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August Xfce desktop

  • August 11, 2010
  • Josh Saddler

This month's Xfce desktop:

Corona and rings

icons: awoken
gtk+: axiomd
xfwm4: axiomd
background: The Crown of the Sun
cursor: Obsidian xcursors

The uncluttered version that shows off the wallpaper and conky configuration:

The crown of the sun

I built my environment around the wallpaper, an image of a solar eclipse, bringing out the haunting beauty of the sun's corona. I cropped this photo from APOD to fit my screen dimensions.

With such a beautiful cosmic backdrop, I had to search for matching theme elements. I used the same window manager and gtk+ theme, axiomd. It's nice and dark, with moon dust highlights.

It's been a long, long time since I last installed conky. I decided to give it another go, now that it's capable of doing beautiful things with Cairo and Lua. I was especially impressed by this configuration I found on the Arch Linux forums.

I made a few modifications to the ring meter scripts for conky. The end result is pretty decent, considering I haven't done much heavy tweaking yet. You'll need to emerge conky with the lua-cairo and lua-imlib USE flags set, or else the scripts won't function.

The rings frame the corona, with just a touch of transparency to blend it into the deeper space backdrop. From left to right, the rings measure: CPU core 2 load, memory usage, /usr/portage, /, and CPU core 1 load. Adding, removing, shrinking, or expanding rings is pretty easy. The ring scripts are well-commented. The biggest obstacle I've run into so far is adapting the configs to my screen size, ensuring that items are placed just right. I could tweak the ring's curvature to precisely match the eclipse, but it's close enough as it is.

I picked up the icon set because it's very attractive for both dark and light environments. It's very flexible, with numerous alternative icon versions, extra standalone icons, many distribution logos, and a number of helpful scripts inside the tarball. I used one of the included Gentoo logos as my Xfce menu icon.

The mouse cursor theme is glossy and dark, yet it has a few blue animations to add a splash of color. To get it, run emerge obsidian-xcursors.

Applications

In the foreground, Decibel Audio Player is running in the "mini" mode, playing a beautiful track by Planet Boelex.

Thunar is the filemanager open in the background. An Xfce terminal displays an eix-sync operation.

Running in the panel are an assortment of application launchers, including customized dropdown menus for frequently used programs.

After the Xfce menu, launchers, and taskbar, the notification area holds the tray icon for Decibel Audio Player. Then a genmon applet that runs my lastsync.sh Portage script. After genmon, there are plugins for volume control, the Orage clock, and local weather.

Now that I'm using conky, I can probably find a way to integrate the weather, clock, and Portage sync script with the existing ring meters, or even run it in another instance off to the side. Anything to reduce my crowded top panel.

August Xfce desktop

  • August 11, 2010
  • nightmorph

This month’s Xfce desktop:

Corona and rings

icons: awoken
gtk+: axiomd
xfwm4: axiomd
background: The Crown of the Sun
cursor: Obsidian xcursors

The uncluttered version that shows off the wallpaper and conky configuration:

The crown of the sun

I built my environment around the wallpaper, an image of a solar eclipse, bringing out the haunting beauty of the sun’s corona. I cropped this photo from APOD to fit my screen dimensions.

With such a beautiful cosmic backdrop, I had to search for matching theme elements. I used the same window manager and gtk+ theme, axiomd. It’s nice and dark, with moon dust highlights.

It’s been a long, long time since I last installed conky. I decided to give it another go, now that it’s capable of doing beautiful things with Cairo and Lua. I was especially impressed by this configuration I found on the Arch Linux forums.

I made a few modifications to the ring meter scripts for conky. The end result is pretty decent, considering I haven’t done much heavy tweaking yet. You’ll need to emerge conky with the lua-cairo and lua-imlib USE flags set, or else the scripts won’t function.

The rings frame the corona, with just a touch of transparency to blend it into the deeper space backdrop. From left to right, the rings measure: CPU core 2 load, memory usage, /usr/portage, /, and CPU core 1 load. Adding, removing, shrinking, or expanding rings is pretty easy. The ring scripts are well-commented. The biggest obstacle I’ve run into so far is adapting the configs to my screen size, ensuring that items are placed just right. I could tweak the ring’s curvature to precisely match the eclipse, but it’s close enough as it is.

I picked up the icon set because it’s very attractive for both dark and light environments. It’s very flexible, with numerous alternative icon versions, extra standalone icons, many distribution logos, and a number of helpful scripts inside the tarball. I used one of the included Gentoo logos as my Xfce menu icon.

The mouse cursor theme is glossy and dark, yet it has a few blue animations to add a splash of color. To get it, run emerge obsidian-xcursors.

Applications

In the foreground, Decibel Audio Player is running in the “mini” mode, playing a beautiful track by Planet Boelex.

Thunar is the filemanager open in the background. An Xfce terminal displays an eix-sync operation.

Running in the panel are an assortment of application launchers, including customized dropdown menus for frequently used programs.

After the Xfce menu, launchers, and taskbar, the notification area holds the tray icon for Decibel Audio Player. Then a genmon applet that runs my lastsync.sh Portage script. After genmon, there are plugins for volume control, the Orage clock, and local weather.

Now that I’m using conky, I can probably find a way to integrate the weather, clock, and Portage sync script with the existing ring meters, or even run it in another instance off to the side. Anything to reduce my crowded top panel.

Documentation status report, part 2

  • August 2, 2010
  • Josh Saddler

Been meaning to provide a follow-up to the last documentation report for a few days now, as well as a couple other news items.

Gentoo in the press

LWN ran an article on Linux distributions for PowerPC machines. Gentoo gets the top mention.

Package maintenance

I had the treecleaner team remove a package I maintain, WhaawMP. I hadn't used it in a long time and was no longer interested in maintaining it. Upstream seemed to be dead, and there were several user interface bugs and crashers in daily use. Also, I didn't want to put in the work on trying to make the ebuild comply with the stupid Python3 stabilization forced on all our users. Thanks to Jeremy for punting it. If you're looking for a lightweight video player alternative, please read the comment I left on the bug. bug 315067

Documentation status

Now, down to the docs work I've done, mostly on the 21st and 22nd, after the last status report. The biggest news is that I finished rewriting the handbooks for the autobuilds. In two days, I did four architecture handbooks. I put in some long hours, but it felt good to finally have them all done.

Handbook updates

  • Sparc: updated the handbook for the autobuilds. Also fixed the kernel config "conditionals" by adding in version strings to the handbook index code, so that the latest stable version magically appears in the guide. Truly XSL is an awesome thing. The former GDP lead once said that writing for the handbook is almost like programming it. The code is designed to take variables, drop them in place for given conditions, and to test for those conditions depending on the presence of other variables (which we call "keys"), which architecture you're viewing, etc, and then drop those variables in to the rendered page. Once the XSL framework is in place, though, maintaining the GuideXML in the handbooks is much easier. We just drop the newest variable for LiveCD ISO size into the appropriate arch index, and it shows up as "115 MB" in that handbook. You can see some of our keys and how we use them.
  • PPC: updated handbook for the autobuilds. bug 260403, bug 292726, bug 234310
  • PPC: fixed the abstracts in the index. There was a lot of abstracts in the toplevel index. Abstracts are supposed to be in each chapter, so that the index just picks them up and includes them in the rendered page. Our XSL is frickin' amazing.
  • PPC: removed the warning and kernel config for voluntary preemption. I asked the PPC team if this old warning was still valid, and it turns out that the preempt code in the kernel actually works okay. Thanks to Joe for investigating.
  • PPC64: updated handbook for the autobuilds. bug 260403, bug 292726, bug 234310
  • MIPS: updated handbook. MIPS still doesn't have weekly stages or LiveCDs. Because MIPS media dates back to 2008, there are some things I can't fix in the handbook, like using eselect for profile management. If it's not in the stages or CDs, I can't document it. The profiles in particular have been significantly reworked for 10.0, and like everything else, will require some heavy rewrites in the handbook. The team is aware of how ancient their releases are, and are working to put out new media for more recent MIPS chips. bug 260403, bug 292726, bug 234310
  • AMD64: fixed a broken link to the AMD64 FAQ

Desktop doc updates

  • Xfce guide: updated the firefox package name. I was watching #gentoo-commits and happened to notice that nirbheek changed the name from mozilla-firefox to just firefox.

Other doc updates

  • OpenRC migration: added a note on kernel module variables and how OpenRC assigns priority. bug 269349
  • vpnc guide: updated the kernel configuration and adjusted the GuideXML to match coding standards. Thanks to tanderson for reporting via IRC. Also changed the text on vpnc overwriting /etc/resolv.conf. Old versions didn't overwrite it, but recent releases do. bug 330345
  • Optimization guide: I updated the GCC documentation links to point at the 4.4 series, since it's been stable for awhile now. The links were pointing to the old 4.3 series.

Project page updates

Website updates

  • Where: removed the last reference to 2008.0 media, as the handbooks have all been switched to the autobuilds. Only HPPA still referred to the 2008.0 LiveCD, since that's the last available release. That information has been in the HPPA handbooks for a long time.
  • Contact: added another note saying that PR does not provide user support. We've been getting a lot of emails asking us for support, so I've been adding notes to our project page and the toplevel contact page.
  • Lists: updated the list of mailing lists with information on closed and inactive list. Thanks to Jeremy for the patch. bug 291860