Modern Magic Nostalgia


Hey guys. Work and some health related things kept me out for a while. Anyway, let us get back to business. So, a relative of mine asked my help in setting up a Gentoo installation for college. He has been using Ubuntu for a year or so right now and he felt that he wanted to explore more. I advised him to use BSD, but he wasn’t ready for it, not just yet. He wanted help with Gentoo as he was focused on source based distributions. Most of my readers know about my love-hate affair with Gentoo. Still, I wanted to help him out. It was no hassle of course, but he was sort of confused after the whole thing. Gotta see how long he sticks with it.

When it comes to Linux, nothing beats the awesomeness of source based distributions. But time and other constraints have almost put them out of business. Gentoo is still the go to source based distribution and for a good reason. The other choices from back then are either dead or dormant, with very little to no active updates. If you checked out some of my earlier posts, I had spoken a lot about Lunar Linux, a fork of Sorcerer GNU/Linux (later Sorcerer OS). At a time, it was my Linux distro of choice. It is still under development, but not as extensively as it used to be. Source Mage is another fork of Sorcerer. It had a larger team back then, but their latest updates, at least in their webpage dates to 2017. Both Lunar and Source Mage are git managed right now, so you could pull the sources and build your own. But I wonder how many people still do it, at least in comparison with the much more straightforward installation of Gentoo.

Personally, I really loved Sorcerer and its forks Lunar and Source Mage. The simple philosophy of using nothing more than bash scripts to fetch, install and update a package was a testament to KISS, instead of using complex programs and tools other distros used to manage packages. Even the installation routines were pretty simple compared to Gentoo. That’s why it was pretty easy to sort of shift between Sorcerer and Lunar for me. Kyle Sallee’s Sorcerer was way ahead of its time back then and it is a shame that it is dead now. Anyway, while I was recuperating, I had time to put an older iso on another one of my Thinkpads and was able to hack a few shit and cast a few spells here and there and was finally able to set it up for use right now. It was awesome and took me back to that time when I used to do this kinda shit at 3AM in the morning with some bullshit still overdue at 8 in the morning. Exciting times.



Anyway, seen above are a couple of obligatory screenshots. I went for CRT green for this machine, as I initially used back then. WM is xmonad with my old config and the font is Monaco. Wallpaper is Pinstripe from my old collection. If you guys need anything else, please ping me.

P.S. Right click on the images and open them. If original size is compromised, please delete the width parameter following ? towards the end of the image address and reload. You will have the original size.

More Fluxbox

First off, sorry for having disappeared suddenly. Tied up with a lot of work as usual. Anyway I am posting a couple of screenshots of my Fluxbox desk, with a couple of different themes. One was inspired by Daft punk, and the other was, well simply to integrate well with the certain gtk theme.  Both the themes don’t warrant a release per se, since they are just minor mods of existing themes. But If anyone is still interested, let me know with your comments. I will post the links right here.

Screen One – Inspired by Daft Punk and j3concepts. Click for full view.


Screen Two – To integrate with Phrink gtk. Click for full view.


The Perils of Short Circuits!


I experienced it the hard way. This was plain stupid. I hadn’t updated my main box at home for a while. Since I was leaving for the city center this evening, thought of starting a lunar update so that it will be finished by the time I am back. Most important updates being the kernel bump and firefox of course. But I made a big mistake. I started the update, and just before I left, just thought of cleaning my living room a little. Took out my vacuum cleaner, and plugged it in. Switched it on, bang, fuse went out. That effectively shutdown my main box as well.

Rectified the short circuit, and checked my machine to probably restart the update. fsck failed! Tried a lot of things, still wouldn’t boot. Put my lunar installation cd in, and entered recovery mode and had to copy some files to override the screwups caused by the faulty updates, and upon the next boot, the machine was ok. But the whole process took me more than an hour. I started the update again, and now I am sitting in a cafe and posting this.

I have learnt my lesson though. I will be very careful with using my vacuum cleaner, whenever my machines are updating!

Shifting Gears – Fluxbox

I made a quick fluxbox theme last night to go with thayer’s colors. Since I seldom use gui apps, except for firefox, my theming ideas are always inspired by the terminal colors. And since I am very much used to fluxbox, throwing a theme together quickly is not so difficult. I haven’t released this theme yet, and I haven’t even named it. But if there are some requests, I will certainly make this theme available. But please note, this theme is meant to be based on the Xdefaults, and not on the gtk theme for instance. Here is a screenshot of the theme in action on my Lunar Linux powered office desk. Feel free to post your critique. Click on the image for full view.


Colored ManPages

I know this is trivial, but how about some colored manpages to spice up the terminal even more? I know this is something most are aware of, but if some visitors to this blog are interested in having manpages colored, but don’t know how, then this post is just for you folks. Over at github, you can find my .bashrc, with some TERMCAP export statements. Just copy all of them and paste them in your .bashrc. That’s just about it, you have colored manpages. Of course colors are manipulated based on your .Xdefaults, especially, the red and green colors. Here is a screenshot.


Scrotwm – Linux

Continuing with the Scrotwm rant. Naturally I have moved to scrotwm on my Linux boxes as well. Installing scrotwm in Linux is a little bit tricky, since a certain lorder script is neede first to successfully run make, and generate the scrotwm binary. I am not going to explain it right here. Instead I will simply link a great howto posted over at frostglow. This howto talks about Gentoo, but the method will work on any Linux distribution. Follow the link below for a detailed howto.

Compiling scrotwm 0.9.5 on Gentoo Linux

Here is a supporting screenshot of scrotwm running on my Lunar Linux box. Click on the picture for full view. The colors are from thayer, and available in my .Xdefaults over at github.


Colorwrapper – Colorize your Logs and Command Outputs

From most of my screenshots, I guess it would be clear for most, that I spend a lot of time coding and simulating. That means I spend a lot of time with just good old urxvt. This is one of the main reasons why I spend quite some time to get a good color setup. I don’t like to look at a monochromatic terminal all the time. So I had been always wondering about even colorizing all my logs, and outputs for a variety of Unix commands. This is where color wrapper comes into the picture.

It was Arthur from FreeBSD forums who led me to it. Though I had used colortail in the past, I wonder how I missed color wrapper completely. Anyway this is a nifty little program that colorizes a whole lot of things. All the way from many unix command outputs, to the compilation of a programs. You must be wondering, big deal, who cares! For one, it makes it easier to look for errors in the compilation logs, since bright colors indicate warning message or error messages, that might be difficult to hunt down upon looking plain logs. Since I use Lunar Linux, and I always use ports on my BSD boxes, it is useful. But most importantly, who wouldn’t wanna bring some life into ping! 😀

Grab the color wrapper from here. And then simple configure, make, make install. That’s about it. Once you are done, you need to export the path of the installed wrapper script in your .bash_profile (you can also add it to .zshrc), like this,

export PATH=”/usr/local/lib/cw:$PATH”

My .bash_profile, .bashrc, .zshrc are all available over at github anyway.

Once it’s done, exit the terminal, and open a new one and test some commands like uname, cal, etc. The output will be colored. Here is a demonstration.

Note: Somehow, cwrapper doesn’t play nice with my previous .zshrc, which had a lot of info piped into the prompt, and used some non ascii characters. I still haven’t figured out the real reason though. Will look into it over the weekend.

Good luck and add some color to your terminal! 😀

Lunar Updates + Insomnia


So I updated my notebook a couple of days ago. Obviously, the most important update was the kernel bump to 2.6.30. Everything went smoothly. I will be doing another update today on this machine and a couple of my older desks, and it is gonna take a while to be completed, thanks to the the Firefox update to 3.0.11.

I am still in the lab helping my colleague who had been doing some important protein measurement experiments that is crucial for both of us to link our models together. Once we are done with this, we can seriously wind up with our work and focus on our thesis writeup. It was a 30 hour experiment and the last measurement is just around the corner.

Though I haven’t slept the whole night, I still don’t feel that tired, so I will try to keep up with the updates, some coding and will sleep probably tonight. I suffer from migraines, and if I hit the sack right now, I am screwed for the whole day.

Sticker Conky

Since I use EvilWM predominantly, I recently thought of having a minimal conky setup with basic information about the machine, date and time.

I am generally not a fan of date only conky or the full blown conky that I see everwhere that fill up half the screen on some people’s desktops. They are hideous, but its just my point of view, and I am sure many will not agree. But that’s not so important. I love this conky setup, and I call it Sticker Conky, like a case sticker. If anyone needs this, let me know.

On a related note, dotfiles has been down since a few days, so may be I will move all my configs elsewhere. I will post a link for my new configs page once I am done right here of course. Anyway here is the conky.


A Different Setup

Was tied up with a lot of work over the last couple of weeks, hence a lack of updates. Anyway, I spruced up my color setup a bit, and thought of using some brown tones for sometime. The setup is sort of uniform on all my machines, and on both Fluxbox and EvilWM. So here is a screenshot from my Lunar Linux powered Lenovo Laptop. As usual, click on the thumbnail for full view.