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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Thu, 09 Aug 2012

Stella takes CentOS (which takes Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and adds many (many!!) of the desktop packages you're missing; along with RPMForge/RepoForgethe EPEL repository, you're pretty much all the way there

It's nice to say that the very-very-very-long-term-support releases in the Linux world that won't cost you arms and legs -- the RHEL-source-fed CentOS and Scientific Linux -- are there if you want to run the same distribution for years and years.

But that's only true if you can stick with the relatively anemic selection of desktop packages available in the CentOS, Scientific Linux and, by extension, Red Hat repositories.

You soon hit a wall. Applications you use every day in Debian, Ubuntu and even Fedora are just not there.

For me those include the Audacity and Ardour audio editors and the OpenShot video editor (or ANY video editor, for that matter). For others -- and maybe for you -- it could mean Skype (if that's your thing, and it very well might be) or the VLC media player.

And then there's a buttload of codecs and other various (and) naughty multimedia bits that are available but often hard to find.

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Wed, 08 Aug 2012

Install the MATE desktop environment in Debian

Hate GNOME 3 or just love GNOME 2 and wish the goodness would continue on and on? Well, that's happening. It's called MATE, and this fork of GNOME 2 is under active development.

So you want to run MATE in Debian Wheezy or Sid (or Linux Mint Debian Edition or Linux Mint Lisa or Ubuntu Oneric)? The Debian/Ubuntu MATE Repository is here for you. And here are the installation instructions.

That page also offers links to the MATE Homepage, MATE Wiki, MATE Forum and MATE/debian blog, the latter of which points to the Ubuntu Precise Pangolin MATE repository.

As I've written in my last half-dozen or so entries, even though the GNOME community is in a state of heavy questioning about it's present and future, I'm still evaluating GNOME 3/Shell. And while I was a GNOME 2 user, my love of GNOME was and is more about Nautilus, Gedit, GNOME Terminal, Rhythmbox, NetworkManager, GDM, etc. than the window manager portion of the overall desktop environment and application mix.

Just as GNOME 3 deserves a full evaluation, so does MATE -- especially if development continues and picks up steam going forward.