Category Archives: Linux

Linux related

Debian Squeeze to Wheezy dist-upgrade breaks sasl+mysql

Upgrading broke my postfix+sasl+mysql auth, cripling my SMTP service. Because libsasl2-2 that was upgraded from 2.1.23 to 2.1.25.

I upgraded Debian Squeeze to Wheezy and most of it worked within acceptable parameters. There were problems, but nothing big, except that it killed my SMTP service. Upgrades, the gift that keeps on giving.
Many people offered that downgrading would fix things, but that can’t be the best solution. So I didn’t.

The update triggered the following error:

SASL LOGIN authentication failed: no mechanism available

This was fixed by commenting the “auxprop_plugin: mysql” line, ie not specifying the plugin. Thanks Marcel.

That yielded the following errors

sql plugin couldn't connect to any host
warning: SASL PLAIN authentication failed: generic failure

(gotta love “generic failure”. Generic: “characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific.” Not being able to connect to the database isn’t what I’d report as a “generic failure”)

This is where it gets a bit ludicrous. There is no changelog around and google didn’t help much either, until I got to reading the very long thread on the Ubuntu launchpad where “dbileck” mentioned sql_passw changing to sql_passwd. So a parameter changing, adding a “d” and breaking all reverse compatability.
Now, in all honesty, http://www.postfix.org/SASL_README.html#auxprop_sql has the correct parameter & not the old sql_passw, but a small note, mentioning the extra “d” would’ve helped a lot!

In the end, these are the changes to /etc/postfix/sasl/smtpd.conf that fixed it.

- auxprop_plugin: mysql
- sql_passw: XXX
+ sql_passwd: XXX

Oh, the pleasure of introducing small undocumented changes in config files.

And now I’m a happy camper again, my network scanner is able to mail documents again!

Edit: haha, a bit of a brain bubble, instead of Squeeze, I wrote Jesse. I’m guessing a short moment of confusion because I run “Jessie”, the current testing version on my laptop! No worries or weirdness though, a “simple” case of upgrade from Squeeze to Wheezy.

Available for work starting February 2014

Quick message to let everyone know that I’m available for freelance work starting February 2014.

It’s an exciting new time for me :) I can finally take on new clients and expand my activities. I had an exciting time so far, and this means a next step for me :) Fun!

Feels kind of redundant to repeat here, but for those new to my blog.. I’m a Belgian IT expert, specialized in Linux and Project management. I am interested in freelance System engineer or Project management challenges

More information and CV are available at http://www.dgtl.be/specialist/GertSchepens

Drop me a line if you need my talents :)
(or feel free to share if you think anyone else does)

Quick GlusterFS Raspberry Pi money math

I did a quick bit of math, considering replacing my current latest Gluster brick with RaspberryPi bricks. I’m taking 125€ a disk for the HDs, as the actual price doesnt matter that much here. I’m also using the same price for both options, while the Rasp-pi needs USB disks and those will at least cost more or even not be available in the biggest sizes. But let’s ignore that for a second. Let’s also ignore the performance reports I found on Google +.

The Current: A mini ITX brick with 4 HDs in soft Raid 4 on Debian.

  • 4 disks (€500), 3 actual storage disks, 1 loss
  • Mini-ITX hardware, c2-rack-v3 (€400, this is an honest estimate)
  • Totalling €900

 

Compared to the Pi solution, and here the numbers generally go up..

1 disk with redundancy would mean

  • 2 disks (€250), 1 actual storage disk, 1 loss
  • Ras-Pi hardware, 30€ a box, 1 box a disk (€60)
  • Totalling €310 for a 2 disk solution

Which looks really nice, but because the big cost is actualy in the disks, keeping their number down is the most important to keep the price down. Keeping that in mind and doing the math for a storage cluster parallelling the mini-ITX brick, we get the following. Considering replication over 2 disks, then putting those together to make a big storage volume. ie Raid 1+0 with 6 disks.

  • 6 disks (€750); 3 actual storage disks, 2 lost disks
  • Ras-Pi hardware; 30 a box, 1 a disk (€180)
  • Totalling €930

so, more expensive, not to mention the mess of boxes and harddisks and network cables and the switch to connect them all, …. One could consider USB hubs and multiple disks a Pi, but that would not make a considerable difference in price (€90, actually making it cheaper), but would impact performance, I expect.

GlusterFS also offers striped storage, but striping is bad. (no sense in repeating the arguments, it’s all there. And I don’t use a single 100gb+ file; not even one.)

 

An interesting consideration, but in the end, a Pi gluster doesn’t make sense in my situation. It d be real cool though :D

As an aside, I have similar considerations when it comes to growing the cluster with new Mini-ITX boxes, retiring older boxes (most notably the initial 2-disk brick), .. But I will probably have to retire the 2 disk box when the 3 brick cluster gets full and will probably not expand to 4 boxes ever, with the trend in bigger disks over time and the power consumption consideration. But time will tell :)

Cleaning the XBMC movie collection

I have a lot of movies in t he XBMC server and not all of those are worth watching. Generally, anything with a rating lower than 5 is probably not worth the time!

So I wanted to get a list of bad movies with ratings! You can set up XBMC to store the data in an SQL database, and that’s how I set it up. Mainly because I want to share the database between the multiple XBMC set-ups around the house. Both the SQL database and the regular SQLite database support queries, though this is tested on MySQL.

To execute a MySQL query, you need to log into the database somehow, probably phpmysql or commandline (# mysql -u root -p )  to execute the query, but if you managed to set up XBMC for MySQL, you probably won’t need help there.

All the data you need is in the database and you can find out all about how the database is defined on the XBMC wiki: XBMC databases

The two tables you need are the movie database for a list of your movies, ratings, and any other info. And the info table for information about the file name. The table names are not very self explanatory and you really need the database reference wiki page to get anywhere.  For example, the following is the movie table:

Column Name Data Type Description
idMovie integer Primary Key
c00 text Local Movie Title
c01 text Movie Plot
c02 text Movie Plot Outline
c03 text Movie Tagline
c04 text Rating Votes
c05 text Rating
c06 text Writers
c07 text Year Released
c08 text Thumbnails
c09 text IMDB ID
c10 text Title formatted for sorting
c11 text Runtime [UPnP devices see this as seconds]
c12 text MPAA Rating
c13 text [unknown - listed as Top250]
c14 text Genre
c15 text Director
c16 text Original Movie Title
c17 text [unknown - listed as Thumbnail URL Spoof]
c18 text Studio
c19 text Trailer URL
c20 text Fanart URLs
c21 text Country (Added in r29886[1]
c23 text idPath
idFile integer Foreign Key to files table

 

Next is putting it all together into a pretty SQL querry

select c00,c05,strFilename from movie join files on movie.idFile = files.idFile where c05 < 5 and c05 > 0;

This lists all the movies with a rating lower than 5, because nobody likes a bad movie. And higher than 0 because a 0 rating apparently only happens when the movie is not found. That being said, you might consider a second query to find out what movies aren’t recognized correctly :)

I have a fairly good idea where my files are so I didn’t need the file paths, but if you do, you can get to those by merging the “path” table into the query and adding “strPath” to the select.

And then I opened a browser and deleted all the waste of time junk.

 

As a next step, I looked into the options for cleaning the database and triggering the updates from the command line. The Event Server can do this, but there appear to be some issues, installing the package using the official Ubuntu repository removes the XBMC package; slightly weird and definitely worth looking into, but not today.

 

And for some reason, I like to kill XBMC. And it has 2 processes. And it needs a “kill -9″ by the time I feel like killing. Sooooooooo, I put it into a simple bash script.

kill -9 $( ps -A | grep xbmc | grep -oE ” [0-9]* ” )

 

Hope this helps, use it at your own risk, etc, and feel free to get back with feedback!

Gnome Shell Animated Background

The support for animated backgrounds in Gnome is not new, but the path to actually rolling your own and activating it on your system is all but easy today. Ubuntu offers 2 magically changing backgrounds but no information about how to do this yourself. There is a cute “+” button that allows you to add new static backgrounds but that’s it. To make things worse, the plus doesn’t allow you to add such a magical background either, when you finally create one.

An animated background for Gnome Shell consists of a wad of images you want to use as backgrounds and an XML file detailing how and when to show this data. I was honestly expecting a single file, instead of this multi-file concept, but apparently the multi images backgrounds are not really ready for the common user. A single tar file would solve the problem though so this should not be that far off.
Adding your file to the desktop menu is another problem altogether, as you cant’t use the plus to add the XML file. This requires either a workaround or a second XML file in a separate directory outside of your home directory.

To create such a background, start by collecting a wad of suitable backgrounds to rotate around. (I expect lots of funny moments with NSFW backgrounds and presentations as this concept catches on) and put them together. You don’t actually have to do this, but it helps to have them in one place. I used “~/Pictures/Fallout” as I was creating a Fallout background theme and I like pictures to go into the Pictures map. Next you need to create the XML. This file is formatted as follows:

<background>
<starttime>
<year>2009</year>
<month>09</month>
<day>06</day>
<hour>00</hour>
<minute>00</minute>
<second>00</second>
</starttime>

<static>
<duration>1797.0</duration>
<file>/home/gert/Pictures/Fallout New Vegas/1347371663_intonewvegas_543942.jpeg</file>
</static>
<transition>
<duration>3.0</duration>
<from>/home/gert/Pictures/Fallout New Vegas/1347371663_intonewvegas_543942.jpeg</from>
<to>/home/gert/Pictures/Fallout New Vegas/Fallout-New-Vegas_2010_03-06-10_14.jpg</to>
</transition>

..
</background>

 

The XML consists of a starttime tag and as many static and transition tags as you have backgrounds.
The starttime tag defines when the timer for changing  the background starts running. Any past date will do and unless you want do create a background that follows your day cycle or clock, the time doesn’t really matter either.
The static section defines what files to show and for how many seconds, the transition section defines a transition between the backgrounds and how much time such a transition should take. Your last transition should be back to your first image.

Writing a file yourself is easy but tedious and there are graphical interfaces available that do this for you. Sadly, these do no appear to be included in the default Ubuntu repository. They all appear to be obsolete to some degree. I used Crebs and it works wonderfully though the dependencies fail to define the requirement for the python-glade2 package in Ubuntu, resulting in a crash until you install that package. The internet also provides the XML Background Creator for Gnome3 and a selection of interesting articles and even pre-made downloadable packages, though these don’t exactly install nicely.

Tools

Example

More information at

 

Actually using your freshly created background is not that simple though. The GUI does not appear to provide any mechanism to add the XML file to the menu or to otherwise activate it. There are 2 options but none of them is particularly user friendly.

You can tell gnome to use a certain background using gsettings on the commandline, but this will only activate the background and not add it to your selection menu.

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri ‘file:///home/gert/Pictures/Fallout New Vegas/Fallout_New_Vegas.xml’

 

The second option is adding the background to the gnome menu. You do this by creating a new XML file, telling gnome where to find your spiffy new background.

You can add the new background to your desktop menu by adding an XML file, telling Gnome where to find your background XML. This XML goes into

/usr/share/gnome-background-properties/

and is formatted as follows

# cat Fallout.xml
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<!DOCTYPE wallpapers SYSTEM “gnome-wp-list.dtd”>
<wallpapers>
<wallpaper>
<name>Fallout</name>
<filename>/home/gert/Pictures/Fallout New Vegas/Fallout_New_Vegas.xml</filename>
<options>zoom</options>
</wallpaper>
</wallpapers>

This file is fairly simple, it defines the name of the background, where to find the file detailing the background and what options to enable, ie to zoom the desktop.

 

The whole process is pretty painless; except that initially I wrote this”One problem I am experiencing though is the desktop not changing.” (small problem ey) but it turns out that it’s ok. The issue is rather that the desktop doesn’t change at the correct time. It seems that the first section is ignored. It should change around the hour and half hour mark, but instead it’s been changing around 16, 46 minutes. I guess the system resumed rotation at .16 and is rotating from that point on. I don’t mind this so I did not look into this any further. My rotating background works like a charm :)

Ubuntu 12.10

Seeing some really really annoying install errors!

 

 

and more. So far linux-image-extra-3.5.0-17-generic, initramfs-tools – Synaptic says they have been installed though.. hmmm.. And it looks like the kernel is in /boot.
The process itself is a bit dubious too.. They tell you to stop using the machine, they do annoying shit like silently switching your keyboard layout during the process, but they do require you to freqyently answer questions. I can’t just walk away and let it upgrade, there is frequent user interaction required. Wondering what the usability expectation here is. Do they expect you want to just watch the upgrade, content to answer a question once in a while? And just watch, not to use the system at that time. Weird.

Im wondering if this ll kick me back to Unity or if Ill get my prefered Gnome Shell after reboot.. And I did. Hooray!

Weird crash reports at first boot. Not pretty!
Also, the gnome extensions seem to be disabled/missing. – Ah, no they havent, just the incompatible ones. Sadly, 4 out of 5 are incompatible.
Also, the keyboard lay-out is ok again.

Im afraid to say it at this stage, but so far its looking like a relatively painless upgrade!
On the other hand, doesn’t look like much happened, the most obvious so far is the Gnome update.. Checking the release notes.. Nothing to see there though.

The new notification bar down the screen is a bit weird but very modern.

There is apparently a feature to make sites into standalone apps (wondering if that concept ‘ll work this time around) but I don’t see how. I’ll look at it later I guess.

This is looking like a hassle free update; Don’t get me wrong, they should all be like this, but the last few years, they just didnt deliver anymore! very very happy!

Although some people are apparently experiencing weird problems..

Haven’t noticed any gvfs problems myself…….

Good and bad; The synaptics touchpad on my Asus Zenbook is better supported. The Click+Drag works out of the box, the right mouse works with click and two finger tap, .. this is better than before. What does however NOT work is the middle mouse button click. And that’s annoying as hell. I’m'a look at fixing that :)

Oh my, this is an annoying one! The brightness control seems broken. Its dark here now. I need to tune down this horrendous light blaring in my eyes. ITS HORRIBLE! TOO FUCKING SHINY!!! – Nevermind all that, Gnome Shell gave a crash warning, apparently part of the shell stopped working. The brightness works now.

One important happy improvement; the startig speed of LibreOffice is amazing! Where it was unbearably slow before, the current version starts like any normal program :)

Looks like the awesome crash handling of before is lacking a bit. Just encountered a weird bug where mouse clicks weren’t passed on to the applications! The gnome shell elements worked OK, but none of the apps received the clicks. Logging out apparently solved this.

Auto posting this brain dump on Oct 24th.

A script to commit all the GIT projects in a map

I keep all the documents, code and whatnot for DGTL in several git repositories and synchronise those to secret remote locations (cool ey.) But its a hassle to update them all and why keep manually doing mundane tasks when you can replace it with a small (recursive) bash script :)

So I did.

 

The script loops through all maps and checks for the telltale .git folder. It its there, it runs the wonderful “git add . && git commit -a && git push“. This is probably not ideal, but its how I prefer it.

If there is no .git folder, it checks for an executable file with the same name, ie a copy of itself, though it doesnt check the content. A diff or md5 check or check for symlink might do this, but I trust myself to not screw this up. The script then runs that file. There is a risk for recursive hell here with symlinks to directories, but I’ll just not do that and it ll all be ok :)

The code is at http://www.gertschepens.be/bash#UpdateGit

So I put a symlink to the update script in ~/Documents/ and run it there. I put a second symlink in ~/Documents/Projects/. Effectively synchronising all the projects; hooray!

 

A simple script that works :)

names from the prompt

I just ran this command a couple of times

clear && for (( i=1; i <= 40; i++ )) ;do curl "http://www.behindthename.com/random/random.php?number=4&gender=m&surname=&all=no&usage_dut=1&usage_eng=1&usage_gre=1&usage_ita=1&usage_lim=1&usage_nor=1&usage_pol=1&usage_celm=1&usage_scam=1&usage_cela=1&usage_teua=1" 2>1 | grep /name/ | lynx -dump -stdin | head -n 1; done

don’t ask

More writing & some of my articles are now available for free pdf download!

Another editorial written and posted; hooray :)

Felt like the right time to update gertschepens.be/writings with the most recent data and while doing so, I found out that 2 of my articles are now available online for your free downloading convenience; the Unity one and the Virtualisation article! Its great to know that anyone perusing that site can now, hopefully, find interesting answers and knowledge! Cool :)

The links are available on the gertschepens.be/writings page and feel free to drop me a line of whatever criticism you might come up with :)

Tinkering with the zBox

I have some issues with my fresh ZBox

I was seeing some video tearing; the 5.1 isnt working (yet) and I have this annoying issue with the cursor showing after having switched away from the ZBox HDMI.

Apparently the 5.1 issue is solved in the newest proprietary Catalyst 11.12 driver and the installing info is at Ubuntu Oneiric Installation Guide. Reading through the text I couldn’t start changing stuff since we’re watching the box right now :) The text however held a few other very interesting tips

Video Tearing : aticonfig –sync-video=on
And this seems to be solved :) Or at least very much improved :/ Research is necessary

ACPI : aticonfig –acpi-services=off
I’m thinking that switching away from the HDMI triggers an ACPI event, so why not try disabling it ;) Testing is required.. though this might be a long shot :/ Edit: Long shot taken an proven wrong. Enabling ati, Cursing at the little center screen cross. And if only ‘xte -x :0.0 “mousemove 100 100″‘ would give some temporary relief but that doesnt do it either. Or adding ‘Option “HWCursor” “False”‘ to the device in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf – back to the drawing board :)

And to refer to last weeks XKCD; “If you really hate someone, teach them to recognize tearing” *sigh*

Next up though; installing Catalyst 11.12 drivers!!

Ubuntu NetworkManager

This NetworkManager thing in Ubuntu is horrible. Well; its not too bad actually but the commandline documentation sucks very very hard!
A quick brain dump after my questing for anyone dealing with this.. excuse my messy text.

A Google search for “Ubuntu NetworkManager Commandline” offers help disabling the NetworkManager; installing it (help.ubuntu) and refers you to the nmcli command. Which is just great help. No info to configure it without using the sodden graphical interface to do whatever.
The info about installing was particularly useless to me since it was already installed though the info about where the config files are and reference to nmcli was moderately interesting. Pity there is no info about those config files; anywhere. So .. I happily dicked around with generating configs on my laptop and using those on the headless xbmc box.
Right; so far my frustration; next up: trying to provide some meaningful info..

You probably won’t have to fuss too much with this as “Network Manager auto creates connections on a best effort base” though sometimes, and certainly on headless machines, you just want a fixed IP..

According to the help.ubuntu info, the configurations are in gconf or /etc. I did not find any of that data in gconf; but did find it in /etc

/etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/

the config files go here.

The directory contains all your network configs and NM promises to try to choose the best possible network connection.
Configuration files are owned by root:root and have 600 rights. They are formatted as follows; you will need to edit the UUID in the config files, check the nmcli part below.

root@Benedict:/etc/NetworkManager/system-connections# cat Wired\ 2.44

[802-3-ethernet]
duplex=full

[connection]
id=Wired 2.44
uuid=6a6e191a-4a8b-47ea-bc38-ef8b98748281
type=802-3-ethernet
timestamp=1318578920

[ipv6]
method=ignore

[ipv4]
method=manual
dns=192.168.2.1;
addresses1=192.168.2.44;16;192.168.2.1;

The “addresses1=192.168.2.44;16;192.168.2.1;” is formatted as IP;Netmask;Gateway

or

root@Benedict:/etc/NetworkManager/system-connections# cat Auto\ C

[connection]
id=Auto C
uuid=b6006760-005b-4fc7-b29a-f3565b6fdd8e
type=802-11-wireless
permissions=user:gert:;
timestamp=1320427786

[802-11-wireless]
ssid=C
mode=infrastructure
seen-bssids=00:18:aa:aa:aa:aa;
security=802-11-wireless-security

[802-11-wireless-security]
key-mgmt=wpa-psk
wep-key-flags=1
psk-flags=1
leap-password-flags=1

[ipv4]
method=auto

[ipv6]
method=ignore

For more info about getting your wireless network up; do a google search; the info is out there!

Next up: nmcli

At any rate; nmcli (command-line tool for controlling NetworkManager) wont be much help beyond listing data as “It is not meant as a replacement of nm-applet or other similar clients. Rather it’s a complementary utility to these programs.” You do need it to at least find out more about the connections, UUIDs and what NM is doing..

“nmcli con” lists the available connections

# nmcli con
NAME UUID TYPE TIMESTAMP-REAL
Wired 472a4a85-b432-446c-a704-c7df7b7f5e3e 802-3-ethernet Wed 11 Jan 2012 12:18:48 AM CET
Wired connection 1 472a4a85-b432-446c-a704-c7df7b7f5e3e 802-3-ethernet Wed 11 Jan 2012 12:18:48 AM CET
C e99af4da-5c7a-495e-b1ec-45c81519ad32 802-11-wireless Wed 11 Jan 2012 12:18:48 AM CET

The wired connection is my fresh; hand made connection; C wireless network was configured using the gnome interface; the “Wired connection 1″ was created automatically by NM. Your new connection wont show up however without the right UUID, You need to copy the UUID for the connection you want to use to the config file.

Restarting the networking will choose the configuration file instead of the best effort config.

# /etc/init.d/networking restart

After restarting the connection, the best effort “Wired connection 1″ vanished. I havent found anything about how to influence what connection is used when the best effort choice isnt the right one, but only need the one so I didnt really look either :)

I hope this helps

Notes on Gnome 3

Its time for another installment of the most useless type of blogpost for readers, notes on .. and this time its the Ubuntu 11.10 with Gnome 3 post! For more info about the concept, please read the “Notes on ..” concept post. The default disclaimer is relevant as usual, auto post set to Nov 9th, 2011, 20:00.

It all started with a tweet

@g3n
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-theme* gnome-sushi gnome-contacts gnome-tweak-tool (from @amedee ) – lets give it a swirl

Lets get started!

  • First Impression – This looks Nice!
  • I love the Universal Access icon on top! Im a big fan of the alt+scrollwheel zoom; I use it constantly when reading or writing.
  • First big irk – The alt+scrollwheel zoom isnt there anymore. Will have to figure this out ASAP! The zoom in the accessibility menu is nice but the zooming to mouse pointer of  normal is just too good to not have! I could just use the ctrl+scrollwheel zoom in the browser but that wont help me in a terminal window or other
  • Its weird to not have a desktop to the left. Cant seem to find a way of changing this either. Not that I would immediately, I want to know the feel as intended but this might become a problem in the long run
  • I just LOVE that Gnome creates more desktops as I put shit on them. Always having an empty desktop RULES! Not being able to switch to all of them with the arrow keys as I can in a 2×2 desktop is a pitty though.. :/
  • I love how empty desktops just disappear. Very intuitive
  • I also love that there is only the super button that does Everything!
  • Where is my minimize button????? grr
  • Changing the middle mouse to minimize (who uses “lower” window anyway) in the Advanced Settings menu solves that
  • Bit confused at the lack of a Gnome 3 settings thing? I only have the Unity thingy.. Might be the one though then why doesn’t it have Gnome3 specific settings now? :/
  • Dragging a window to a new desktop seems to stick it to the screen sides – I like that centered thank you..
  • I should find out what the shortcuts are – seeing fascinating things happening all around and no clue why
  • I like the big clock on top.
  • The bar on top somehow feels distractionless; this doesnt make sense but I like it.
  • Right – banshee & shotwell are NOT favourite apps; and why is there no Chromium in there; do I really have to do EVERYTHING myself??
  • Dragging apps into the bar works intuitive
  • the “new window” on totem movie player just opens the existing one. I already expected this since the latest version apparently doesnt have the –no-existing-session parameter anymore. WHY???
  • Don’t seem to be able to middle mouse paste. This is unacceptable. – Belay that, it a WP Visual Editor thing. That sucks but at least its unrelated to G3.
  • I like the abbreviation of Gnome 3 to G3. Will use that starting the previous line :D
  • Trying to remember whats in my Unity sidebar. Who should I blame about not being able to see that in the G3 favs? Might not be so bad though, keeping the settings apart.
  • I love the bottom notifications. Very sexy! Wondering how I can slide that out, it has icons… – Mouse Bottom left – cool! It has gNote too! Missed that thoroughly in Unity!
  • What happens if I open many many desktops? 11 desktops; they just scale. Thats very usable! :)
  • Closing windows in the overview works nice - Nice window reflowing too :)
  • I think I actually prefer seeing my menus sticking to the window – the not Unity/Mac way, the old skool style :) I didnt realize this but was just very relieved when I had them back :)
  • Not sure what to think about the contacts integration .. Most of all because of the weird data set it uses. Where the fuck do they get this? Some contacts have data, other don’t.. Google obviously, but wtf?
  • I like the clickable new window notification
  • Whoops, missed a notification, It ‘d be intuitive to be a way to still read that..
  • I like that closing the last window on a desktop brings up the Activities thing.
  • The lock screen looks better too. Unity sometimes gave weird crap with menus still being visible etc :/
  • Pretty hover box menus
I like G3 better than Unity so far! Though I’m wondering what part of the feature set I’m experiencing is Unity pollution. :/ If this keeps up I probably wont boot Unity again till 12.04!
  • Right – credit (where its due) – I’ve been planning to try G3 right after the 11.10 update made Unity less nice/stable for me; Though its only after reading Amedee’s post that I actually installed it http://amedee.be/weg-unity-leve-gnome-shell - using the cog on the login page to switch to G3 though, so I skipped the “lightdm-set-defaults” command :)
  • Pff – The only calendar provider appears to be Evolution. I dont like Evolution. Why is there no drop in replacement back-end for what Evolution does? I use Thunderbird & Goog Calendar, so fuck off Evolution! – shit like this annoys the fuck out of me in Gnome!
  • Curious about what the Advanced Settings – Install Shell Extensions thingy can do for me :D Will be checking out G3 shell extensions soonish!!
  • G3 somehow feels lighter than Unity. I guess thats probably just in the head though..
  • Seeing the lock screen again, I like it A LOT more! It has more thought put into it! Unity sometimes shows icons, mouse over stuff, full menu bar, some notifications … this just has the time & user. Much better!
  • I also like the program title on top! Part of the icon & the name .. The top bar with rounded edges etc is very artsy!
  • Dont really care about the volume change thingy. Dont hate it either. Seems stretched out :s
  • I’ll have to re-shape my methodology around this vertical desktop layout; having a fixed 2×2 routine usually
  • I kinda miss the file copy-ing icon Unity has
  • Im actually grateful for the extra real-estate now that the Unity bar is gone. Ive always been a “small bar at the top” kinda guy
  • Is there a way to drag around the desktops? I want to change the order..
  • Ah yes, the http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/CheatSheet contains very Very valuable info!
  • The Control+Shift+Alt+R screencast recording option is AWESOME!
  • The Magnifier problem; check this:

    Magnifier Screen Magnification is built into GNOME Shell and provides various forms of screen enhancement. It can be launched and configured using the GConf Editor by modifying the /desktop/gnome/accessibility/magnifier settings. There is also a python script that implements a dialog for changing magnifier preferences.

    This is supposed to be accessibility? Go edit gconf. Houston, we have a #FAIL

  • Cool! You can use the scroll btn on the desktop list in the activity thing to scroll to another desktop
  • I also like the dragging programs to desktops to open them there. & I’ll like that one even more tomorrow morning when starting the usual programs for work :)
  • grmbl; switching down several desktops and finding the right one is cumbersome compared to what Im used to
Day 2; work work!
  • Changing the button on top preferences from close only to close & minimize takes a reboot to become visible
  • Im trying the “forget about the desktops, just use them” approach :)
  • Dont really like that the desktop background doesnt cover the entire desktop but leaves a small black band to the left. I see the appeal but I’d like the option :/ and would probably choose to have it cover it all.
  • Having a tough time adjusting to the not having ctrl+scrollwheel zoom anymore
After a day in the real work world I do like G3. Still having problems with not having the zoom and the desktops being vertical, but I’ll probably solve/get over that tomorrow.. I believe its better as a touch interface than Unity though! It feels very Very touch friendly and I cant wait for more touchscreen laptops!!
  • Happy that “Always on top” and “Always on Visible Workspace” still work. Pro tip – this is very cool to put some entertainment in the lower right corner of your desktop while working or doing whatever!
  • Whoops. First little G3 crash. Gently came back up without a problem :) nice! Much nicer than Unity manages 40% of the time
Work again
  • slowly adjusting to the 4×1 instead of 2×2 layout
  • no real new irks, really..
  • A slight usability irk with the activities view though.. The default keyboard focus on opening is wrong or plain missing (as I cant figure out where its on). When I open the activities thing, I intuitively try to use the arrow keys to do something; be that to select a desktop or to select a running window. Or, much less, to select a program to start. These however do Nothing at all, nor does enter. The focus is entirely missing. I can change it to some part of the interface, but not the dekstops with ctrl+alt+tilde and then the keys do sometimes work, but only for starting programs from the dash or applications menu. This needs more keyboard options (most notably changing windows & desktops) and a default focus on something (I’d say the open windows)
    - In retrospect – Im starting to think the focus is on the search bar. And after typing, the arrow keys do have a use. Though I dont see why they can’t do both at the same time, the windows disappear when the programs appear, no confusion there
  • Weird G3 crash earlier; x restarted automatically & all was well again. At least I wasnt left with an utterly dysfunctional X as Unity often does.. Not cool but still better!
The cut-of date has been reached, so here they are! The verdict? It looks like I will be sticking with G3 :)
ps. yes, I need to install a mobile interface for my blog. Its on the todo, sorry for the wait