Gnu Linux Miscellaneous

Here are some rarely used tasks that I do not want to forget.

See more sections on Gnu/Linux .

Firefox Extensions

Firefox is now my preferred browser.

Google for "Firefox extensions" and look for handy items.

Extensions I always use are

Less essential:

Here's how I install the java plugin
cd $HOME/.mozilla/plugins
ln -s $JAVA_HOME/jre/plugin/i386/ns7/ .

fvwm2: a parsimonious window manager

The best way to save memory is to use a frugal window manager and desktop environment, rather than Gnome or KDE. I found that fvwm2 uses less than 20% of the memory of either Gnome or KDE. But if you haven't anything better to do with your memory, then waste it on a pretty desktop.

fvmw2 is much more easily customized from config files rather than the mouse. In fact, you cannot really configure fvmw2 with the mouse. Once you have the config files, you can copy them onto any new installation and immediately have the environment you want. KDE and Gnome on the other hand force you to remember and repeat GUI manipulation.

Since fvwm2 is just a window manager like Enlightenment or Sawmill, you can also run Gnome or KDE on top of it. But they don't look very good together in the default configuration. Gnome and KDE are just a set of standard desktop utilities. The other window managers do not allow the same degree of customization. fvwm2 is so configurable that you can easily lay out your own desktop and toolbars with standard utilities. The extended desktop is arbitrarily large, and dragging across virtual windows works better than KDE or Gnome.

To switch from an existing Gnome or KDE installation, simply put a .Xclients file in your home directory, with something like the following:
xterm -iconic +cn -aw -sb -si -rw -sk -ls -b 4 -vb -sl 800 -fg white -bg black &
xterm -iconic +cn -aw -sb -si -rw -sk -ls -b 4 -vb -sl 800 -fg white -bg black &
fvwm2 &
xterm -title login -iconic 

Note that all processes but the last login xterm are in the background. Stop your X desktop, and restart with startx. You should pop straight into the new desktop. Stop the window manager by typing exit into the login xterm.

Copy /etc/X11/fvwm2/system.fvwm2rc to ~/.fvwm2rc in your home directory and edit to change your default configuration. "Linux in a Nutshell" has a good short introduction.


Here's my favorite alias for ls
  $ alias ls='ls -AxFqsh --color'

You can set default colors with the variable LS_COLORS by putting the command eval `dircolors` in a login file. To see more about defaults type dircolors --print-database. I don't like dark blue for directories, so I set them to cyan with
  $ export LS_COLORS="no=00:fi=00:di=01;36:ln=01;34:pi=40;33:so=01;35:\

Attribute codes are 00=none 01=bold 04=underscore 05=blink 07=reverse 08=concealed, text color codes are 30=black 31=red 32=green 33=yellow 34=blue 35=magenta 36=cyan 37=white, and background color codes are 40=black 41=red 42=green 43=yellow 44=blue 45=magenta 46=cyan 47=white. Here are the some useful types:
  no: normal, global default, although everything should be something.
  fi: normal file
  di: directory
  ln: symbolic link
  pi: FIFO, pipe
  so: socket
  bd: block device driver
  cd: character device driver
  or: orphan, symlink to nonexistent file
  ex: files with execute permission

Play or save a Real audio stream

First download the *ram file:

Look inside to get the rtsp url.
$ cat hitchhikers_episode1.ram

Play the stream directly with
mplayer rtsp://

Or download it first, and play later
mplayer -dumpstream rtsp://
mplayer stream.dump

Running on a network without NIS/DHCP

Here is a deprecated way to attach to an office network without using NIS or DHCP. All steps are performed as root.

Bill Harlan, 2002-2006

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