Daily Archives: November 24, 2007

Xubuntu Ponderings, Next Step Linux Mint

Carrying forward with the bold and never-ending exploration, I installed Xubuntu on my T40 and a faster Pentium 4 Prescott system. If you use apt-get to install it, it all goes on nice; but if you want to remove it, its a bit of work. Use aptitude or synaptic to lessen your load. But in all honesty, I cannot see why someone would want to. The XFCE4 based Xubuntu offers a faster, simpler, easier system. There are little buglets that I’ve encountered on my way. Here are a few:

  1. Ipod with Rockbox Mounting – My Ipod 5th generation Video gets two icons on the desktop and I think that this is a problem with Thunar. Thunar is the file manager tool on XFCE4 and its volume management approach.
  2. For some reason, Xubuntu could not manage fonts correctly after I had installed Ubuntu. No matter what I tried, the fonts on the desktop were really small. I read a few places about this and settled on adding an .Xresources file in my home directory which only says this: Xft.dpi: 96.
  3. I wanted to get rid of the rather uglified shadings around the desktop fonts. I don’t really understand why this persists because it really lowers the quality of the experience and its not really explained anywhere how to get rid of it. The Xubuntu blog pointed me in the right direction and I created a Frankenstein .gtkrc-2.0 file which lessens the ugliness. This one I really don’t get. The default XFCE4 desktop is a thing of beauty but yet they blemish it with a default theme which causes a bit of ugliness when you first see it.
  4. Power Management is hidden in Screensavers and Removable Devices and other defaults are hidden inside Thunar for some reason. These should be their own items on the tools menus. They’re prominent enough issues that everyone wants to find them; yet they are not there.
  5. Network Management seems dependent in some ways on Gnome network-manager which actually I think sucks the big one. I found wicd which is not quite so demanding and demented but you have to uninstall the other tools. You can also use gtkwifi and run wifi-radar daemon I would imagine.
  6. Finally, multimedia. This caused me a bit of consternation. There is exaile and gmusicbrowser and xfmedia and you can use Amarok and gnome-ish stuff. I’ll resist linking to them all because you can find them since you are enterprising Linux users and know you way around the google place. But there needs to be something better here. The mentioned applications all seem to have issues here and there. Exaile needs a refresh in a few areas like searching and loading which slows the application down to a crawl for almost minutes. Is it because I mount things in CIFS? Would NFSv4 do better?

Now for the good part. Installing Xubuntu is cake and restarting out of gnome is easy to get there. The applications/environments are well integrated.

Now I am on to Linux Mint which is a derivative of sorts with its own release schedule. More on all these meanderings later. I also just purchased my Santa stocking stuffers and will be building out a cool and small microATX system. I’ll post the specs later to it. All got from those good folks at NewEgg.

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Edit Update:

I just installed Xubuntu off of the CD media and here is a small issue that arose that is reported on the forums.  After a seemingly perfect install, when I rebooted I was greeted with the error 15, press any key to continue message.  After a few moments research on the forums, I realized that most likely grub’s menu.lst file had been written incorrectly.  The system I installed two was pretty generic with the exception of a few things including a 3ware RAID 1 array with a bunch of data on it which I mount and a newly installed SATA CD/DVD drive.  When I rebooted using the liveCD and peered into the guts (y), it became pretty obvious that grub had got it wrong and wanted to write the root drive as hd1,0 and not hd0,0.  I corrected that issue and rebooted and all is fine now.  The main message here is you probably do not have to go through another 20 minute re-install and can fix it using basic tools that the liveCD provides or you can chroot into the environment and do a techie thing.  Seems that the installer should be able to tell though what the difference is between the drives and the one I elected to install to.

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