Gave Up

Got back to Gnome on home PC instead of awesome, which I used last 7 or 8 months. In fact, I even don't know, why exactly. Maybe just missed moving windows manually. It's objectively uncomfortable, but still...

I do remember, though, that I missed a couple of wmii's features while I was getting used to awesome.

Guess, I'll switch back to awesome soon. Xmonad could be a good try – it seems to be interesting, and I'm interested in functional programming, but I just don't have enough time for that. Awesome with it's perfectly usable default config is still the best choice for me.

Update (may, 9, 19:59 GMT): switched back :)

May. 08, 2009 // 23:15 | Comments (0)

Window Maker Is Back!

That's a great news! I've been using Window Maker for years, and still using in on my office workstation, although switched to Awesome on my desktop at home and laptop (surpisingly, everyday work as sysadmin requires more mouse usage than hacking at home).

So, they are back again. The project uses Mercurial instead of CVS for version control now, and they are preparing 0.92.1 version which, as far as I understand, would be a bugfix release.

It seems that Alfredo Kojima doesn't work on it anymore (AFAIK, he's developing MySQL Workbench in Sun now), but I saw Dan Pascu and Carlos R. Mafra in mailing lists, which should be good, but I have to explanation, why :)

Also, voins started rewriting Window Maker as NextMaker, but there were no updates in his blog for a long time. However there're rumors in Alt Linux community (maybe they aren't even that rumorous, I'm just not close to them) that he actually keeps working.

Again, congratulations to everyone an good luck to they guys. Too bad, I don't have much time for hacking it, too.

Mar. 26, 9820 // 12:26 | Comments (0)

How To Play DVD From Folder or ISO Image In Linux

I've got a few DVDs in ISO images or simply VIDEO_TS folders, mostly differect concerts (like my favorite Peter Gabriel's Growing Up Live I wantched today) and a couple of anime compilations.

Usually I watch them with mplayer mounting ISO image, if needed, and adding. VOBs I want to watch to playlist. I was just too lazy to search and find out how to watch them as real DVDs. But today one man told me that Growing Up has cool menu and additional media (yes, it's really nice and the media is set of Tony Levin's photographs accomponied by acoustic version of one song), so I finally decided to find it out.

It's really simple in fact.

You can play ISOs directly with VLC or Kaffeine. You can play it with mplayer or xine if you specify the path to your ISO image in command line:

xine dvd:/path/to/your/DVD/image.iso
mplayer dvd://1 -dvd-device=path/to/your/DVD/image.iso

The latter example will play DVD title #1. It's even easier with mplayer:

mplayer DVD.iso

But mplayer isn't good for watching DVDs yet. It has some support for DVD menus via libdvdnav, but it's still buggy now.

VLC and kaffeine support playing DVDs from folder. You'll find that option in their menu. Xine can do this, too, but via command line, exactly in the same way as it does with ISOs, just specify the path to VIDEO_TS:

xine dvd://path/to/your/DVD/VIDEO_TS/


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Jul. 27, 2007 // 05:05 | Comments (0)

Workaround For Ice1724-Based Soundcards' Muted Left Channel Problem

I've got an excellent M-Audio Revolution 5.1 sound card, and everything's fine with it under Linux but two things:

  • Headphones output doesn't work
  • On boot, the front left channel is muted, though any mixer app indicates, it's level is restored.

The first problem seems to be a major bug, but it doesn't feel so critical for me, I do not use speakers, so I plug headphones into Front jack and enjoy the sound.

The second is not that serious, but terribly irritating. The volume restores on both channels when you try to adjust it, but I'm sick of adjusting it every time I boot my Linux box. This issue applies to all Revo 5.1 and 7.1 cards and probably some others ice1724 (Envy24/HT) chip based cards.

Tonight my sickness of this issue reached it's apogee, so I created a small workaround for it. I haven't touch ALSA sources and have no idea about how it actually works, so my statements and explanations could look lame for ones who are more familiar with ALSA. The solution is Gentoo-specific, but I guess, it could be easily applied to any distro.

It seemed that ALSA didn't set volume correctly for my soundcard.. hmm... from the first try, let call that so. So, I edited /etc/init.d/alsasound file, putting amixer set PCM 90% inside the restore() procedure. It worked after reboot, I was happy. But on the next reboot, left channel was muted again. Shit.
I tried to run amixer set PCM 90% in console then and was unpleasantly surprised: it didn't work. Left channel was still muted.

Ok, I suspected that ALSA checks if it should actually do something when adjusting volume level, and if current (assumed by driver) level is the same as requested by user, it does nothing. This command worked: amixer set PCM 80%

So, finally I made the following changes to /etc/init.d/alsasound: in function restore(): added two lines amixer set PCM 8%
amixer set PCM 9%
before alsactl -f "${alsastatedir}/asound.state" restore ${cardnum} \ The to different values ensure that ALSA will HAVE to actually set the volume.

This updated file survived 4 reboots already and both channel are working. Yes, it's the dirty hack, but it's beta better than nothing, because this bug is known for 4 years so far and still (as of ALSA 1.0.14) not fixed.

Jun. 06, 2007 // 00:47 | Comments (0)

A good system tray application for Windowmaker window manager


I mean, I found it! I complained a lot about lack of system tray app for Windowmaker. Sure, system tray is too KDE or Gnomish stuff, Windowmaker has completely different paradigm, but there are applications I want to use (I love liferea, claws-mail and basket!) which can not interact with Windowmaker to create notification icons like, eg. Psi does. There are two dockapps intended to be a system tray containers: wmDockApp which was very buggy, but became more stable with a couple dirty hacks, and Docker which works perfectly in OpenBox (which it was written to) but behaves awfully under my favorite window manager. I was almost going to try to fix one of theme (or maybe merge them as they seem to have different problems), when I decided to find an alternative to Windowmaker. Finally I found trayer which is a part of fvwm-crystal.

I had to say good bye to FVWM, because I need to work, not spend weeks on tuning (possibly, I'll get back to it later, I liked it's flexibility and power), but the trayer stayed on my PC for a long time. It's simple, it's working, it's not limited to 4 icons like Docker and wmDockApp do, and it's easily configurable. There's what mine looks like:

trayer screenshot

And there's how I launch it:

trayer --widthtype pixel --width 192 --align right --expand true --transparent true --alpha 25

There are 3 reasons why trayer is not really perfect system tray app:

  1. it is configurable only through command-line arguments. Yes, it's okay for us, geeks, but if it could store settings in /.trayer or /.config/trayer I'll be happier.
  2. it is static: you can't drag it with mouse and stick to another screen edge, you can't resize it, you can't chage it's color without killing it and starting again with new arguments
  3. it doesn't look like a part of Windowmaker :)

Stay tuned, and I'll post a couple more articles on windowmaker, GNUStep, and etoile soon.

Dec. 23, 2006 // 04:12 | Comments (1)


Since I first saw Linux in 1998 or 1999, my relationship with Gnome and KDE were pretty... say complicated. Yeah, the looked cool even then (yes, they did, as they looked just different from Windows), but all I really did when launched them is simply playing around with Control Centre, nothing more. Cool, even beautiful, but I didn't feel comfortable enough there to really work.

I tried several minimalistic window managers like IceWM, enlightenment, fluxbox (emm... BlackBox, I suggest; not sure if flux forked then already), but they all had something I didn't like. Not something special I hated, just general discomfort.

And then I saw WindowMaker. It was cool, it was clean and simple, it was totally different. I felt myself the coolest geek ever. I fell in love with it. It had (and surely still has it) the most comfortable UI I've ever used, which is not surprising as it was built to resemble NeXTSTEP's look. NeXTSTEP was an operating system by Steve Job's NeXT Computers. That man Does know several things about usability and UI design. And when Apple, Inc. bought NeXT in 1997, the new Mac OS X was based on NeXTSTEP's codebase.

GTK2-Step screenshot

That was a preamble, actually. I post this article to share my happiness: I finally found GTK2 theme called GTK2-Step. From now on all Gnome applications (and even Firefox!) look the way I always wanted them to look. Now I have to find similar QT theme, so QT apps will share the same look.

Dec. 01, 2006 // 21:08 | Comments (0)