Monday, 21 December 2009

xmessage, xdialog bye-bye

It looks as though xdialog is being dropped from the next Debian release. It has been dropped in Ubuntu as well; the last time xdialog was available there was in Jaunty.

I am using xdialog in at least one control panel item (the Users control), so this will need to be updated. There is no comparable utility in the repositories, the next-best alternatives being gxmessage and zenity. Neither of these have xdialog’s “wizard” feature, so unless I decide to recode these in e.g. Python, the next version of these panel items will be wizard-less.

I am also concerned that xmessage is depreciated. When I did a test upgrade to testing, xmessage no longer worked. I am guessing that first-gen GTK has been dropped entirely. I haven’t tried xmessage in Ubuntu Karmic (it works in Jaunty); I’ll update this post when I do.

I use xmessage is in the XDM beautifier stuff to display a help/power panel, and replacing this with gxmessage will not be trivial. The biggest problem with gxmessage is that you cannot tell it where to draw its window as you can with xmessage. Therefore, it will be difficult (impossible?) to place it in a corner as I do with the current login screen.

Alternatives include: finding a workaround to the gxmessage placement problem, a custom Python widget, moving to SLiM (which has a not-at-all intuitive way of handling power stuff), or biting the bullet and going with GDM (which may solve other problems as well, e.g., gksudo’s flaky first-time behavior).

Friday, 11 September 2009

ROX’s unmounting problem fixed

I applied the fix to skinny-utils and it has passed nominal testing. Packages in the repository reflect the fix.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Solution to ROX’s unmounting problem

The unmounting problem I mentioned yesterday with ROX mangling names with spaces has a very simple workaround. I will propagate this change to the SD packages soon.

In the meantime, or if you have already installed SD, do the following:

  1. Open ROX-filer (the easiest way to do this is to double click the Home icon on the desktop)
  2. Right-click in any blank space and select Options…
  3. Select Action windows
  4. Change the text in the Unmount command field to:
    skinny-pumount-fb “$1”
  5. Change the text in the Eject command field to:
    eject “$1”

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Automounting problem with ROX

ROX-Filer appears not to wrap directory names in quotes or otherwise allow for spaces in names when it sends arguments to the unmount and eject commands (and also likely the mount command, though I haven’t tested this).

I’ve sent a note to the user’s group to see if there is a fix.

If there is not, it probably means I will need to write a new script that does not pumount or eject media directly, but rather opens a dialog where the user can choose what to pumount/eject. This is not an ideal situation, but it’s probably the best that can be done with ROX.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


SkinnyDebbie for Lenny is out!

This should be considered a beta release. There has been a ton of refactoring and restructuring, so I am pretty sure that there are some bugs that need to be squashed. Also, all the development was done in a virtual environment where I was not able to test automounting or audio. I’ll do real automounting and audio testing in September, but the underlying code for both worked fine in Skinny for Etch.

The basic installation process is:

1) Do a Debian Lenny network install without any desktop environment.

2) Login to the user account you created. (Do not login as root.)

3) Install SkinnyDebbie by typing the command:


followed by:

install bash

I will integrate installation documentation into the main website in the next few days.