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◄ Project Zebra: Who sent you? Ma Beagle? Glomgold? Answer me!

2019-05-17 📌 Project Zebra: Next he'll be wanting his own Thundertank

Tags 🏷 All 🏷 Linux 🏷 Tech 🏷 Personal

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

In honour of the most recent Ubuntu release:

Touch wood the hibernation config and VLC changes I made recently are paying off bigly, and get around the hardware issues the ThinkCentre also apparently had with its original operating system.

And speaking of Windows, as El Reg snarkily points out: 2019 is the year of Linux on the desktop because Microsoft are bringing the Linux kernel to Windows:

Also touch wood, as I install six-monthly updates (which for April 2019 in Ubuntu-speak puts us at Disco Dingo), upgrading to 19.04 went smoothly apart from the session locking midway through – kind of my fault for not leaving it to do its thing and invoking xflock4 when the cat jumped up – and not becoming responsive again for some time, fortunately allowing interactive parts of the upgrade to be continued with. Of course, unresponsive is the GUI and it's possible to keep an eye on processes by Ctrl-Alt-F2-ing to a terminal and running 'top' then Ctrl-Alt-F7-ing back to check if it's recovered.

As one of those articles notes, Xubuntu is a distro that "doesn’t make major changes often" so most of the potential for negative surprises tend to be kernel related, in my experience. This one's an on-boot warning message that may cross over with power management and i915 graphics issues, and best advice seems to be to add intel_iommu=on,igfx_off to kernel parameters (I haven't yet).

Ubuntu 19.04 brings the end of the road closer for 32-bit... but what does that mean? Is it even safe to use hardware that old given that according to - "No fix is currently available for Meltdown on 32-bit x86; moving to a 64-bit kernel is the currently recommended mitigation."

The big news since is that Xfce 4.14 has a release date of August – meaning that users whose distros haven't packaged 4.13 developments will see the first big upgrade since 4.12 was released in Feb 2015;

And then what? There's an bit of discussion here about Wayland, which is very slowly shaping up to replace X in the Linux world;

As ever I tidied up a bit, removing Alltray, Scheduled Tasks, Samba GUI, gscan2pdf, Totem, SMPlayer, Cheese, Parole, and FSearch. Repositories for browsers were restored, and old Timeshift snapshots cleared. Atril can now read CBR files, but I'd say MComix is still the better application for comic reading. GIMP stopped working (I'd installed it from a PPA and possibly this clashed?) - until I got around to removing and reinstalling it a few weeks later, but in an welcome and unexpected twist Pinta works again.

A while ago I finally retired my 3D scrollbars in /home/admech/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css although I've left them in the GTK2 config as it suits the even more retro Raleigh-inspired theme I've got going there.

That fits well enough stylistically with the 4deb Xfwm theme I'm using, plus LibreOffice and Thunderbird's interpretations of the scrollbar CSS as neither is standard.

I figured out (I think) why some of my theme window colours had changed in a previous upgrade, reading – inactive_color_1 gets used but isn't defined in 4deb (and presumably the desktop was inheriting from Adwaita as the default GTK3 theme) so it was a case of needing to add inactive_color_1=#e4e4e0 to the themerc file. Similarly my taskbar and window background colour lightened to #f6f5f4 with one of the previous April/October releases when the panel went GTK3, but I actually prefer that.

From a link to something or other I re-found and it's nice to know I'm not alone with things like

This in particular was informative, leading me to revisit my volume Generic Monitor panel plugin script, which is designed to keep track of my speaker volume specifically rather than the default device (headphones);

I dropped my free memory script because it seems like overkill now that browsers aren't chewing up as much since I started using uBlock Origin. Also, the script and System Load Monitor panel plugin both now disagree with the Task Manager, which suggests the latter has changed the way it calculates things.

Some more useful FFMPEG bits, for working with very short clips (eg looping a fraction of a second):

# this is a comment
file '/path/to/file1'
file '/path/to/file2'
file '/path/to/file3'

ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i mylist.txt -c copy output.mp4

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vf tpad=stop_mode=clone:stop_duration=2 out.mp4
ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -filter_complex "[0]trim=0:N[hold];[0][hold]concat[extended];[extended][0]overlay" out.mp4

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 thumb%04d.png

ffmpeg -framerate 30 -pattern_type glob -i '*.png' -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p out.mp4

And a reminder for youtube-dl for myself: uninstall the distro copy first, then get a current one per

sudo curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+rx /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

Usage example;

/usr/local/bin/youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 --playlist-random

I'm not sure if this is one of those things I've known and forgotten, but it turns out VLC has (entirely non-obvious) interactive zoom hotkeys! notes you first need to uncheck "Always Fit Window", then either z cycles through the standard zooms (25%, 50%, 100%, 200%) or you can use Alt+o / Shift+Alt+o for finer adjustment.

Memo to self (probably a repeat memo) about whisker menu categories:

As a bootnote, it turns out that (although not from who produce the current VirtualRPC products) VirtualA5000 is actually available commercially (!) for a very reasonable £15, or just the ROMs for £10 if you want to try a different emulator and do it a legit way –

If you're wondering why, and why I occasionally bang on about retro computing despite spending very little time actually doing more than bringing it out occasionally and marveling at things still working on modern hardware, you might like this article about the history: "An arbitrary number of possibly influential RISC OS things" –

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