An Eye-Opening Experience

Most of us who are familiar with Linux are familiar with the advantages of running Linux as a desktop OS. We frequently bemoan the fact that others don’t know what we do about the reality of Linux on the desktop, and we seem to be hampered by difficulties in spreading the word outside our own circles. Recently, I was able to get outside the circle of Linux users and perform a live demonstration of Linux (and LXDE) to a group of professionals in a conference setting. Here’s my story.
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Anatomy of a .desktop File

One of the beautiful things about Linux is that developers tend to be conscientious about the use of technical standards. Freedesktop.org maintains a wide series of standards for X Window System desktops, which apply to Gnome, KDE, LXDE and XFCE (I’m not sure whether Fluxbox implements these standards.) The standard for “desktop entries” is still technically a draft, but is generally accepted by the larger X community.

The .desktop file fills two primary functions: first, it informs the desktop environment how the file is to be handled by the desktop environment with regard to menu placement, display, environmental variables, and similar. In this function, it resides globally in /usr/share/applications/ and for specific users in $HOME/.local/applications. The second function is the direct shortcut on the desktop itself. In this function, it resides in $HOME/Desktop. The same file fills both functions, so if you want to have an application both in the menu and on your desktop, you’ll need to put the .desktop file in two places. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
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New laptop

In my post last week, Time For A Linux Laptop, I discussed how my options were rather slim when it came to combining Linux, good processing power, and machines on the smaller end of the laptop scale.

The bar by which I had been measuring everything was the now discontinued Darter Ultra, by System76, which was what I had planned to buy this month, at least, until it vanished from their website’s selection of laptop computers back in the end of February.

Well, despite my lack of options, I’ve made a purchase, and it’s arriving today.

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Going back to Windows

Well guys, it’s been a good run, but I’ve decided that this Linux thing just isn’t working out.

I have been working on configuring Windows 7 machines for work, and I have found that it’s pretty much everything I could want in an operating system.

Linux is… well, it’s just not ready for prime time yet. Maybe in another ten years or so. Or if Microsoft comes out with their own distro, I might give it another try then. But until then, Windows 7 rocks!

I’m going to be formatting all of my Linux machines this weekend and I just bought Windows 7 licenses for all of them. This is going to be AWESOME!

So, as for this blog, keep checking back. I’m going to be changing its name to something else, obviously, I just haven’t decided what yet. Maybe “Windows Help”. I think it’d be cool to post Windows tips and tricks for the average user here, maybe something a little more in-depth once in a while for the more advanced user. I dunno. Still working on that concept.

At any rate, those Linux users who are still reading, you should give the new Windows a try. I was pretty skeptical, but WOW. It really blew me away. I’m done with Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Slackware, all of it.

Time to go mainstream!

Cheers!

– Trent