desktop

Firefox 4 about:memory

You blame Firefox 4 to be a memory hog? Check it out first by typing about:memory in the address bar. You'll get a nice detailed report of your browsers memory usage. While it's not guaranteed you'll understand every statistic available in the report, you can at least peek at the overall memory use, and see how much it's fragmented by comparing "memory mapped" and "memory in use" numbers.

I definitely see memory usage of my browser only go up during regular use, but it's not really problematic, considering there are gobs of RAM in today's computers. And there has also been a steady improvement in memory usage efficiency, 3.0 has been the biggest hog for me, 3.5 was quite an improvement, and now 4.0 is absolutely the best of them all. Alive and kicking (though, much of the responsiveness improvement comes from better javascript engine, I suspect). It's good to know that Mozilla plans even more improvements on that front with Firefox 5, 6, 7... which they advertise will be released this year!

Key sequence to kill the X server (Control + Alt + Backspace)

Current default for X servers as shipped in various distributions is to not enable the traditional Ctrl-Alt-Backspace key combination to kill the X server. If you would like to re-enable this feature, you may do so in your desktop's Keyboard Preferences application. You may also enable it for the current session using the command "setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp".

How S.M.A.R.T. are your disks?

GSmartControl is a graphical user interface for smartctl (from Smartmontools package), which is a tool for querying and controlling S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) data on modern hard disk drives. It allows you to inspect the drive's S.M.A.R.T. data to determine its health, as well as run various tests on it.

Alexander Shaduri has done a decent job making a very useful GUI for an otherwise fairly cryptic S.M.A.R.T. attributes. When running GSmartControl you have helpful tips, color coded lines, help built into application, you name it... Few days ago it became available in Debian sid, but you can always visit the official GSmartControl page, download and build it for yourself.

Running Nvidia display drivers with X.Org 7.3

This morning, hardworking Debian developers pushed the remaining pieces of the brand new X.Org 7.3 to Debian sid (unstable) distribution. And it must be said, a well done job!

ii  x11-apps            7.3+1      X applications
ii  x11-common          1:7.3+2    X Window System (X.Org)
ii  x11-session-utils   7.3+1      X session utilities
ii  x11-utils           7.3+1      X11 utilities
ii  x11-xfs-utils       7.3+1      X font server utilities
ii  x11-xkb-utils       7.3+1      X11 XKB utilities
ii  x11-xserver-utils   7.3+1      X server utilities
ii  xbase-clients       1:7.3+2    miscellaneous X clients - metapackage
ii  xorg                1:7.3+2    X.Org X Window System
ii  xorg-dev            1:7.3+2    the X.Org X Window System development
ii  xserver-xorg        1:7.3+2    the X.Org X server
ii  xutils              1:7.3+2    X Window System utility programs

Nvidia Linux driver 1.0-9639, 1.0-7185 and Linux kernel 2.6.23

Referencing the post Nvidia Linux driver 100.14.11 and Linux kernel 2.6.23. Here I have attached the patches for the older versions of Nvidia drivers. The procedure to follow is the same as described in the above document.

GNOME Desktop project 10 years old!

Exactly 10 years ago, on 15th August 1997, Miguel de Icaza started his first announcement about GNOME Desktop project with this words:

Goals
We want to develop a free and complete set of user friendly applications and desktop tools, similar to CDE and KDE but based entirely on free software:

  • We want the applications to have a common look and feel, and to share as many visual elements and UI concepts as possible.
  • We want to use the GTK toolkit as our toolkit for writing the applications.
  • We want to encourage people to contribute code and to test the code, so that the software will compile out of the box by using GNU's tools for automatic source configuration.

Nvidia Linux driver 100.14.11 and Linux kernel 2.6.23

Well, they're not working together. Unless you're not willing to tweak it a little bit. So, out of the box, you won't be able to test brand new Linux CFS scheduler, merged in the 2.6.23-rc1 release, if you drive your Nvidia card with the proprietary driver. I guess that's what we get for running binary drivers.

Your ATI Radeon very slow on Xorg X server 1.3?

This one has bothered me for a long time. The solution is, of course, simple. But, I still don't understand why was it necessary to force users to search so hard for this piece of information, where all the older X server releases worked OK out of the box?

If you find that after upgrading to X.Org 7.3 your display becomes very slow, and you own ATI Radeon, all you need to do is to put this line in the Device section of your xorg.conf:

How to cleanup your GNOME registry?

The other day I stumbled upon this neat tool that helps cleanup your GConf registry, called GConf Cleaner. While GNOME registry size isn't nowhere near the size of Windows registry, and thus shouldn't slow your computer too much, it's still nice to have a tool that cleans unused and obsolete entries.

Meet GConf Cleaner

The tool is still in early stages of development (version 0.0.2), but I've successfully run it on my desktop and was amazed how many old entries it found. Typically, if you install some GNOME application, play with it a little bit and later decide to delete it, it's configuration settings will remain in the GConf database. So your registry will only grow in time.

The flash plugin and X.Org 7.0 (X11R7) font problems

If you are lucky to have fresh X11R7 on your desktop with all its new features and nice filesystem layout you might have noticed that some things have compatibility problems with it. Namely, if you have flash plugin installed you might not see text in flash content displayed properly, depending on how your Linux distribution handled the upgrade.

Having already had trouble with that (for other reasons I'll explain later) this time fix for the problem was a no brainer. The reason for problems is that the official flash plugin does some font handling of it's own, not using system font file server or X server itself. But it still depends on some filesystem paths and configuration to be in place so it can find font files it needs. By doing strings libflashplayer.so and carefully skipping over lots of uninteresting text, you can find that flash plugin looks for /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fs/config file which is the configuration file of the font server. Next it parses "catalogue = " line in it to find all available fonts on the system. The trouble is that new release of X.Org server got rid of /usr/X11R6 system path in favour of putting binaries and other files in the more appropriate places in the filesystem, just like the other linux applications do.

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