bain's blog

Why linux will never rule desktop and why it won't stop ruling mine

Couple of days ago i had a big frustration with linux.

Both gnome (suppose to be awasome) and ubuntu unity (suppose to be "Desktop ready") had all gtk apps use file open dialog box which simply doesn't show big icon previews.

Adding images to inskape simply is impossible since you can't see the image thumbnails of the images in a directory. A stupid preview of only selected file doesn't help since that will need you to scroll through 1000+ files one by one. I can't imagine any desktop ready OS missing this rather stupid thing... and it seems the bugs on these are open for years.

So i conclude linux will never be good for desktop use.

BUT here is why i will never quit using linux on my desktop

Attached below is the replacement gtk lib that i hacked up to just increase the thumbnail size in the file chooser dialog.
I can't imagine being able to fix something myself on any other OS.

DROCD : Destribution Replacement Obsessive Cumpulsive Disorder

I invented this new "medical" term for a condition i suffer from.

Whenever the distribution i use gets stable and well configured and everything works, i get this urge to change it and replace it with something new that i can waste hours configuring.

So after a _very_ stable KDE sprint i have moved on to Mint. I am impressed. But then again i will probably go to something else once i fully configure this one.

Android MTP and ubuntu

Finally i configured my mint 13 (ubuntu 12.10 should be same) to seamlessly mount android mtp devices.

Out of all the options (mtpfs, gvfs-mtp, gmtp) go-mtpfs made by some googler seems to be the most stable along with the specific libmtp9 version.

The easiest way is to just use the following ppa (thanks ).

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install go-mtpfs

Then create a udev rule (use your own editor i use emacs)

sudo emacs /etc/udev/rules.d/90-android.rules

And add following lines

# Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 MTP mode
ATTR{idVendor}=="04e8", ACTION=="add", ENV{ID_MODEL}="GalaxyNote10"
# Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 : automount when plugged in
ENV{ID_MODEL}=="GalaxyNote10", ACTION=="add", RUN+="/usr/bin/sudo -u root /bin/bash -c 'mkdir /media/android-mtp ; /usr/bin/go-mtpfs -allow-other=true /media/android-mtp &'"
# Samsung Galaxy SIII : umount when unplugged
ENV{ID_MODEL}=="GalaxyNote10", ACTION=="remove", RUN+="/usr/bin/sudo -u root /bin/bash -c '/bin/fusermount -u /media/android-mtp; rmdir /media/android-mtp'"

This will work for any samsung phone. If yours is different then check your vendorID with lsusb and use that in the second line above.

Note: you won't be able to unmount the attached device from desktop (atleast with nautilus/nemo). But just yanking device out should work. And since its mtp you don't really need to unmount.

Note2: go-mtpfs uses /tmp/go-mtpfsXXXX as its cache area so make sure you have plenty of space there (basically enough to cache all the phone folders you are accessing). It will fail and act weird otherwise.

omega rom for my g note2

Finally rooted my Galaxy note2 and flashed omega room.

Remains of the cloudy scene

Zynga shuts down petville causing potential dpression to many

This is the biggest problem i have with cloud tech. If a company shuts down or decides to shut one of its products i simply have no alternative. I can't imagine what will my life be if google shuts down gmail of docs or something.

Ofcourse i never did look at any of zynga's games and i am not the one with depression :D. In fact i hope this only means less spam in my fb timeline. Nothing of a value lost.

Cloud tech should manadatorily have federation where _user_ rents a space on the net (from third party provider) and then _installs_ provider's app on it. You run the version as long as you please. Even after the EOL.

KDE 4.10

I am running kde 4.10 now and WOW! everything is fixed..

Google calendar sync now works without long pauses, virtualbox works. Everything is just more stable and KMAIL now surpasses thunderbird in functionality.

There still some hope for linux desktop...

Now only if they just get the defaults _right_. I have to change about 15 things on a fresh KDE install. After converting a third laptop to kde 4.10 it just gets too boring.
May be just a simple utility to transfer all desktop/theme/appearance settings between machines?

KDE 4.9

After i loved kde 4.8 (which i had to give up since virtualbox seemless mode somehow started crashing kwin). Here comes kde 4.9.

Again i am loving it and virtual box works fine with it.


Now it leaves me with only two complaints


1. Extrememly dull and boring default theme. And there is no simple way of just chaning everything. Themeing and settings in general in kde is and always was a big mess. Even when it was just kde 1.1


2. Transparancy. i hate it


Giving up on unity and retrospectively on gnome

Couple of years ago i tried KDE 4.x and it simply didn't work. Crashed a lot, simply missed painting windows some times ... didn't have apps ported to it. and i _had_ to go back to gnome.


Then came unity, it kept getting bette although i never could get used to the half hearted OSX emulation. Broke my normal workflows in a way that i had to change the workflow for the sake of the tool. Bad but livable.


Ever since Ubuntu 12,04 though unity just keeps crashing on me. Its actually visibly slow, dash takes for ever to come up.


The only other option i had was to go back to gnome. But gnome people are horribly re-designing everything for some imaginary person impossible to describe. I mean the justification for removing minimize was that they had two users who agreed with it. Talk about sample size here. Neway gnome was out of question.


I gave up so badly i that i considered switching back to Windows7 (which  has gotten better every year btw) + cigwin. Horrible thought but still better than any other choices i had.


But then came the kde 4 and i am at home again. Fast, bugfree, mostly complete with few annoyances i can live with. The only complaint i have is its default theme is still somewaht short of being professional. A complaint i had since kde 2.0. But its ok.


Thanks team KDE for sticking up with the development and no matter how much I ranted about you in the past keep it up.

VNC blocking local display/input by turning off screen and keyboard mouse

I had been searching for a solution to this problem for ever. When i vnc to my desktop from home i don't want others to be able to control/see my desktop at all.

Solution turnedout to be simple though completely undocumented, here is the script




export DISPLAY=:0


#Turn the local display off

xrandr --output VGA1 --off


# Resize the display to something useful

xrandr --fb 1366x768


# Detach local mouse and keyboard

MOUSEID=`xinput | grep ImPS | sed -e 's/^.*id=\\([0-9]*\\).*/\\1/'`

KEYBOARDID=`xinput | grep AT | sed -e 's/^.*id=\\([0-9]*\\).*/\\1\/'`


xinput --float $MOUSEID

xinput --float $KEYBOARDID

Anna makes the difference

Its been a while since i have felt the emotion of awe. Today i am filled with it.

I had always been advocate of how workable and alive indian democracy is, even if it seemd like the exact opposite for last decade or so. Today i simply am reassured that my faith has been in the right place. Despite being not fully convinced about the means and the ends of this movement i am pleased the democartic processes (not just that are laid down in constitution) still work in india.

And it was an impressive fleet and a step forward for indian democarcy

1. Finally indian politics saw a _peaceful_ protest, quite a contrast from for hire goons smashing tables and buildings and public property.

2. The appearance of middle class as well as lower class (rikshawala's dabbawalas? really?) as a citizen and inclusive society members rather than bystandaers was unprecendented

3. First time ever we have seen unanimous resolution from parliament on a issue non related to the MP salaries.


Hope the movement keeps its pace and pressure and makes difference on the ground.


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