Friday, February 24, 2012

Nov 5, 129 SE

Nov 5, 129 SE

I have not slept since my last entry. Neither have any of our base personnel, we are all using Toran Stimms to keep functional. We won’t be able to maintain this level of work for long. I intend to get some sleep after this entry so that I can be fit to greet the Commodore on his arrival tomorrow. We were shocked at the amount of data that has already been collected over these encounters. The media lead us to believe little was known, but that wasn’t the case. We have confirmed that a single ship design is present at all events. That no weapon discharges were found, that a strange residual energy was present at all events. Rather, a lack of energy, like a footprint, like something warped the energy fields and then left this footprint behind. The most wonderful bit of data was a short vid clip from a ships exterior camera just before all power was lost to the ship. We saw it, the Zeno’s ship. It was like nothing we have seen before. We can now also confirm that the Zeno Ship did not fire on the cargo transport Splendity, at least while the camera had power and the ships reactors 4 and 5 went super critical mere seconds after the camera shutdown and the ship was destroyed. I am pretty certain the Commodore will try to paint this as a weapon and an attack, but I don’t get that feeling. You can never take a Zeno’s actions and judge them by our morals. It just doesn’t work. You would think that by now the military would have Zeno Interaction Training. No, they keep trying to anthropomorphizing a Zeno’s actions. For more details I have attached a copy of the report I will be presenting tomorrow.  The new species has been given an official numeric identification and has been registered with the Earth Zeno Database: X23319

--attached file-- Report-Zeno-X23319-Incident Analysis

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Journal Records of Zenology Field Chief Alexandre Totenknoph

Journal Records of Zenology Field Chief Alexandre Totenknoph,
Head of Zenology Research Base Tallon II, K-191B Cluster,
Dominion of Terran Systems

Nov 3, 129 SE

I will try to record everything that will go on over the coming months and possibly years. For some time, ships entering the galactic fringe zone between the Western Arm and a super massive star cluster, that is better labeled a dwarf galaxy, have been destroyed. We even lost a nascent colony on Zor VIII. In every case the last recorded event was a massive power drain and the subsequent cataclysmic destabilization of the reactor or reactors of involved vessels and colonies. Today I was handed a missive, as the head of the Zenology Research Base closest to the incidents, that said information was forth coming from our first recording of the cause of these events. That it was sent to me clearly indicates that we have a Zeno incident. I will write more when I know more, they are currently transmitting all pertinent data to our base. We are to head the investigation. A small fleet is being dispatched and will arrive in three days. They are to be at out disposal. The captain is hand carrying my orders, they are from the Senate themselves and sealed. I am so excited about a new Zenos, yet something feels as if a chill shadow is laying over me.

In addition, I consider myself a saint for what I have had to tolerate as of late.  Kyle Fredrickson's damnable spawn continue to be allowed by staff to run freely about the facility.  I have censured him and others several times over this but to no avail.  Though I am the head of this base, I am accorded little honor and respect for my high position. I have considered requesting a recall on all families so that the scientists and engineers here can focus on their very important work without the distractions of family.  I suppose others would just call me cold and heartless, but this is important science!

A bit of Fun.

I have been long working on many quiet projects and hobbies.  One of which is writing, which I enjoy immensely.   What seems like almost a decade ago I was involved in a silly game with some friends on the Internet to create a story of galactic proportions where we each wrote the part of our own species.  After the game was over, we had quite the lore.  Some of us went on to deepen it and expand.  Out of this came a race called Valdorians.  I have never left them off, but over time evolved them.  I decided some time ago to write a series of fun adventure stories based in their universe.  Time and life has a habit of getting in the way of things so I am just now picking back up the project. 

Part of some work I did about 5 years ago on this was an experiment in writing a Journalized Account.  I enjoyed it and kept the work but never shared it.  So, each day, over the next week I will post a single entry from this work.  It isn't long but will act sort of a teaser for the Adventure Stories to come later.

This is an account from a persons private logs.

Look to the next post for the first installment.

Friday, February 17, 2012

KUBUNTU 11.10 Beta Script

This will be a simple post. Beta is up for KUBUNTU 11.10

This does everything that the other script version does except:
-add gimp painter to the menu: I just have not figured out a command line method of making a direct alteration to the K-Menu
-turn on Thumbnails: They are there but need to be enabled in Dolphin at the end of the process (not the beginning)

If anyone has some suggestions on how to do those two things in terminal. I will gladly integrate them into the script to make it that much better.

Link here:

Just the usual. CHMOD +X to make it executable.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Argosianmint 12 Configuration Script -Release 1.4-

Maint Release 2 is out in version 1.4:
-Change in direction.  I wanted to give some peace and stability to our users and deal with a few visual bugs that come with some of the bleeding edge repos.  So we pulled back.  No more Ricotz Testing (though I still love xorg testing, so it remains).
-GIMP 2.7.5 is unresolvable on Mint12 as of now so I changed repositories and fixed our version at the compatible 2.7.4, not the best but it is what we have to work with for now as 2.7.5 is being compiled against 12.04.. which is a mess at the moment.
-Removed Microsolve as it is no longer needed.


Maint Release is out for the new micro version oddity with Gimp-2.7.5 Links are Updated :)  There is no forcing so this should resolve and update on it's own once the version oddities are corrected in the coming weeks.

This is the official release post for the Argosianmint 12 Configuration script for FLOSS Artists.

Terminal Commands Below

  • wget
  • chmod +x
  • ./

We are in 1.0.  It was quite the production.  Thank you all for sticking with me during this.  The result is about a 2 hour long script that will configure the desktop for your Artistic Needs. Be patient with this process, this is a very large monolithic process and it needs to be baby sat.  You will need to enter your super user password as it goes along.

The following are the only thing it does not do for you:
  • configure Wacom Tablets (the script will never do this, I have other plans for this need)
  • install Proprietary Driver (future looking feature to add in)
  • Set your Theme (Hey, we all have likes/dislikes so I leave this to you)

I will be beginning the process of developing a GUI configurator for Wacom Tablets under MATE soon.  These already exist for GNOM3/Cinnamon and KDE and used to exist for GNOME2.  Somewhere in all the open source code is probably all I need and just a little work to get it going under MATE.

Am I done?  No, I will maintain the script and work towards additional functionality.  We use so many unstable sources here that as time moves on the script will need to be updated to handle the changing situation.  I will continue support of this script towards that end.  In addition I would like to add Graphics Card auto-detection and installation to the script but wanted to get a "stable" working script out and in use.

If you like my script and want to donate use button on the right.

Screen shots of the completed look on a raw install courtesy of David Revoy.

If you like living dangerously or are curious to how this came about, check out the old thread development: HERE :.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

RC1 Stress Relief .. or... how I decomission Hard Drives

I am an avid 2A advocate.  It stands to reason I am avid shooting fan as well.  Well living out in the country like I do gives me the freedom to shoot, when, how, and where I like. In the back acreage for example.  As with all things safety comes first.  Even more importantly know your laws.  Being a 2-A advocate means you need to know the laws better than just about anyone else (even most lawyers).  This is for your own safety.

So, RC1 is out.  I am tired, it was hard.  I have not been out shooting for a good while so I grabbed some dead hard-drives and proceeded to decommission them one round of my hand-loaded .38 Special 158gr LSWC at a time.

Dear Sir,
I regret to inform you that our data recovery efforts failed.  Our lab technician thought you meant stress test the drives.  We can assure you that the data on the disks, however, is safe from ever being recovered by any means known to man.
-Data Recovery Experts (just kidding).


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just some of my chaos works.

Have not had much time for artworks as you all know.  Here is a few of my started and ready to start painting chaoses (from alchemy/or other programs).  No, I don't just draw ponies, heh.

This is an abstract horse that I doodled on a scrap of paper and then transfered later with my tablet. It had such a primitive cave-painting feel that I just love it the way it is. The horse is rearing or running on the ground (the curve at the bottom). This expresses freedom and life of the running horse. The sun is high in the sky and has a mythic or deific feel. The strange small mark is a Man-Symbol. It is wearing a dance costume to perform the dance of celebration of life and freedom.

Guardian in the Night, I saw in this chaos a cave at night with blue lighting and yellow warmth from the cave with sharp mountains in the background. A dog is curled up next to a fire with wisps of cold mist that moved along the cold ground.

Shadow Cat, a metaphysical creature known as a shadow, formed from night essence. Shadows are very fragile and mimic whatever creature they contact. This one found a cat and became a shadow cat. All cat with no substance.

Big Ugly Demon Dude. I have always liked this one. I wrecked this about 10 times over while working on it and it still turned out pretty good!

Doodling again but this time in GIMP Painter I ended up with this. It is a woman sitting on a pillow, her legs tucked under her and to the side.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Linux Mint 12 - For Artists

::Argosian Mint 12::

I was a long time user of Linux and recently of Mint 11.  As I recently started working towards growing my skills as a 2D artist I started following David Revoy and his Blog where he covers Linux Mint 11 for Digital Painting, which I used to configure my Mint 11 setup.  However the future is here and the Linux Desktop is in crisis.  Mint 11 is too old for the latest beta’s of Krita and GIMP.   There are quite a few options out there for your Desktop Environment.  Some are bad, some might work for you but not me, some are in their infancy.  If KDE is your cup of tea then I point back to David and his blog, Kubuntu 11.10 for Digital Painting, to get you going.  Here you will learn how to get Mint 12 and Mate working for you.  This process is involved and long and is not without inherent risks.  We use quite a few unstable repositories.  This can result in some strangeness or outright breakage in the future or along the way.   That was your warning.  Continue on if you dare.  I am working on an automated script to do all of this in one go.  But that is in progress and I wanted to share this with you in the now.  Also future looking will be a GUI config for xsetwacom for the MATE desktop.  Why isn’t it now?  Well writing a program from scratch is no mean feat and I do have to work for a living.  It will come but I need your patience here in this time. All of the following was done on my system as well being tested on my VMWare Virtual Mint 12 x64. For the sake of sanity all things here are presumed to be X64 unless otherwise mentioned.  Green Text is for updates, check back often or subscribe.

If you like my script and want to donate use button on the right.

We are now in Release version 1.0:  Blog Post here:

RELEASE 1.0 of ArgosianMint12 Script

 This post has now become an archive.  Thank you all for your support and help through this and I won't stop now.  As conditions and packages and gotcha's change over time I will maintain this script.  I consider it a valuable resource to the community and it is my honor to help you.

Easier to find Script Link:  now an RC1!!!!!!

UPDATE: 2/11/2012: 16:28 PST  -RC1 is here-

To tell you the truth, trying to solve the dependencies issues along with a few lingering bugs had me ready to throw in the towel. The packages were shifting about and being updated and causing troubles never ending.  But here you go some screen-shots to prove, yes it really does work. And a completed Log file.

Update 2/11/2012: Noon
Yes, I am a compulsive problem solver...  in testing right now is a hack-tastic work around to the Micro-Version Mismatch issues between MATE GTK2 and GIMP2.7.5 GTK2 requirements.  If you use APT (which occasionally actually does a micro-version check) to install these newer GTK2.0-0-2.24.8 packages it will yank MATE off your system.  We need the MATE team to port up to the latest GTK2 asap, but until they do you can use DPKG to side-step the micro-check.  Doing this is a BAD THING!!!!  Though chasing a moving target like we are requires often doing BAD THINGS (tm).  So we do one here.  It pulls down all the 2.24.8 versions of GTK2.0-0 off GNOME3-TEAM's PPA and uses DPKG to drop them on w/o ripping out MATE.  I used this solution on my actual working machine to restore GIMP 2.7 to working order.  Does this cause other "issues"?  I don't know yet.  I know I am working and typing on the machine I did the fix on and it IS working.  I am testing the whole script again against a fresh VM to see if it pulls any errors.  If I can run it through I will post it up.  If not I will continue bug-fixing till we get something workable again.

Update 2/11/2012: Nearly Noon
So, are you still with me or have you gotten as frustrated as I was.  What was causing the breakage? I thought it was all the upgrades we were doing.  But I have been so busy working on this that I have not upgraded my working machine. I did and lo and behold the GIMP2.7 error reared it's ugly head.  Looking into it I found it was a gtk2.0-0 2.24.8 package issue.  I corrected the repositories but it then wanted to uninstall MATE.  Whopse.   Ok so GIMP 2.7 is at the center of the issue of breakage in the script.  I knew this when I started that running bleeding edge cross-repositories would lead to SOME breakage.  Just a day or so ago we had a nearly complete script then something went wrong.  That wrong was an update release.  We should have expected that.  We are chasing a moving target and it seems to move pretty damn fast.  I am attempting a GIMP2.7 from GIT on my main machine.  If it works we will move away from the REPO for GIMP 2.7 and to GIT as our solution maker.  I had a feeling this might be the case even a few days ago but I wanted the "faster" option of using a PPA.  Well, that didn't work out so far.  The Blog below is now only instructional as it is woefully out of date and I don't have the time to maintain the step-by-step while chasing after these fast moving PPA's.  Expect an update later today if I can get GIMP to work on my main machine I will do some restructuring in the Script to account for it and enable the hack-tastic Menu Items to work with the wild-and-wooly GIT naming conventions.

Update 2/11/2012:
What time is it again?!?!?   Really burned the midnight oil on this one.  The repo's continued to give trouble but I think I found a round about means of solving it.  It may honestly be that we are doing too many upgrades all at once.  One package that is most certainly available fails every time.  A simple addition of an sudo apt-get -f -y install instantly fixes it.  So for now it is there as a "catch all weirdness" error check.  This one should go all the way through.   Current version links are up for version 2.6.47.

Update 2/10/2012 -almost tomorrow-

Another late night update:  Found a possible out for the Package-Tug-Of-War.  Another PPA has been added Ricotz:Testing.  If you want dangerous this is it.  This thing makes things go pretty far away from original install and Mint form.  By using this PPA however I can offer our end users a very interesting end package set: Latetest, and I mean latest, gnome 3.  It pulls out the crappy Mint-Gnome-Shell Edition.  It also solves the GIMP 2.7 error: caused by the latest gimp 2.7 being compiled with the latest GTK3 libs.  So even more is going on.  Unfortunately Unity lands on the system as well.  However what remains is exactly what we want.. even if we don't use Gnome 3 or Unity components.  All the Mint-Mate components are latest and installed.  At some point I should probably just pull everything from GIT myself but......... for now..  One more clean full run test and I will post the latest Script.  Estimated completion is about midnight or 1 am PST. Which will be right ready for my European testers for some Saturday morning fun.  Yes, Dist-Upgrade is BACK.

Update 2/10/2012 -late-
The current version is crunching away on my VM.  A backtrace showed me I was not using a "clean" VM.  Yeah, that explains a ton of why I was not getting errors others were.  I wiped out both my backup VM and Active VM and rebuilt.  Backed up my new Clean VM.  Found out also what was grenading the script for others: sudo apg-get dist-upgrade.  What was wrong with that?  Well, prior to the Tridex Repo addition everything played well together.  With the Tridex Added a package version tug-of-war occurred.  If you looked carefully with the current posted version of the script, it uninstalled some critical packages and dependencies.  The problem?  Well the upgrade would not re-add or could not find matching package updates to replace the now incompatible versions that were removed.  This broke all kinds of things, critically.  At the risk of being a little less bleeding edge but having a working product, we have reduced the dist-upgrade to just upgrade for now.  Even after release I will continue development and watch the repo's for an end to the tug-of war to push our builds to the edge again.  I might add it as a selectable option for the brave.  Also forward looking is hardware detection.  I know what I need to do to make that work but I will wait till after release before I start breaking things again with experimental code. Currently error free and on the Krita Build Section at 40%.

Udpate 2/10/2012
Minor fixes, a whitespace disappeared between my testing and it being posted.  Thanks Roy for finding that.  That relates to some GIMP issues... again.
David helped me understand the Tridex repos better.  I thought from my reading you just needed one.  Silly me.  Version is now 0.5.12-amd64.  Verify you have the latest version.  Links have been updated.  So close.  and now for an off topic rant.  There is a downside to being "the one" at work that makes stuff happen.  Your reward for being an awesome worker is..  more work.  Yes they just gave me 2300 more computers to manage and maintain.. by myself at nine more sites.  Feel The Love.  So I get to pick up for other peoples failure to do their job.  I feel like the sarcasm from Skyrim where Lyidia says "I am sworn to carry your burdens...."  *sigh*

Also lessons learned: ~/ cannot be "quoted" in bash or it checks as if it is an absolute. 

There was an issue with the file uploaded this morning to my FTP.  If you downloaded it prior to 07:30 Pacific Standard Time (15:30 GMT) -the instant after I uploaded it- please re-download it.  Name and version are unchanged so just overwrite it.
Also, how is my host doing?  Is the speed acceptable?  Let me know how you feel in email or comments.

Updates: 2/9/2012
This is a MAJOR revision.   David helped me track down a few big bugs as well as suggested some major additions.  As I have said in the comments at the bottom I have made changes more easily tracked so users know which version of the script they have.
Added software installs and double checking ones you should have
Added TRIDEX REPO and needed changes for bleeding edge MATE
**FIXED** GIMP PAINTER BUG: cause was me being an idiot and forgetting some ""
Added Thumbnail Background Fix

Outstanding BUGs:
-KRITA INSTALL: for some unknown reason calling up Kubuntiac's script does not seem to be updating to most recent version of KRITA, it is close but it should be LATEST.  This bothers me but I don't have a fix yet for it.
-Bugs no one has told me about yet :)

I am extremely excited because if we can quash any remaining bugs I can roll this baby into 1.0 :)

**late night update 2/8/2012: rounded out a few things in script and on this page. Nothing critical just added a few software installs to complete round things out -agave/audacity/filezilla/kdenlive- Script on FTP has been update to version 0.2.1 REDOWNLOAD if you want a few fixes and the software autoinstall**

**remember report all errors via my email or here on this blog so that I can fix them. Beta testing continues. Help me help you all.**

In case you wonder about the version, it is handled automatically for me so the numbers shift in ways even I don't like sometimes. It likes to update it every save.. which means it rolls pretty fast when I am working.  I need a better system.

If you don't have Linux Mint 12, get it here:  Linux Mint 12

Well first off you need to do a fresh install of Mint 12.  I do not recommend hacking a current one.  You can do it, but you are on your own.  We will be doing almost everything in terminal.  Terminal, of your choice, is the heart and soul of Linux and if you are not familiar with it now, by the end of this, you will be.

-open a terminal-

This process will take quite some time to complete so grab a cup of your favorite drink and settle in.

You have a choice, as with all things in life. You can take the RED PILL and follow along with the lengthy process below and learn a ton about what makes Linux tick. Or you can take the BLUE PILL and use this script:

The script is in beta, use it at your own risk. What does it do? Everything I have done below in one incredibly long, unbroken, script that moves from topic to topic, it will be rather hypnotic. It will prompt you for input from time to time so you do have to babysit it. Also, when the script completes it will restart your system. Don't worry, it asks first.

NOTE: The script does not handle proprietary drivers. After the reboot from the script you will still need to install them yourself. Assuming everything works correctly on the Dist-Upgrade command you can install the proprietary drivers prior to running the script (unlike below in the manual method). What this means is just a little extra time as compared to installing them later. It also means that if your drivers do not have a kernel compatible update in Xorg-Edgers you will get breakage on reboot. So know what you have before you move forward.

*updated* moved host to a non-bandwidth limited location. That means I don't have to ever worry about running out of bandwidth now.

  • wget
  • chmod +x
  • ./


We are going to add here all the repositories we will need for the entire process. It is just easier and smarter to do this at this point and it allows us for a singular apt-get-update vs many which is a time saver.

I will list the repositories here along with what each does but the text box has the copy-paste command set. The text box also handles editing the sources.list for src packages. In addition, if you don't copy past the text box command you will need to enable via Synaptic Backport, Romeo, and source. The second box handles some of the stickier things that you need su for.
  • ppa:matthaeus123/mrw-gimp-svn   ::GIMP RAZOR::
  • deb-src oneiric main restricted universe multiverse ::COMPILEGIMP:
  • ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports ::KRITA COMPILING and required for Tablet Function::
  • ppa:achadwick/mypaint-testing  ::MYPAINT TESTING::
  • ppa:pmjdebruijn/darktable-unstable  ::For latest lcms2::
  • ppa:cheleb/blender-svn  ::Blender 2.6 Latest::
  • ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa  ::LIVING ON THE EDGE! DRIVERS, XORG, LIBRARIES::
  • ppa:tiheum/equinox ::I LIKE HIS ICONS::
  • ppa:sunab/kdenlive-release ::kdenlive::
  • deb oneiric main ::MATE TRIDEX::
  • deb oneiric main"

Real quick get some software installs to round us out.
  • sudo apt-get install agave audacity filezilla kdenlive blender mypaint

When all of this has completed you are ready to move on.


Well, GIMP was installed to begin with right? Well what do you think that sudo apt-get dist-upgrade did? That is right, because you added the proper PPA's in it automagically upgraded GIMP! However, you are left with this crappy launcher so let's fix that! You can right click on it in the menu to edit it if you like. Just change the name so it is easier to identify. Or you can do it the terminal way. Note don't copy paste these red commands, they wont work right. Use the TEXT BOX for that.

  • cp /usr/share/applications/gimp.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/gimp2.desktop
  • sed -i.bak -e 's|Exec=gimp-2.7 %U|Exec=gimp-2.7|' -e 's|Name=GNU Image Manipulation Program|Name=GIMP 2.7 Beta|' ~/.local/share/applications/gimp2.desktop
  • cp ~/.local/share/applications/gimp2.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/gimp.desktop

Wow, that was easy... really really hard part right? Let's move on. Plenty to do here today.


This is our first compiling event of this project. Lets get to it. There are no caveats just follow the code. We also fix the Menu Icon Launcher problem here.
  • sudo apt-get build-dep gimp
  • cd && mkdir source-to-compile
  • wget
  • tar -xvzf gimp-2.6.11-patched-src.tar.gz
  • cd gimp-2.6.11-patched-src
  • ./configure --prefix=/opt/gimp-painter --disable-default-binary
  • make
  • sudo make install
  • wget && unzip GPS\ 1_5_final\ -d ~/.gimp-2.6 && rm GPS\ 1_5_final\
  • sed -i.bak -e 's|TryExec=gimp-2.7|TryExec=/opt/gimp-painter/bin/gimp-2.6|' -e 's|Exec=gimp-2.7|Exec=/opt/gimp-painter/bin/gimp-2.6|' -e 's|Name=GIMP 2.7 Beta|Name=GIMP Painter 2.6|'~/.local/share/applications/gimp2.desktop
  • cp ~/.local/share/applications/gimp2.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/gimppainter.desktop
  • rm ~/.local/share/applications/gimp2.desktop
  • cd ~/

Menu changes for both of the above will take affect after the restart.

Are you ready for PAIN?!? Are you ready for total awesomeness? Then you are ready for this! It is late and I have been working on this for two days. So no more chit-chat. Right to business. Expect this stage to take at least an hour, probably more. Just let it do it's thing and stop harassing the terminal. Before it can even compile it needs 1.2GB of downloads. So chill.
Ok, one more very special thing. The will FAIL the first time your run it. It is unavoidable. Just keep with my terminal commands and you will be fine. Kubuntiac's script does not recognize this Distribution version.

Also, I have structured this to build under KDE 4.8. Why? Kernel-Drivers + Wacom issues. The 4.8 KDE includes the updated QT4 packages that work for pressure sensitivity with no-ghost lines under Krita. This is critical.

  • sudo apt-get install cmake git kdelibs5-dev zlib1g-dev libpng12-dev libboost-dev liblcms1-dev libeigen2-dev libexiv2-dev pstoedit libfreetype6-dev libglew1.5-dev libfftw3-dev libglib2.0-dev libopenexr-dev libtiff4-dev libjpeg62-dev xserver-xorg-input-wacom oxygen-icon-theme kdebase-runtime systemsettings qt4-qtconfig qtcurve
  • sudo apt-get build-dep koffice
  • cd ~/source-to-compile
  • wget
  • tar -xzvf
  • rm
  • ./
  • sed "2 s/_autodepencencies=true/_autodepencencies=false/" -i ~/source-to-compile/
  • ./
  • echo "export KDEDIRS=$KDEDIRS:$HOME/source-to-compile/calligra/calligra-inst" >> ~/.profile
  • echo "export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/source-to-compile/calligra/calligra-inst/bin" >> ~/.profile
  • cd ~/

An oddly critical part of work-flow. We need these to work, plain and simple. It isn't as simple as it seems on the surface but it is nothing a bit of terminal work can't solve. This will give you XCF,VIDEO, and ORA thumbnails. The first step installs them but because we are using MATE, they won't work. That is a big bummer. The rest we handle manually. Again, these changes will probably not show up till reboot.

  • sudo apt-get install gnome-xcf-thumbnailer ffmpegthumbnailer libffmpegthumbnailer4
  • cd ~/source-to-compile
  • git clone git://
  • cd ora-thumbnailers
  • sudo install -D -m755 /usr/bin/ora-thumbnailer-gnome
  • mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/image@openraster/enable "true" && mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/image@openraster/command "/usr/bin/ora-thumbnailer-gnome %i %o %s"
  • mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/image@ora/enable "true" && mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/image@x-xcf/enable "true"
  • mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/image@ora/command "/usr/bin/ora-thumbnailer-gnome %i %o" && mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/image@ora/command "/usr/bin/gnome-xcf-thumbnailer %i %o"
  • mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/application@x-flash-video/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/application@x-flash-video/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@3gpp/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@3gpp/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@mp2t/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@mp2t/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@mp4/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@mp4/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@mpeg/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@mpeg/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@msvideo/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@msvideo/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-avi/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-avi/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-flv/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-flv/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-m4v/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-m4v/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-mpeg/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-mpeg/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-asf/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-asf/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-asx/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-asx/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-wm/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-wm/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-wmv/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-wmv/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-wmx/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-ms-wmx/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-msvideo/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-msvideo/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-theora/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-theora/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
    mateconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-matroska/enable "true"
    mateconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/mate/thumbnailers/video@x-matroska/command "/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -t 15"
  • sudo wget
  • sudo cp thumbnailframe.png /usr/share/pixmaps/caja/thumbnail_frame.png
  • sudo caja -q
  • cd ~/

You still with me? Not dead yet? Ok, for those still alive time to wrap up this fun session of Terminal and complete the whole process. What can be left after all that? Well, Kernel Updates for one. Also, now would be a good time to install your proprietary graphics card drivers. Why wait till now to do this? Mostly as a time saver. In some of the previous steps you would be installing packages that build kernel drivers. If you did the kernels first you would be 1. restarting and 2. rebuilding the kernel drivers for each kernel on your system each time. This process was long enough so I tried to save time where I could. Now ideally, we would do these last steps at the beginning. I do them last as a time saver. Ok, you have had your break. BACK TO WORK!

I will NOT be showing you how to install your proprietary graphics drivers. That step is up to you. That step will also not be in the do-all script. It would require an over the top level of robustness to detect and manage the graphics configuration and the script, as well as this process, is already long enough. If you have a kernel 3.2 or newer there are some serious GFX driver issues that REQUIRE you to have the latest from your vendor. That would be .295 series for you NVIDIA folks. Older Nvidia cards that have become legacy may not work with proprietary acceleration with the newer kernels. Sorry guys, this is Mint12 on the bleeding edge, and that means you do need to be fairly recent in your hardware as well. The good news for NVIDIA buffs is that edgers has the right driver version in their PPA! So just sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings nvidia-common, etc. For the love of god, DO NOT USE THE RESTRICTED DRIVER INSTALLER!!!!

So that leaves Kernels, you have two path choices here. I will show you both. The script will also allow user decision between the choices.

-OPTION 1- The Safer Option:
This path uses the latest ubuntu-maintainers kernel, no they don't auto install. You will need to do this manually. At last testing the kernel was still in the 3.2 series and the tablets worked dandy with Krita + the Kernel. This information may change over time and I have not designed it to be robust.

  • sudo apt-get install linux-headers-3.2.0-14-generic linux-image-3.2.0-14-generic linux-tools-3.2.0-14 linux-headers-3.2.0-14

That is it, let it run to completion and REBOOT! If you installed the correct version of your proprietary drivers you should have zero issues. If you didn't well, very bad things can happen and you will need to select your old kernel on boot till you sort that out. The easiest way to see if there is an issue is to watch the output and look for a build failure on your graphics kernel driver. If you see it, don't restart till you fix it. I could do an entire write up on graphics driver issues with the latest kernels alone.

-OPTION 2- Living On the Edge:
This option uses kernels from So why not add the PPA you say? In this case the kernel we are using is from testing for PRECISE PANGOLIN. So, sure, we could hack it to allow it with the PPA, but to be frank I want more specific control over this process and so should you. This could break things and we need control. We grab three files and then install them

  • cd && mkdir mainlineKernel
  • wget
  • wget
  • wget
  • sudo dpkg -i linux-*
  • cd ~/

Observe the build process in the terminal with rapt attention. Look to see if the kernel drivers are built correctly! If it should fail you will need to correct that issue before you restart or important things like graphics or wireless might not work.

For Xsetwacom I turn the floor once more over to David Revoy's Blog: (which I will copy paste here for you to save time)

Wacom tablet
For hardware support have a look here

• In a nut-shell : to configure your Wacom at each start-up, you will have to write a script.
This *.sh script will be a series of 'xsetwacom' lines to setup and customise your tablet.

• to know your tablet device name :

xsetwacom list

• here it return the name of my Wacom devices :

Wacom Intuos4 6x9 stylus id: 8 type: STYLUS Wacom Intuos4 6x9 eraser id: 12 type: ERASER Wacom Intuos4 6x9 cursor id: 13 type: CURSOR Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad id: 14 type: PAD

• So, I wrote under a simple script of xsetwacom instructions to the devices :

#! /bin/bash
# Wacom setup at startup
# Intuos4A5
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 2 "key f12"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 3 "key x"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 4 "key m"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 5 "key ctrl z"
# round middle dial button
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 1 "key e"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 6 "key ctrl"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 7 "key c"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 8 "key w"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 pad" Button 9 "Key shift"
# stylus
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 stylus" button 2 "key Control"
xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos4 6x9 stylus" PressureCurve 40 0 100 80

• To autolaunch the script ( save it for exemple as ~/ ) at start-up ,
Use the Mint Menu > Preference > Startup Application and link there your script.
infos about settings :
• Stylus buttons :
button 1 = tip ( part to draw ) , button 2 = first button ( next the tip ) , button 3 = second button.

• PressureCurve parameters :
"40 0 100 80" is my preset is for a "hard"
Set your curve with this interactive javascript here : ( grab the handler with mouse )

• more documentation about the possibilities of xsetwacom :



In the future I will be working on a GUI Configurator for MINT and Tablets. The good news for Cinnamon users is that there already is a GUI being worked on for setting the Tablets up. For KDE people there is also a Graphical configurator. Which leaves MATE without one till I, or someone else, writes one.

I leave the configuring of the theme and colors to you. We all have our preferences and I believe that MATE is maintaining the freedom we have all come to know and desire of Linux. In MATE, you are free to install every theme pacakge you desire. Nearly all the Gnome 2/GTK2 themes will work correctly with MATE. You can sudo apt-get them or search through Synapetic for gnome-themes. The newer DE's are fixated on removing choice, which is contrary to the Linux Paradigm. I hope you and your system survived this process. I also hope that in going through the steps you learned something new about Linux and how it works, but most importantly I hope that you are now in a position to use Mint12 for your artistic ends.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Horror: Linux Desktop Environments in the Modern Era

Yes, it really is a horror.   No art has been drawn in almost 4 weeks now.  Everything has been Linux testing, experimentation, and abject frustration.  From my posts over on David Revoy's Blog you know that I demand a clean, consistent, and professional DE for my work environment.  I also demand that it be current and well maintained.  Well I will tell you what isn't a good DE for me: KDE 4.8, Mate', Cinnamon, Gnome 3 -shudder-, Unity -wtf?-, nor XFCE.  Each DE failed to deliver for different reasons and a few I am actually watching for the future.  Let me break a few points down so you understand where I saw failures.

KDE 4.8 - A good desktop for your average user, classic metaphor, eye-candy everywhere.  But the QT4 is a disaster of layout.  There is not enough consistency and window behaviour and drawing can be strange.  Frankly I find the interface distracting.  Of all the ones here this one is "most functional currently" as a future home.  If you MUST move forward now, move forward to KDE 4.8.

MATE' - Another good DE.  Even more so because it really is Gnome 2.  Classic Metaphor -which I like-.  However it is extremely new.  As such it is missing many of Gnome 2's basic and honestly, essential, features.   I will be keeping a VERY close eye on this as it ranks up as most likely future home.  What worries me is the size of the dev-team.   A DE is no small thing to maintain, and GNOME even more so.  The codebase for Gnome 2 was at a critical stage when the Gnome team rolled into Gnome 3.  They knew it was coming and made moves to deal with it.  I don't agree with their moves but that is neither here nor there.  If Mate's dev-team has what it takes I will be a very happy Mate' user in the future.

Cinnamon - Based on GTK3, Mutter (now forked!), and Gnome-Shell.  This fork of Gnome 3 is the best of the Glitzy new GTK3 based DEs.  I tried it, I thought it was nice.  I think it was a little over-fancy but not in a KDE and Distracting Way.  However, like MATE', this DE is in it's infancy.   It needs time to grow to a fully usable state.  Being backed by Mint's Team gives this one a bit of a leg up over MATE'.  I would rather MATE' was the future but of the Classic Desktop Metaphors but this one is the "futuristic gnome2" version that I think will win.  Between the two I would take MATE' but if MATE' fails to keep up Cinnamon is a great home to look forward to.  It will be a little more fancy that I like but it will be more like the system we all love and need.  It isn't there yet, but it is fast heading that way.  Mint's team is building up quite the head of steam behind this DE and it is spreading into nearly every Distribution.  That tells you something about this DE's future if they don't go off the rails.

Gnome 3 - Are not a professional?  Are you a consumer freak and love all those nearly useless "gadgets" that get spewed out from slave labour factories?  Do you buy the new iPhone or iPad on release day every time?  Well this Application Centric Desktop Metaphor is FOR YOU!  If I had the time and legal ability I would go to the Gnome Dev leads and put them in a blender and serve the results up to all the angry Linux Users who you guys screwed over because a non-profit organisation decide it needed to follow the for-profit antics of modern consumer driven grind machine corporation.   This isn't just useless- it is a train wreck.  I don't know what "professionals" you interviewed to decide on an Application Centric Desktop Environment but in all my years as a professional, I have NEVER SEEN EVEN ONE USER UTILISE A SINGLE APPLICATION AT A TIME IN A WORK ENVIRONMENT ... on desktop!  When multi-monitors became an option they appeared all over the Professional world because.. we needed them!  My average day involves 3-5 screens on one desktop running at least 8 applications that I utilise and move between constantly.  There is no "it will get better in time" for this DE because it's core, central, ideology is WRONG! The behaviour of the Gnome 3 Team was so unconscionable because it sent ripples through the Linux World and threatened over a DECADE of progress and penetration into new users.  Ever since Gnome 3, the Linux World has been in CRISIS.  If your new DE Version causes the entire world of your Operating System to fly into a state of Armageddon then you did something wrong.. very wrong.  However they are so arrogant as to believe that they are right and we should use their shiny new pile of dog crap.  You stabbed us in the back.  We should return the favour and abandon Gnome on all distributions and render the Gnome 3 Team a sad part of history and their heads on pikes as a warning to the next ten generations that pride of that nature always comes before a fall.

Unity - So bad even Canonical is rethinking using it, and they developed it!  That is all I need to say here about Unity.  See Cinnamon as a default installed option -Unity will remain there this round- in 12.04LTS

XFCE - Hey look, it is a Gnome 2 Look-Alike.  There is a ton going for this DE.  In fact if you can't stand the fancy-pants of KDE 4.8, XFCE is an option.  The downside is XFCE is loose as a goose. It will happily hybridise with KDE or GTK componentry.  This freak if nature gets it on with everything and everyone.  That isn't a bad thing if you do it right.  However, in the end, my brain felt as scattered and random as the DE.  Too chaotic. This isn't a bad choice for those it works for.  It just wasn't for me.

And all of this is why I am still on Linux Mint 11 and Gnome 2.  Though my version is currently very current and my system runs all kinds of PPAs to keep it current.  I am on Linux Kernel 3.3 under Mint 11.  How about them apples! When the time comes to move into the new LTS series I am pretty sure I will be happy with the MATE' and Cinnamon of that time.  Looking forward to both DE's and wish the devs the best and fruitful coding.  You guys are our future, since Gnome Team screwed up so badly.  Help us MATE' and Cinnamon you are our only hope...