Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.
There is now a back-port of Gnome 2.2 for Woody. The first challenge of this post is going to be explaining the first sentence, before going on to describe my experience of using this back-port.
Gnome is my desktop of choice for Linux, simply because my experience with KDE was long ago when KDE crashed rather more than I cared for. Woody is the name of the current stable release of Debian, a completely free distribution of Linux. For Debian stable tends to mean no new features, and there only tends to be a stable release once every decade (OK so more like every 2 years, but it feels like it’s a decade if you’re waiting for the next release). To help people who would like to run the stable version of Debian, with all the security updates that go with it, but would also like to use a more updated version of the Gnome desktop, a back-port from an unstable version of Debian has been produced.
I went ahead and installed it, following the instructions for once. The result was that when I tried to bring the desktop back to life, it failed with GDM presenting me with a perpetually blinking dialogue box. I found that there were lots of packages waiting to be upgraded that hadn’t been, so I tried running “apt-get upgrade” a few times, which downloaded and installed a load more stuff. Still the blinking dialogue box though. I tried installing extra packages that are included in the back-port, but which are not strictly required, and still the blinking dialogue. Having read the background “how the port was done” notes I tried a hunch – maybe I needed a newer version of X?
So I added the back-port of XFree86 4.2.1 to my sources and upgraded X. The first attempt only upgraded the server its self and the fonts, not the supporting libraries. A round of “apt-get install” on the held back packages brought in the rest of the libraries, and suddenly the blinking dialogue blinked no more! I’m still not entirely convinced that it was the version of X that was the problem, but I can’t think of what else I changed that would have resolved the problem like that.
A word of warning to anyone trying to move to Gnome 2 for the first time from 1.4: it’s very different. Expect to loose all your favourite panel applets, all your cunning key combos, and some tear off menus. When first logging in you will be offered the option of discarding your existing configuration, or trying to convert it. Just discard it, there is so little kept that it’s not worth the effort. If you do try and convert your configuration expect everything to be screwed up and much fiddling to have to be done.
Apparently the “Lords of the Rhymes” has been around for a few months, but it’s only recently that they’ve added a video. To give you an idea of just what you’re letting yourself in for if you follow the links, I quote:
The video, directed by famed hip-hop director Curufin the Crafty (aka Morgan Barnard)
features a bevy of Middle-Earthian characters, including hobbits, dwarves, ents, elves,
Nazgul, and even a cameo appearance by the Dark Lord Sauron himself.
” There was no half-steppin’ on this one,” said Quickbeam in a statement released yesterday,
” We knew we had to turn it out large and we did.”
I have to thank, once again, Why Do They Call Me Mr Happy for this one. I’ve no idea where Iain finds this stuff, but it’s truly a wonderful way to waist a few moments of the day.
Email: colin at owlfish.com