Archive for the ‘ion3’ Category

New-Old Laptop Update – 20091106

November 6, 2009

I looked at Distrowatch to see what was happening with various distros and downloaded a few ISOs. Among the candidates for my new-old laptop were Debian (Xfce/lxde), OpenBSD 4.6, Slackware 13, and Mandriva-One KDE 2010. I narrowed it down after a little thinking and only burned the images for Slackware and OpenBSD. I was open to looking at KDE on this and wish I could live with it, but I think I’ll be happier without it.

I decided to install Slackware 13 on my laptop yesterday afternoon and did some minor tweaking and configuration while I watched Survivor. I only burned the first two images because I didn’t want to use KDE, but I did go ahead and install Xfce as my only desktop. I may eventually change that to either ion3 or ratpoison even though I have a lot more room on my desktop now (17″). 

In addition to installing Adobe Flash and something else I won’t mention, I compiled the most recent release of GNU emacs. I also installed slapt-get and gslapt though I’ve yet to configure for any repository beyond the defaults. I still have to compile mew, and I need to install my office software (I think I can get away with IBM Lotus Symphony now, else I’ll have to install OOo). At some point, I’ll compile a custom kernel. The big one from Slackware has xfs, jfs, and all kinds of other things built in it that I don’t need and I’d like to reclaim every little bit of RAM I can.

I’ve yet to test things like my beloved Samsung S3 (libmtp is installed) to see what’s working or not. I did a fast basic configuration to get wifi working and moved a few things over via SSH; I do know that audio and X are working without any additional tweaking. Hopefully I’ll have time soon to turn this into my primary computer, whether or not I sell the Acer Aspire One.

No time frame for anything but the office suite and mew (ASAP) because I still am catching up on work from September and October. And no screen shots because it’s just the vanilla Xfce desktop with a solid blue background rather than the default (but quite tasteful, I’ll admit) striped Xfce wallpaper — like it should be without someone else’s muddled idea of how it should be branded with a distro name (or worse). That’s one of the great things about Slackware. That and the fact it has some of the best documentation available so setting it up is straightforward (second in all respects only to OpenBSD in my book).

More when I get time.

Video: Linux ath5k Reboot (Part 2)

August 18, 2009

Yeah, it so deserves a friggin’ sequel.  This was post-reboot. As you can see, the Atheros device wasn’t even detected in dmesg, lspci, etc.

That meant no scanning, no connecting, nothing. What’s the purpose of a netbook if it can’t fucking network?

As I note in the comments, it took me several reboots this time — and yet again in both Linux and Windows — to re-detect the device and be able to network.

Let me make a disclaimer. I’ve followed the bug reports on this from the first time it happened to me. What is it now, nearly six months? I appreciate the serious effort these people are making to make this device class function under Linux. As of my most recent kernel, though, I think it’s proven to still be at a development-stage and still quite unstable. I don’t recommend using Linux on Aspire Ones or other devices using the ath5k driver unless you have a high threshhold for pain and can live with it stopping suddenly and for no apparent reason like this. Maybe they’ll get it functioning better soon. I hope they do.

In the meantime, I’m faced with either changing cards or using Windows rather than Linux. My AA1 is off warranty in a couple months. I may switch cards before then. Or I may spring for Windows 7. The irony of this is, all of this happened while I was making another screencast demonstrating why I was going to ditch CrunchBang/Ubuntu for TinyCore. That’s when the audio from the stream stopped and I realized I was dealing with this mess again.

Caveat emptor. One man’s “free as in freedom” is another man’s quintuple reboot to get the damn thing to work correctly again.

Video: Linux ath5k Fail (Part 1)

August 18, 2009

I was going to try to work out of Linux all day today. Guess what happened at lunch. I went through another spell with the flaky ath5k driver. Here’s part one.

This is right about the time it happened. My only indication of a problem was the drop of the audio stream. I knew what the problem was right away and this time decided to vent my spleen with some video.

Update 20090817

August 17, 2009

I’ve been busier than expected the past few days. Taking a bit of a break this afternoon to clear my head. Here’s a little update of what’s going on with my computers.

My AA1 continues to be my primary computer, for better or worse. I’ve decided I really need a bigger, faster laptop for full time service. I’m looking at a used high-end business model and also at new mid-level business models now. I’ll probably continue using the AA1 quite a bit since it’s by far the easiest to tote around.

I’m really hard pressed to say I’m still running CrunchBang since I’ve removed a lot of its defaults and replaced them with other things. If anything, it’s more like un-buntu. Nothing against CrunchBang but, even though I think it’s certainly a decent implementation for users wanting less point-click bullshit and less overhead, I think it could benefit from changing window managers and some of the default stuff like the tint2 panel and conky.

I’m still using ion3, which I’ve “fixed” so it doesn’t get full primary use of my function keys. I basically run two “desktops” in it. The first is full screen for well-behaved applications; the other is split so about 30% of the screen is used by the smaller windows of multi-windowed applications like GIMP and Skype. Simple and works for my needs.

I’m also using TinyCore and MicroCore more often but I haven’t had time to finish compiling some of the apps I want. Once I do that, I may enlarge my second Windows partition and reduce the Linux partitions, and get rid of CrunchBang or un-buntu or whatever the hell it is now. I hope to have more to add about all this shortly. {Micro,Tiny}Core is really growing on me.

I’m using NetBSD on my last remaining home server, which I was about to set up as my VPN server. Unfortunately, the server is just about FUBAR. I think the mobo is shot. Regardless, I’m going to scrap it if I can’t figure out if it’s just a bad ribbon cable. It was a rescued MMX box so no big loss. I got a little over a year’s service out of it. I’m thinking of using my old ThinkPad as a VPN server. It’s probably a fire hazard so that could be interesting.

How have I tried to clear my head today? By getting some stuff set up (config files and such) so I can transfer it over to MicroCore, writing a script, etc. I’ll do a separate posting on all that this week. Maybe a video, too, to show the speed and efficiency of console applications and how they can be integrated to work together.

20090731 – Pseudo-Update ion3 Wireless Blah Blah

July 31, 2009

It’s not much. Just ratmenu in ion3 with a few minor interface changes.

screenshot-20090731124353

I added some aliases to help control mocp from terminal. Those work better than ratmen(u) in ion3 even though I’m not opposed to using my ratmenus set up for single apps like this but it’s kind of awkward. I might try something different this weekend.

I’d noticed that my statusbar wasn’t diplaying any systray icons so I went ahead and set that setting to false. I also set up the statusbar to take up the whole area (fullsize). Like it makes a big difference.

Finally, I’ve resolved the “issue” of my AA1 first associating with a neighbor’s AP before eventually connecting with mine. By setting my wireless up with a single configuration via wpa_supplicant I no longer am scanning/polling for APs, which is one of the things NetworkManager, wicd, and wifiroamd do. Since I don’t like that — I think these things should go through a whitelist of APs first before ever associating with anything else — I’m going to remove NetworkManager and not install wifiroamd (which, the more I look into it, seems the most promiscuous of the bunch).

One thing that hasn’t been cured by a new kernel or by any other changes is the race condition my Atheros card periodically goes through. It did it again this morning, suddenly and without warning. This is really frustrating because it happens irregularly, capriciously, so that I can’t pin it on one thing like suspend or using a particular application. I don’t know if it’s an issue with the driver, with WPA, a combination of those two things, or something else. I really want this to work correctly, and I don’t consider sudden loss of wireless signal and loss of detecting the card at all “correct” operation.

Update 20090724-1811 – ion3 minor reconfiguration (part 1)

July 24, 2009

I’ve taken the easiest way to getting back normal use of the function keys by assigning ALTMETA to Mod4 (Windows key) so that the default bindings for the function keys are now Mod4+F{1..12}. This will work at least temporarily but I think I want to change out the standard META (Mod1) so I don’t have to use the escape key in emacs for various M-commands (e. g., C-u M-! will not work as is — C-u ESC ! works).

Other than that, I’ve spent most of the day off the computer (for a change). The only other thing I’ve done is edit a simple grey theme using the simpleblue one as a guide.

-- look_shadesofgrey.lua - featuring terminus font and shades of grey
-- Fri Jul 24 15:15:56 CDT 2009
-- lucky13

if not gr.select_engine("de") then return end

de.reset()

de.defstyle("*", {
    shadow_colour = "black",
    highlight_colour = "grey5",
    background_colour = "grey22",
    foreground_colour = "grey88",
    padding_pixels = 0,
    highlight_pixels = 0,
    shadow_pixels = 0,
    border_style = "elevated",
    font = "-xos4-terminus-medium-r-*-*-14-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-*",
    text_align = "center",
})

de.defstyle("frame", {
    shadow_colour = "black",
    highlight_colour = "grey5",
    padding_colour = "black",
    background_colour = "grey22",
    foreground_colour = "grey88",
    padding_pixels = 0,
    highlight_pixels = 0,
    shadow_pixels = 0,
    de.substyle("active", {
        shadow_colour = "black",
        highlight_colour = "grey5",
        background_colour = "black",
        foreground_colour = "grey88",
    }),
})

de.defstyle("tab", {
    font = "-xos4-terminus-medium-r-*-*-14-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-*",
    de.substyle("active-selected", {
        shadow_colour = "grey53",
        highlight_colour = "black",
        background_colour = "grey13",
        foreground_colour = "grey77",
    }),
    de.substyle("active-unselected", {
        shadow_colour = "black",
        highlight_colour = "black",
        background_colour = "grey22",
        foreground_colour = "grey55",
    }),
    de.substyle("inactive-selected", {
        shadow_colour = "black",
        highlight_colour = "black",
        background_colour = "grey44",
        foreground_colour = "grey22",
    }),
    de.substyle("inactive-unselected", {
        shadow_colour = "black",
        highlight_colour = "black",
        background_colour = "grey22",
        foreground_colour = "grey44",
    }),
    text_align = "center",
})

de.defstyle("input", {
    shadow_colour = "black",
    highlight_colour = "black",
    background_colour = "grey44",
    foreground_colour = "white",
    padding_pixels = 0,
    highlight_pixels = 0,
    shadow_pixels = 0,
    border_style = "elevated",
    de.substyle("*-cursor", {
        background_colour = "white",
        foreground_colour = "grey44",
    }),
    de.substyle("*-selection", {
        background_colour = "black",
        foreground_colour = "white",
    }),
})

de.defstyle("input-menu", {
    padding_pixels=0,
})

dopath("lookcommon_clean")

gr.refresh()

It’s not fancy, but there’s not much you can do with something that doesn’t have “eye candy” as a criterion for development or consider aesthetics a feature (“wobbling windows” is not a feature — it’s a fucking bug which uses too many system resources and offers zero benefits). I only put something together a little bit darker than I found available among the defaults. I didn’t tweak the input style but it looks a bit lighter than intended on my AA1.

So far ion3 fits two criteria I had in mind. First, it has to be light on resources. The “if it’s not used it’s wasted” argument doesn’t work for me because greater resource demands come at the expense of power consumption; that’s an issue on anything that runs on batteries, but especially something with the limitations of a netbook battery.

screenshot-20090724180705

Second, it has to be configurable and stay out of my way as much as possible. I’m pretty sure it’ll be configurable enough for what I want (see previous entry). It certainly stays out of the way by automatically assigning window size to the size of the current frame. Since I quickly got the basic issue of the function keys out of the way quickly, I can look to add more of my own tweaks and preferences.

More soon.

Playing With ion3 on AA1

July 24, 2009

I decided to see how much work it’ll take to force ion3 to work the way I want it to on my AA1. I’ve used ion before and I love the general concept. What I haven’t liked — hated in fact — is the author’s default set of bindings. Many of these rely on the function keys, which are also used by various applications, as well as other bindings connected to the META/alt1 key. The settings for ion can be customized to suit any user’s needs by editing series of files used for configuration, starting with ~/.ion3/config_ion.lua which overrides the system defaults.

I downloaded the latest zero-install binary tarball and, as recommended for those of us not using zero-install, just unarchived it in /opt. Since /opt/ion3-[version number string]/bin isn’t in, and never will be, added to my $PATH, I’m using the full path string to launch ion3 from my .xinitrc.

Why not use the Ubuntu package? For starters, it would’ve resulted in adding — along with the ion3 package — over 18MB of stuff, quite a bit of it I recognized as stuff I removed already. Second, the package is outdated and possibly in violation of the terms of the author’s license (modified LGPL); Valkonen requires packages be updated within 28 days of his stable releases or be marked as “obsoleted and unsupported,” and that such packages be renamed.

While some have taken exception to the author’s terms, which also includes the renaming of any package which includes patches he doesn’t support (which is fair — why should he answer for or address downstream bugs for things he doesn’t even include?), I find them fair. As I’ve written before, this is no different than issues related to “IceWeasel” due to copyright issues with Mozilla Firefox. But it is markedly different from issues like what happened with MurgaLua and DSL last year: Murga had released his bindings under GPL and complained when the runtime was recompiled so that separate parts could be used independently — which is one of the basic ideals of the GPL’s freedoms: allowing the user to control how something works on his or her system; in the process, he wrongly accused DSL of removing copyright attributions when, in fact, he’d left out anything in his own bindings about his copyright. The tarball DSL made available was his own tarball, unchanged in any form or fashion — complete with the copyright notice he’d included as well as the GPLv2 text in the COPYING file. It’s that file which mentions that anyone is free to use, change, and redistribute the code, including those bindings, so long as the source is made available along with changes. DSL complied in every term of the GPL and the files included with the bloated runtime Murga provided, but still offered to add further lines to provide the author of the bindings a copyright notice everytime they were invoked. If you don’t specify your terms up front, you have nobody else to blame. So boo hoo, you fucktard. Murga chose a license antithetical to his desires and chose to add strings to the GPL in such a way that the user really wouldn’t be free to use the code as he or she sees fit but only as Murga sees fit (which gives him a bloody fucking copyright notice even for things he didn’t write). If you’re upfront and clear about your terms, like Valkonen is, others know what is or isn’t allowed.

Once I untarred and copied the full path into my .xinitrc, I was able to startx into ion3. The first thing I did was unsplit the two empty windows by killing one because 512 pixels (minus borders/padding) isn’t going to work for my browser. That was the first thing I wanted to get up and running.

I remembered from the last time I ran ion3 that F3 (run command) works similarly to dwm — type the first letter or two or more of the application you want to open and a list matching those letters pops up; tab-completion through the list will take care of the rest. I like this approach and the only reason I prefer ratmen(u) is because ratmen(u) allows me to fine tune things a bit more, e. g., customizing how apps open or close or changing them as they run (such as the mocp menu I showed as an example once before). The command menu in ion3 does allow the user to add flags/options so it’s still very flexible.

Finally, one of the things I hope to get out of using it is better handling of applications like GIMP and Skype which use too many windows. As much as I love using ratpoison, it’s clumsy and awkward when it comes to such things. I don’t consider that ratpoison’s flaw, I consider it a shortcoming of those applications which open too many windows rather than operate within one frame or doesn’t give users an option setting to manage things in one box rather than two or three or more.

I’ve just installed ion3 so I still have some editing/reconfiguring to do. I’ll probably give this a shot for a while and decide if it better suits my needs than ratpoison. I should have plenty of time this weekend to mess with it because I can’t put any weight on my ankle yet.