LightDM and Xscreensaver

LightDM tweaking (Xubuntu and Vsido)

LightDM tutorials are quite nicely googleable so - the following is simply chaotic list of things I checked and investigated, and not a 'howto'. AND - this time I didn't do almost a thing, so the story is mostly hearsay. (26.04.2013 - a bit less hearsay now, see Edit below. Which is further edited 10.05.13.)

Important places
/etc/X11/default-display-manager - here you can see which display manager is your default. Quite good to know before starting hacking or swapping it to some other one.
/etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf - here you can add allow-guest=false, and very probably something even more interesting ...
/etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf greeters' GUI-related things are here, like background picture (png seems to be the only acceptable format).
By default it sits in /lib/plymouth/themes/xubuntu-logo/ for Xubuntu and in /usr/share/images/desktop-base/ in Vsido. It is a symlink managed by update-alternatives. And it is sayeth: 'So, to change the greeter's background, the best way is to find some images that you like from /usr/share/images/desktop-base/, then use update-alternatives to change the desktop-background group: update-alternatives --config desktop-background' ... And I might add, there is also GUI front-end for that tool: 'galternatives' is the name, download & install (less button-pressing compared to CLI-version).
Once more: Removing un-needed sessions from greeters' menu. Sometimes it's not wise to uninstall all your (backup) sessions...
And then I happened to read of someone who had problem with default greeter sessions - it kept hopping back to first installed one. He did so: /usr/share/xsessions/lightdm-xsession.desktop. Edited lightdm-xsession.desktop - changed "exec" from "default" to "startxfce4" - meant that when he had "Default XSession" selected at the login screen, it started then xfce4 instead of "default".

Short look into lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf (Xubuntu):
font-name=Droid Sans 10 
As is seen, there are quite interesting possibilities here ...  
| EDIT (26.04.2013): First line, 'logo' doesn't work in Debian Sid (I do not know about Xubuntu. But probably it does - this bit of code is taken from Xubuntu). In Debian the icon has to be changed in file /usr/share/lightdm-gtk-greeter/greeter.ui
|added: With unfreezing of the Debian came also new version on Lightdm... which doesn't have greeter.ui file anymore. It's told that it's in-built now. Means, you can take source, change glade file and rebuild your Lightdm. A hassle, I would say... Also - latest iterations of Lightdm (Debian Sid) doesn't have session chooser anymore. One can pick them from upper menu, as 'default'. Really idiotic... add ends|
Object is quite at the beginning of file and it's id is image1, icon_name probably 'computer'. Greeter seeks it in usr/share/icons/gnome/256x256/devices/ - put your new icon there and do sudo gtk-update-icon-cache /usr/share/icons/gnome. Edit greeter.ui - replace 'computer' with name of your new icon (NO png!). Save, logout / login.
PS! I found such address: ... icons/hicolor/64x64/devices/ in web. It wasn't so for me, but might be so in some other configuration.
Second line, background, is OK and works. Probably even when you simply stick your new file into proper folder. I did it through 'update alternatives'. The file probably HAS to be png.
Third line, theme. In version of Greybird I have in Debian, things seem to work, but not entirely. Needs further investigation. Xubuntus' lightdm.css under its Greybird, of the contrary, does everything right. EDIT ENDS |

lightdm.conf has only 2 lines by default - and those are  not good to play with. But here goes this added 'quest...'.
Playing around  with those things should make something change. Beware.


It seems to be very much default in most distros. And its lock screen is ugly like hell.
In Xubuntu it's slightly tweaked, but still ugly.
In Vsido - all natural - it looks like hairy pile of crap.
Unfortunately, it's also quite difficult to tweak - for example, the picture seems to be the holy grail of Xscreensaver dev-people. They do not want it changed and have secreted it away. I didn't find it at all.
What I DID find:
In you home folder is file .xscreensaver... Alas, there isn't anything overly exciting in this one...
What you have to do is: make a new file named .Xdefaults (in Xubuntu you already have it) into home folder. And fill it with Xscreensavers' parameters.
Alas, I am not going to put this file here - it's not short and has silly wide formatting  - but, the best way to proceed is to use Xubuntus' default tweaked file. Simply copy it to your ~/home/username/. It works in Debian without any problems. That I have tested.
And then, having the base file - tweak away. And I haven't tested that yet -very much, except that the code is, of course, nicely touchy for mistakes, and presents interesting yellow error messages.


Wining a bit...

(Whole thing was done on Xubuntu.)
Before or after installing Wine, it's probably wise to also install cdemu (install instructions) - 'It has some similarities with DAEMON Tools for Windows', says version 2.0 release announcement. It is said that frequently it even works for CD-installations and shit. It's slightly easier to use than sticking all your installation files to some folder and installing from there. But it's also said that copy-method is only thing that works in certain cases (multi-cd setup)...

If you have old Wine installed, take it down and then install the latest one (instructions here). And currently it's 1.5.2.x beta.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine1.5

Xubuntus' repos give you 1.4 only - that's why to go for current beta... Well, Debian stable offers 1.1 so, Ubuntu is quite modern.

After console-install in Xubuntu I had first to copy menu items to my ~home. Like: copy winecfg from /usr/share/applications to ~/.local/share/applications, edit if needed and so on. By the way - the file what looks most like business - Wine Windows Program Loader, doesn't work like wine app GUI, but goes to context menu 'Open with Wine'.
If Winetricks came with Wine (like it's said somewhere in Wine page), then you have also winetricks.desktop to copy. And that one opens as GUI-app. If it didn't come, then Xubuntus' repo has the last version (yes, really) for easy install.

Then install some things you need anyway, in terminal:
sh winetricks corefonts vcrun6
During installing it's probable that the thing wants also mono and gecko packages... and offers to download/install them. I said 'yes' - and install didn't succeed. I finally managed to install those two myself from Xubuntu repo.

I decided to install programs which have at least (and mostly) 'gold' status in 'Wine AppDB'. Which left out Photoshop, by the way - a disappointment to me.
First I installed Irfanview (has Winetricks entry too), and successfully. Fonts did look like shit though. But I didn't bother to waste even more time for finding solutions for that.
Then I tried one old game (manual install and - fail), and then a new one (which couldn't install some folders. Fail, of course.).
No, I didn't tweak and fix and whatnot. After spending some 6-7 hours for reading-about, and already knowing that programs in Wine seldom work without glitches - if at all ... I decided to quit wasting my time.

Because it's not really about using your Windows programs, but more about nerdy challenge of getting them running at all. It's tens of times easier to reboot into your Windows and play there.
If your need of that Windows program is not totally unavoidable, then don't bother - it's not worth of it.


Vsido, overview and tips

I happened to visit the blog of IgnorantGuru. I followed a news-lead to IGurus' article about the current state of Linux. It was quite illuminating reading, especially, because I myself had started to think quite similar dark thoughts about how Linux development is being strangely rotten last two years or so.

And when clicking around there I found myself in place called
It is rather unpretentious home of very fresh Debian Sid distro called Vsido. It compares itself to Crunchbang (a scary thing to n00b like me). Despite that I downloaded, made USB (Unetbootin) and installed - successfully.

Install was kinda usual, maybe a bit longish, but nothing overly scary.
I installed Vsidos' grub to its' root, updated my master-bootloader  and booted smoothly to Vsido. Lightdm is for login.
First-time desktop greets you with more-than-nice script with various options: system updater, installer (printer, java, LibreOffice, dev-packs, OpenSSH, LAMPStack, and couple of other things).
There are three sessions installed:
- Xfce session has Conky ribbon on uppper-edge and tint2-dock bottom-edge. Main menu opens from desktop right-click or from launcher in dock.
- Openbox looks exactly the same.
- Fluxbox looks also the same - but with graphical glitches and strange behaviour. Removed it promptly. (Edit: Fluxbox in next mini-release ISO didn't have those problems.)
- And there is 'default session' - Openbox again (which changed to Fluxbox in later releases). When exiting from there with 'Restart' it totally froze...
It's impossible to install some Xfce panel plugins... and trash plugin simply didn't work | Edit: Trash didn't work because I replaced Thunar with Spacefm and Xfce trash plugin is connected only with Thunar. But Spacefm has also its own trash-plugin) Edit |.
Then there are currently three upgrades which doesn't upgrade because of dependency problems... That's Sid, alright.

First things - get into virtual terminal (CtL+ALT+F1), sudo su, and run smxi script. And READ what happens, and respond correctly (or else!).
OK then, everything installed, including new freshly installed video driver. Awesome script!

After that, I did the following:
- Removed Tint2 from Xfce (and 'kill panel script') - took them off from 'Startup'. Created new xfce panel, confed it.
| Edit:  And afterwards changed back to tint2. Retaining uniform look over your various desktops is actually a good thing. Edit |
- Shortened Conky info-strip - deleted some things in ~/.conkyrc.
- Synaptic 'Quick Search' field was missing. I had encountered this before and always thought its 'silly Synaptic different-version thingy'... But, it's not.
What you need to do is:
sudo apt-get install apt-xapian-index
#after that might need also
sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf

Open Synaptic after that and it sprouts new nice quick-search field!
Additionally: If your Synaptic suddenly is NOT starting from Menu (and when starting it in terminal with the same command, asks USER-passwd): Change launcher command (synaptic pkexec) to gksudo synaptic.
- Make Spacefm to your default File Manager in Xfce too. It trumps Thunar by - maybe - ten times? By the way, it's made by the same already mentioned IgnorantGuru. And no - you can't remove Thunar, it's like Internet Explorer of Windows to Xfce, very integrated, yes, sir.
- What aliases we have preinstalled? Type 'al' in terminal and you'll see.
- How to make your terminal more colorful? See here.
- A BUG, or something: new Xfce Panel whines sillily every time you login: delete .cache/sessions, logout without 'save session' checked, login and no more whining.
- Iceweasel, the bastard Firefox, didn't have 'add new tab ' after tab... you can add general one from 'cutomizing' menu. Bookmarks Toolbar didn't work... | Edit: as of 20.03.12 upgrade, both issues seemed fixed... then after some days, Bookmarks Toolbar failed again. So I 'removed' Iceweasel and installed Firefox. And strange is - evil Firefox has no problems with working. Iceweasel problems, of course, are not Vsido problems.) Edit |

... I like Vsido. It's definitely a place for finding new exciting things - like there IS thing called 'virtual terminal' and such... :)
If you are an outgrown n00b craving new challenges - after Ubuntuland, Vsido is more than interesting, but not overly complicated place to proceed ones' education in.  


Xfce manual menu editing

(Things described here are Xubuntu-based)
As was said some tens of times: first - copy your bloody menu  files!
/usr/share/applications --> ~/.local/share/applications
/etc/xdg/menus --> ~/.config/menus

In principle, manual menu editing is a piece of cake, or also might be said - simple as shit... But - IT TAKES TIME. What you can do in 5-10 minutes in editor, takes 1 to 1,5 hours manually.

How to: ~/.local/share/applications is a folder with all .desktop files, those files get dragged into your Menu, automagically.
Example (of only .desktop file I made in current installation):
[Desktop Entry]
Name=SpaceFM Settings
GenericName=File Manager
Exec=spacefm --show-pref=1

This one is settings-window of spacefm which goes to Settings Manager. And important items here are:
-- exec runs the app, (with or without additional parameters, depending on case).
-- Icons can be changed from right-click on launcher, pick 'Properties', click icon and pick the favourite. Or - the right icon can be searched out and added here manually, of course.
-- Categories: Items are sorted by categories. Very importnant! I am not going to write exhaustively how to... You have to experiment. For example, 'Top level' means that the item is in first, open menu, Graphics goes to Graphics ... and so on - have a fun.
Basically, things can be re-oriented to different categories. Shitty thing is, occasionally they are defined quite cryptically - it's hard to understand what the hell it means... that's why we have to experiment.
Two important additional commands to write into .desktops:
-- NoDisplay=true - hides item, but it still will be available to mime-types;
-- Hidden=true - this is like a delete.
Now, when doing your shit - changes should be seen at once. If not, do
xfdesktop --reload
or login/logout if writing command line seems overstreched effort.

One, err - should we say - most entertaining parts is 'Settings' menu, which displays items in two places: in Settings Menu category and also in Settings Manager. Adding 'hidden' into .desktops hides things in Manager too - so, different methodology is required. Modifying file is needed here.
To remove item from Settings Menu, but retain it in Settings Manager. Open aforementioned file, and quite at the beginning of file, ADD something like that into your file:
# added part goes next, here:

#and here goes the next one, and next...

If you want something to <include> into Menu, do it... but remember - if it's item outside of thematic folders, 'Top Level'-category has to be added.

Whole thing is a balancing act between those two - desktop-files and menu-file. And DO NOT forget to look into Xfce wiki.


Recommended to-do after install

To-do list after successful install (Xubuntu).
Some things here are Xubuntu-specific, others generic, and some are specific to my installation.
Also, about half of following content is already mentioned in posts-before. But, as I myself found out - it's hard to remember everything about installation after 1.5 month of happy Xubuntu-ing.
For things before and during install - look into numbered posts in February.

1.|Xfce| Create your own menu items and menu-tree for future customization: Copy contents of /usr/share/applications to ~/local/share/applications (menu-items of Xfce main menu);
Copy /etc/xdg/menus/xfce-applications-menu file to ~/.config/menus/xfce-applications-menu (see Xfce wiki page, and page here).
2.|General| Install proprietary drivers.
Go to 'Software sources / Additional drivers'. My video card is Nvidia, so I pick Nividia and wait it to install (If you have some other types of drivers present there, install them). Now, type in terminal: sudo nvidia-xconfig (not sure - maybe it will be created automatically when rebooting...). Do not reboot yet.
Now is good time to do some other things which also require reboot. Reboot comes after (4) Update software is done.
3.|My bug, but maybe a known bug| Mounting wallpaper folder - for avoiding that Manager forgets added wallpapers every time when its closed.
Mounting description is in this post.
3a.|Grub2| Remove Memtest entries from Grub2' boot menu (if you do not love them for some reason). How to description is here.
3b.|LightDM| Remove un-needed sessions from greeters' menu: About that go here.
4.|Quite General| Your Xubuntu is already whining persistently about updates. Magnamiously say Ok and let it dowload & install ... like - a lot. Probably it also had kernel updates...
4a.|Xfce| During updates: Windows tweaks - check compositor 'on'. Look what you really need to start in 'Startup and Sessions', adjust mouse-double-click speed=400, ... Move panels around, do some preparations - make separators visible, drag some launchers to panel and delete some from panel...
Updates done, REBOOT NOW.

Arriving back to desktop.
5.|Xubuntu| Install Synaptic from 'Ubuntu Software Center'. Open it and get 'xubuntu- restricted-extras' (Mind - you have to say 'yes' once in this process, or installation stalls and waits...)
Stay in Synaptic. Change search mode to 'Status', pick uninstalled, use queries in type like: xfce, xfwm4, samba, font-manager, ...
Or whatever you fancy if you have enough time to spend: artwork, theme, engines (murrine, unico, pixbuf, nodoka, aurora, equinox...).

And continue now as you wish:
- Copy back Your Things from backup you wisely created before crapping out your previous Linux install...if there was one.
- Make .gtkrc-2.0 file into ~/yourusername-folder. It would be the last instance of gtk-preferences file which overrides gtk from themes - so you don't have to hack themes themselves. Look for clock-bit here, or maybe the following below is useful:
# Desktop-icon-text to white #
    style "xfdesktop-icon-view" {
    XfdesktopIconView::label-alpha = 0
    fg[NORMAL] = "#FFFFFF"
    fg[SELECTED] = "#FFFFFF"
    fg[ACTIVE] = "#FFFFFF"
widget_class "*XfdesktopIconView*" style "xfdesktop-icon-view"

# xfce-panel background and text color, minimalistic #
style "panel"
bg[NORMAL] = "#3685d5"
    fg[NORMAL] = "#ffffff"
widget_class "*Panel*" style "panel"
widget "*Panel*" style "panel"
class "*Panel*" style "panel"

- Add 'lock screen' item to Menu: Command (exec) is xflock4.
If available, use menu editor, if not, make new .desktop file manually and add entry to 'xfce-applications-menu' file (the same which should be now in your  ~/.config/menus/ folder.
- remove unwanted stuff from Menu.
- Bling: Search xfce-themes, xfce-icon, artwork, xfwm, goodies in Synaptic.
Take into account when installing packages automatically, everything goes to root. When dowloading separately from web art-sites (example) - choice of place is yours. Things in ~/home are, of course, yours and editable without 'sudo'. NB! Themes installed only to ~/home probably are not accessible to some apps...
Install Compiz - if you really are in for eyecandy.
Docks: Plank dock is real simple. Docky is more fullsome - but brings along all kind of Gnome crap (inc zeitgeist), Once-favourite AWN is dead. Cairo is ultimate available bling - sparky and jumpy.
- Install apps you like - short description what I like is here.
Some apps I (maybe) didn't mention:
Blender - 3D tool like 3DMax. Geeqie - another thumbnail viewer. Easytag for organizing tags of mp3-s. Geany - more advanced text and programming editor. And Cdemu - cd emulator like Daemon Tools.
- When first fever of installation is over, install Bleachbit - and clean up useless languages, temp files, archive backups and so on and on. Bleachbit is quite helpful, gives warnings when appropriate and lets you preview changes before commit.
Do whatever.


SolusOS So-So, Mageia Evil

| SolusOS -  left for dead at summer/autumn 2014. RIP. |
First, I discovered that nostalgically gnome-2 distro SolusOS once again behaved very nicely in live environment.
But as a bad news I discovered that when installed (64bit), it hung on boot... It installed alright, no quirks, and then booted until to 3D hairy star, loaded there for ages, and hung. I got bored after 20 minutes. I really hope things go better with coming version 2.
Sure - might be this was the time to tweak boot parameters... 'nomodeset' or something. But I really do expect operational system which I am going to use, at least to boot without additional help.
Edit: 09.03.2013
Tried again with 32bit version of Solus (Xfce) and this time also installed grub (previously - no grub installed at all) to root.
And it booted! ... And started with freezing Cardapio-menu. Legacy Gnome-menu worked. After deleting Cardapios' launcher and adding it again to panel - it worked too. Several things were jerky and with lag. We'll see if it was only the first time thing (no, it wasn't - the menu-freeze occured with every boot). To cut it short - format it was.

I also installed brand-new Debian Sid distro named Vsido... also succesfully - my lucky day I suppose. It looks like there will be an overview of Vsido too. It had Xfce, Openbox and Fluxbox as sessions, without easy-life 'update-manager' type stuff. Definitely something new for me here. - Edit |

Then, feeling still lucky, I got an idea to install Mageia and see how it looks.

I downloaded DVD, downloaded mandriva-seed (unetbootin is marked as no-good in Mageia help), installed DVD to USB. Booted, no problem, nice GUI menu.
Click-click, up to 'Partitions'... The thing picked a good choice (I thought) by default: 'empty space' unallocated between my installations. Click next, and as a flash-by, I saw creation of partitions, then, as a flash-by, resizing microsoft windows partition...
Installing files already?! What?!
Cancel. Nothing is clickable. Remove USB.

Really, I checked installation-docs before installing, and 'partitioning' had A LOT more menus to come.
And even more 'really' - I sould have sticked with 'custom partitions' - the last choice in the list. I guess. I am quite sure I am NOT going to try install Mageia again and find out.

Booted to Winxp - to format the USB, and check out partitions: NTFS was intact, BUT my Xubuntu Linux had only root part remaining... Tried to recover, but those recoverable partitions already were NOT of my Xfce... So it went to 'Delete all to unallocated'.
And I started my fifth installation of Xubuntu. Which went OK and booted OK. I definitely have a bit unfriendly hardware-set for some Linuxes (according to fail-rate)... The configuration doesn't seem to be any problem for Ubuntus or Debians, though. Means, installable/bootable distros are eminently possible - to state an obvious...

... So, I spent Saturday tweaking Xfce to it's previous look. Not getting it stright away because I forgot to backup some changes. Like last theme-tweaks I had made. And I had to re-discover quite a lot of things to change here and there - because I hadn't bothered to write them down.
And one result of this unwanted happening is: I remade my after-install-list file. And next post will be that file, with some comments.


Fuduntu 2013.1 - no install

Fuduntu 2013.1
| Fuduntu got discontinued somewhere at summer 2013. RIP. |
Unlike distros I have tried up to now, Fuduntu uses sha1 checksum and not md5.
Usage in Linux is similar, though: sha1sum yourISOname.iso
Fuduntu, despite how the name sounds, is not Ubuntu. It's a fork of Fedora. So, installation and a lot-lot more is different of the distros observed earlier in this blog.

Installation - and if you happen to try it, read tutorials: what follows here, will be not very helpful and not very whole.
Writing 64-bit Live ISO to USB stick - Unebootin (583) is still good thing to use, and recommended by Fuduntus' devs too. Whole process went smoothly.
And it booted... Strange enough, there is five menu items to click - and not one of them has any identification with Fuduntu...
Well, desktop appeared in usual Live-boot speed. It had Cairo-dock installed - which looks and behaves as sillily as is expected. Compiz - I think was default - no wobbly effects, though, were apparent. Gnome-panel was on top. There was only one icon - 'Install to hard drive' on desktop. DE is classic Gnome - version 2.32, no version 3 pr0n in this distro.
The menu: There were expected things, and also things unseen due to my mostly Ubuntuish experience.
Ailurus, for example, seemed to be a (bit strange) configuration tool. First it threatened me with legal issues and DRMs and washed it hands of everything... quite, err, unpleasant. Things in Ailurus differ from things in also-provided Gnome Configuration Center. Disturbing.
When playing around in desktop, things started to happen. Icons on desktop appeared and dissapeared - finally getting totally lost despite the options 'show' were checked. This Houdini-like behaviour didn't seem to be connected with 'checking' at all.
File Manager closed itself several times. AND, I didn't find File Manager in ANY menu. Through menu editor I found that only place it was (hidden), was 'Others'. Hugely strange, that.
Sound hardware, by default, was chosen wrong. But swapping to the right one worked.
I didn't see neither Steam nor Netflix in menus - apparently I got it wrong when I understood that they are included... Maybe they appear after install only?
Libreoffice was missing some parts.
Whole desktop seemed to fall apart - and I really wanted to try properly installed Fuduntu, so I decided not to be overly alarmed, and started immediate installation.

Installer opened itself maximized over 23" desktop. Quite funny that... having little shit in upper corner and white emptiness everywhere else.
Never mind that - third little shitty menu asked to name the computer for network identification. It also had (far down left corner, sic!) 'network configuration' button - what did absolutely nothing. But naming did - whatever I tried there, whole installer grayed out, froze and had to be force-killed. So I rebooted the ISO again, cleanly, no fingering no menus - and got exactly the same result.
That, unfortunately ended my 'playing with Fuduntu' hopes.
Disappointed, I am.
After reading all nice reviews and things I had irreal impression as if I had downloaded a completely wrong distro. And I have to say kinda thoughtfully - I never had such a bizzare Linux-experience yet. Has to be good for something.

Addon from the next day. Being slightly amused and intriqued of whole affair - and wanting to know what gives: After one more download I stuck 32bit version to USB, booted to Live without problems (except flicker of white artifacts when reaching DE - which didn't occur in 64bit version). Menu was also identical and missing File Manager etc. Installation failure, though, was different - 'exception' error, after what I couldn't get installer to start again. And that did it - classified Fuduntu 2013.1 as 'unusable'. On my hardware conf, that is.