Latest Tilda

I did post some time ago about the disappearance of Tilda from Fedora. At the time this was due to the lack of upstream support and the fact that development had stalled. Since then development has again started and Tilda is being improved. While it is not (yet?) available for Fedora it is a simple procedure to add it. The following link covers compiling and installing it. I tested it in Korora 20 Xfce and it worked fine and I have the latest Tilda running now.

/kernel_reloaded/ » compile latest tilda and enjoy solarized terminal.

Lots of Little Things

I had one of those days where you don’t do anything much but seem to have a number of small successes. That has been my day.

First I installed Korora 20 Xfce on my netbook. I don’t use the netbook much so it hasn’t been updated for a while. There was no issues, Korora installed without problems.

While checking over the netbook I noticed something that has been happening for a while. My conky is set up to show the current power adapter status, charging, discharging etc. For a couple of versions it has shown ‘no adapter, charging’. Obviously something was wrong but it said charging when it was so it wasn’t a major problem. Looking at the Conky man page I found there is an option for the acpiacadapter variable to specify the subfolder of /sys/class/power_supply that indicates the current state. It looks for AC or ADP1 if the option isn’t used. Fedora and hence Korora uses AC0. Adding that as the option fixed the problem. Easy fix when you take the time to research it.

Second, a minor nuisance is the need to enter my password twice when logging in on my netbook or laptop. I use the same password for login as for the keyring. I found an older post on the Fedora Xfce mailling list that gave the solution. Deleting the leading – from the line

-auth       optional    pam_gnome_keyring.so

in /etc/pam.d/lightdm allows LightDM to open the keyring so it can be used by other applications. Again a simple fix after a bit of research.

I also updated the links on this blog when I noticed that the Korora link was for Kororaa. So I checked all the others and found a couple of dead links and a couple of typos too.

All in all an easy day but some little annoyances fixed.

Xfce’s Drop Down Terminal

Screenshot - 011213 - 16:53:01As a followup to yesterday’s post on Tilda there is an alternative for Xfce users. The current Xfce terminal has a drop down option. However it is not obvious to most users.

It is a hidden option which is standard for Xfce4-Terminal. To access it you need to start the terminal with the command ‘xfce4-terminal –drop-down’. The man page gives more details and suggests you bind that command to a keyboard shortcut. That way you can press the key to open the terminal and pressing it again will hide but not close the terminal. This means there is no need to add it to your sessions or Autostart. The first time the key is pressed will launch and open it. Further presses will reveal or hide it.

I would suggest binding it to F12. To do this right click on the desktop, select Applications – Settings – Keyboard. Select the Application Shortcuts tab,  click on the Add button, type in the command as above. Click OK and it will open another window asking for the key, press your chosen key(s) and the window will close. Test the shortcut, the terminal should open as a drop down.

In the Edit menu (or right click in the terminal) there is a Preferences option with a new DropDown tab. Make your choices here for size, location etc. If you turn off the menu bar you can access the preferences and new tab etc. options with a right click. The Dropdown preference screen also has an option for Opacity this applies to the whole terminal including the text. The Opacity option on the Appearance tab only affects the background. The Duration option controls the speed of the animation as the terminal drops down and ascends.

There is an option for a panel indicator too, it will appear in the notification area. Clicking on the panel icon will open the terminal. Right clicking gives access to the Preferences and an option to close the terminal.

This is a great option for Xfce users wanting the convenience of a drop down terminal and may remove the need for Tilda in future versions.

RIP Tilda, Long Live Tilda

UPDATE: Since I wrote this there has been some progress, although Tilda still isn’t available from the Fedora repos there has been some development work done on it. There is a new maintainer so go here for the latest details. You will need to build from source to have Tilda in current versions of Fedora or Korora but hopefully a new packager will emerge.

As many who have read this blog will know I’m a fan of drop down (aka quake style) terminals. I use Yakuake in KDE but in Xfce I’ve been using Tilda. I prefer its minimal style and features to the other options.

However when I installed Korora 19 I discovered that Tilda has been dropped from Fedora’s repos for 19 as it isn’t being currently maintained. In cases like this you have the choice of finding an alternative or building it yourself from source.

I found there is another way of installing Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Please note that this isn’t a procedure I would recommend for most packages but it works for Tilda. I ran Fedup on one of my systems but did a clean installation on another. Initially I didn’t notice the Tilda hadn’t been updated by fedup as it was still working. Only after I installed on the other system was the lack of Tilda noticed. I realised that packages from the older version still worked. So that was how I got it working in 19.

First we need a rpm file to install. That’s easy as I found the version for 18 works in 19. One way to obtain rpms is with RPM Search. I’ve used it before to back date when updates break something and yum history hasn’t worked. Go to here for a 64 bit file or here for an i686 one.

Now, as root, change to the directory where the downloaded file resides and run ‘yum localinstall packagename’, obviously replace packagename with the name of the file you downloaded. Yum will handle the dependency and install Tilda for you.

Problem solved, you now have Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Hopefully someone will step up and package it again in future version but as development has been slow I guess that’s not likely. See Tilda on github for details on the current state of development.

Fedora 19 Beta

I’ve been experimenting with the beta release of Fedora 19. I’m using the xfce spin live cd. It includes Xfce 4.10 and uses LightDM so not much different to 18. There are a few noticeable changes though. The installer, anaconda, has improved a bit since its introduction with Fedora 18 but there is still some room for improvement. It includes slides so you don’t get bored watching it install however at least one slide I saw was for applications that aren’t part of the Xfce spin. Could be confusing for someone who isn’t familiar with Fedora.

Another change is behind the scenes but it may explain some improvement I saw. The yum-presto plugin has been removed and the functionality is now part of yum. Was this why the updates seemed to faster than previous versions? Yum-presto was a great addition when it first appeared as it allows only the changes to be downloaded rather than the entire package.

Altogether my initial impression of 19 is very good. I think it is a better release than 18 but my testing is only based on the Xfce spin running in a VM so other environments may not be as good. Still worth a try but remember it is beta so I wouldn’t use it on my main machine yet although so far it has been quite stable for me.

Favourite Linux Applications

Below is a list of the applications I use regularly. I don’t claim they are the best but they are the ones I prefer. Many are KDE based but there are fewer of them than previously. I use both KDE and Xfce as my desktop environments. The apps that come with Xfce are pretty basic so I prefer alternatives.

One of the complaints I have about many of KDE’s apps it that they have been combined with KDEpim which means you can’t install single apps. If you don’t use Kmail and its brethren then I would avoid Blogilo and Kjots, both of which I have previously used.

Chrome / Chromium is my browser of choice. Not perfect, it doesn’t integrate into the desktop too well. But it is fast and has the main extensions I like.

Conky – just calling Conky a system monitor really understates what it can do. Conky can do so much that it requires its own post. Since it introduced real transparency it greatly reduced the problems running it under KDE. One of the first things I set up on a new installation.

Krusader – twin pane file manager. Dolphin is good especially with the split feature but I like the power and retro style of Krusader. I’ve tried others like Midnight Commander which is quite good but nothing comes close to Krusader.

Gimp – it is all you need to edit images. To work with raw files just add ufraw and ufraw-gimp.

Digikam – adds digital asset management aka photo organiser. Has editor which works better for raw images than ufraw but I prefer Gimp. Has export to almost anything you can think of.

Cups-pdf – while Koffice and LibreOffice can create PDFs adding cups-pdf allows you to create them from anything that can print.

Kdenlive – the most stable video editor under Linux. A good balance between power and ease of use. Not perfect but there is nothing better at the moment.

Tilda – a drop down terminal emulator. Makes accessing the terminal so easy and you can hide it and let it get on with what is doing. KDE provides Yakuake which has many options and is a great application.

LibreOffice – the most polished FOSS office suite there is. If only Base was up to the standard of the rest of the suite.

Clementine – what can I say, can’t work without some music. A good mix of features and performance.

Zim – note taker / desktop wiki. I used Kjots for a while but it was integrated into KDEPim which meant it was near impossible to sync it between 2 systems so I switched to Zim. Just as good maybe better but I don’t use all its features and it has fewer dependencies.

So that is it. There are other applications that I use from time to time which work well too, things like Yumex and VLC but the ones above are those I like and use nearly every day. They are all available in Kororaa, a couple require extra repos to be installed in Fedora though.

Xfce 4.10

It is old news now that Xfce 4.10 has been released. If you haven’t caught up with it yet there is a tour of the new features. Unfortunately the release was too late for it to be accepted for Fedora 17 which is due out soon. It will be part of Fedora 18 that is due later in the year. However all is not lost as there are repos available for 17 and 16 at Fedora People.

I’ve been running it for a few days now on my Kororaa 16 system and on a separate Fedora 16 Xfce spin. While there are no earth shattering changes 4.10 includes some nice improvements over 4.8. One that is not mentioned on the tour is support for wallpaper slideshows. There is no need to run scripts as we did in earlier versions. The improvements in Settings and the addition of the Mime Type Editor are useful too.

The update procedure went well after first removing xfburn which requires some work to function in 4.10. There was an issue with the main panel having everything on the left. This is easily fixed by adding a separator and setting it to expand. The systems have not missed a beat, they are still as stable as they were. If you didn’t notice the changes you wouldn’t know it had been updated. If only other DE’s could learn from that.

All in all this is a good update and recommended for all Xfce users.

Conky

Conky is a lightweight system monitor. While that is correct it doesn’t start to explain what Conky can do. Conky can be used to display almost anything you can think of on your Linux desktop. It is simple to use but you can make it as complex as you wish simply by editing the configuration file.

One of the great things is that configuration files from any distro will work on any other distro with little or no change. This means you can copy someone else’s file and use it, adapt it and learn from it. My configuration, like most people’s I guess, is a combination of pieces I found all over the place. See here for a screenshot.

I’ll link to a copy of the file at the bottom of this post along with some links to other info. I’ll go over a few of the parts of my set up that may help someone building their first Conky or maybe looking to improve an existing one. For more information look at the man file for conky with the ‘man conky’ command.

Conky is available for most distros in the standard repos. Most of the temperature readings require lm_sensors (called lm-sensors in some distros) to be installed, configured and running as a service.  There are a couple of other packages needed. I mention them where they are needed.

My Conkyrc File


own_window yes
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_type normal
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
own_window_argb_visual yes

#own_window_argb_value=100

These lines do 2 things. First the ‘type’ and ‘hints’ were needed for it to display properly on Xfce. The ‘transparent’ and ‘argb’ lines give transparency.  The line that is commented out (which isn’t in my file) provides a partly transparent background if you prefer it. That does make things easier to read but I prefer full transparency which is the same as setting that line to zero. If you use that line you need to comment out the second line in the section as setting transparency to yes will override the argb value.

<div>

color0 ccaa77
color1 grey
color2 ffff99 #yellow
color3 lightgrey
color4 990033 #dark red
color5 ccaa66 #light gold

You can set colours in the text section but doing it in the layout & options area makes it easier to change colours later. Just one line needs to be edited and the new colour is used right through the display.

In the ‘Text area there is a line for the KDE version. Comment this out if you don’t use KDE.

The next section on the cpu has provision for 4 cores, numbered 0 – 3.  Change this to match the number you have. You could replace the whole lot with a single entry that displays the average for the whole cpu if you prefer.

I’ve commented out the nvidia section as I don’t use the propriatary driver on this system any more and nouveau doesn’t provide this information as far as I can see. If you have any suggestions here please let me know.

The Hard drive section requires hddtemp to be installed and running as a service. You need to edit the /etc/sysconfig/hddtemp file to have the drive in the HDTEMP_OPTIONS= line. I found I couldn’t add 2 drives here. The only way to get it working was to comment the line out. Then all drives are detected.

The last section is for the network details. It uses the ‘if_up’ options to detect which connection I use. This is useful on my laptop where I use Mobile Broadband when I’m not at home and wifi at home. Although this code is for my desktop where I rarely use the mobile broadband. Only for testing and in the rare case of the broadband being down. It requires the following line in the options area at the top.


if_up_strictness address

I find address is the best option here as until an address is found there isn’t a working network connection. See the man file for an explanation and other options.


${if_up ppp0}${font DejaVu Sans:weight=bold:size=10}${color0}MOBILE INTERNET ${font :size=9}(${addr ppp0}) ${hr 2}

$font${color1}Down:$color ${downspeed ppp0}/s${alignr}${color1}Up:$color ${upspeed ppp0}/s
${color0}${downspeedgraph ppp0 25,145 990033 ffbb55} ${alignr}${upspeedgraph ppp0 25,145 990033 ffbb55}
${color1}Downloaded: $color${totaldown ppp0} $alignr ${color1}Uploaded: $color${totalup ppp0}

$else${font DejaVu Sans:weight=bold:size=10}${color0}INTERNET ${font DejaVu Sans:weight=bold:size=9}(${addr em1}) ${hr 2}
$font${color1}Down:$color6 ${downspeed em1}/s${alignr}${color1}Up:$color7 ${upspeed em1}/s
${color0}${downspeedgraph em1 25,145 ffbb55 cc0000} ${alignr}${upspeedgraph em1 25,145 ffbb55 cc0000}

The order is so that it defaults to the home broadband and only shows the Mobile Broadband when it is connected. An ‘endif’ is required too but I have it at the end of the next section so that it is only displayed when I’m at home. If you only use one type of connection you could remove the ‘if_up’, ‘else’ and ‘endif’ as well as one section and edit the remaining section for your connection.

The final part displays the total download for yesterday, the last week and month. It requires vnstat to be installed and running. Unfortunately vnstat is broken in Fedora 16 and hence Kororaa 16, due to systemd I gather. My system is still running 15 so the screenshot shows it working.

That is one of my Conkys. The other one in the screenshot in the last post is for the Amarok track information. You can have as many Conkys running as you want or need.

A good source of further information is the Conky site. There are plenty of sapmle files online a search in your favourite search engine will bring up more than you could ever look at, but here a couple, Conky Galore  and here.

If you are using Conky on Fedora or Kororaa look at this thread on the Fedora forum.

Here is my conkyrc. It is called conkyrc.doc because WordPress doesn’t like text files. Just edit it as required, rename it to .conkyrc and put it in your home directory and start conky. You probably want to have Conky autostart whenever you log in so you don’t have to start it every time.

If you have any questions or any suggestions to improve my setup please add them in the comments. Thanks in advance.