Mixed Feelings About Wayland on Gnome

I’ve been a Gnome 3 user pretty much since I first started using Unity on Ubuntu (RIP Unity). When I started learning about Wayland, I got very excited (granted I’m a sucker for new shiny and performance optimized things). My main hesitation with using it, even to this date, is compatibility. Although Wayland is more-or-less intended as a replacement for X11, it’s an entirely new protocol, which requires a compatibility layer in order to use older applications (AKA most applications currently). This need for compatibility sadly means there are issues, such as with gaming. I’ve been bouncing between Gnome under X.org and Wayland for a few months now, and as much as I’d like to be using it full-time, there are a few things preventing me from doing so.

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Protect Linux Configurations Using Source Control

Recently, while performing some system updates, I mistakenly overwrote one of the system’s configuration files found in /etc. As I had not done any backups in some time (my own negligence), I wound up locking myself out of my system upon the next reboot. After using a live USB to restore the file from an older version, which I had to dig up, it was made evident I needed a better solution to prevent this from occurring. Enter etckeeper: a tool to keep track of all the changes made to configuration files.

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Why I Use Pacaur Instead of Yaourt

One of the biggest advantages to using Arch Linux is having access to the Arch User Repositories (AUR). This allows packages which are not included in the official repositories to be provided all in one place. I much prefer this to (for example) Ubuntu PPAs which require a user include a separate PPA for every package they wish to install, and these may change with package updates. The reason such repositories exist in the first place is to allow a cohesive way for users to install packages through their system’s package manager more easily, instead of simply building and installing directly from source. Continue reading

The Current State of Gaming on Wayland

With new emerging technologies and advancements in Linux, one that has been in news often over the past few years is of Wayland: the successor to the X11 display server standard. Although it is now available publicly, most notably for Fedora users (Fedora 25 enables it by default), it is not yet accessible to everyone, and is likely to take several more years before adoption becomes widespread. My interest in Wayland stems from my previous difficulties with hybrid graphics support with X11 (i.e. Nvidia Optimus). With new standards, I expect to see improvements, which is why I’ve done some of my own investigating in how well one can play games under Wayland.

TLDR Version: yes, gaming works on Wayland, provided client and drivers support it. Continue reading

Configuring the power button in Gnome

As many Gnome users know, since Gnome Shell 3.18, the option to power down (much less prompt the user) by pressing the power button has been removed by the developers, now only allowing either Suspend, Hibernate, or simply to ignore the button press. While existing workarounds for this include using systemd to ungracefully shut the system down (no prompts), set a separate keyboard shortcut to achieve the same behaviour, or re-implementing the functionality manually in gnome-settings-daemon, I found these unnecessarily complicated or lacking value. Instead, I have developed my own method, which properly maps the power button to prompt the user to shutdown, reboot, or simply cancel. Continue reading

Binding mouse buttons to keyboard keys on Linux

I’ve recently acquired a mouse that has extra buttons on it (side forward/back buttons), which I used on Windows for certain games. I discovered that while the keys were fairly easy to configure on Windows, it was more difficult to do on Linux. After looking up several guides, including information on the Arch Wiki, I had to put together something a bit different, which seems to be more simple than other suggestions I found. As a result, I’ve bound my forward and back keys on my mouse to Page Up and Page Down. Continue reading

Removing extra language packs in Firefox on Linux

Something that had been bothering me for a while now was that whenever I went to change the dictionary I used to spellcheck in Firefox, it would list about 20 different variations of English, of which I only used 2. Looking in the Dictionaries list in the add-ons menu, there was only one of those packs listed, which I added manually. As it turns out, my installation of the hunspell-en package added every variant of English, and for whatever reason Firefox decides to include all of them. The easiest way to remove them is deleting the non-essential packs listed in /usr/share/hunspell. After a quick restart, they are no longer listed in Firefox.