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Project Zebra 2017: a need for understanding not vengeance

2017-04-14Project Zebra 2017: kingdom of the gnomes

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This is going to be a short entry as I've been busy with other stuff, but in the pipeline is going to be catching up with a bit of detail about the distro I'm using (Xubuntu) -- hopefully next month -- although most of it will probably be to do with what's new in the Ubuntu repositories.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ZestyZapus/ReleaseNotes
http://wiki.xubuntu.org/releases/17.04/release-notes

The big news at the moment is that Canonical is discontinuing its own desktop environment for Ubuntu (Unity) and switching to Gnome in a future release.

https://insights.ubuntu.com/2017/04/05/growing-ubuntu-for-cloud-and-iot-rather-than-phone-and-convergence/ https://plus.google.com/+MarkShuttleworthCanonical/posts/7LYubpaHUHH
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/06/shuttleworth_unity_8_carrots/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/05/ubuntu_euthanizes_unity/
https://blogs.gnome.org/uraeus/2017/04/06/welcoming-ubuntu-to-gnome-and-wayland/

As commentators have pointed out, this probably means that the company will be throwing its support behind Wayland rather than its own Mir as a replacement for the X Window System and we can look forward to brisker progress and adoption of something most people seem to agree will be a plus for performance and security, as well as lead to less fragmentation amongst distros.

So at some point, probably before next year when it's due to become the default, I'll try the existing Ubuntu Gnome distro and see what it's like with the Gnome Classic settings enabled:

https://betanews.com/2017/03/22/gnome-3-24-linux/
https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/7/html/Desktop_Migration_and_Administration_Guide/what-is-gnome-classic.html

What other implications this has for Canonical remains to be seen, but focusing on things people want (i.e. largely not convergence devices, and their server/container business) is likely an overall positive although it probably isn't the best of working environments at the moment:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/12/80_canonical_staff_face_chop/

Anyway, apart from that I can mention:

- That Chrome/Chromium got the font size in menus and tabs fixed. Bad Google for breaking it in the first place.

- That disabling smart quotes in LibreOffice Writer is under Tools > Autocorrect > Autocorrect Options > Localized Options.

- The correct way to rename TrueCrypt volumes, which like other partitions requires they not be mounted -- so first "mount" them in TC, then use Gnome Disks (or another method) to umount the /dev/mapper/truecryptN path, change the label, then mount them again.

- A way to safely reboot and do everything possible to prevent data loss (i.e. make sure that buffered data is written to disk) if the OS locks up:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_SysRq_key#Uses

Alt + SysRq + (in sequence, Reboot Even If System Utterly Broken)

Which in order will rescue the keyboard, close software, kill software, sync data to storage, unmount storage, and reboot. Haven't had to use it yet, but nice to know it exists.

- That on one of the the very rare occasions resuming from user mode hibernation ended up at a blank screen, I solved it by a previously mentioned trick of hitting Ctrl-Alt-F1 to go to the console then Ctrl-Alt-F7 to switch to the desktop environment. And then made sure everything was saved and did a clean reboot, because it seems to be session related and I'm pretty lax about installing updates that want a restart and then forgetting to for days.

But this is really just a placeholder blog entry. I wrote quite a bit (for me) last month on other subjects, though, so no biggie. Besides keeping a diary of system setup and changes, I'm just trying to get back into the habit of writing stuff that isn't reports or emails so quick-fire blog entries are happening as and when I feel like it.


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