Project Zebra 2017: blood and iron and penguins ►

◄ Hasbro / Wizards of the Coast have mothballed another thing I love

2017-10-31Project Zebra 2017: it's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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This entry is part of my Project Zebra series covering migration to Linux for personal computing use.

This should have been the October entry, so I'm nominally dating it end of the month.

As a little tip, in Xfce you can "stack" multiple icons into a launcher on the panel, so that the icon shows a little arrow with a menu of the other launchers – so I've put my shortcuts to switch to just HDMI output or to HDMI+VGA outputs onto this.

As another quick little tweak I copied all of the trash icons from /usr/share/icons/elementary-xfce/places/48 to /home/admech/.local/share/icons/admech-icons/places/48

Meanwhile, it turns out here's an actively updated successor to the Faenza icon set, which was last formally updated in 2012 (although that hasn't held me back from mixing file browser icons from it with Elementary) – https://github.com/madmaxms/iconpack-obsidian/

As a second media player I've replaced Gnome MPlayer with SMPlayer, which charmingly has an optional MPC GUI.

I also had a quick read about adding custom actions to the right-click menu in Nemo, my preferred file manager – as usual the Arch wiki is a handy source: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Nemo

Basically just edit ~/.local/share/nemo/actions/xnview.nemo_action and use a format like below:

A caveat: I found this consistently closes/crashes Nemo (3.2.2) if you right click on a folder in the tree pane and select the custom action, unless the path currently navigated to matches. The same happens with the custom action added by ClamAV, so it seems to be a bug. In any case, all I wanted was to be able to right-click the file area and have an action to select, rather than having to use the Open With submenu over a specific folder icon, so it'll do for now.

I had some random minor niggles in September and October. Somehow my printer ended up on network settings rather than USB connection, so I reinstalled it. A few issues with Software Updater I've already forgotten the details of cleared with an apt-get autoremove.

More major issues were, as tends to be the case, mostly due to my own experimentation. Having read a lot of passing references to TuxOnIce over the last year or so, mention of it again in Linux Format persuaded me to do a bit of digging. It's also mentioned in lots of places such as:

https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/69315/keeping-disk-caches-when-hibernating

It's currently a bit difficult to find info on TOI since tuxonice.net is domain squatters and pages that were apparently on https://nigelcunningham.com.au/ have gone, leaving write-ups elsewhere referencing them and https://github.com/NigelCunningham/tuxonice-kernel the main online presence. For the record, the following works, or did initially at least:

http://www.ubuntugeek.com/tuxonice-revolutionise-the-way-you-start-your-linux-system.html

I'm not sure if the instructions on https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/pm-utils are required, but since I'd already edited /etc/pm/config.d/00sleep_module I changed it to SLEEP_MODULE="tuxonice uswsusp kernel"

With tuxonice it's faster, the system is definitely more responsive when resumed from disk, there's a (text mode) on-screen progress indicator by default which uswsusp didn't give me, and my Win+F2 shortcut for hibernation remained "systemctl hybrid-sleep" which seemed to invoke it just fine.

So why, when it works well for users, doesn't TuxOnIce get packaged and included as standard by more distros? Well, some do, but being a kernel patch rather than targeting userspace the hurdles for inclusion in the kernel are higher and the default swsusp (the 'kernel' option in that SLEEP_MODULE config string) has been through code reviews despite not actually working for a lot of people's setups.

This testing actually inspired me to go back to the drawing board and see if swsusp had improved in the last year. I recommend using Synaptic then searching for 'tuxonice' to make sure kernels as well as the rest gets removed. swsusp hasn't, by the way, it worked shortly after one or two clean boots (i.e. suspend rather than hibernate) but failed to restore when the session had been used for longer.

The failures apparently resulted in my swap partition becoming corrupt, which manifested itself as hibernate actions going straight to the LightDM lock screen, and involved a swap partition reformat and updating /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/resume with the new UUID plus a sudo update-initramfs -u to resolve.

After that, reinstalling tuxonice didn't work, nor did switching back to uswsusp until I removed it and reinstalled its package. In the meantime there were issues with USB 3.0 ports (fortunately the ThinkCentre has a USB 2.0 port to plug a small hub with keyboard/mouse/wifi into). All of which has made me a bit shy of the kernel patching approach. It might not actually be TOI to blame, but I'm not inclined to risk a working setup again.

Also for the record, the following also mentioned on the UNIX stackechange works absolutely fine and seems to promote a more responsive system.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swappiness

Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) emerged on19th Oct and the xubuntu.org website was quiet until release so I assumed it was mainly going to be a case of matching the release ID and targeting that in repositories. Xfce is unlikely to bring Wayland support any time soon, and Ubuntu is a release focusing on replacing Unity with the Gnome desktop environment and ending 32-bit support, although according to beta articles it does gain some thoughtful features such as a workaround for audio and lock screens.

I'll jot down some more on 17.10, Xubuntu's take on it and the direction of travel next month.


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