A quick way to change default browser in LMDE

Just a quick note here, in part for myself (because inevitably I’ll end up needing to do this again, and that was some of the reason I started this blog to begin with), but also for the benefit of anyone else who finds this handy.

I’ve been using the beta version of Google Chrome on my Linux Mint Debian Edition machines lately. It works well, but I had trouble getting it set as my default browser utilizing the graphical options in the settings in Cinnamon.

So, I explored some command line options. This is what I got to work, after some experimentation.

xdg-mime default google-chrome-beta.desktop x-scheme-handler/http
xdg-mime default google-chrome-beta.desktop x-scheme-handler/https

Didn’t even have to sudo it or anything!

Anyway, hope that helps someone else out as well!

- Trent

How to change the boot splash in Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE)

This is more of a note to myself than anything else, but as always such things can come in handy for anyone trying to figure something out.

With the last Update Pack for LMDE I managed to screw something up and the boot splash (the slick little Linux Mint logo that displays on boot) stopped displaying on boot.

This isn’t a big deal… it’s not like it affects the functionality of the machine. But it was an annoyance, particularly since it was a visible indicator of how I screwed something up, every single time I powered on this laptop. :)

Nothing I did seemed to make any difference — GRUB looked fine, everything was set correctly, but something had obviously broken in the update process.

Here is how I fixed it. I installed the Plymouth boot splash application, the Plymouth Direct Rendering Manager (Plymouth DRM) and the Mint theme pack for it. Then I used the command to set the theme I wanted and updated the initramfs, like so:

sudo apt-get install startupmanager plymouth plymouth-drm plymouth-themes-mint

sudo /usr/sbin/plymouth-set-default-theme mint-logo

sudo update-initramfs -u

Then, after a quick reboot, the Linux Mint boot splash appears!

Pianobar: Command line Pandora client HOWTO

In the past few weeks, I’ve found myself installing and configuring Pianobar a lot. It’s an open source command line client for the popular Internet music streaming service, Pandora. In rebuilding a couple of machines recently, I have found myself installing and configuring it a few times, and I keep stumbling over it, because it’s broken in the Ubuntu and Debian repositories, so in order to get this really great application to work, it takes a few more steps than a quick apt-get install command.

This little writeup is at least in part for my own benefit, since I’m sick of the stumbling and trying to remember, wait, what did I do to get this to work again? So if it helps any of my readers out, even better!

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I’m tired of this myth

I had a discussion today with someone who maintained with confidence that “If Linux were as popular as Windows, we’d be seeing just as many viruses and just as much malware for it as we see now for Windows”.

While that argument might hold true for desktop users, to an extent, the focus of the discussion was essentially (from his point of view) that “Linux is no more secure than Windows”, fundamentally.

Which is false. When I pointed this out, it was dismissed as simply my opinion, but I believe that he’s stuck in a logical fallacy in this assertion.

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Resurrecting an old laptop

Just so you know, this isn’t a review. It’s just a discussion on what I did to make some old hardware useful again.

I’ve made mention from time to time the Toshiba Satellite A75 that I have that has been a backup machine for me for years now.

Well, with my 3+ year old System76 laptop on its last legs and suddenly developing a short in its screen connection, I decided to blow the dust off that trusty old Toshiba again and use it as a stopgap until I get something newer.

The problem is, this Toshiba Satellite is from 2005, has a single core 32-bit Pentium 4 processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, and a 60 GB hard drive. Needless to say, it’s a bit out of place in today’s world, so I had to put some thought into how to best optimize this machine’s return to productivity or it’d be pretty painful to use.

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A Linux Critic keepalive: The state of my tech

Well, as these things tend to go, having a full time job and hobbies and lots of other things going on means that my Linux blog gets neglected.

I thought I’d post a quick update just as a keepalive and let those of you who still actually pay attention to my little corner of WordPress that I’m still here, I’m still doing stuff with Linux and technology, and I haven’t completely given up on The Linux Critic blog just yet.

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My Chromium Extensions

Since I’ve been cycling continuously between the three browsers that annoy me the least lately (Opera, Firefox 3.6, and Chromium), I’ve been utilizing each browser’s extensibility to make it a bit more usable.

In a previous post, I discussed the various things I do to recent releases of Firefox to make it behave itself. In this post, I’ll be discussing the process I go through with the Chromium browser, namely with respect to extensions (since there really isn’t much one can configure in Chromium natively).

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