One of my goals this quarter was to finally ditch the last piece of non open source software on my computer… the Operating System.
Last week I did it. I switched from Windows XP to Ubuntu 6.10. I had tried Fedora Core about a year and a half ago, but couldn’t get it to push the right resolution to my wide-screen monitor (1680×1050), so at that time I reverted back to XP. I had similar problems this go round with Ubuntu, but I decided to not let it stop me. Jesse helped me figure out that Linux support for the on-board video card on my Dell motherboard just sucks. So I went out and purchased the cheapest Nvidia video card that they have at PC Land… and voilà, now everything just works!
Why Ubuntu? and Why now?… To avoid restating what has been said by many, I’ll quote a post from Jeremy Zawodny last year:
Ubuntu is the first real "desktop" Linux I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of polish to it, most of the "right" things have been hidden from non-Linux geeks, and it just works. … If you’ve been waiting years and years for desktop Linux (or laptop Linux) to finally arrive, give Ubuntu a shot. Seriously.
Once I got over the video card silliness, I spent a while (a bit too long) customizing things. Below are my tweaks, so now whenever I need to do this again I can look back at this post:
– Made the "panel" look like what I was used to with my Windows taskbar. Moved it to the bottom of the screen. From left to right I have: programs menu, separator, quick-launch icons (file browser, show desktop, terminal, firefox), shortcut menu with more quick-launch icons (gaim, terminal server client, calculator, gedit text editor, openoffice docs & spreadsheets), open windows list, desktop switcher, system tray icons (aka notification area), trash, system monitor, clock (format: 9:12 PM).
– To make the shortcuts menu that I mentioned above, I added a new submenu to Applications, assigned it an up-arrow icon, and put the programs listed above into it. Then I went to the main menu on my panel, went into Shortcuts, right-click, Entire menu > Add this menu to panel. I could have accomplished the same thing using a "drawer", but drawers load the program list slower then normal menus for some reason. And I hate slow desktop features.
– Configure /etc/fstab to auto-mount the "U: drive" (the Webmail.us samba file server),
– Auto-start Gaim: ~/.config/autostart/gaim.desktop
– Gaim preferences:
send unknown slash commands as messages
tabs on left
log IM sessions
auto-away: 5 min
Plugins: buddy state notification, history, iconify on away, message notification, system tray icon,
– Preferences > Preferred Applications: Mail Reader = Custom, Command = (empty) one day we’ll figure out how this can be webmail
– Turned off text under application icons (Preferences > Menus & Toolbars)
– ~/.bashrc: alias ll=’ls -l’
– added additional software repositories to Synaptic Package Manager
– Install vim-full (why isn’t this the default?)
– Install Sun Java JRE
– Install MS TrueType core fonts
– Install Wine
– Install Beryl so that I can be like all of the other cool kids. Hmm… too damn slow. Annoying .25 sec pause when switching windows. Turned off, until I have a faster machine.
– Install VMWare Server and Windows XP virtual machine (for testing stuff in Windows)
– Preferences > Font:
Application font = Bitstream Vera Sans Roman, 8
Document font = Bitstream Vera Sans Roman, 8
Desktop font = Bitstream Vera Sans Roman, 8
Window title font = Bitstream Vera Sans Bold, 8
Fixed width font = Bitstream Vera Sans Mono Roman, 9
Font Rendering = Subpixel smoothing (LCDs)
– gnome-terminal preferences:
Font = Bitstream Vera Sans Mono Roman, 9
Forground/Background = White on Black
Color Palette = Xterm
Scrollback = 5000 lines
Ctrl-t for new tab
Ctrl-n for new window
– gedit preferneces:
disable text wrapping
highlight current line
enable automatic indentation
disable create backup copy of files before saving
Font = Bitstream Vera Sans Mono Roman, 9
Added plugins: change case, sort
So far the only thing I miss from Windows is a text editor that can do column-mode editing (block copy/paste, insert column of incrementing numbers, etc). While I love vi, I’d still like to use a text editor with a decent GUI from time to time. I wish gedit had column-mode features.
Anybody know of a good text editor that has column-mode editing?