Xorg-Edgers Repository

November 14, 2009

I added this ppa repo to my sources.list, upgraded and my glx gears went from ~2870 to ~4880. This repo was recommended on the Ubuntu Forums for possible performance improvements. It’s Xorg, so beware. (I’ve used it before with 9.04 and never had problems, Nvidia Quadro that time)

## Bleeding Edge Xorg
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/xorg-edgers/ppa/ubuntu/ karmic main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/xorg-edgers/ppa/ubuntu/ karmic main

the key:

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 8844C542

I’m using Karmic 9.10 x64 on this Dell Vostro 1220 with an Intel x4500HD graphics card.


HowTo: Kernel Upgrade (2.6.30-020630) for Ubuntu 9.04 amd64

September 27, 2009

The linux kernel 2.6.30 DEB files can be found at the following website:
You have to install 3 files in the ORDER listed:


When clicking the files you get a choice to install them using gdebi or to save them. Choose install.
There is just one thing: the order in which you install them is important. Don’t panic: when choosing the wrong file first in gdebi it will tell you it is missing some dependences. The right order is the one written above.
When done simply re-boot and you’ll see the new kernel mentioned at the top of the Grub list.

On Ubuntu forums the kernel listed above was recommended as STABLE. I’ve done this myself. You’ll have to recompile the VirtualBox Kernel Module, and VBox will give you the sudo command to do this when you try to launch your VM…..easy. Nvidia will be taken care of automagically.

HowTo: Install Ubuntu System Panel

September 22, 2009

ubuntu-system-panel is a simple launcher for the GNOME desktop, providing easy access to Places, Applications and common configuration items for your computer. This guide shows how to install and configure it on an Ubuntu 9.04 desktop.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

1 Installing ubuntu-system-panel

Open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

Install Subversion…

sudo apt-get install subversion

… and download the ubuntu-system-panel sources:

mkdir -p ~/Downloads/SVN
cd ~/Downloads/SVN
svn checkout http://ubuntu-system-panel.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ ubuntu-system-panel

Afterwards you can install ubuntu-system-panel as follows:

cd ubuntu-system-panel
./usp_update install fresh


For Ubuntu 9.04, the lined out portion below apparently isn’t necessary.

If you are on an x86_64 system (only then), you also need to run the following command:

sudo cp /usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/usp/plugins/_keybind64.so _keybinder.so


Finally run

killall gnome-panel

This will make the panels disappear for a few moments – nothing to worry about.

ubuntu-system-panel is now installed and ready to be used.


Here are some additional commands that you might need:

To update ubuntu-system-panel:

cd ~/Downloads/SVN/ubuntu-system-panel
./usp_update update

To uninstall ubuntu-system-panel:

cd ~/Downloads/SVN/ubuntu-system-panel
./usp_update uninstall

To completely remove it from your system (including the ubuntu-system-panel settings):

cd ~/Downloads/SVN/ubuntu-system-panel
./usp_update uninstall complete


2 Using ubuntu-system-panel

Right-click on an empty area on your panel and select Add to Panel…:

Select Ubuntu System Panel from the Add to Panel window and click on Close:

Afterwards you find a new item on your panel called System. Click on it, and you’ll see the Ubuntu System Panel in its full beauty:

If you decide to use the Ubuntu System Panel instead of the normal Applications – Places – System menu, you can remove the normal menu by right-clicking on it and selecting Remove From Panel:

To move the Ubuntu System Panel to the top left spot on the panel, we must unlock the remaining icons that are left of it (right-click and uncheck Lock To Panel)…

… and move it (right-click > Move) to the top left spot…

… then lock it (right-click > Lock To Panel):

Here’s how it looks:

2.1 Adding Places

You might have noticed that the Places section is missing in the Ubuntu System Panel. To add it, right-click on System and select Preferences:

On the Main tab, there’s a window called Plugins. Click on the Add button…

… and fill in places as the plugin name:

You should now see the places plugin at the end of the plugins list. You can now move it up or down using the Move Up/Move Down buttons.

I found out that if the places plugin is in certain positions, the Ubuntu System Panel won’t work anymore. If you experience the same problem, just go to Preferences again and change the position of the places plugin. I’ve put it in the fourth position (below newpane, uspuser, and system_management, and it’s working for me):

Click on Apply and Close to leave the Preferences window.

This is how the Ubuntu System Panel looks with the Places section:

HowTo: Install Gnome-Shell !

September 21, 2009

By Ian McGregor,  and reposted here for your convenience:

First of all, I don’t run Compiz because I see it as no more than a resource-wasting annoyance. Sure, it looks cool, but it doesn’t help me with productivity in any way.

Secondly, I keep multiple windows open at all times, so I rarely see my desktop and it was good to see that GNOME shell includes a window switcher which can be accessed with the traditional Alt+Tab hotkeys.

Finally, my system isn’t a high-end system. I build my computers because it allows me to pick and choose hardware that I already know works with GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux, if you know what you’re doing, doesn’t need the latest and greatest hardware.

My system is, for the purpose of this review, as follows:

  • CPU: AMD Sempron 2800+
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Video: nVidia GeForce 6200
  • Build date: June 2006
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

Installing GNOME Shell
It’s important to note that GNOME Shell is still in fairly early development, more informatioin about GNOME Shell can be found here. I closed all applications except for a single GNOME terminal. I installed jhbuild with the command:

sudo apt-get install jhbuild

I then grabbed the GNOME Shell build script with the command:

wget http://git.gnome.org/cgit/gnome-shell/plain/tools/build/gnome-shell-build-setup.sh

I ran the setup script with the command:

bash gnome-shell-build-setup.sh

The setup script seems to check for dependencies because I was presented with a message listing some dependencies I needed to install and then told to run the setup script again. I used apt-get to install the dependencies and ran the setup script a second time which was successful.

I then built and installed GNOME Shell with the command:

jhbuild build

Building and installing took 18 minutes on my AMD Sempron 2800+ system and succeeded. I didn’t expect it to succeed because I hadn’t compiled anything in years and didn’t have anything in the way of a “build environment” installed, but it succeeded.

I then replaced the default GNOME window manager (Metacity) with GNOME Shell with the command:

~/gnome-shell/source/gnome-shell/src/gnome-shell –replace

Using GNOME Shell
GNOME Shell seems to be a compositing window manager and includes some special effects but not too many. You won’t find any desktop cube or wobbly windows (things that I feel are useless anyway), but you will find a very nice user interface. The usual panels were replaced with a single panel at the top of the screen which displays an Activities applet, the focused window icon and name, the date and time. the notification area (system tray) applet and a user applet which displays the name of the user. See the screenshots at the end of this article.

Clicking the Activities applet causes the desktop to zoom out, showing each of the running application windows as a thumbnail, and displaying the Activities panel. Clicking the Activities applet a second time restores the desktop to its normal state. The Activities panel contains a Find text box for searching, an Applications menu with Browse button, icons for the currently open applications, a Places menu and a Recent Documents menu with Browse button.

What was missing was the System menu. I played around a bit and found that clicking the user applet at the far right of the panel displays a menu containing a menu item for System Preferences. Clicking on this menu item opens the GNOME Control Center and that solved the missing System menu problem because GNOME Control Center displays all items in the System menu anyway, at least on my system. The user applet also has menu items for Lock Screen, Log Out, Shut Down and a Sidebar – which doesn’t seem to be implemented yet.

While the desktop is zoomed out (clicking on the Activities applet), there is a large “+” sign at the bottom right of the screen. This icon allows users to add workspaces. I only use one workspace but the icon functions fine.

Again, it’s important to note that GNOME Shell is still in fairly early development. However, the only thing that didn’t quite work was the pop-out sidebar, it pops out but it was empty. I’m not sure what its purpose is but I feel confident that it will be implemented in time.

Here are a couple of screenshots of GNOME Shell running on my Ubuntu 9.04 system (click each image for a larger view):

My normal GNOME desktop environment. Notice that there is only one item at the far left edge of the panel. The Activities applet takes the place of the menu bar (Applications, Places, System).

This is what the display looks like after clicking on the Activities panel applet at the far left edge of the panel.

My opinion of GNOME Shell
I love this thing! GNOME Shell seems to be working very well, I haven’t seen any problems, and is a very nice change from the traditional GNOME desktop. I love this thing! I’m very impressed with this shell especially given that it’s still in early development and seems to be fully functional. Did I mention that I love this thing?

Kudos to the GNOME developers for this beautiful and functional user interface. The only thing I need to do now is figure out how to run GNOME Shell as the default environment. If this is “early development”, I can hardly wait to see the finished product.

I wonder if Avant Window Navigator or wbar would work in this shell.

UPDATE: I already had GNOME Do installed and found that docky (a dock bar provided by GNOME Do) works quite well in GNOME Shell. More information about docky can be found here.

UPDATE2: Wbar works much better for me than docky. Wbar doesn’t have a lot of flashy eye candy, it just does its thing while staying out of your way. You can find a wbar tutorial here.

Updated screenshot showing wbar (at the bottom) and the new gKRELLM2 theme (far right) I made to match the Turrican GTK2 theme I’m using. By the way, the Turrican theme is one of four new themes you’ll see added to Ubuntu 9.10.

Sorry about the top left corner of the screenshots, the gnome screenshot tool doesn’t seem to like the Activites panel applet. Good thing I’m replacing it with Shutter 🙂

Communication Resources
Feel free to join any of the communication channels listed below:

  • IRC: Join irc.gnome.org:#gnome-shell to participate in daily discussions or get help with running, developing, or designing for the GNOME Shell.
  • Mailing List: Subscribe to the GNOME Shell mailing list to get updates about the latest features and participate in the development and design discussions. Feel free to use this list for mailing your design ideas to it.
  • Bugzilla: Monitor “gnome-shell” product in GNOME Bugzilla and use it to submit bugs or feature requests. View all open bugs. You can add gnome-shell-maint@gnome.bugs to your “Users to watch” list in your email preferences for Gnome Bugzilla to get e-mail updates about changes.
  • Commit Updates: Subscribe to the gnome-shell module code updates in your svn-commits-list subscription options. Commit log for the GNOME Shell can be viewed here

HowTo: Display more than 5 bookmarks in gnome-panel “Places” menu

September 13, 2009

From Ubuntu Forums:

1. Install apt-build


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apt-build

2b) Configure apt-build:

* Optimization level: Medium
* Add apt-build repository to sources.list: Yes
* Architecture:

3) Install files required to build gnome-panel from source and download the source


sudo aptitude build-dep gnome-panel
sudo apt-build source gnome-panel

4) Navigate to the downloaded gnome-panel source folder and open the menu items file

cd /var/cache/apt-build/build/gnome-panel-*
sudo gedit gnome-panel/panel-menu-items.c

5) Set the the maximum number of bookmarks to display


I changed it to 20.

6) Install the modified gnome-panel and restart it

(Sudo is necessary. Otherwise is does not work.

sudo ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install
killall gnome-panel

Ubuntu Jaunty Set up Guide….

August 12, 2009

recommended: (take note of swiftfox repo…this will give you 3.5.2)


Kubuntu 9.04 Beta. Stable and Fast

March 28, 2009

I find the Beta pretty darn stable for a first Beta. I’m looking forward to the final release. Here is my current desktop:

Kubuntu 9.04 Beta, customized Desktop

Kubuntu 9.04 Beta, customized Desktop