Linux For Cynics One user's experiences with Linux


How to Install and Play League of Legends on Ubuntu

These instructions should work for other versions of Ubuntu, as well as Ubuntu-based distros such as Mint.

1. Install p7zip. It's needed for PlayOnLinux.

sudo apt-get install p7zip-full

2. Install the latest version of PlayOnLinux.

Caution: At the time of writing, the version of PlayOnLinux in the Ubuntu repos is out of date. If you have that version, don't worry. Follow these installation instructions and your PlayOnLinux will be upgraded.

In Ubuntu 12.10, installation or updating is this easy:

Setup key with:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys E0F72778C4676186

To setup the repository and install playonlinx:

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install playonlinux

If you are using some other distro, just visit the PlayOnLinux download website and follow the instructions for your distro.

2. Run PlayOnLinux, click Install, and enable Testing (by clicking the Include: Testing checkbox next to the search field).


Screenshot from 2013-02-25 12:19:56

Start typing "League of Legends" in the search field. League Of Legends should appear in the list. Select it and click Install in the bottom right.

There might be a few message boxes that let you know that the program you are about to install is in testing, just say Ok to everything.

3. Select the "Download the program" option


4. PlayOnLinux will download the LoL installer and run it. It'll take a while to download. Go through the install wizard and make sure to install LoL in the default location, and at the end, DO NOT have the "Launch League of Legends" checkbox ticked.


5. Run LoL! A couple tips:

  • The default server was EU West for me. Make sure to change the server to yours, or you won't be able to log on.
  • I recommend playing a custom game alone before playing a real game with others players. This will give you a chance to fiddle with the Video options and get them right.

I tested this with a ThinkPad X230 with an Intel HD Graphics 4000, and League of Legends worked well (about 30 fps) in full-screened mode and most graphics options turned to the lower end. Very playable. I also tested it with a ThinkPad X200 but found the fps too low to play well. Gl hf!


The Real Story Behind Wayland and X

Daniel Stone talks about his experiences developing Wayland and X at See all the videos given at this talk:

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How to Make Skype Tray Icon Visible in Ubuntu 12.10

If you're using Skype in Unity (the default Desktop Environment) in Ubuntu 12.10, you might notice that the Skype "tray" (or "notification" ) icon is missing. Here's how to make it appear again:

Open up your terminal emulator (hit WinKey and start typing "term", hit enter). Run this:

gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist

You should get something like this:

['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Wine', 'Update-notifier']

This means that Skype is not whitelisted, thus is not allowed by default to display its tray icon. We need to add Skype to the whitelisted programs.

See how we used "gsettings get" in the previous command to see the whitelisted programs? Now we are going to use "gsettings set" to modify that list.

Put this into your terminal and execute the command. Notice the double quotes around the list, and the single quotes around each item in it! Also, make sure to enter this all as ONE LINE:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Wine', 'Update-notifier', 'Skype']"

Exit Skype if it is running, and run it again. Now you should see the icon.


How to Bring Linux to Mainstream Use



Fork the kernel and install all sorts of proprietary garbage in it (more than what it currently contains). That way you'll please all the hardware OEMs.

Create your own display server, one that isn't as convoluted and as picky as X, but make sure it's got enough security holes for OEMs to abuse.

Hide all that under some bloated Java VM. That way you'll effectively have a Java OS running a Linux kernel, not a GNU/Linux OS. That way, you can piss off both Oracle and Stallman at the same time. Brilliant.

Create a repository, but forget the review process. Just let every Tom, Dick and Harry developer put their fart apps on it for people to download and use. Screw security. Only worry about an application after a few thousand users have been conned by it, not before. Also, give those con-men ways to monetize, since they need to eat.

Again, screw security. It's been proven that users don't want that. They've grown too accustomed to Windows and want something similar. At the same time, give them multiple avenues to pirate stuff, because it's what they did when they used Windows and they love it like that. Hey, if you let devs and OEMs do what they want, you gotta give users that same right too, you know. That's what 'freedom' is all about; Wild-West, baby!!

It won't hurt to include a crapload of bloated widgets. Users seem to love that sort "bling", even if it is about as useless as a Hollywood socialite.

Skeuomorph everything. Aesthetic/design consistency is overrated!


Oh wait, didn't Google do all that already. Darn!!

(Reproduced from:

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Time-line of Linux Distros


(Click image to enlarge). This is an infographic that summarizes the timeline of GNU/Linux distributions over the last decade. For other file formats or to follow the development of this image, check out the project's site. It's quite impressive. I think it could even be called a rooted phylogenetic tree.


Steam for Linux Sale

It's Tux...and things.

Valve is holding a Steam for Linux Celebration Sale! 50-80% off on all Linux games, till 21 Feb, 10 AM PST. Lots of games on that list. Not only that, but it's easier than ever to install Steam on Ubuntu, because Steam is now available in the Ubuntu repos! You can even install it from the Ubuntu Software Center. No scary terminal emulator to scare away new users.

I know what will attract many people to at least install Steam on Linux once is this little fella. That's right.  You get an in-game penguin item in Team Fortress 2 if you play it on Linux before the end of the month. It sounds silly, but TF2 players are silly people, and I know this will drive many of them to install Ubuntu just to get whatever this is.


I'm glad Valve is pushing Steam for Linux aggressively. I think targeting Ubuntu is a smart choice as well. However, if they are successful (and I hope they are), this means many, many new and possibly computer illiterate users coming from Windows. I hope the community can accommodate them with patience.

Ubuntu Linux is a great desktop OS. One of the communities that hasn't adopted it is gamers. I'm glad Valve is reaching out to them. If you're one and you haven't given it a whirl, maybe it's time to install Ubuntu & Steam and consider reformatting your Windows partition.

I promise you everything will go better than expected:




Fix GRUB with Boot-Repair

If you've ever done something to clobber GRUB (like installing Windows 8 or modifying your UEFI settings), then you know how much of a pain it can be to repair the damage.

Boot-Repair is a tool that will fix those mistakes with a single click. It generally just re-installs GRUB, but it has many options and settings that allow it to do more. It also generates output that is useful for asking for help from forums if it doesn't solve your problem outright.

The Ubuntu Community page on Boot-Repair explains how to use it. But the idea is you either boot from a LiveUSB or LiveCD that already has Boot-Repair installed, or you boot from a LiveUSB that has at least 128 MB of free space and install Boot-Repair. It is not in the official Ubuntu repositories yet, so you have to install from a deb or the PPA.


Useful CD and USB Boot Feature

If your computer does not support booting from USB, you can still use a LiveUSB install of Ubuntu (and probably many other distros). All you need is an install CD.

  1. Insert the install CD AND connect the LiveUSB
  2. Boot from CD. Ubuntu will actually run from the LiveUSB, and you can even remove the CD.
  3. Enjoy the speed and persistent storage advantages of a LiveUSB, even if your machine can't boot from USB!