Showing posts with label gnome-shell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gnome-shell. Show all posts

02 July 2013

471. Debian Jessie -- gnome-shell bug

Update 3/7/2013:
there are now *gnome-bluetooth packages (3.8.1-2) in the jessie repos now. While I haven't looked closer at them, I presume that they fix this issue.

(on a different note: dist-upgrade currently removes gnome...)

Original post:
I've used debian testing since early 2011, and I've only had a few minor issues during that time.

However, sometimes things happen that reminds you that the Testing release is not meant for mission critical work (and makes me happy that I only use Jessie on my laptop, which I mainly use at home).


Last night I did upgrade and dist-upgrade, which installed the following packages according to /var/log/apt/history:
Start-Date: 2013-07-01  22:03:17
Commandline: apt-get dist-upgrade
Install: p11-kit:amd64 (0.18.3-2, automatic), libgnome-bluetooth11:amd64 (3.8.1-1, automatic), libgcr-base-3-1:amd64 (3.8.2-3, automatic), libtasn1-6:amd64 (3.3-1, automatic), libgcr-ui-3-1:amd64 (3.8.2-3, automatic)
Upgrade: libnm-gtk0:amd64 (,, libgcr-3-1:amd64 (3.4.1-3, 3.8.2-3), gir1.2-gcr-3:amd64 (3.4.1-3, 3.8.2-3), network-manager-gnome:amd64 (,, gnome-keyring:amd64 (3.4.1-5, 3.8.2-2), gcr:amd64 (3.4.1-3, 3.8.2-3), gnome-bluetooth:amd64 (3.4.2-1, 3.8.1-1), gir1.2-gnomebluetooth-1.0:amd64 (3.4.2-1, 3.8.1-1), gir1.2-gck-1:amd64 (3.4.1-3, 3.8.2-3)
End-Date: 2013-07-01  22:03:29

Now what happens when I log in to gnome via gdm3 I get an empty desktop with no menus, no hot-spots or anything else indicating that things worked out. Alt+F2 doesn't work either, and conky doesn't start.

The only thing that does work is
* my keyboard shortcuts (I've mapped ctrl+shift+Down arrow to chromium)
* guake (which starts with gnome)

ps aux|grep gnome-shell
returns nothing, which might be a clue.

Looking at the debian forums the closest post seems to be (although erroneously labelled -- gdm3 DOES start):

That in turn led to this bug report:

My gnome-shell version is 3.4.2-8,

I don't understand how gnome-bluetooth causes this, especially given that I've disabled bluetooth in rcconf, but whatever it takes...

I tried applying the patch but it failed:
mkdir ~/tmp
cd ~/tmp
wget ";filename=GnomeBluetooth.patch;att=1;bug=712861" -O blue.patch
sed -i 's_js/ui/status/bluetooth.js_/usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/status/bluetooth.js_g' blue.patch
sudo patch -p0 < blue.patch

Instead, I ended up making the changes to /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/status/bluetooth.js by hand (remember that you can always use the ttys using ctrl+Fx):
  6 const Gio =;
  7 const GnomeBluetoothApplet =;
  8 const GnomeBluetooth =;
  9 const Gtk =;

and then delete the Applet part in GnomeBluetoothApplet so that it reads
 38         this._killswitch.connect('toggled', Lang.bind(this, function() {
 39             let current_state = this._applet.killswitch_state;
 40             if (current_state != GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.HARD_BLOCKED &&
 41                 current_state != GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.NO_ADAPTER) {
 42                 this._applet.killswitch_state = this._killswitch.state ?
 43                     GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.UNBLOCKED:
 44                     GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.SOFT_BLOCKED;
 45             } else
 46                 this._killswitch.setToggleState(false);

Then do it again:
 96     _updateKillswitch: function() {
 97         let current_state = this._applet.killswitch_state;
 98         let on = current_state == GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.UNBLOCKED;
 99         let has_adapter = current_state != GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.NO_ADAPTER;
100         let can_toggle = current_state != GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.NO_ADAPTER &&
101                          current_state != GnomeBluetooth.KillswitchState.HARD_BLOCKED;

At this point I rebooted and everything was back to normal (you can try simply doing 'sudo service gdm3 restart' instead of rebooting).
Anyway, done.

10 July 2012

204. GNOME 3: prevent shotwell from taking over storage devices with photos

I occasionally move pictures off my phone and the CF card of my camera. It annoys me a little bit that shotwell  gets to open and import my photos uninvited.

It also annoys me that a 5 seconds search through the preferences of nautilus and shotwell doesn't offer a solution, but I suppose when we really think about it is a GNOME issue.

Well, it's easy to sort it out: start the gnome system settings, go to details, and select Removable Media.

A lot of functionality is disabled, shifted around or removed completely in the core gnome apps because select devs consider it 'confusing', not obvious or difficult to locate (fixing the sentence to make it grammatically coherent would make it unreadable and clunky -- you know what I mean). Yet somehow the System Settings/Details as a dumping ground for some rather odd stuff has survived since Gnome 3.0.

Again, I like gnome. But gnome will probably do a whole lot better taking criticism from it's loyal users than catering to imaginary mobile device users, hypothetical ex-windows/osx users or basing design decisions on classroom-appropriated theory.

09 January 2012

42. Installing gnome-shell extensions and icon theme on debian

FOR GNOME/GNOME-SHELL 3.4 see this as well:

Here are a few quick fixes to make Gnome 3/gnome-shell work and look a bit better:

An example of my desktop as it looks today (April 201) is shown below:
My desktop, in response to a comment below..

And here a rough indication of what is done with the gnome-shell extensions below:
From top left, clockwise: applications menu, panel favourites (with faenza icons), move-clock, bottom panel and static workspaces. The information on the right hand side is done via conky.

1. gnome-shell extensions
2. Getting maximize, minimize and close back
3. prettier icon theme --faenza
4. Using conky instead of gnome applets to monitor computer

1. gnome-shell extensions
NOTE: download the .tgz file to your home folder e.g. /home/me/ or the files won't go to the right place on tar -xvf

The Gnome-shell Frippery extensions ("for grumpy old sticks in the mud") are what you're looking for:

a) For gnome/gnome-shell 3.0:
In /home/me/
tar -xvf gnome-shell-frippery-0.2.8.tgz

That's it! The extensions will only be installed for the user doing the untar-ing.

b) For gnome-shell 3.2:
UPDATE: 1/2/2012 -- Wheezy upgraded to gnome-shell on 31/1/2012. Here's how to get a useful desktop environment again:

Use iceweasel/firefox, and visit the following pages:

All of the frippery extensions are listed here:

Install the extensions by settting on the slider icon to ON.

In /home/me/ (replacing 'me' with your username)

tar -xvf gnome-shell-frippery-0.3.6.tgz

IF the shell extensions don't show up -- make sure that they are in /home/me/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/ -- if not you may want to extract and put the files there manually.

Either way, once you installed using firefox or in the terminal:
Log in and out of gnome-shell -- alt+f2 + r only enabled the applications-menu, bottom-panel and static workspaces, but the other extensions wouldn't work. This is based on a case of installing the extensions immediately after dist-upgrading to install gnome-shell v

You can now open gnome-tweak-tool (install it as shown below under "2. Getting max/min/close back") -- in the gnome-shell activities/launchers window or whatever they call it it shows up as Advanced Settings or start it using alt+f2 or terminal (gnome-tweak-tool). Click on Shell Extensions, and enable everything.

OR open firefox/iceweasel and go to to enable/disable extensions.

The versions of Frippery's Shutdown menu, move clock and panel favourites wouldn't work with 3.2 on a first try, nor would the extensions downloaded by wget and untared -- logging in and out of gnome-shell solved that.

Trying to find something on the website is at the moment hopeless - hopefully they'll implement a useful search function soon.

2. Getting maximize, minimize and close back
Install gnome-tweak-tool
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Start it. Go to Shell. Under 'arrangement of buttons on title bar' select all.

3. prettier icon theme --faenza
I've never been a fan of the default icon themes for gnome. I used the linux lex icons ( for gnome 2.x/compiz

In my opinion the blockier icons in faenza work better with gnome3/gnome-shell than the fancy linux lex icons.

Install the gnome-tweak-tool
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

To get faenza
mkdir ~/tmp
cd ~/tmp
cd ~/.icons
mkdir faenza
mv * faenza/

Now start gnome-tweak-tool. Under Interface  --> Icon Theme -- select faenza
Do alt+f2 and type r, hit enter to restart.

4. Using conky instead of gnome applets to monitor computer
conky is a lot more flexible and capable than any single gnome-applet. But then conky doesn't sit quietly on a panel but is instead overlaid on top of you desktop.

To install
sudo apt-get install conky

Edit configuration file
sudo vim /etc/conky/conky.conf

Here's a sample conky.conf

alignment top_right
double_buffer yes
background yes
border_width 1
cpu_avg_samples 2
default_color white
default_outline_color white
default_shade_color white
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders yes
draw_outline no
draw_shades no
use_xft yes
xftfont DejaVu Sans Mono:size=12
gap_x 20
gap_y 60
minimum_size 5 5
net_avg_samples 2
no_buffers yes
out_to_console no
out_to_stderr no
extra_newline no
own_window yes
own_window_class Conky
own_window_type desktop
own_window_transparent yes
stippled_borders 0
update_interval 1.5
uppercase no
use_spacer none
show_graph_scale no
show_graph_range no

${execi 60 acpi |gawk '{print $3,$4,$5}'|sed 's/\,/\t/g'}
${addr eth0}/${addr wlan0}
${color grey}Uptime:$color $uptime
CPU:$alignc $cpu%
$alignc $color ${cpugraph 15,200 ffff00 ff0000 -l -t}  
RAM:$alignc $mem/$memmax
$alignc$color ${memgraph 15,200 ffff00 ff0000 -t}
I/O:$alignc $diskio_read/$diskio_write
$alignc$color ${diskiograph 15,200 ffff00 ff0000 -t}
${color grey}Frequency (in GHz):$color
${freq_g 1} ${freq_g freq_g2}
$color CPU: $alignr${acpitemp}°C 
$color Fan(rpm): $alignr${execi 1.5 sensors|grep fan1|cut -c12-18} 
#${color grey}CPU Usage: ${cpubar 10,100 ffffff ff0000 -l -t} $cpu%
${cpugraph cpu1 15,100 ffff00 ff0000 -t} ${cpugraph cpu2 15,100 ffff00 ff0000 -t}
${color grey}File systems:
 / $color${fs_used /}/${fs_size /}
 /home $color${fs_used /home}/${fs_size /home}
${color grey}eth0 ${color red} ${upspeed eth0}/${color green} ${downspeed eth0} ${color grey}
${color grey} ${upspeedgraph eth0 15,100 550000 ff0000 -l -t} ${color grey} ${downspeedgraph eth0 15,100 0000ff 00ff00 -l -t} ${color grey}
${color grey}wlan0 ${color red} ${upspeed wlan0}/${color green} ${downspeed wlan0} ${color grey}
${color grey} ${upspeedgraph wlan0 15,100 550000 ff0000 -l -t} ${color grey} ${downspeedgraph wlan0 15,100 0000ff 00ff00 -l -t} ${color grey}
${color grey}Name CPU%   MEM%
${color} ${top name 1} ${top cpu 1} ${top mem 1}
${color} ${top name 2} ${top cpu 2} ${top mem 2}
${color} ${top name 3} ${top cpu 3} ${top mem 3}
${font Arial:bold:size=12}${color Tan1}WORLD TIME ${color DarkSlateGray}

$font${color}San Francisco ${execi 60 ping -c 1 | grep icmp_req |gawk '{print $8}'| cut -c6- } ms$alignr${tztime America/Los_Angeles %H:%M}

$font${color}Melbourne ${execi 60 ping -c 1 | grep icmp_req |gawk '{print $8}'| cut -c6- } ms$alignr${tztime Australia/Melbourne %H:%M}


You can get more information about available objects here:

To make conky start up every time you start your computer, start gnome-session-properties, and add conky. That works most of the time but is the old gnome 2.3 way of doing things. Here's a post on gnome-shell specifically and how to add start-up applications:

08 January 2012

41. Chinese character and input support on debian testing

Update: You should also install support for gtk and gtk3:
sudo apt-get install ibus-gtk3 ibus-gtk
in order to be able to use it with e.g. thunderbird.

Original post:
Here's how to set up Chinese (simplified) support in Gnome 3 /gnome-shell and the terminal (bash).

First install the fonts:
sudo apt-get install fonts-arphic-*

Next. add Chinese via locales:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales


(For traditional characters choose zh_HK, zh_SG or zh_TW)

As default language English is probably a good idea
In my case it's en_AU.UTF-8

Edit ~/.bashrc and add the following lines:

source .bashrc

Install ibus:
sudo apt-get install ibus-pinyin 
This pulls another 18 packages with it

Start ibus-daemon in terminal
An icon in the notification tray still appear
Right-click, choose Preferences (P)
Click on the second tab (input methods)
Select an input method -> Chinese -> Pinyin

You should now be able to choose between regular (latin) input and Chinese characters using Ctrl+Space.

To make ibus-daemon start with gnome, run
and add

And you're more or less done.

Sogou is a popular pinyin database on the Windows platform -- but afaik it's not available for Linux. On Linux, it seems that the ibus-pinyin-db-open-phrase database is the default ibus database used to guess what characters you intend to type, but you can also install and select either ibus-googlepinyin or ibus-pinyin-db-android. After installation you need to select the database by going to preferences in the ibus daemon and selecting it as input method. Not being Chinese I can't tell whether sogou, google pinyin and android pinyin are comparable.

Sogou does however work with Google Chrome/Chromium on linux -- go to Preferences/Extensions -- Get More Extensions, and install the Sogou Cloud Pinyin Extension for Chrome.

05 December 2011

22. gnome-shell/GNOME3 -- acceptance

So after the turmoil of being thrown into a new desktop metaphor, I've finally reached a stage where I'd feel less at home in Gnome 2.3 than 3.0. Truth be told, the new gnome is both pretty and quite responsive. Key to making Gnome 3 usable is, however, that enough shell extensions are installed that it works similar to the old gnome. The application centric desktop may work for casual users (email/browser), but not for traditional linux/unix applications where different parts of a work flow is handled by different applications (e.g. latex -- scripting/composition in one application, compilation by another, inspection in a third; or gnuplot -- data preparation, gnuplot scripting, visualisation of output file).

But once all the shell extensions are installed, it's back to business as usual.

Even Linus seems to be coming around to Gnome 3 after mumbling about defecting to xfce4:

So far I've only had one unresolved problem - an 'old' desktop with a radeon 5400 hd card won't run gnome-shell on debian testing. No acceleration. Oh well. At least all my other computers are reasonably happy so far.

26 November 2011

21. Current Bug -- gnome applications unresponsive to keyboard input

UPDATE 02/02/2012:
It seems like whatever the problem was, it's gone now. An up-to-date testing system with ibus runs smoothly.

For some reason, after updating today I'm having a hard time entering input in various gnome applications, whereas non-gnome applications work fine.
E.g. I can't type certain letters, and in general it's difficult to provide any inpurt, in gnome-terminal and gnome-session-properties. lxterm and guake work completely normal though.

No sure what is causing this, but it's happening on my Thinkpad SL410 as well as on my Optiplex 910. The only thing they have in common is the operating system (up-to-date debian testing 64 bit).

Don't know enough about it to file a bug report.

Edit: the problem is present in Evolution as well. Still present as of 28/11/2011. Problem exists on a home-built six-core AMD with 1 GB graphics card.

Edit 2: It sounds a bit like this, which was reported in June (!).
It seems to be related to iBus/SCIM

Edit 3: Evolution is also affected, as is gEdit. Turning off iBus 'solves' the problem. Now, why does it affect the standard gnome applications, but not other packages?

At any rate, this bug has given me the incentive to leave gnome-terminal for guake, and to give alpine and thunderbird a try instead of evolution.

I tried
sudo apt-get install ibus-gtk3
sudo apt-get autoremove ibus-gtk

iBus still works. But unfortunately evolution is still way too slow to be useful.

22 November 2011

19. Gnome3/gnome-shell -- 11 days later

So, I stuck it out. The new gnome-shell is fairly functional for me, finally.
The lack of system indicator applets was solved by using conky to overlay information on the desktop.
Frippery's gnome-shell extensions also make the experience less frustrating.

However, it still feels like everything I've done have been finding /work-arounds/ rather than /customisation/. In the end the whole idea of an application-centric desktop is unsuitable for me -- I would expect this to be true for the majority of established linux users.

Edit (25/11/2011):The screengrab shows what my heavily modified desktop looks like.

10 November 2011

18. Gnome 3/Gnome-shell -- first impressions. Rant.

Debian testing has now transitioned to gnome-shell/gnome3. It's...different...from gnome 2.32, so be warned. While I'm as frustrated as anyone else who feels that they are being forced to move to a new desktop metaphor for no good reason, I'm trying to keep an open mind. The lack of a bottom panel is pissing me off and disorienting me enormously though. I also would like all my panel applets back - I used to have a good overview over how my computer hardware was doing, and now I have no clue anymore.

Essentially, at this point it seems like gnome-shell is fine for people who do their work in a specific application - like a browser, word processor etc. It absolutely blows if you're using your COMPUTER. I edit code in gedit, render figures in the terminal, inspect them using evince, include them in documents using LaTeX etc. Suddenly I feel I have no overview what's going on. The lack of a bottom panel showing me which applications are open on a specific virtual desktop is very confusing. Using alt+tab to check before I switch is a great time-waster.

For those who haven't used gnome-shell -- yes, you can still have windows side-by-side. You just can't see if you're hiding a window behind another one.

Seriously. I don't see why I can't customise my desktop anymore. Gnome has always (I do realise that this isn't entirely true - functionality is being removed and re-added all the time in most desktop environments) been a bit more restrictive than KDE in terms of granular control and I do understand that this is on purpose -- it's a design philosophy. I guess I just violently disagree with it.

Finally, even though I can't put my finger on WHY, I feel that I suddenly have a tiny screen. It's 23 inches. It's huge. It's made for having lots of windows open side-by-side.

I admit that I'm as resistant to change as anyone, but since I use my computer as part of my work, I need a damned good reason for changing. Few people can afford a few weeks downtime in productivity while learning the ropes if they feel that the change isn't justified.

I'll stick with gnome for a while longer. You can't bitch if you don't give it a chance. But I'll spend those weeks looking closer at the alternatives - XFCE, LXDE, KDE etc.

The point here -- and which was seen with the defections to OSX caused by Windows Vista -- is that if people are forced to learn a new way of working, they might as well explore ALL the options.

Prediction: I'll either stay with gnome-shell (which will hopefully improve as functionality and control is returned), or move to xmonad (another extreme)

I obviously appreciate the fact that I'm using a free and open source collection of software - in theory no-one is forcing me to keep on using GNOME. Nor was I forced to upgrade. In reality, it's not so easy.

Given that gnome 3/gnome-shell is more than just an iterative update, I think it would've have made sense to allow for the installation of gnome 2.32 and gnome3 side-by-side. After all, there's nothing preventing you from running KDE, gnome, xfce and lxde side-by-side. Sure, uptake would be slower - but 'forcing' people to move from one version to another isn't really a good idea either. The way it is now you have no easy way of reverting back to 'normal' if you accidentally, or misguidedly, upgrade to gnome3.

Oh well, ranting is easy. A better use of my time would probably have been to learn how to write gnome-shell-extensions to provide the functionality which I feel is missing.

<How to deal with it>
So, there are a few things which can be done to make the transitions a bit easier to handle -  do an online search for gnome-shell-extensions and download the ones which you think will help. For me, I've got the following installed and active:
Bottom Panel
Gajim IM integration
Alternative Status Menu
Shut Down Menu
User Themes
Break Dynamic Workspaces
Panel Favorites
Applications Menu
Move Clock
Auto Move Windows

Make sure that you get the right version of the extension for your version of gnome-shell (gnome-shell --version; currently it's on 3.0.2) since extensions for 3.2 won't necessarily work with 3.0.2 (e.g. the bottom panel extension).

You will also want to install the gnome-tweak-tool and explore what it does. At least you can choose your preferred icon theme, set nautilus to handle the desktop space, bring back maximize/minimize buttons etc.

You may also want to add keyboard shortcuts to the most commonly used application since it's a PITA having to go back to the Activities every time you open e.g. a terminal, nautilus or gedit  instance. I've mapped terminal to ctral+shift+up, google chrome to ctrl+shift+down, nautilus to ctrl+shift+left and gedit to ctrl+shift+right.

If you find that you can't run gnome-shell but only use the fallback mode, check that you haven't got 'compiz --replace' in your start-up programs (gnome-session-properties)