Monday, 22 February 2010

The adventures of Slackware

As previously mentioned Slackware's finally grasped my undivided attention. Which makes a change, since prior to that, Debian or Ubuntu always seemed to be the one I kept coming back to.

It's provided me with no end of interesting challenges, and more than a few headaches, but on the other hand, I can also say I have a system that works my way - more so than I did for the very brief time I had a GNOME Gentoo desktop.

Slackware 13, installed from a DVD is what I have.
Now, I'm known (probably) for being a bit of a GNOME junkie - I prefer it, if at all possible. Slackware, on the other hand, has eschewed it entirely, which is a bit of an inconvenience for me.
So one of the first things added was the GSB (Gnome Slack Build) which provided me with... well, a mostly working Gnome environment, GDM, etc.
On the other hand, it also has the slight problem that possibly because of the missing GNOME dependencies in certain Slackware packages, some things don't quite work. USB devices won't mount, it admits DVDs are there, but pretends they're not, and all kinds of apps complain loudly if you run them via a terminal.

But, it works, and it gave me the parts of GNOME I still like. I've since worked around most of the issues I had with it simply by returning to the default KDE desktop, and starting to bring GNOME to it.
The KDE panel had it's notification area and task switcher removed, windows were allowed to cover it, and it now resides in the top left corner. On login, two additional commands are executed - 'gnome-settings-daemon' imports, as it's name suggests, my GNOME settings, and saves them on logout. 'gnome-panel' again does exactly what it says it does; launch my gnome-panel.
Which is laid out along the bottom, with a number of handy applets that I can't seem to find any KDE equivalent of.
First is Gnomenu. The KDE Kicker menu is nice, but I often get lost in it. True, I often do in Gnomenu as well, but I know it better.
Second is cpufire-applet, which displays the cpu usage as a neat little fire. The higher the flames lick, the more it's being used.
Third is the default network monitor. I like to keep tabs on what's doing what on my network. Call me possessive, but when it really is MY network, I don't like the idea of having something go wrong with it, and I try not to let it happen.
Fourth is Topshelf. My god, I have not found anything more useful than this. It happily sits there, one small little icon, which I can click on to bring up a window with any document I've added to it. It's one-click access to all my current works, which since I like to write a lot, is my list of stories.
The rest, of course, is simple - the task manager, notification area and clock.

Between this gnome-panel setup and KDE's working perfectly - a rarity for me - I actually have a system I can use.
I would prefer Nautilus to work slightly better, since it seems to have more functionality than both Dolphin and Konqueror combined, but yakuake (since guake doesn't work) has started to make up for that. If only I could remember which options do what which when using tar.

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