Monday, February 11, 2013

Exposé in Debian Linux XFCE

enter image description here

Updated 2016 Nov 4.

Compiz is fantastic, but i don’t want it. I only want an Exposé like feature. Thanks to Skippy-XD I can have it.

Firstly, you will need some dependencies:

sudo aptitude install libimlib2-dev libfontconfig1-dev libfreetype6-dev libx11-dev \
libxext-dev libxft-dev libxrender-dev zlib1g-dev libxinerama-dev libxcomposite-dev \
libxdamage-dev libxfixes-dev libxmu-dev

Now, install the currently maintained code from github:

cd ~/Downloads
git clone
cd skippy-xd
sudo make install

Based on previous versions, I found it to crash occasionally, so I created a wrapper script to maintain it in a running state. Save the following script to ~/scripts/ or whatever your preference may be and mark it executable with chmod +x ~/scripts/

while true
  echo [re]start
  killall skippy-xd
  rm /tmp/skippy-xd-fifo
  /usr/bin/skippy-xd --start-daemon
  echo "Died"

You can run it in the background with ~/scripts/ or set it to autostart with login: In XFCE go to Applications->Settings->Session and Startup->Application Autostart tab: Add a new item named “Skippy-XD” with the command pointing to your new script.

Test it by running sleep 0.5 && /usr/bin/skippy-xd --activate-window-picker. If it works, proceed.

Now you need to set a keyboard shortcut: Go to Applications->Settings->Keyboard->Application Shortcuts: Add a new command containing /usr/bin/skippy-xd --activate-window-picker and set the key to your preferred keystroke (I chose F9).

If it ever seems to hang, you may wish to see if it is running with ps aux | grep [s]kippy and kill any processes before launching it again.

enter image description here

Good Luck!

Written with StackEdit.

Cisco VPN via Network-Manager applet in XFCE4 Debian

Fighting VPN configuration in Debian Wheezy lead me to post these notes.

Even after installing network-manager, network-manager-gnome, network-manager-vpnc, and adding a VPN, actually launching it failed -- no authentication dialog would show.

It was definitely a GUI issue as running vpnc from commandline succeeded.

As a test, run sudo vpnc --gateway <gateway-IP> --id <cisco-group-id> --username <username>
To disconnect use: sudo vpnc-disconnect
If you can connect, you know your vpn subsystem is operational.

So first install the necessary components: sudo aptitude install vpnc vpnc-scripts network-manager network-manager-gnome network-manager-vpnc network-manager-vpnc-gnome

To permanently add the nm-applet to your panel, in XFCE, go to Applications(Menu)>Settings>Session and Startup>Application Autostart tab and enable "Network". This will add the applet upon next session start. You MUST have the "Notification Area" applet added to the panel.

To temporarily show the applet without logout or restarting, run nm-applet & ; exit
Now initially, Network-Manager will not be managing your connection, so edit the config to enable management of your existing wired connection. For me this was named "ifupdown (eth0)": (reference) sudo nano /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf and set in the config file managed=true
Then restart the network-manager: sudo /etc/init.d/network-manager restart
Now add your VPN settings and everything should work as expected.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Uninstall Squeeze Archive Manager

I love XFCE4. I dislike Squeeze Archive Manager.  It fails to unzip certain files.

When I tried to sudo aptitude purge squeeze, it always told me it would also remove xfce4-goodies. I didn't want all the goodies un-installed. But finally I typed "Y" ... go ahead, i'll add them myself if I have to -- i want squeeze OFF!

Well it seemed to hold all the goodies, and just removed the xfce4-goodies name....  But when I installed a new package it indeed started to remove all the goodies.

so I copied and pasted the "removing XXXXXX" lines and then reinstalled them:
sudo aptitude install hddtemp xfburn libburn4 libthunar-vfs-1-2 libhal-storage1 libhal1 libisofs6 libjte1 libthunar-vfs-1-common xfce4-verve-plugin xfce4-timer-plugin xfce4-smartbookmark-plugin xfce4-quicklauncher-plugin xfce4-notes-plugin xfce4-notes xfce4-mailwatch-plugin xfce4-dict xfce4-datetime-plugin xfce4-cpufreq-plugin xfprint4 libxfcegui4-4 mousepad ristretto xfce4-artwork xfce4-battery-plugin xfce4-clipman-plugin xfce4-clipman xfce4-cpugraph-plugin xfce4-diskperf-plugin xfce4-fsguard-plugin xfce4-genmon-plugin xfce4-mount-plugin xfce4-netload-plugin xfce4-places-plugin xfce4-sensors-plugin xfce4-systemload-plugin xfce4-taskmanager xfce4-wavelan-plugin xfce4-weather-plugin xfce4-xkb-plugin
and i need an archive manager so...
sudo aptitude install xarchiver
You may also want some certain utilities:
sudo aptitude install zip unzip rar unrar arj p7zip-full
now relax.