Monday, 29 July 2013

Having too many choices can be a bad thing



Linux is all about choices and if you chose arch linux, you will be drowned with choices. Learning one thing to use it efficiently can be a hard thing. But if you also have to choose which one suits when you have little knowledge on it can be a tiring thing to do. I used to be using gnome user. But the changes gnome 3 is bringing are unpalatable. There are tons of things which gnome3 has changed which i hate and makes it useless to me. For instance there is task bar, no multi time zone option, you can't put new items in desktop unless you do some tweaks and to get a new launcher, there is no simple right click and create launcher. So gnome , go to hell. I think the idea is to make people move away from gnome. Maybe gnome-shell was sponsored by Micro$oft. I tried searching for other DE . The others i encountered are KDE and XFCE. I never liked KDE . Reading on XFCE features did not impress me. So i decided to use a WM and no DE. That's when i found they are hundreds of different WM for X11. There are this categories:

  • tiling WM
  • stacked WM
  • composing WM
Of these stacked WM is what i am used to and is the one that windows users use. Maybe windows 8 users are using tiled, but i have used only windows from 98 to windows 7 and they use stacked WM. So i thought i should try tiling WM. When looked at which tiling WM to use , the list just me dizzy. It is not just the tiling WM has a huge list , even stacking WM is huge list. I see only compiz coming under composite WM. I don't like compiz anyway. Compiz is just eye candy and does not contribute to productivity. 
The following WM caught my attention, so i am going to see if they are good for me:
  • 3i - it is based on wii and is a tiling WM.
  • openbox - Seems to be the favorite among arch users as found during google searches.
  • fluxbox - Really good information on the homepage of this, which makes think it should be more usable thing.
  • awesome - So far good from what i see.

The WM is not the only thing with thousand of different apps for similar thing. I tried to get a personal wiki software hosted in my server and when googling there are tons of wiki . Each with its own unique syntax to learn and unique configuration syntax. Many a times not having too many options can help concentrate on the job at hand than struggling to get started because of confusion on which to start with. The following wiki seems to possible candidate from my searches and reading on Internet:

  • twiki - I have personally used it and found it to be easy to learn as it uses many of html tags for formatting . On cons it seems to be a uge software as it has many features that may not be useful for me. Like CMS, Groupware, etc. And is written in perl. I generally don't like perl because of its spaghetti coding style.
  • MoinMoin - Good one. Impressive. Good themes collection.
  • Confluense from Altasian - Seems to be a good one but it is commercial and costs 10USD to get 10 people license and i dont need so many collaboration features offered by it.
  • wikimedia - Seems to be vandalizer favourite since ilugc had its wikimedia hosting run over by bots vandalizing it. Maybe it is not wikimedia fault, but i am wary of it.
twiki is perl, MoinMoin is python, confluense is java and wikimedia is php.

I think using a minimalistic distro to get your stuff done is not a good idea. You will end up spending lot of time in working on things to that help you get the work done, rather than the work itself. For example , if you want to edit a file, you will end of spending more time and effort on installing appropriate editor than editing the file. They say that benefit of such a distro is learning the internals of how it works. But why anyone want to know the internal working when that is not the primary work. Maybe they have far too much time. It is exactly as GNU philosophy i read in 2004 in GNU . I use linux not because of GNU, but because of its unix background and its robustness. Linux kernel is well written. Many of its tools are really awesome, just as it is unix or even better. I think nothing beats it when it comes to command line. But I still have a long way to go to achieve similar results in GUI or maybe it lacks in GUI or I am trying a impossible. Maybe Linux is not there yet. GUI is not very productive as CLI. So i think the best course of action is to remove the bloated DE and switch to a Tiling WM. I read that tiling WM uses mostly keyboard. Which i feel is good thing because it means less time on dragging mouse.

Update: (Sat Sep 14 16:35:08 IST 2013 ) Things are not a grim as i original thought. I have removed gnome and all of its dependencies. I am now running without a DE. I am using awesomewm . I realize it stands up to its name. I really like awesome. I love it. I am a happy arch linux user. I love arch linux's minimalist theory. Though i am not doing so much reading as was required in the initial setup. It works well for me. Seems like removing gnome3 will solve all your problems with OS. I also configured and installed conky , not very flashy, but provides me vitial statistics in real time.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

How to disable bluetooth in gnome3 arch linux

It have been some 2 weeks approximately since i started to try out arch linux. I was a rhel, fedora and ubuntu user in the past. I tried to remove bluetooth functionality and the icon from my gnome 3 desktop. I googled for 2 days and finally did it. Here is one way to do it:
First disable bluetooth service upon login, maybe you can use it in system wide location if you want that. For me it makes no difference since i am the only user in this system. Create a file like this
~username/.config/autostart/bluetooth.desktop
and its content like this
[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Name=Disable bluetooth
Comment=Turn off bluetooth by default
Exec=/usr/sbin/rfkill block bluetooth
StartupNotify=false
Terminal=false
Hidden=false

ensure that you have installed the package rfkill.

Now when you restart your PC or your gnome session, bluetooth icon will show disabled. Now to remove the bluetooth since we have already disabled it.

Open  /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/panel.js in vim (or your favorite editor) 

find this line

const PANEL_ITEM_IMPLEMENTATIONS = {

and a few lines after this you will find this line

 if (Config.HAVE_BLUETOOTH)
    PANEL_ITEM_IMPLEMENTATIONS['bluetooth'] =
        imports.ui.status.bluetooth.Indicator;

Comment them all out by prepending the comment charater //
Now restart your gnome session by 
alt+f2
r
enter

Now you can bluetooth icon is gone.

I learnt that bluetooth is a system special service, which is controlled by systemd. So if you think you can disable the service and bluetooth will be stopped , you are wrong. This service starts as soon as it detects the hardware. So you cant just disable it like other service. 
Second difficulty i faced. I thought on removing the bluetooth icon from menu bar at the top. I did ps -ef to see any bluetooth word mentioned, sadly no. Then looked in to see any package with name bluetooth in it. Like this:
pacman -Q | grep -i bluetooth
I see gnome-bluetooth.
and you might think you have now near solving it, but unfortunately you are far from it. gnome-bluetooth as i read from arch forum posts and in gnome website is a integral part of gnome-shell so you cant remove it , unless you are ready to recompile gnome-shell without. Way to much thing for a simple thing. 
gnome 3 is a mess and the *&^%)(*& developer who designed it surely wanted to the users to suffer, so that they will switch to other DE or Windows. Anyway gnome was a bloat ware from the beginning. In my next Linux distro i use , i would ensure there is no gnome. The problem is , I know how difficult is gnome 3, but i am not sure if other DE are any easier. Certainly i dont want to use KDE either. In the begining of my linux journey in 2004 i tried KDE and it was trying to look like windows and from what i read recently , it still trying the same thing. I read that gnome is trying to look like mac and KDE like windows. I am not sure of KDE part , I know gnome part is true, so i assume KDE part must be true.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Whoever founded websense should be shot in the head

I have had a chance to configure websense myself. So i have bit of knowledge of how it works. Websense is a product from juniper for web filtering. My company is using it. Though i dont have any control over it, I am just a end user suffering from the it harsh rules set by my company. I had configured it way back in past in another organisation i worked with and removed that feature soon after. Web filtering by websense is very harsh. A single category of blocking will block a wide range of sites and even if it is remotely connected to the category it blocks. But thats not my irk. My irk is that why would any company want to implement this product? What big saving or advantage do they derive out of implementing web filtering ? In my personal opinion you must be a asshole if you want to use this and whoever founded it should be shot in the head.
A sample assholeness from the team that manages it when i asked to unblock pidgin.im website:

HI,
As per over discussion over the call, URL: http://pidgin.im/ sites blocked for team under Instant Messaging Category. If you need access to this sites you have to fill up S.O. document form and we need your manager and infosec approval to allow this sites in our
corp websense.

Great , now continue with your bullshit and I see why you never grow up.