The tech behind…

I like clean desktops without icons dumped on it by software without asking me first (Adobe! HP printers! too many others!).
I love it when I don’t get useless messages about updates (Microsoft! Adobe! Java! manufactors!).
I love it when I don’t get bothered by anything popping up in front as I’m working (messengers! so called “support assistants”!).
I like to customize the desktop, simple colours of my own choosing, no icon cluttering.
I love it when the OS or programs don’t patronise me (wanted a real professional administrator’s version of Windows for years).

That’s why I ended up with fluxbox as my desktop after some time using Gnome 2, KDE 3.x and the later 4.x series.


Over the years I’ve used Linux (Debian), Free- and OpenBSD professionally because they were the right tool for the job. I’m using open source professionally to support customers whenever it does the job.
Nowadays having to use a Windows (or even a Mac) machine annoys me because it just gets in the way of doing my job.
There are some good reasons to use these, but generally I prefer no-nonsense open source software.

Some of the reasons behind my choices;

I prefer to use the old-fashioned XMMS as music player because it does the job in a clean interface without taking up a lot of screen real estate. No successor comes close, not even Audacious which is my only alternative. Same with MPV for playing video, Links 2 for browsing, XFE for file management and nano for writing.

I want to be able to change more than five or six colours in the interface. I want to exclude items I don’t need or think are distracting me from what I want to do.
I use fluxbox with several virtual desktops each dedicated to a certain function. Administration (root terminal), internet things (browsers), remote connections for work (FreeRDP, X2go, SSH), media (audio, video), projects I’m working on, etc.. Which is why I disabled the taskbar because I know where I have to be and I don’t waste space with it.
I use Links whenever I can (it’s so relaxing to browse the internet without flash ads or animations and other distractions and just get to the content that matters), Firefox for sites that can’t provide a clean interface. Firefox is still the best choice because it can be customized with necessary addons like oldbar and status-4-evar to prevent the annoying default behavior pretending it’s Chrome (as one person once said; “If I wanted to use Chrome, I would have installed Chrome.”). I do wish they made a current Firefox version that looked like the clean and simple 3.6.

-update when I want to
Don’t bother me with messages about updates constantly! Either provide the option to do it automatically or shut your gob and let me do it when I want to. And no, I don’t want to be informed updates have been installed if it’s done automatically by my choice. I only want to know when the update procedure has failed after some time and it has become more urgent. Not right away. Not after a few days. When it’s *really* urgent.

So many times I wished the OS (yes you, Windows) or program would output plaintext logs whenever something goes wrong. It would make it so much easier to find out what’s wrong. Telling me it’s an unknow error doesn’t help *cough*Windows update*cough*. As long as some error message is blurted out into text I, and I’d say we, system administrators, can get our jobs done much easier.
I won’t get into the systemd debate on the Linux side of things but I do think they’ve made some proprietary choices which makes me look at the Debian fork in the future.

I love the UNIX philosophy of tools having one function only and doing it well instead of one tool doing everything mediocre. Anything complex that needs to be done can be better done by a chain of tools which are easier to debug than one tool that just blurts out the wrong output. (I used to build Doom and Quake levels by scripting the different tools and compensating for bugs in the output)

So, the current tools I use mainly:
-Debian testing, operating system
-fluxbox, window manager
-nano, text editor
-feh, image viewer
-GIMP, image creator/editor
-sane, scanner backend
-Links 2, text based web browser
-Iceweasel (Firefox) with addons
  -classic theme restorer
  -session manager
-pencil and paper, carbon based text and image editor, storage medium

Some of the other light-weight tools:

-slim, session manager
-Xfe, file manager
-shutter, screenshot app
-Xarchiver, compressed files app
-TightVNC, remote desktop viewer and server
-FreeRDP, remote desktop viewer for Windows
-XMMS, audio player
-Audacious, audio player
-MPV, video player
-VLC, multimedia player
-MuPDF, PDF viewer

I don’t use a static wallpaper for my background but use feh to switch every 21 seconds;

line added to ~/.fluxbox/startup:

usr/bin/bg_changer &

bg_changer script:

while :
for file in /data/local/multimedia/images/furry/*
feh –bg-max “$file”
sleep 21

The ~/.fluxbox/styles/RGB_lite content:

# Very RGB RGB_lite

# background ————————————
background: flat gradient vertical
background.color: #000000
background.colorTo: #000000

#background: fullscreen
#background.pixmap: /usr/share/images/fluxbox/debian-dark.png

# fonts——————————————
menu.frame.font: courier-8:bold
menu.title.font: courier-8:bold
toolbar.clock.font: courier-8:bold
toolbar.workspace.font: courier-8:bold
toolbar.iconbar.focused.font: courier-7:bold

toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.font: courier-7:bold

window.font: courier-7:bold

#menu ————————–
menu.roundCorners: topleft topright bottomleft bottomright

menu.bevelWidth: 1
menu.itemHeight: 16
menu.titleHeight: 16
menu.borderColor: #0000ff
menu.borderWidth: 1

menu.bullet: triangle
menu.bullet.position: Right

menu.title: flat gradient
menu.title.justify: center
menu.title.color: #000080
menu.title.colorTo: #000000
menu.title.textColor: #00ff00

menu.frame: flat gradient
menu.frame.justify: left
menu.frame.color: #000040
menu.frame.colorTo: #000000
menu.frame.textColor: #00ff00
menu.frame.disableColor: #800000

menu.hilite: flat gradient
menu.hilite.color: #00ff00
menu.hilite.colorTo: #000000
menu.hilite.textColor: #ffff00

# toolbar ———————–
toolbar.bevelWidth: 1
toolbar.borderWidth: 1
toolbar.borderColor: #000080

toolbar.height: 18
toolbar.justify: left
toolbar: flat

toolbar.color: #000080
toolbar.colorTo: #000000

toolbar.clock: flat gradient
toolbar.clock.justify: center
toolbar.clock.color: #000080
toolbar.clock.colorTo: #000000
toolbar.clock.textColor: #ffff00

toolbar.workspace: flat gradient
toolbar.workspace.justify: center
toolbar.workspace.color: #000080
toolbar.workspace.colorTo: #000000
toolbar.workspace.textColor: #000080

toolbar.button: flat
toolbar.button.color: #00ff00
toolbar.button.colorTo: #000000
toolbar.button.picColor: #000080
toolbar.button.pressed: flat
toolbar.button.pressed.color: #0000ff
toolbar.button.pressed.colorTo: #000000
toolbar.button.pressed.picColor: #000080

toolbar.iconbar.empty: flat
toolbar.iconbar.empty.color: #000000
toolbar.iconbar.empty.colorTo: #000080

toolbar.iconbar.focused: flat gradient
toolbar.iconbar.focused.color: #00ff00
toolbar.iconbar.focused.colorTo: #000000
toolbar.iconbar.focused.textColor: #00ff00
toolbar.iconbar.focused.justify: left

toolbar.iconbar.unfocused: flat gradient
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.color: #800000
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.colorTo: #000000
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.textColor: #ff0000
toolbar.iconbar.unfocused.justify: left

# window ——————————
#window.roundCorners: topleft topright bottomleft bottomright
window.roundCorners: topright bottomleft bottomright

window.bevelWidth: 1
window.shade: true
window.borderWidth: 1
window.borderColor: #000080
window.justify: left

window.title.height: 16
window.title.focus: flat
window.title.focus.color: #000080
window.title.focus.colorTo: #000080
window.title.unfocus: flat
window.title.unfocus.color: #800000
window.title.unfocus.colorTo: #800000

window.label.focus: flat gradient horizontal
window.label.focus.color: #000000
window.label.focus.colorTo: #006000
window.label.focus.textColor: #00ff00
window.label.unfocus: flat gradient horizontal
window.label.unfocus.color: #000000
window.label.unfocus.colorTo: #600000
window.label.unfocus.textColor: #ff0000

window.button.focus: flat
window.button.focus.color: #008000
window.button.focus.colorTo: #000000
window.button.focus.picColor: #000080
window.button.unfocus: flat
window.button.unfocus.Color: #800000
window.button.unfocus.ColorTo: #000000
window.button.unfocus.picColor: #000080
window.button.pressed: flat
window.button.pressed.color: #00ff00
window.button.pressed.colorTo: #000000
window.button.pressed.picColor: #0000ff

window.handle.focus: flat
window.handle.focus.color: #00ff00
window.handle.focus.colorTo: #000000
window.handle.unfocus: flat
window.handle.unfocus.color: #800000
window.handle.unfocus.colorTo: #000000
window.handleWidth: 3

window.grip.focus: flat
window.grip.focus.color: #000080
window.grip.focus.colorTo: #000000
window.grip.unfocus: flat
window.grip.unfocus.color: #000080
window.grip.unfocus.colorTo: #000000

Lines added to ~/.fluxbox/keys:

Control Escape :RootMenu
Control Shift Escape :ClientMenu

Other lines added to ~/.fluxbox/startup:

compton -b &
setxkbmap us -variant intl &

Compton provides the transparency effects in fluxbox.


About scifurz

Science fiction, fantasy, furry, horror stories, drawings and ideas, tech ramblings
This entry was posted in tech. Bookmark the permalink.

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