Linux For Cynics One user's experiences with Linux


Right click on Desktop Slow in Xubuntu

When experimenting with the other flavors of Ubuntu, I noticed that the desktop right-click menu in Xubuntu appears after a considerable delay. Here's what I did to fix it:

This seems to be related to application icons.

In Settings -> Desktop, go to the Menus tab, and unselect 'Show application icons in menu' under Desktop Menu.

This should instantly speed it up - you can toggle the setting back and forth and it changes in realtime to compare. I used to have this issue but after unticking it the menu appears instantly if you can live without the icons. They could do with cacheing them or something I guess.

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Ubuntu on Asus Eee PC 1201N

asus1201nA few years ago netbooks were quite popular and although I am not usually a hardware early adopter, I fell for this fad and got an Asus eeePC 1201N, one of the first with the Nvidia Ion card. It came with Windows 7, I installed Ubuntu, but kept the Windows partition for games (yes, this netbook can run some games).

This post is probably years over due, but recently I dusted off the old netbook and decided I would install Crunchbang 10 on it. I reformatted the Windows partition. After giving #! a shot I went back to Ubuntu (Xubuntu, actually).

[[EDIT: There is more that needs to be done to make Ubuntu behave properly on the 1201N. I will summarize what've read, but here are the sources: , , ]]

Anyway, here's what I did to make it usable:


To get the majority of the hotkeys to function properly, you need to modify how GRUB boots Linux, as follow.

Open a terminal and edit your Grub configuration file:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

And change the option GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash" as follow:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor splash"

Then update Grub installation with the command:

sudo update-grub

and restart your netbook.

Super Hybrid Engine: Heat, Fan Control, Cpu Frequency Scaling

Unfortunately, the Eee PC 1201N is incompatible with cpufrequtils. As far as I know, there's no way to control cpu frequency on this machine. Instead, front side bus freqency is controlled by Asus's "Super Hybrid Engine". In order to make use of this, we can install the power control applet Jupiter)

First we need to install laptop mode:

sudo apt-get install laptop-mode-tools

Then we proceed to install Jupiter:

Step 1 : Run the following command to add the PPA for Jupiter on your Ubuntu system.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter
Step 2 : Update your Ubuntu system.
sudo apt-get update
Step 3 : Now install Jupiter on your Ubuntu system.
sudo apt-get install jupiter
Step 4 : Finally install support for EeePC - required for SHE (Super Hybrid Engine) on your Ubuntu system.
sudo apt-get install jupiter-support-eee

It still runs a little hot my system, but it is a huge improvement.


New Skype 4.0 for Linux

The Linux version of Skype loses its beta status with its first update in years.
Improvements include:

  • New Conversation and call views
  • Improved audio and video Quality
  • Additional Web Cam Support
  • improved chat synchronisation
  • New status icons and emoticons
  • “Tabbed” conversations

If you have the old version of skype, you need to remove it.

sudo apt-get remove skype
sudo apt-get autoremove

The new version of Skype is not available in Ubuntu's repositories yet, so you have to download it from the website: Skype for Linux.

If while trying to install you get an error like this:

pkg: error processing /home/aakkuan/Downloads/skype-ubuntu_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb (--install):
trying to overwrite '/etc/dbus-1/system.d/skype.conf', which is also in package skype-bin:i386
dpkg-deb (subprocess): data: internal gzip write error: Broken pipe
dpkg-deb: error: subprocess returned error exit status 2
dpkg-deb (subprocess): failed in write on buffer copy for failed to write to pipe in copy: Broken pipe

It means you haven't completely removed your old Skype install. Make sure to run

 sudo apt-get autoremove

, as mentioned above.

I'm happy and surprised that Microsoft didn't block development of Skype for Linux. I really thought it was going on life support. Now, I haven't had much of a chance to test Skype 4.0 so I don't have an opinion on these improvements yet. Hopefully if it falls short or is buggy, the Linux for Skype dev team will listen to the community and offer updates more frequently than they have in the past.


You don’t exist, go away!

Traditionally, when Unix attempted to get a password file entry for your numeric user id at log-in and failed, it would tell you, "You don't exist. Go away".

This error message has confused users for years, and it's still around! So if you're using ssh and you get this message, that's what happened. Why? Could be multiple things. Perhaps the system you're trying to access has network storage at it's gone down. Maybe the permissions on the ldap.conf file are wrong.

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Change Boot Screen in Ubuntu/Mint

plymouth screenshot

Plymouth is the application which provides the graphical "splash" screen when booting and shutting down an Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based system. I never really gave it much thought until I installed xbuntu-desktop and noticed that my boot screen had changed to the xubuntu logo.

If you find yourself in the same situation or just want to customize your installation, first find a new plymouth theme, which can be accomplished by searching for "plymouth-theme" in the package manager (or don't, if you are just reverting to your original theme if you installed a different desktop environment). Then, in terminal:

sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth

Select the theme you want, and then:

sudo update-initramfs -u

That's it!

Now, if you go searching for a way to switch themes using a GUI, you may come across Mario Guerriero's plymouth-manager. However, if you add the ppa and try to install plymouth-manager, you might find there is no version for Ubuntu 12.04.