Moby Disk Consulting
Software Development, Training & Consulting
William Garrison - mobydisk at mobydisk daht com

Linux Notes

2003 Archive

Learning more applications

I used Windows yesterday because I needed VirtualDub and lots of codecs to toy with with compressing Independence Day videos from Tronster's party.

  • flash player

    Install went flawlessly. I used the command line. I should try to figger how to compress/decompress/run apps from Konqueror

  • Konqueror

    Yay! I found that option for the embedded terminal emulator. I love that feature.

  • Tea Cooker

    Tronster would like this.

  • OpenOffice

    Gotta work on contracts for Jes. I gave her OpenOffice on her stinky little Windows PC, so I suppose I should boot to Linux rather than use Word for Windows and find I used a feature that she cannot work with at home. Kinda nervous about this one.

  • Mozilla

    I think the reason email isn't importing from Windows is the same folder issue I found before. I need a way for the path to be /mnt/win_d when in Linux but d:\... in Windows. Maybe I'll rig a script to hack my Mozilla configs when I reboot.

  • Other

    I'm convinced disk I/O is slower. Is it enabling UDMA 100?

  • K3b

    Still only works as root. Dang that sux. I just wrote a multi-session CD and it seems to work. We will know for sure when I try to add a file later on.

  • OpenOffice

    Created contract for Jes using OpenOffice. The help is wonderful. This is just a dang good app. Unfortunately, it doesn't open wordperfect files, so I had to use KWord them cut-and-paste that into OpenOffice. Naturally, KWrite loses all the formatting -- but it was sufficient for this purpose. Their web site says they are looking for assistance, and that is one of the future features listed. Another possible open source project to contribute to.

  • XPDF

    Acrobat reader is nicer. Out-of-the-box, XPDF doesn't print. If you hit the print icon you have to enter in lpr as the print command or nothing happens. No error, nada. :-(

Yet more applications

Okay, I've used it several times since my last entry, but I haven't bothered to write much stuff. Sorry...

  • kwrite

    This is terrible. So far, out of about 5 documents, KWrite cannot even reasonably display any of them. It looks to me like tables just don't work.

  • OpenOffice Writer OpenOffice takes forever to load, but it is quite comparable to Office. Works great with Word docs. It even supports Macros! Wow! My one and only macro doesn't work, but I never use it so I don't know if it even works in Windows.

  • gphoto

    Why would anyone include a digicam application that doesn't work with USB?

  • gphoto2

    Excellent program. Command-line is PERFECT for something like this.

  • the gimp

    This MIGHT be a really good app. Once again, nobody seems to understand the basics of UI design.

    1. The application opens multiple top-level windows. This is a no-no.
    2. Excellent: everything is resizable. Unfortunately, they aren't very smart at resizing. Ex: There's no sense in making the "The Gimp" window anything other than horizontal since it has menus. But it doesn't stretch very well horizontally. It leaves lots of empty space because the color and pattern select buttons are always HUGE.
    3. First thing I wanted to do was adjust hue/contrast. This is the first program where I've not been able to find that.
    4. Help doesn't work. This is likely another Mandrake bad install thing.
    5. First tooltop says "Press F1 for context-sensitive help almost anywhere" but the context-sensitive help is Ctrl-F1, not F1. It looks like that is configurable, but it isn't the default. (At least not how Mandrake installed it) A bit misleading.
    6. The tutorials on the web site are not tutorials. They say things like "Use the plasma tool to create a cool plasma over your text!" alongside a picture. But there are no instructions on how to use those tools. Where is the plasma tool! I just see drawing tools like blur tool and line tool and gradient tool... ack! Am I supposed to do this by messing with the layers? Maybe I just don't get the paradigm yet.

      Okay, a discovery. Several tutorials reference the "Edit" and "Image" menus. I don't see any menus other than File, Xtns, and Help. Something is seriously missing.... (Five minutes later) Aha!!!!!! I click on the arrow on the corner of the image. Or right-click on it. Good use of screen real-estate. NOT obvious. I'm surprised I didn't right-click there since I right-clicked everything else... Not sure if I should feel stupid, or if that was a bad design idea. Now that I know it, it's no sweat.

      1. Keyboard support is excellent.
      2. Feature set is excellent.
      3. It's free. Maybe once I get used to this I'll patch it to support a window layout I like.
Mandrake Day 2: More applications
  • XCDroast

    Looks good. It would be nice if clicking OK saved the settings or warned me. Wowee zowie, direct copies worked - ate the CPU, but it worked reliably.

  • Xine

    Ugly, but good. Plays everything! Yeha! Die Quicktime, die!
  • HardDrake Configuration - Hardware - Hardrake: Runs logdrake instead! Oops!

  • Printing Tested it out using KDE Printer Manager. Why did it not default to CUPS?

  • Other Why is there an icon on my desktop labeled "Hard Disc (cd) (not mounted)" that gives me error messages, and I cannot delete? Where is the desktop? I thought it was "desktop" off of my home directory. Okay, it's 3am. More tomorrow.

  • Mozilla Trying to get Mozilla to use the profile I have on my D drive. This worked in the past. Yeaaah, symbolic links to another mount point. Much ass has been kicked.

  • Konsole Supports multiple shells, but how do I switch between them other than View - Session X? if you can't, then the feature is useless because multiple Konsole's would be easier. Shift-Left and Shift-Right. Yaaay for help!

  • Digicam

    Configuration-KDE-Peripherals-Digital Camera. Shows a PTP camera and says no configuration is necessary. (This should be the case since PTP is a standard and should work with any camera). The Test, Configure, and Setup buttons all just say something like (sorry, I didn't write it down) "Cannot lock the USB port." Whatever, this app doesn't seem to actually get photos anyhow. So what does? A web search says gphoto does. It's installed, but it's not on any menu I see. Config screen shows Powershot A70 - yaaay! But my choices are COM1..COM4 and other. hmmmm. ls /dev/usb only lists "hid" which is my joypad. Help is useless. Grrrr. gphoto2 seems much nicer - command-line is fine for this type of thing. Requires root. Jeez! Everyone complains that Windows requires administrator access or you cannot get anywhere. Linux is even worse! Can't burn CDs, can't work with my digicam. I wonder if that is why the scanner stuff doesn't work. Next thing I'll find out is that I needed root access to reliably set the volume control! gphoto only works once. gphoto works, but it crashes the camera at the end. Yes, I must power off the camera.

Mandrake Day 1
  • Copied the files from my FAT drive to Winserver so Tronster can get to them.

    Used LinNeighborhood in Networking\Remote Access (Remote Access? I guess that works) It refused to see anything unless I set my workgroup to Geekhouse, which is annoying. Then I was able to find Winserver. I could only see shares on it if I explicitly entered by name as Guest, also annoying. I was able to mount the share, but it failed to launch Midight Commander (since I don't have it). Not sure why the app is configured out-of-the-box to use something that isn't in a mostly full install. Manually went to the mount point copied files using Nautilus.

  • Copy files using Nautilus

    Nifty app, but maan the text is huge. Defaults to Icon view constantly and I have to change it every folder (just like Explorer, arg! Oh wait, I can change that though. Good.) It was easy to find the mount point though - that's nice. The layout can be configured but it is still stuffy. The status bar doesn't show the totals for the folder unless you select all. Okay, that's fine so long as I know it. The thumbnail feature isn't too bad. Maybe. I don't like it in XP, but if they can do it compactly then I'm happy.

  • Copy the Mandrake CDs I got from Adam

    Applications-Archiving-CD Burning. Fine. K3B, K3B Setup, Gnome-Toaster, GCombust.

  • K3D Setup.

    Next, next, next, next, next... Error. Yaaay! It found the drives, got everything right, but fails "Creating fstab entry for ..." my CD reader. Weird. And the message says congratulations settings saved. It's too stupid to know it even displayed an error.

  • K3D

    Looks like a great app. Too bad the burn, copy, and write buttons are grayed out. I wonder why? Tried manually typing in the paths to the devices from the setup using the config screen. No good. Time to learn how to uninstall apps.

  • GCombust

    This is one of those terrible applications that just lists every possible option (probably maps directly to the command-line args to whatever it executes) and provides pop-up help. Of course, all options are available at all times even if they make no sense. It must run as root even though the Mandrake menus don't set it to do so. No use - this cannot copy a CD without me first copying it to HD. I'll try this later if I need to.

  • Gnome-Toaster

    Also must run as root but isn't configured to do so in the menus. Can't see my CD drive, only the recorder. No copy feature either. Segfault when I copied files into the list to burn.

  • K3D again

    Reinstalled. K3D setup didn't report an error this time. Still only works as root though. This has a copy feature. - Mozilla Trying to get Mozilla to use the profile I have on my D drive. This worked in the past.

  • Konsole

    Supports multiple shells, but how do I switch between them other than View - Session X? if you can't, then the feature is useless because multiple Konsole's would be easier. Shift-Left and Shift-Right. Yaaay for help!

  • bash

    I never liked bash. csh scripting is easier. I'm learning it just enough to change my prompt... Too bad it doesn't work. The copy feature lists a source and a destination, but it only shows the recorder in both lists. But in the settings, it shows both drives and loads of details on them. Huh? So I try copying from CDRW to itself. Builds the ISO then burns it. Dies with buffer underrun. Then deletes the ISO, yyaaaY! Tried again with that option off. Same, still deletes the ISO, yyaaay! Tried creating just the ISO and now it gets "Operation not permitted" once it hits 99%, then it deletes the ISO, yyaaay! <sigh> I need to reboot to Windows and just do this to give Adam his CDs.

  • Create this log

    Applications - Editors - GEdit, KEdit, Kate, ... hmmmm.

    KEdit. Pretty standard. Alt-key for menus support works! Turned on wrapping. I'm going to the GEdit from here on and compare. It doesn't remember the last directory I was in when I open a file. That's silly. More features, but minus a few from KEdit. Everything has Unicode support. Good! The icons are too big. Kate might make a decent code editor because of the built-in shell. Sorta like the Konqueror thingy (I hope that is still in here). Too bad it flickers and is buggy. Right now, the mouse vanishes whenever I float over the app. And why do Linux people love huge icons?

  • Uninstall K3B

    Configuration - Packaging - Remove Packages. Excellent. It updated the menus, good. I wonder if it would have done that if I rearranged them...

  • Play some music while I work

    XMMS. It thinks it's playing sound... ummm... volume. OSS, ARTS, /dev/dsp, /dev/mixer, umm.... hey! Come to think of it, I haven't heard ANY Linux sound yet!

    Okay, by running KMixer, then turning on split channels, then back on, then dragging the volume bars back up, it fixed what appears to be some screwed-up default settings. I don't get the split channels thing. No matter for now. The audio delay is huge. Can't seem to fix that. Slightly annoying.

  • Other sidenotes

    I see Alt-Tab doesn't quite work as I expect. If there is one application with 75 windows open, and one of those windows is modal to the others - I see 75 windows if I hold alt-tab. That's just annoying. And moving to those windows is the same as the modal one. KDE bug? "feature?" This is the first Linux I've used that has the same keyboard shortcuts as windows. Alt works. Alt-Left goes back in Nautilus. Enter is the default button in dialogs. This is probably 50% of my problem with Linux, so if keyboard support gets better, I may be able to stick around long enough to use this thing. Copy-paste works! Goodie! Alt-n is "No" in dialogs (but not N, that's okay too)

    There is an oversight in the default "Galaxy" window decoration: If a window has a help button, it does not appear on the title bar! No wonder so many apps didn't seem to have any context-sensitive help! Or is the help option just hiding somewhere I cannot find?

Installed Mandrake 9.1. Destroyed Windows MBR.

Installed Mandrake Linux 9.1 with assist from Adam Bomb. All went okay except that it placed a graphical LILO on the MBR of /dev/hda even though I configured a text LILO on /dev/hdb1. Adam was confused. It worked though. However, upon next boot-up, I got a message indicating I could not boot. Ran Windoze recovery console and used the FIXMBR command (NOT the FIXBOOT command that destroys NTFS partitions, do a Google search for that one!) Now the graphical LILO is gone and it works like it should. WTF?