers haven’t left the nest yet) their parents’ basements. To further leverage bizarre bazaar, which I installed yesterday to get one thing in particular (see my previous post about that), I decided to see what else I could install. Among a few trivial things, I decided last night to follow emacs development (separate post forthcoming on setting up emacs-development on CentOS/SL 6).

This is my current desktop. I’m running Gnome 2.28.2 in CentOS 6. I usually run emacs maximized or fullscreen, sans menu-bar or tool-bar (I need to fix the bleeping scroll-bar while I’m thinking of it). Can’t tell it’s Gnome? Cool, because I often can’t tell that your featured desktops are running XP because they have so much stuff hiding that fact.

I usually run emacs in a GNU screen pseudo-terminal, but to appeal to your fancier tastes here’s the GTK2 bells and whistles. Neat, huh. I can browse (w3m), e-mail (various mail clients), edit, chat (erc), and even view images right inside emacs. I also enabled the widgetry to show clock, CPU temperature, and battery charge. For what it’s worth (if it helps a desktop like mine make your feature), I have three emacsen on this laptop: the version from CentOS base, this one, and sxemacs (not counting mg among emacsen, but it’s also installed on this).

I can try a different internal theme (currently wombat) if it still doesn’t reach your aesthetic threshold. If this isn’t fancy enough, I can post a picture of the version I compiled for my older laptop last night (Sabayon, ratpoison, compiled without-x and running inside screen).

Very sarcastically yours,
lucky :-P

4 Responses to “Dear Lifehacker…”

  1. John Malkovich Says:

    I know where you’re getting !! A matrix like Interface, which I was really seeking, since I really hate the desperate attempts of Linux communities to imitate windows and some times, Linux GUI Distros seems a lot slower than Windows 7 … I really miss that Gnome Look of the old RED HAT 6.

    If really wish if you can make your post into a distro, then I would gladly and others too will be to try it and most probably stick with it. It’s kinda ” Give Linux Back its real identity “.

    Hope I understood your post, because truly Linux GUIz are disgusting … For the living room moments it’s better to use windows.

    waiting your reply

    • lucky Says:

      Sorry you had to wait so long but I’ve been really busy and had a lot of issues to deal with over the past year or so.

      Over that time span, I spent a lot of time wondering wtf gnome developers were thinking. I tried different approaches to gnome3 and really despised them all. That includes several months trying to get along with Unity. Be glad you were spared my thoughts on it and some of the BS Ubuntu has pulled. Actually, I’ll probably write something up about that shortly.

      I don’t like reinventing wheels but I’m glad that there are viable forks in “sensible” code like MATE (Gnome 2). I’m still running Scientific 6.x on my netbook and sometimes I wonder why in the world developers tried to fix what wasn’t broken. Or worse, broke what was already fixed.

      I usually revert to what works for me no matter what developers push my way. When some dipshit decides jwm should have rounded corners and transparency, I recompile it without all that (and without icons and so on). It’s one thing when it’s aesthetic like that, another when there are very glaring performance issues like using certain applications full screen in that window manager. What’s REALLY important — how it works or how it functions? I don’t care how it looks if it works correctly and predictably.

  2. Alexandre Dantas Says:

    Hello, there!
    Saw your post on GNU Screen and now this one. I’m kinda in doubt.
    Since I want to live on the command-line as much as possible, would you recommend me try GNU Screen and lots of apps or go straight for emacs? I’ve heard that emacs is practically an operating system of it’s own.
    How long did you take to master emacs?

    • lucky Says:

      Sorry for the delay in approving and replying. Last question first. I’m not sure one really ever masters emacs. And I find emacs is easier to use in a console than wrapped up in GTK stuff. But that’s me.

      As far as living in a terminal and running multiple apps in it, that’s a personal call. I still find many console apps better than what I can either find or hack in emacs. That includes music players even though I’m as likely to set up something to run from dired (setting up mplayer to play a file) as setting up mocp (which is probably my favorite music player and which I’ve run/controlled within emacs).

      That said, right now on my big laptop I’m currently running an LXDE-based distro and using my heavily customized jwm configs instead of openbox (though I’m starting to use openbox more than I used to and with similar configs). I also use ratmen(u) with a custom keybinding to manage mocp. That’s usually easier than finding it in whatever screen pseudoterminal or running commands/aliases to handle it; one keybinding (shift-window key m) and I have a menu that lets me control in mocp whatever I want.

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