Xfwm – Xfce-3.8.18

Does xfwm on Xfce-3.8.18 segfault?

I completely forgot about it in my XFCE3 CDE look post. On my machine, xfwm would segfault sometimes. I haven’t had the time to look into it in detail. But I have a workaround. So, if any of you guys are planning to experiment with XFCE3 and experience core dump with xfwm, do let me know. I haven’t tested it on i386, so, at this point can’t be sure if it is an amd64 bug or something FreeBSD specific. I could replicate the dump regardless of whether I install it from ports or build it separately from source.

Old habits die hard

I am a sucker for nostalgia. For instance, I am a huge fan of the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). My first serious UNIX experience was with a Solaris box back in the late 90’s when CDE was the de facto standard. It took a fair amount of time to get used to it, but after that it was a fascinating computing experience. Every now and then I would configure my desk to look like CDE. Fortunately, it is easier now, thanks to Karsten’s OpenCDE project. That fact that it was developed on a FreeBSD box, it is pretty easy to set it up without changing any of the installation files. I have used it a lot before.

But this post is about Xfce and its pre version 4.x CDE look. A visitor of this blog asked how it could be configured that way. Hence, this post.

First, you need the source files. I used Xfce release 3.8.18. You could grab them from sourceforge, of course. Extract the archive and a simple ./configure, make, make install should do the rest. That’s just about it. Bad news is, on amd64 boxes it is likely that the build would fail when compiling xfgnome. But the good news is, it can be patched to rectify that. To make matters easier, I have uploaded the archive (with the patch) over at omploader. The patch sits in the xfce-3.8.18 root directory (called patch) and you should simply patch it before the build. It should work just fine after that.

Just click on the image to download the archive directly from omploader.

Xfce-3.8.18 Sources+patch for amd64

In addition, you can parse various options when you run configure. You can enable old style panel (see screenshot), CDE specific files, etc. ./configure –help should give you all the options. Good luck.

Now, the obligatory screenshot.

Xfce-3.8.18 on FreeBSD 8.2 amd 64

If you guys encounter any issues, please let me know with your comments. For FreeBSD, xfce 3.8.18 is still available in ports, although deprecated.

Xorg and Cars

How many times have you heard the cries from users on various forums about their X not working? Do you guys remember, probably a couple of years back, there were so many people complaining that Ctrl+Alt+Backspace didn’t work anymore after an update? Anyway, I just happened upon a funny quote from Fortune that talks about how cars would be like, if X-window designers built them.

If the designers of X-window built cars, there would be no fewer than five
steering wheels hidden about the cockpit, none of which followed the same
principles -- but you'd be able to shift gears with your car stereo. Useful
feature, that.
-- From the programming notebooks of a heretic, 1990

Kind of captures the essence of Xorg, don’t you think? 😀

Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg?

Bill and Mark

Last night, I got bored of hacking at home. So, I went to one of my favorite bars here in Stuttgart and continued hacking. Good jazz music with electronic tones does wonders to one’s hacking efforts. Anyway, at the bar I was approached by this middle aged gentleman. He asked me if I was programming in C. I said, yes and then he said that he worked for some time in the software sector and could make out from my program indentations that it must be C (I use the K&R style).  So I stopped hacking and engaged the gentleman in a lively conversation about programming, languages and software industry in general. He then asked me this question – In my opinion, who do I think is smarter – Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg? I told him that a simple comparison would not be fair on both of them, since, the times when they were starting out were very different.

But then, I realized that the same question was discussed in Lynne Jolitz’s blog. If you don’t know Lynne, she is the same one, who, along with her husband William Jolitz developed 386BSD. Every BSD user knows the impact of Jolitzs’ work . Anyway, my thoughts regarding the comparison are exactly the same as hers. But I will let her post answer the question.  While you are there, spend some time reading her other posts as well.  She hasn’t updated for a while, nevertheless, her take on many aspects of software is extremely interesting.

Lynne’s Take on Tech 

RIP Dennis

Dennis Ritchie - Father of C and UNIX

Sorry about the inactivity. Tied up with work as usual. But the happenings over the last couple of weeks warrants a blog entry. Yes, I am talking about the death of two pioneers in the tech industry in their own ways, Steve Jobs and the incomparable Dennis Ritchie, the father of C and UNIX.

Although I am no fan of Apple and its products, I doff my hat to the great service Steve has done. He will never be forgotten. RIP Steve.

Dennis Ritchie, on the other hand, had a huge personal influence on me. If you have ever programmed in C and loved it more than your parents 😀 , you would understand why Ritchie’s death has such a profound effect on someone like me. Although I dabbled with C much earlier in my life, I dug deeper during my engineering studies. Traditionally, chemical engineers are accustomed to using FORTRAN for numerical simulations, which was also true in my case. But whenever possible, I would always code in C. Later, when I ventured into Theoretical Physics, it was C and nothing else. The trend followed during my Doctoral studies, where I developed all my tools in C.

Even now, I work with C on an almost daily basis, either writing some code, or doing some audits. The joy I had reading K&R is something that is irreplaceable. I still revisit the book time to time. Although there are other languages today that are far superior to C, I still look at C as the language that paved the way for the development of these other languages. C will never disappear and will always have its unique place and so does Dennis.

Dennis went further and together with Ken Thompson, gave us UNIX. For us BSD users, it is a loss that is irreplaceable. We wouldn’t exist without Dennis. It is fitting that the proposal to release the upcoming FreeBSD 9.0  in honor of Dennis is picking up steam. My support for this endeavor is unquestionable. I really hope that it gets realized. This will be a celebration of what he has given us and how he changed the world for the better.

It is up to us C and UNIX enthusiasts to keep him in our memories forever. Dennis, you changed the world and your contributions in furthering the technological revolution will never be forgotten and you will always be in out hearts and minds.

The following screenshot is a tribute to Dennis Ritchie.

Tribute to Dennis Ritchie

Here is another tribute. Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Happy coding in Heaven Sir.


Sticker Conky – GitHub

Morning people. Just wanted to add some information about the remaining files on my GitHub. You must have seen my sticker conky in action on some of my previous screens. The .conkyrc in my dotfiles should take care of that. Please remember, this conky is optimized for a standard Netbook screen (1024×600).

Sticker Conky - Netbook Optimized

If you wanna use it on a bigger resolution, then you should play around with the gap parameters. I use Standard 07_57 Caps font in this one. It is packaged along with my Bridge fluxbox theme from a few posts earlier.

Ascii Art and Issue File

In my account, you would find a directory called, ascii. This has all the prominent ascii art you might have seen in my recent screenshots. From Enterprise to Spock in my latest XMonad screen. I also have my issue file in the root directory. I believe, I got it from Brian Cooper and modified it to suit my needs. Here is the issue in action.

Issue - FreeBSD

I collected the ascii artwork from various sources, namely, asciiart, startrek ascii art official site, and asciifarts. Just changed a few things here and there. So all credit for the art should go to the original authors.

Terminus – Patched

The alternate character patches come with the source code. You can find them inside the alt/ directory when you download the source from sourceforge. But if you are lazy to patch them yourself, then you can just download my archive, since the font I use is already a patched version.

You can see the difference between the character ‘a’ in the following two shots, for example. The first one is the default version and the second is the patched version.


Terminus - Patched

I have uploaded the archive over at omploader. Just follow the link for the patched font.

Terminus Font – Patched

GitHub Organization – Colors

Let me say a few words about how the configs are organized. I will begin with the colors in my .Xdefaults file. As you might have observed, I have different color setups for Xterm, URxvt and Rxvt. I call the XTerm color, Xtrail and is derived from vermaden’s config. Here is a shot of the color profile.

Xtrail Color Config - XTerm

Rxvt colors follow a different palette and I call it a Technicolor Variant. You can see the color profile in the following shot.

Technicolor Variant - RXvt

I have three color configs for URxvt. I am currently using something called Technobass. The colors look like the one in this shot.

Technobass - URxvt

I also have two Technicolor variants in there as well. The following couple of screens should give you an idea. Technicolor I is nothing more than the famous Gentoo color setup. Technicolor II is a marriage between some of my own colors and sirmacik and gigamo’s colors.

Technicolor I - URxvt

Technicolor II - URxvt

Terminus is used globally across all three terms. And as I had mentioned earlier, it is a patched version that uses alternate characters for some letters. I will upload the same in my next post. Anyway, this completes the color definition. You can access my configs here.

Finally! GitHub Updated

I would like to thank the people who wanted to see my GitHub updated. I have finally managed to push most of my configs over to my account. Just click on the image to go to my page. From hereon, every update will make its way to Github automatically.

My GitHub page

I will add more information about what to expect from my configs in my next post.