Linux Desktop Hacks

Book description

The KDE and Gnome desktops have developed into mature operating environments. These technologies not only act as interfaces between the user, the powerful Linux kernel and GNU operating system, but they do so in a fun and intuitive way. Many users are content with the tools and facilities included with these desktops, but--for those who are ready to probe a little deeper--much more functionality can be found by going under the hood. With hacks that any user can follow, Linux Desktop Hacks demonstrates how easy it is to modify Linux to suit your desires. The book is packed with tips on customizing and improving the interface, boosting performance, administering your desktop, and generally making the most out of what X, KDE, Gnome, and the console have to offer. From the practical to the whimsical, and some things you never thought of trying, the hacks in the book include the following, and more:

  • Kill and Resurrect the Master Boot Record

  • Jazz Up Your Debian System Boot

  • Energize Your Console with Macro Music Magic

  • Konquer Remote Systems Without Passwords

  • Run KDE on the Bleeding Edge

  • View Microsoft Word Documents in a Terminal

  • Read Yahoo! Mail from Any Email Client

  • Motion Capture and Video Conferencing Fun

  • Automate Your Life with cron

  • Protect Yourself from Windows Applications

  • Make an Internet Connection Using Bluetooth and a Mobile Phone

  • Print to Unsupported Printers

  • Accelerate Your Gaming

If you're yearning for information to make the Linux desktop easier, more powerful, and more fun, Linux Desktop Hacks is just the ticket.

Publisher resources

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Table of contents

  1. Contents
  2. Credits
    1. About the Authors
    2. Contributors
    3. Acknowledgments
      1. Nicholas Petreley
      2. Jono Bacon
  3. Preface
    1. Why Linux Desktop Hacks?
    2. How to Use This Book
    3. How This Book Is Organized
    4. Conventions Used in This Book
    5. Using Code Examples
    6. How to Contact Us
    7. Got a Hack?
    8. Safari Enabled
  4. Booting Linux
    1. Give Your Computer the Boot
      1. Configure GRUB
      2. Configure the Mac Bootloader
      3. Boot from a CD-ROM
    2. Kill and Resurrect the Master Boot Record
      1. Save the MBR
      2. Kill the MBR
      3. Resurrect the MBR
      4. How Do I fdisk/mbr?
      5. See Also
    3. Bypass the Boot Manager
      1. Bypassing the Installer
      2. Mounting Disks
      3. Hacking the Hack
    4. Set a Bitmap Boot Screen for LILO
    5. Create Your Own LILO Boot Splash
      1. Picking Colors
    6. Display a GRUB Boot Splash Background
    7. Create a GRUB Boot Splash Background
    8. Jazz Up Your Debian System Boot
      1. make menuconfig
      2. Install Boot Splash and the Boot Splash init Scripts
      3. Set Up Your Bootloader
      4. Reboot
      5. Graphical Consoles
    9. Graphics on the Console
      1. Setting Up the Kernel
      2. Configuring the Kernel
      3. Configuring the Bootloader
        1. Configure LILO
        2. Configure GRUB
  5. Console
    1. Redefine Keyboard Actions
      1. Virtual Consoles
      2. Using the “Other” Alt Key
      3. Deep-Six the Caps Lock Key
    2. Energize Your Console with Macro Music Magic
      1. Defining the Magic
      2. Normal Keyboards
      3. Special Keyboards
      4. Undoing Your Custom Keys and Macros
    3. Take a Screenshot from the Command Line
      1. Take a Screenshot from an X Terminal
      2. Take a Screenshot from a Command-Line Terminal
    4. Put Your Command Prompt on a Diet
    5. Simplify Changing Directories
      1. The Catch
      2. The Solution
      3. One More cd Trick
    6. Colorize Files in Your Pager
      1. The Black-and-White Problem
      2. Solution 1
      3. Solution 2
      4. Solution 3
  6. Login Managers
    1. Switch Users Fast
      1. First, a Lesson on Virtual Terminals
      2. The Built-In KDE and GNOME Way
    2. Double Your KDM (KDE) Login Screens
    3. Double Your GDM (GNOME) Login Screens
    4. Get Multiple Desktops the Macho Way
    5. Scrap X11 for Fancy Login Consoles
      1. Prepare to Install Qingy
      2. Install Qingy
      3. Configure Linux to Use Qingy
      4. When Qingy Doesn’t Offer Session Choices
    6. Personalize Your Qingy Theme
      1. Personalize Every Terminal
  7. Related to X
    1. Take Your Screens Black
      1. startx
      2. xinit
      3. The Xservers File
    2. Spice Up Your Desktop with Creative Mouse Cursors
      1. Does Your Desktop Support Cursor Themes?
      2. What Themes Are Available by Default?
      3. Set a Personal Default Theme
      4. Tips for Users of NVIDIA Display Cards
      5. Get Custom Cursor Themes, Example 1
      6. Get Custom Cursor Themes, Example 2
    3. Convert CursorXP Themes for Use with Linux
    4. Use Windows and Mac Fonts
      1. Use Windows Fonts
      2. Use Mac OS X Fonts
    5. Never Miss Another Reminder
      1. The Way You Like It
      2. Scripting the Attention-Getting Reminder
    6. Make Applications Trigger On-Screen Alerts
      1. KMail
      2. Jpilot
      3. Swatch
    7. Heat Up Your Keyboard with Hotkeys
    8. Get Hotter Hotkeys with LinEAK
    9. Access Windows and Mac OS X from Linux
      1. Configure a Linux VNC Server
      2. Connect to a VNC Server
      3. Configure a Windows VNC Server
      4. Configure a Mac OS X VNC Server
      5. View Your Desktop in a Web Browser
    10. Run Your Desktop over the Internet
      1. Installing the NX Server and Client
      2. Setting Up the NX Server
      3. Further NX Server Commands
    11. Access Your Programs Remotely
      1. Access X Programs Securely
      2. Access the Entire Desktop
    12. Add Depth to Your Desktop
      1. Get the Composite Manager
      2. Start Your Desktop or Window Manager
    13. Give Your Desktop X-Ray Vision
  8. KDE Desktop
    1. Make Konqueror a Window into Remote Spaces
      1. Konquer Your Remote FTP Sites Using FTP and SFTP
      2. FISH with Konqueror
      3. Browse via LAN Connections with Konqueror
    2. Konquer Remote Systems Without Passwords
      1. Dealing with Split Personalities
      2. Make Remote Konqueror Access a Single-Click Operation
    3. Ai Karamba! Flashy KDE Gadgets!
    4. Start Applications in Weird and Wonderful Ways
      1. Starting Programs in KDE
      2. Adding Application Options
      3. Starting Programs Conveniently
    5. Script Hacks with DCOP
      1. DCOP and Processes
      2. Write a DCOP Shell Script
    6. Create Your Own KDE Right-Click Menu Actions
      1. Symbols Available for Menu Actions
      2. Create an Action to Jump-Start Script Writing
    7. Make KDE Even Easier to Use (1/2)
    8. Make KDE Even Easier to Use (2/2)
    9. Give Depth to Your KDE Windows
    10. Lock Down KDE with Kiosk Mode
      1. Enter the Kiosk
    11. Run KDE on the Bleeding Edge
      1. Compiling the Code
      2. Running KDE
  9. GNOME Desktop Hacks
    1. Randomize Your GNOME Wallpaper
      1. Selecting a Random Image
      2. Automating the Task
    2. Grow Your GNOME with gDesklets Steroids
    3. Create Your Own GNOME Right-Click Actions
      1. Adding a Scripts Option to the Nautilus Menu
      2. Image Conversion Script
      3. Checking File Types
      4. Environment Variables
    4. Compile a Bleeding-Edge GNOME Desktop
      1. Prepare Your System
      2. Compile the Code
  10. Terminal Empowerment
    1. Share Applications and Monitors with screen
      1. (Dis)connected
      2. Mirror, Mirror
      3. It’s Good to Share
    2. Stop Using Terminal Command-Line Switches
    3. Ultimate Terminal Transparency
      1. Tint Your urxvt
      2. aterm Is a Beautiful Thing to Tint
    4. View Microsoft Word Documents in a Terminal
      1. wv, the All-Purpose Word Converter
      2. w3m, the All-Purpose Web Browser/Pager
    5. Display PDF Documents in a Terminal
    6. View Word and PDF Files from Within Mutt
  11. Desktop Programs
    1. Reduce Startup Time
      1. OOOQS, I Did It Again
      2. The OOQSTART-GNOME of Antiquity
      3. Alternative Methods to Quick-Start
      4. Respawn Trick to the Rescue
    2. Read Yahoo! Mail from Any Email Client
      1. Using FetchYahoo
      2. Configure the Script
      3. Run the Script
      4. Automate FetchYahoo with cron
    3. Encrypt Your Email
      1. What You Need
      2. Creating Your Keypair
      3. Publish Your Key to a Server
      4. Installing Enigmail in Thunderbird
      5. Configuring Enigmail
      6. Configuring Evolution
      7. Keysignings
    4. Reclaim Your Email with procmail
      1. Configure Your MTA to Use procmail
      2. Using procmail
      3. Standard procmail Usage
      4. See Also
    5. Convert Your Mailbox
      1. mbox Versus maildir
      2. Converting mbox to maildir
      3. Converting maildir to mbox
    6. Configure Firefox Under the Covers
      1. Entering Configuration Mode
      2. Teach Firefox to Lie
      3. Loading Web Pages Faster
    7. Eliminate Annoying Browser Stalls
      1. Short-Circuit the DNS Request
    8. Get Browser Plug-ins Working
      1. Use the Macromedia Flash Plug-in
      2. Use Java in Firefox
    9. Create an Internet Phone
      1. GnomeMeeting
      2. Skype
      3. Calling Regular Phones
    10. Motion Capture and Video Conferencing Fun
      1. Setting Up a Webcam
      2. Using GnomeMeeting
      3. Creating a Motion Capture Camera
    11. Put Screenshots Automatically on the Web
      1. Installing scrot
      2. The Code
      3. Running the Code
    12. Scan for Wireless Networks
      1. Patching the Driver to Enable Monitor Mode
      2. Running Kismet
      3. Dumpster-Diving the Kismet Way
    13. Map Your Meatspace
      1. Connect the GPS to Linux
      2. Use Mapping Software
      3. Spidering Mapping Information
    14. Connect to a Microsoft PPTP VPN
      1. Configuration
      2. Starting the VPN
      3. Applications
    15. Play Restricted Media Formats
      1. Playing non-DVD Media Formats
      2. Playing DVDs
  12. Administration and Automation
    1. Automate Your Life with cron
      1. Create a Cronjob
      2. More Advanced Crontabs
      3. Make cron Email You
    2. Update Your Clock via the Internet
      1. Getting NTP
      2. Synchronizing Your Clock
      3. Automate NTP Synchronization
    3. Start Desktop Applications Automatically
      1. Back to Basics
      2. Using the Window Manager and Desktop Features
        1. WindowMaker
        2. XFce 4
        3. KDE
        4. GNOME
    4. Don’t Let Elvis Leave the Building
      1. Putting the Respawn Trick to Work
    5. Clone Your Linux Install
      1. Create an Image
      2. Restore the Image
    6. Forward Ports over SSH
      1. See also:
    7. Take Control of New User Setups
      1. Improve What Is Already There
      2. Create Application Defaults
      3. Be Selfish
      4. Default Desktop Environments
    8. Send Email Alerts for System Events
      1. The logsentry Difference
    9. Create a Passwordless Login
      1. Generate Public and Private Keys
      2. Create the Login
      3. Graphically Manage Remote Files
    10. Magically Empower Your Network Cable
    11. Protect Yourself from Windows Applications
      1. Get Your Safe Environment Set Up
      2. Give Your Creation a Try
      3. Automating Wordview in Mozilla
      4. Preparing for Unlikely Damage
    12. Build a Custom Firewall Computer
      1. Gather the Ingredients
      2. Configure the Firewall
      3. Enable Port Forwarding
    13. Link Monitoring in Linux with Wavemon
    14. Make Network Backups
      1. Simple Single-Shot Backup
      2. Elaborate Backups Using rsync
    15. Recover from Debian Disaster
    16. Prelink for Performance
      1. Run prelink
    17. Grab the Latest Source Code
      1. Connect to a CVS Repository
      2. New Kid on the Block: Subversion
    18. Speed Up Compiles
      1. Using distcc
      2. Distribute Compiles to Windows Machines
  13. Kernel
    1. Compile a Kernel
      1. Get the Code
      2. Configure the Code
      3. Compile the Code
      4. Install the Kernel
    2. Upgrade Your Kernel to 2.6
      1. Get the Source
      2. Configure the Code
      3. New Features in 2.6
      4. Compiling the Kernel
      5. Install the Kernel
    3. Use CKO to Make Your Desktop Go to 11
      1. Compile CKO with Optimizations
      2. Tweaking CKO in Real Time
      3. schedtool and Isochronous Scheduling
    4. Tweak Your Kernel Without Recompiling
      1. Setting Swappiness via /proc
      2. Tuning Network Performance via /proc
      3. Tuning Disk Access via Your Bootloader
  14. Hardware
    1. Make an Internet Connection Using Bluetooth and a Mobile Phone
    2. Perfect USB Devices with Project Utopia
      1. Install the Packages
      2. Configure the Automounter
      3. Configure Your System
    3. Optimize Your Refresh Rates
      1. Find Out More About Your Monitor
      2. Configure Your Monitor
      3. Configure the Resolution and Refresh Rate
    4. Print to Unsupported Printers
      1. How Printing Works
      2. Creating a Redirected Printer
      3. Printing to the New Printer
    5. Control Your Power with ACPI
      1. Installing ACPI
      2. Load Related Modules
      3. Use ACPI
    6. Use an iPod with Linux
      1. Setting Up Your Linux Desktop
      2. Normal Usage
      3. Downloaded MP3 Files and ID3 Tags
    7. Sync Your iRiver with Linux
      1. Transfer the Songs to the iRiver
      2. Rebuild the Database
    8. Boost Hard-Drive Performance
    9. Accelerate Your Gaming
      1. Preparing for the Installation
      2. Installing the NVIDIA Driver
      3. Installing the ATI Driver
  15. Index (1/3)
  16. Index (2/3)
  17. Index (3/3)

Product information

  • Title: Linux Desktop Hacks
  • Author(s): Nicholas Petreley, Jono Bacon
  • Release date: March 2005
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9780596009113