Awesome KDE, Java composite hacks

I’ve been experimenting with the awesome tiling window manager as a replacement to KDE’s kwin, and I’ve managed to hack together a recipe for getting them up an running. It’s surprisingly simple, although the learing curve was a little steep.

This post documents what I’ve done to get things working nicely with the basic awesome config. No customisations here, see the awesome wiki for some ideas.
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MS-Windows focus-follows-mouse Registry hacks

This post is also available at my personal web site:

I like the “focus follows mouse” window-focussing model from X11, because

  • I don’t have to click on the window, just move the mouse and the window it’s over is focussed
  • I can focus a window without bringing it to the front, which is sometimes handy. If I want it in front, I can click it.

However MS-Windows follows the old-fashioned, Macintosh/Smalltalk style of having users click on a window to focus it for the keyboard. How do you make MS-Windows behave more like X11?

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Solaris X11 and Dvorak simplified keyboard layout

I’ve recently been playing with OpenSolaris and Solaris Express DE running in VirtualBox. They’re fine so far (except audio isn’t working) but I stumbled on a usability issue that was nearly a show-stopper: dratted QWERTY layouts! The GNOME GUI for switching to Dvorak doesn’t work, and setxkbmap(1) can’t find the rules file for dvorak either (they don’t seem to be installed where the man page indicates)…

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Hetrogeneous Operating Environments considered normal

Was reading this interview with Wade Olson about KDE 4.0. It is pretty interesting, but the best quote was at the end:

I often rant about how in all disruptive technologies, trends are always the same. Whether with the automobile, railroads, telephony or computers. A dominant company establishes ubiquity, but eventually competition settles in. Can you believe that Fords and Chevys can drive on the same roads and use the same gas? What a miracle of modern science that an AT&T user could call a Sprint user on the phone? A TGV and ICE train can ride on the same tracks? Madness! I can plug a lamp into the wall that my power company didn’t sell me? Now that’s what I call progress.
Why would computing be any different? I can’t believe that some choose to write software for a large audience that isn’t cross platform, browser-based or interoperable – but some do. Over time, proprietary file formats will go from being a competitive advantage to disadvantage. Heterogeneous systems are the norm and expected in every industry. It’s just tough being patient in ours.

Whatever your views on OOXML or Linux or Apple or DRM or FOSS/Proprietary software, or other contentious issues in the IT industry, you’ve got to admit, these are pretty sensible aims.

New Printer “Just Works” in SUSE 10

Well, here's a first for me: go to local Dick Smith's, buy a cheap printer, for my wife (HP Deskjet 3940, AU$66). Because I don't really care about printing from Linux, I didn't care if it works or not on that OS, just bought whatever Windows printer was cheapest.

Brought it home, plugged it into my PC (in Windows) and it works, after installing drivers and software and about 15 mins of setup time.

For the heck of it, I rebooted to Linux to see what would happen. Well lordy “New hardware detected: HPdeskjet3940” and an offer to set it up. After 5 minutes — just accepting all the standard options — out comes a test page, in colour, bi-directional and fast.

Neat. Linux is ready for me….