Currently viewing entries from March, 2007

Learning about X

I have been too ignorant about how X works on my Linux systems. I did know that it provided my graphical environment, that it needed a window manager to be very usable or pretty, and that it operated on some sort of client-server model.

Well, now I know a lot more than that. I read through WikiPedia’s X Window System. I took notes to sort-of summarize how it all works.

New Laptop Coming Soon

In a week or so I will be really revamping my laptop. The old thinkpad 600 has been tethered to the wall for the last few years. There was no battery power. Well, today I have ordered a new one from It should be here in a few days.

I just hope that I can avoid the troubles that so many 600-users have with their batteries.

My goals for the revamp:

  1. Install FreeDos on a 256 MB partition, to make use of PS2.EXE
  2. Install Debian 4.0 “Etch” (dual-boot)
    1. Get the HardWare working
      1. Trackpoint
      2. Video
      3. LAN and WLAN
      4. IrDa and Serial
    2. Install minimal utilities and programs
      1. Install super-lean desktop
        1. fluxbox
        2. torsmo
        3. idesk
      2. Get OnLine in Style
        1. SeaMonkey 1.1.3 from Mozilla
        2. CalExt, MultiZilla, EnigMail, and Web Developer extensions
        3. Import my old mail, calendars, browser settings, etc.

I am throughly looking forward to the refreshed laptop. It should be quick and effective, perfect for taking notes in class.

Gnome File Properties Auto-Update

Using Windows, lately, I’ve been annoyed during file transfers, or when a file is being written to. Windows Explorer is unable to show me the current file size. It shows me the file size from the instant I clicked “Properties,” and the size does not change, even if the size is changing (i.e. the file is being populated with data).

Gnome users do not have this problem. The context menu updates information on-the-fly. This is a simple feature that I really wound not have missed had it not been missing.

Rock on, Gnome, rock on.

Nearing Internet Bliss

I really surprised myself with my new web browser and mail client choice: SeaMonkey. Here’s why:

  1. With everything integrated, I thought it would be very bloated, bulky, and all-together resource intensive. Too much for my meager 196 MB of RAM.
  2. Mozilla SeaMonkey contains pieces of software and/or code that conflict with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, hence the dramatic renaming of the Debian Mozilla packages to IceApe, IceWeasel, and IceDove.
  3. Out of the box, SeaMonkey has no real calendar or RSS reader. Thunderbird (with the Mozilla Lightning extension) has both.

So here is what I discovered to persuade me:

  1. SeaMonkey is surprisingly fast and rather lean. Plus, once either the Browser or Mail client are loaded, the other is much quicker to open, as most of it is already running. I find this is much faster and easier than running any combination of IceDove, Evolution, Firefox/IceWeasel, and/or Epiphany.
  2. While Talkback and Mozilla artwork are not DFSG compliant, everything is still free, and at least open-source. I find that I am not too bothered by the fact that I am getting this from Mozilla instead of apt-get. In fact, things should stay more up-to-date this way, and give me more functionality as the application evolves (i.e. the built-in spell checker).
  3. Extensions, extensions, extensions! I only needed two: Multizilla (gives me an RSS reader, User Agent and Referrer modifiers, and generally more configuration options to SeaMonkey) and the old Mozilla Calendar Extension, which is being generously kept up to date (patched with SunBird code, compiled, and released) by Howard Chu.
  4. I get my Web Developer tool bar that I love, which did not work on Epiphany (my second-choice web browser).

One rather small problem: I really liked Epiphany’s (and Galeon’s) Tag-able Bookmark System. It is superior to the system still used by SeaMonkey and Firefox. I can live without it, though.

Other than that, I am very satisfied with SeaMonkey on Fluxbox in Debian Linux. My system is quick, secure, and I can use the Internet in nearly any way I want to with one application.