Unity, Gnome 3 and my way out of this madness

I will remember 2011 as the year when the Linux desktop took a huge step backwards. After decades of evolution we finally had a nice Gnome 2 based desktop providing a clean and efficient environment where one could focus on getting the work done. Even the Ubuntu variant with their this-makes-me-wanna-puke-brown and purple theme was okay, because it took only a few mouse clicks to switch back to something more pleasant looking, e.g. the Clearlooks theme. All this is gone now as the majority of Linux desktops come with either Gnome 3 or Unity – two equally useless and pathetic attempts at making the Linux desktop look like a cellphone.

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Filter design and analysis in Linux

I was reading an article in the Danish hamradio magazine about a 1.8 MHz to 70 MHz SDR transceiver. In particular the RF frontend caught my attention because a set of band pass filters and a pre-amp would be a very useful companion for the USRP+LFRX, as would a power amplifier and a set of low pass filters be for the LFTX.

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Replace Shotwell with F-spot as default editor

As you may already know, Ubuntu 10.10 ditched F-spot as default photo organizer in favor of Shotwell. Now, Shotwell may be a better photo organizer than F-spot – I can’t comment on that since I do not use any of these apps for organizing – it does have at least one very significant flaw that made switch back to F-spot.

Why do I need any of these apps if don’t use them for organizing? Laziness, I guess. In Ubuntu 10.04 I found a very convenient way to do some very simple editing tasks such as cropping. If I opened a photo in Eog (Eye of Gnome – the default image viewer) there was a button on the right end of the toolbar called “Edit Image”, which opened the image in F-spot. In F-spot I could do the cropping then save the image with all original EXIF metadata preserved. In Ubuntu 10.10 this “Edit Image” button opens Shotwell and I can do the cropping here as well, unfortunately, when saving the image all original EXIF metadata will be lost forever! From a photographer’s point of view this is extremely bad and there should at least be a warning of some kind.

Fortunately I still had the original photo in my camera and no harm done.

Next I investigated how to replace Shotwell with F-spot as default editor for Eog. One would think that this would be configurable via the preferences. Well, yeah, sort of, if you call the gconf-editor a preferences dialog. I found a related post on the Ubuntu Launchpad where someone wanted to replace F-spot with Gimp. Basically the same problem and it also worked the other way around for replacing Shotwell with F-spot. After doing so I could safely uninstall Shotwell – No, it will not remove the “ubuntu-desktop” package 😉

Ubuntu 10.10 on the Acer Aspire 5745G Laptop

Now that Ubuntu 10.10 is out I am slowly upgrading my computers one by one. Today it was time to perform the upgrade on my newest (in terms of technology) and most bad ass computer, the Acer Aspire 5745G Laptop. I have previously written about running Ubuntu 10.04 on it, which was the first Linux OS I have installed. Already with Ubuntu 10.04 everything was working and only the Ethernet interface required manual installation of driver. Installing Ubuntu 10.10 was a simple matter of performing the upgrade from within the package manager.

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Ubuntu Linux on the Acer Aspire 5745G Laptop

Info icon This article is about running Ubuntu Linux 10.04 on the Acer Aspire 5745G. If you are interested in running Ubuntu 10.10 check this article instead.

It was time for me to get a new computer and this time I was going for laptop with a fast CPU and sufficient Nvidia graphics that is suitable for video processing and high bandwidth software defined radios. Didn’t want ATI graphics because I have bad experience with ATI and Linux. Nvidia on the other hand has been working very well for me on Linux.

I thought of getting a new Macbook Pro 15″ with and Intel i7 dual core processor, but I ended with the Acer Aspire 5745G-724G50Mn with an i7 quad-core, 4GB RAM and a Geforce GT330M with 1 GB VRAM. The rest of this article describes my first experiences with installing and running Ubuntu Linux 10.04 Lucid Lynx 64 bit on this computer side by side with the pre-installed Windows 7.

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