This is the archive for March 2006. Recent posts can be found at the main blog page.
Debian (and derived distributions such as Ubuntu) automatically cleans the /tmp directory on boot. In my opinion, this is basically a good thing. However, I’m a laptop user and it’s not uncommon to boot several times a day if you’re travelling around, so to keep my temporary files across reboots I have to save them elsewhere. This of course has the problem that you never get around to removing your old ‘temporary’ files…
Luckily, I’ve found a solution that comes standard with any Debian system. Snippet from /etc/default/rcS:
# Time files in /tmp are kept in days. TMPTIME=7
So, the system keeps my temporary files (like PDF files opened from a browser) for a week, and then they are purged automatically on boot.
I’ve added support for notification bubbles (using libnotify) to Muine, showing some information when the currently playing song changes.
If you want to give it a shot, get the patch from bugzilla and see it in action!
Update: it seems Mandriva is shipping my patch!
GNU Make is a really great tool to automate repeating tasks when you’re working on a project. I’m not only using Make to compile sofware (duh!), but also to do other things:
My problem is that I often have a top-level Makefile which contains all targets. When I’m deep down in a subdirectory, no Makefile is present over there. Now, say I want to generate documentation… I need to
cd .. up until I’m at the toplevel of my project and run
make over there. I know you can also pass parameters to
make, but all these solutions require a lot of typing or let you lose your context (your working directory, in this case).
Makeup to the rescue! Save this small shellscript to a directory in your
$PATH and you’re ready to go. Makeup tries to locate a
Makefile in the current directory and tries again (recursively) on the parent directory if no
Makefile was found. You can invoke
makeup in the same way as you invoke
make, because parameters are passed along.
That’s it. Download makeup here. I know you want it!
Update: Wow, a fanboy! adrighem on irc: “Je bent geniaal. wakeup.” (“You’re a genius, a real wake up!”)
As promised before, some more answers I provided in the interview about Epiphany I participated in. I wrote this in response of a question about the responsibilities the various people involved in the Epiphany project have:
The Epiphany developers are the ones who have taken responsibility for the overall quality of the codebase. Some of them take care of the core and the Mozilla integration, while others focus on more specific features of Epiphany, e.g. the great bookmark features that were added in the last release cycle.
About my own role:
I’m not one of the core Epiphany developers. I do a lot of beta-testing of the official codebase and I also test proposed patches/fixes that were submitted through the bug tracking system. Furthermore, I frequently report bugs and comment on them, and, where possible, fix them (for me, that means trivial fixes).
Question: How are you and the other volunteers trying to make Epiphany an even better Web Browser for GNOME?
We make usability a major priority for every feature that is included. We incorporate the same features seen in other browsers, but don’t deviate far from the expectations users have built from other GNOME applications. This ensures the web browser is easy to use and feels comfortable for users.
Now I’m getting really excited:
Sometimes the simplifications we make in our interface become innovations in themselves! This is clearly demonstrated in our new bookmarks system. Epiphany is the only web browser that provide an intelligent bookmarks menu that makes finding and maintaining your bookmarks a real pleasure.
Question: What is the appeal of Epiphany for users?
Epiphany focuses on simplicity and ease of use. Our goal is to make Epiphany a browser that does what you want it to do, without getting in your way or presenting you with feature bloat.
But we do have a lot of features:
Note that this does not translate to ‘lack of features’: Epiphany provides a powerful extension interface. Many features that are not in the core are available through these extensions. Examples that come to mind: a sidebar, a page error viewer and mouse gestures.
This is the second part of a series:
Some of my answers to the interview questions are quoted in the article. The first quote is about usability and the way Epiphany tries to provide the best user experience possible:
“We make usability a major priority for every feature that is included. We incorporate the same features seen in other browsers, but don’t deviate far from the expectations users have built from other GNOME applications,” said Wouter Bolsterlee, Epiphany volunteer. “This ensures the Web browser is easy to use and feels comfortable for users.” Bolsterlee performs a lot of beta-testing of the Epiphany code base and also tests proposed patches and fixes that are submitted through the bug tracking system, reports bugs, comments on them and fixes them when possible.
The second quote is about the advantage of open source technologies over closed source ‘solutions’:
With so many open-source Web browsers gaining market share, it is no wonder that they have been giving commercial Web browsers a run for their money. “All the technologies that form the building blocks of the Web are based on open standards and open technology. This is the key to the success of the Web. Why not make a Web browser free and open too?” Bolsterlee said. “Open-source project users are free to discuss issues and request enhancements by talking to the developers directly. Generally, at least one developer is available for chat 24 hours a day. This way of working let us create a very user-friendly application that fits the user’s needs.”
In the next episode I will post the answers I submitted about the appeal of Epiphany and the way the developers try to keep the Epiphany the best web browser for GNOME. Stay tuned!
This article is the first part of a series:
Wow. I uploaded this image to my new Nokia phone:
Uploading this background image was very easy, thanks to the
nautilus-sendto add-on for our beloved file browser Nautilus:
If you ever use two machines at the same time and they’re both on the same desk, I’m sure you have at least once made the mistake I make every couple of minutes: you use the wrong keyboard and mouse.
This is where
x2x comes into play. Quoting the man page: “x2x allows the keyboard and mouse on one X display to be used to control another X display.” In my case, the laptop screen is on the left side (west) of my desktop monitor, so I run the following command on my laptop to connect to my desktop machine:
ssh -X desktop-machine x2x -west -from :0
After logging in (without prompting for a password, thanks to
ssh-agent) I can use my desktop keyboard and trackball (I don’t like mice) to control both machines. Of course you need to enable X forwarding over ssh (edit
/etc/ssh/sshd_config to turn it on) first. When I move my mouse to the left side of my desktop monitor, it jumps over to the right side of my laptop screen. Rock!
Update: Running this
x2x setup concurrently the other way around (from desktop to laptop) causes an infite input loop on both machines. I had to pull the plug (just the network cable) to regain control over my keyboard… so, only use this in one direction!
Several translation updates done by me tonight. First of all, some small changes to Gossip:
gossip.HEAD.nl.po | 512 +++++++++++++++++++++++++------------------------- 1 files changed, 259 insertions(+), 253 deletions(-)
The GNOME Control Center is back at 100%:
gnome-control-center.HEAD.nl.po | 43 ++++++++++++--------- 1 files changed, 24 insertions(+), 19 deletions(-)
GNOME Power Manager needed a lot of love, but is at 100% now:
gnome-power-manager.HEAD.nl.po | 253 ++++++++++++++++++++++-------------- 1 files changed, 155 insertions(+), 98 deletions(-)
And a tiny, but critical fix for gcalctool:
gcalctool.HEAD.nl.po | 22 ++++++++++++---------- 1 files changed, 12 insertions(+), 10 deletions(-)
Translations for the upcoming GNOME 2.14 are progressing very well… prepare for (again!) a 100% translated Dutch GNOME Desktop!
Is this something to be proud of?
Update: woohoo, I even managed to reach the #2 position! Also note that the #1 and #3 people only file Evolution-related bugs…
I’ve recently visited someone who is a (foreign) student at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth.
Note: Before you start clicking all photos, please read until the end of this post. There’s a link to the complete photo album (with even more photos) there.
The country is great, although it was pretty cold… the rented car was nice and warm, though.
Of course I also visited Dublin, walked around the city and visited several well-known places such as Trinity College, the Dublin Castle and the Christ Church Cathedral. Luckily I wasn’t in the city centre during the Saturday riots. Stupid people.
We spent the last night listening to a concert in the National Concert Hall performed by the UCD Sinfonia orchestra, the University College Dublin resident symphony orchestra, playing four pieces of music:
Do you want more? I’ve made some more photos available as a photo album.
Wouter Bolsterlee, also known as uws, a postmodern geek living in the Netherlands. Read more about me…
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