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my first experiences with Phoebe



I installed Phoebe from CDs, and then used it for much of a day.
Mostly, things went smoothly, but some things did not.  I realize that
some/many of these things may be known or easily dealt with.  I did
stumble over them, so I think that they are worth mentioning.

The computer has an Asus A7V333 motherboard with a Promise RAID
controller built in.  The system has two IDE hard drives: /dev/hda and
/dev/hde (according to RHL8.0).  During installation, hde was not
visible -- rather inconvenient.  It is visible after installation,
with no manual configuration.

I have two network cards in this box.  During the installation, I was
asked about setting up the two interfaces, eth0 and eth1.
Unfortunately, the installation program did not distinguish them in
any way.  It would have been nice to be told the card type for each (I
usually make sure that I use different kinds of cards so that I can
control the interface name (via fiddling /etc/modules.conf)).

Mozilla seems to use a bad font for its menus etc., and I don't see where
I can change it.  I'm getting used to it.  Previous Mozilla's from Red
Hat used a san serif font.  This one has serifs and seems too small.
After a day, I'm getting more used to it.  Where does one change this
font?  Why did it change from RHL8.0?

"Start Here: preferences: window focus" This just yields an error
message: "There was an error launching the application.  Details:
failed to execute child process "metacity-properties"".

How do you get rid of "Start Here", "Hugh's Home", "Print", and
"Trash" from the desktop?  In previous Red Hat Linux systems, at least
with Gnome, you went into Nautilus Preferences and told it to not do
that (Edit->Preferences->Desktop & Trash; unselect "Use Nautilus to
draw the desktop; not very obvious, but I did figure it out).
Nautilus help still says that this is the way to do it, but there is
no such menu item.  I wonder if this is now done by Metacity.

In the past, Nautilus seemed to be a real pig.  If you stopped it
drawing the desktop and stopped it starting up, your system always
seemed much faster.  Nautilus seemed less bad under Phoebe, but
perhaps it was because my machine is so much faster.

Under XTerm, the Backspace key generates DEL and the Delete key
generates ESC [ 3 ~.  I'm old school: I think that this is backwards.
I do a loadkeys(1) to set things right on the console, before I start
X.  Not good enough.  I look at what xev(1) says are generated by the
keystrokes: all good (keysyms Backspace and Delete are generated as
they should be).  I run "xrdb -query" to see if there are any whacky
bindings, but don't see any.  I find
/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/app-defaults/XTerm is probably the bad guy.  It has
a *VT100*translations resource.  Oh yeah, I seem to have to fix that
every time with a ~/.Xdefaults.  I keep forgetting.  The minimal
change seems to be to place this in ~/.Xdefaults (not yet tested):
#DHR additions
# The first two are mine; the rest are copied from
# /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/app-defaults/XTerm because our file overrides that one.
*VT100*translations:	#override \
			<Key>Delete:	string(0x7f) \n\
			<Key>BackSpace:	string(0x08) \n\
			<Key>Home:	string(0x1b) string("[1~")  \n\
			<Key>End:	string(0x1b) string("[4~")  \n\
~ Num_Lock              <Key>KP_Home:   string(0x1b) string("[1~")  \n\
~ Num_Lock              <Key>KP_End:    string(0x1b) string("[4~")  \n\
Shift                   <Key>F1:        string(0x1b) string("[23~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F2:        string(0x1b) string("[24~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F3:        string(0x1b) string("[25~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F4:        string(0x1b) string("[26~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F5:        string(0x1b) string("[28~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F6:        string(0x1b) string("[29~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F7:        string(0x1b) string("[31~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F8:        string(0x1b) string("[32~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F9:        string(0x1b) string("[33~") \n\
Shift                   <Key>F10:       string(0x1b) string("[34~") \n\
Alt Shift               <Btn4Down>:     string(0x1b) string("[5~")  \n\
Alt Shift               <Btn5Down>:     string(0x1b) string("[6~")  \n\
Alt Ctrl                <Btn4Down>:     string(0x1b) string("OA")   \n\
Alt Ctrl                <Btn5Down>:     string(0x1b) string("OB")   \n\
Alt                     <Btn4Down>:     string(0x1b) string("OA") string(0x1b) string("OA") string(0x1b) string("OA") string(0x1b) string("OA") string(0x1b) string("OA") \n\
Alt                     <Btn5Down>:     string(0x1b) string("OB") string(0x1b) string("OB") string(0x1b) string("OB") string(0x1b) string("OB") string(0x1b) string("OB") \n\
Shift                   <Btn4Down>:     scroll-back(1,page)         \n\
Shift                   <Btn5Down>:     scroll-forw(1,page)         \n\
Ctrl                    <Btn4Down>:     scroll-back(1,line)         \n\
Ctrl                    <Btn5Down>:     scroll-forw(1,line)         \n\
                        <Btn4Down>:     scroll-back(5,line)         \n\
                        <Btn5Down>:     scroll-forw(5,line)


The X cursor has a shadow.  Cute.  What a bad idea: now the cursor
obscures even more of what you are trying to read.  Any way to turn
this off?  In xterm, the cursor is a big fat I-beam, plus a shadow.

On installation, I specified that my default language is English
(Canadian).  This caused /etc/sysconfig/i18n to be set to
LANG=en_CA.UTF-8 (or something like it -- this is from memory).  Even
though there are many subtle bad effects to having UTF-8 in your LANG,
I wasn't even warned.  For those of you who may not know, Canadian
English requires no characters beyond Latin-1; we don't even use the
Euro.  Quick test: do a "man cat" in an xterm; can you see any "-"
symbols in to flag descriptions?

~/.nautilus/first-time-flag seems to have no effect, contrary to what
it says.

The installation did not support my two-headed system -- I had to hack
the /etc/X11/XF86Config by hand, as usual.

When I changed the X desktop panel from bottom-dwelling to
side-dwelling and back, it lost a few things.  They came back when X
was restarted.

I don't like gnome-terminal and dislike xterm less.  So I created two
launchers for xterm.  Although all properties were reported as being
the same, the behaviour was interestingly different.  The first I
created by right-clicking on the panel and selecting
	Add to Panel->Launcher from menu->system tools->terminal
This gave me a gnome-terminal launcher.  I then changed the properties
to run xterm instead.
I created the second xterm launcher by:
	Add to Panel->Launcher
and specified xterm.  Even though I fiddled until all properties were
the same, the first launcher would launch xterm AND a process called
"starting xterm" that would hang around for 15 seconds.  During that
time, the cursor would show a watch (busy symbol) when over a window
frame.  The second launcher would do no such nonsense.  This evidence
of invisible settings concerns me.

xawtv doesn't understand Xinerama.  If the TV window is moved to the
second display, the frame goes, but the image appears in the
corresponding position of the first display.  This was also the case
in RHL8.0, but I was hoping for a fix.  "xawtv -noxv" and "xawtv
-remote" have the same problem.

I'm not yet satisfied with Metacity.  I may grow to accept it -- I
really am not a fan of millions of features and I usually use Red
Hat's default window manager.  Under RHL7.3, I could click the
maximize box with the middle mouse button and get maximize-vertical --
really convenient for xterms; not a feature of Metacity.  I liked
right-clicking a window border and getting the window lowered; not a
feature of Metacity.  The default window placement doesn't work nicely
for my dual-head setup (I've no confidence that any other window
manager would do better).

I've reported a groff bug, and that has been fixed.  Great service!

Enough grumbling.

Hugh Redelmeier
hugh mimosa com  voice: +1 416 482-8253





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