Now using Fluxbox on Ubuntu 9.04

Even though the jury’s still out on my opinion of Ubuntu 9.04 on my laptop, I finally had enough of GNOME today and configured Fluxbox on it and set it as my default window manager.

I’m running into some weirdness with that even, however, which may color my opinion of Ubuntu as a result… things that I’m not accustomed to fighting with when using Fluxbox.

Continue reading It’s a little too late for April Fool’s jokes, don’t you think?

Okay, so I ran across this (via Slashdot) yesterday and I was, well, shocked to say the least.

That’s right. The developers of the beloved office suite are giving serious development time to the despised and reviled ribbon interface of Microsoft Office 2007.

I swear, with the idiots over at Mozilla contemplating copying IE7 for the next version of Firefox and now the idiots at actually copying Microsoft’s failed attempt at a UI redesign in Office 2007, I’m positively baffled here. WHY on earth would anyone WANT to copy failure? Why would they want to ELIMINATE one of the biggest advantages they have over the steaming pile called Microsoft Office 2007? Why?

Let me make one thing clear here. I am not posting this to foster a debate on the merits or disadvantages of the ribbon interface, nor am I doing this to bash Microsoft, or anyone who likes them, or inexplicably likes their retarded ribbon interface that was designed for use by those with severe brain damage.

I am posting this for one primary purpose. To tell the developers of TO STOP DOING THAT.

That’s right, guys. You heard me. STOP. Take whatever you have developed of a ribbon interface for ANY AND ALL applications, and DELETE IT.

Remember, back when Microsoft Office 2007 came out, there was a sudden surge of downloads of That was because of the godawful interface Microsoft thrust upon its users, and it was a direct response to me (and IT people like me) directing lamenting users to to download a GOOD office productivity software suite, with a GOOD interface.

People started using OO.o more because it was a sane alternative to Microsoft going off the deep end.

Please, please, PLEASE do not remove that incentive by copying what could possibly be one of Microsoft’s biggest design faults ever. If you’re looking at this as a “missing feature” or some such nonsense, let me remind you again. The fact that has been “missing” this “feature” IS A GOOD THING.

I’m saying this not only as an advocate of Free and Open Source Software — because I think this is a massive mistake that will negatively affect that movement — but as a USER of said software.

At the point has the ribbon UI as the default, I will cease directing people to download your product. Period. I will instead be directing people to MY OWN SITE, where I will host, in perpetuity, installers for the last version that has the correct interface for, and having them install that. Because at that point,’s newer product will have become dead to me.

I know I’m not alone in this. So please. We’re begging you. Stop development on this stupid ribbon UI. If you really feel like doing lots of sweeping code writing, maybe you should instead focus on fixing some of the bugs. Okay?


The most useful Linux resource on the web

When I first started using Linux, I came to the table with a grounding in old command line Unix, and a few solid years under my belt managing a couple of Ultrix boxes where I used to work.

So I knew the basic set of commands, the Bourne Shell (or the basics of it, at least), and the general architecture the more Unix-like distros follow.

However, when I started using Linux, I was trying something well outside of my experience and knowledge: I was using it as a desktop OS.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time searching the internet every time I had a problem or a question. In all that searching, I came to find one particular locale that always seemed to have the answers I was looking for.

It was called (and still is) LQ is a massive forum, with subforums for the more popular distributions, and (in my experience) a very friendly, welcoming atmosphere for Linux users of all experience levels.

I know that in the fend-for-yourself world of Linux and open source software it can be kind of lonely out in the cold when you just CAN’T get whatever that is you’re working on to just WORK, damn it!

Do what I do. I go to and use their search page, and 9 times out of 10 I find what I’m looking for without even having to post my question.

So I think it’s worth giving the community at LQ some love, because they have been an invaluable resource for me in my years of using Linux at my primary desktop operating system, and I’m sure they can be for you too.

Fluxbox In-Depth: Mad Customization And Other Tips


When I was first preparing to switch to Linux many years ago, I went into research mode and looked around the net a bit. At the time, part of the allure of Linux were the crazy cool desktops people had. After I switched I tried Gnome, then KDE, and was depressed at how uncool and *dozelike they were. Eventually, I discovered that all those amazing desktops were the result of Fluxbox (or the other *box forks). I switched immediately.

To my surprise, I found that not only was I able to get a really cool appearance, but Fluxbox made all the things I wanted out of a window manager, and some I didn’t know I wanted, simple. It turned out that I was not the only user to have noticed those operating system limitations and failings I’d been grumbling about for years, particularly with *doze. The Fluxbox crew apparently knew my pain and had gone about addressing all of those complaints.

Continue reading