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

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.

Why I use RSS

I’m not generally one glued to my phone much (though Pokemon GO may change that), and I’m not on high alert for those new Facebook status updates. I do however have a few websites and feeds that, on occasion, I want to check for new updates (some of which rarely have any). For a time I would keep many pages open or bookmarked, just to check them every once in a while for new posts or updates. This often left me out of the loop (I’d forget about them), and using a lot more browser memory (I normally have at least 20 tabs open as-is). Thanks to RSS, I no longer have to check for new YouTube videos and Tweets, nor new Anime episodes and Manga issues. Continue reading

Stuck with a grabby mouse

For some time now, I’ve occasionally experienced a rather frustrating issue. It doesn’t happen often, but when I restart Gnome Shell 3, my Alt modifier is put in a semi-stuck state. Gnome acts as though it is being held, because this key is used to grab and move windows. This means that, when in this state, it isn’t possible to click on any window elements, but only move them. I say it’s “semi-stuck” because pressing the alt key still does certain actions, like bring up or highlight the File/Edit bar and menu options. Continue reading