Ayatana Project

The other day, I ran across the Ayatana Project.  I guess that is the parent project for some of the applets at the top of the Ubuntu desktop.  The home for the project is here.

I noticed that they have a Evolution indicator.  A Thunderbird version might be nice, and a GMail version would be even better for me.

The indicator applet is what got me started looking at this project.  I currently have Empathy (allows me Google-Talk access) and Evolution in this applet.  I saw a question about Skype, which looked really great.  I would love to see what else they can put in here, like GMail, Skype, Facebook, etc.

Gnome Keyring Password Issue

I just upgraded my desktop to Xubuntu 9.04, and my Gnome Keyring password quite working.  This meant that I could not connect to wireless with the network manager.

So, I deleted the file $HOME/.gnome2/keyring/default.keyring.  I had to reenter the passwords, but this was no problem because it is a Desktop that is only on one network.

Hope it helps someone else.



I found that the xrandr features did not work with my NVidia driver in my old laptop.  I had to use the nvidia-settings tool, which worked with shortcomings.  But, my new laptop has an Intel video card.  The xrandr works with it.

Here are the commands that are working for me:

switching to dual monitors

xrandr --output VGA --auto --output LVDS --auto --right-of VGA

What did not work:

  • Leaves a black section on three quarters of the bottom of my laptop LCD panel.
  • only puts the applications menu and application switcher on the external Monitor — I would rather it be on the LCD panel
  • Only displays the monitor at 1024×768 @60hz.  I need it higher than 60hz for the flicker.

switching back to a single monitor

xrandr  --output VGA --off

What did not work:

  • did not move my windows back to the center, may have been because it thought they were on the left screen.

Changes to xorg.conf

I had to add the virtual setting in the Screen section.  Also, I had to add the mode to make the monitor use a 85hz instead of 60hz.

What did not work:

  • I have to start XWindows with the external monitor unplugged.  Otherwise, the laptop uses the 1024×768 setting from the monitor for the laptop screen, which is normally 1440×900.


Posted in Desktop, Laptop, XRandr. 1 Comment »


From Desklets to Screenlets

I tried to install gDesklets, but I had trouble with them.  I found a post that explained how to do it in Ubuntu.  And, I found a package in the Fedora repository for yum.  But, I had the following problems:

  • I never could get the good weather applet to work.
  • I couldn’t get the shortcut key to work for bringing them to the front.
  • The icon displayed by the clock, but it didn’t seem to do anything when I clicked on it (either left or right click)

So, I decided to try screenlets instead.  Maybe I am a little impatient, but I had had trouble with them in Ubuntu too.  I thought a change of scenery might me nice.

Installing Screenlets

To save you a few steps, you might want to run the following command right now.  That will save you from the errors I got as I went through:

yum install python-devel gnome-python2-gnomekeyring

I found the installation instructions on the FAQ.  I found the latest download on the main page at launch pad. I downloaded it to my Download directory and ran the following in a terminal:

cd ~/Download
tar -xzvf screenlets-0.1.1.tar.gz
cd screenlets
sudo python setup.py install

I did get the following error:

error: invalid Python installation: unable to open /usr/lib/python2.5/config/Makefile (No such file or directory)

That was easily fixed by using yum to install python-devel (see this post).

At this point, screenlets was installed, but the next step was to configure it.  I ran:


That command gave me this error message:

ImportError: No module named gnomekeyring

This was easily fixed by using yum to install gnome-python2-gnomekeyring (see this post).

After fixing that, the Screenlets Manager opened, and that was all that I had to do.  I rebooted at that point, not that I had to, but I wanted to for another reason.  Amazingly enough, the screenlets was already running by the clock.  I didn’t need to do anything to get it to auto start.

Adding Screenlets

I chose to add the following screenlets:

  • Battery: Displays the battery status of my laptop
  • GMail: I added my email address, and it displays how many messages I have unread
  • Weather: I added my zip code, and it shows the weather for my area
  • SysMonitor: Displayed info about my computer
  • DigiClock: A simple digital clock


When I first added the screenlets, they were on the top all of the time.  But, I found that I could hide them by making them a widget and removing the Keep Above option:

right click > Window > Widget (checked)
right click > Window > Keep above (unchecked)

Then, I had to configure Compiz.  I opened the CompizConfig Settings Manager, and found Widget Layer under Desktop.  I checked this option, and then looked at the settings.  F9 was the shortcut key, and I added the bottom right corner as another option.

Installing More Screenlets

  • Download the screenlet you wish to install (you don’t need to unzip it)
  • Open the Screenlets Manager
  • Click the Install option on the left panel
  • Choose “Install Screenlet”
  • Browse to the location where you saved the screenlet
  • Find the new Screenlet in the list and start it

Here are the additional Screenlets I downloaded:

Customizing Fedora 9

Now that my 3D driver is working, I can play with making things look nice (or, at least different).  Here are some of the things I did:

Installed the Zekton font.  To do so, I downloaded the tar file.  I unzipped it into my Download directory and copied the files to /usr/share/fonts/zekton.

I installed Emerald and got it working.  I lost track of the steps that I went through, and so, I am not the best resource for how to do this.  But, basically, I installed the emerald package from yum along with the compiz-fusion packages.

One package that was very helpful was the ccsm package.  It provided a menu by the clock that would allow me to pick Emerald as the Window decorator or restart it if something broke.  It also had a quick link to the emerald settings and the compiz settings.  To get it to start automatically, I had to add “fusion-icon” to the session (System > Preferences > Personal > Sessions).

Next, I downloaded and installed the Smoke theme.  I used the Emerald Theme Manager to install the theme, and then, I tweaked it a little:

  • Changed the Title/Text Font to “Zekton Bold | 10″
  • Changed the Minimum Title Bar Height to 9
  • Vertical Button Offset to 2
  • Horizontal Button Offset to 4

I tried to update the login screen, but that proved to be a little more difficult.  Here are some links that might help, if you want to try it:



Linux Mac Crossover

I found an interesting article today about making Linux look like a Mac.  The thing is that I don’t necessarily want to go all the way, but I would like to steal a few things from their side of the world.

Make Your Linux Desktop Look Like A Mac – Mac4Lin Project Documentation

The big thing that caught my eye was the AWM on page 3.   I had trouble following the instructions though.  These instructions worked a little better:

HOWTO: functional eye-candy with Avant-Window-Navigator and Affinity

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