Yenya's World

Fri, 25 Mar 2011

man(1) Surprise

Hello, this is your editor speaking, welcome to the "lesser known Linux feature of the day" series. Today we will cover an interesting feature of man(1) that your editor has just ran into. Try running the following command:

$ man git log

The manual page of git-log(1) is displayed on my Fedora 14 system. How does man know that git provides a "log" sub-command in addition to the equivalent git-log standalone command?

The man page says:

By default, man will try to interpret pairs of manual page names given on the command line as equivalent to a single manual page name containing a hyphen. This supports the common pattern of programs that implement a number of subcommands, allowing them to provide manual pages for each that can be accessed using similar syntax as would be used to invoke the subcommands themselves.

And it even goes into an example using - guess what - git. That's all for today, see you next time!

Section: /computers (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 2 writebacks

Wed, 23 Mar 2011


The first alternative to GNOME I have decided to try is XFCE. In the LWN discussion, Jon Masters presented it as a viable replacement to GNOME. Also, it uses GTK+ like GNOME, so many applications can be the same (including, I have hoped, my window manager of choice, Sawfish. XFCE is definitely usable and configurable for power-user. Most (but not all) properties can also be set using their Settings manager, and thus XFCE should also be mostly usable for ordinary users. So far the problems include:

XFCE is tightly related to both GTK+ and GNOME, and can incorporate various parts of GNOME (some notification area applets, keyring manager, etc). So I guess I would be able to use it as a replacement, if not for the whole GNOME, then at least for the central parts like GNOME Shell.

Section: /computers/desktops (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 1 writebacks

Tue, 22 Mar 2011

GNOME in the Shell

Yesterday, after reading The Grumpy Editor's GNOME 3 experience article at LWN, I have decided it is time to at least make an attempt to move away from GNOME, which (much like KDE 4) decided to use revolutionary instead of evolutionary development, and apparently continues in their feature removal crusade in the name of so called usability. Also, this might be a good chance to move away from Galeon after so many years.

I wonder what makes the GNOME developers think the existing users would welcome a completely new desktop with very limited means of customization. GNOME 2 has only recently reached a moderate level of usability (except gdm, which is still not usable for many purposes since the last rewrite).

It would be very sad to move away from GNOME, because I think I am not a typical conservative user, and I welcome occasional new features, provided they do not hurt productivity and power-user usability. However, apparently GNOME Shell provides neither, and the so called fallback mode is not complete enough (virtual desktops in a single row, seriously?). Also I would rather use the same desktop envionment as some non-computer-savvy users to which I occasionally provide technical support.

So I have decided to experiment a bit on my laptop, but keep GNOME and Galeon both on my home and work workstations for now. More on it in a few days.

Note: I am sorry, the above mentioned LWN article is subscribers-only for now. It will become freely available in several days. Alternatively, you can ask me for a link in a private e-mail.

Section: /computers/desktops (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 2 writebacks

Wed, 09 Mar 2011

New Odysseus

We have got a new hardware for our FTP server to replace our seven years old server. It is amazing how the old hardware is still in many aspects on par with state-of-the-art "average workstations". The old system had 12 GB of RAM, 8 TB of disks, and dual GbE. It was one of the first 64-bit x86 systems here at Faculty of Informatics. So, which principal improvements in server hardware the last seven years brought (apart from speed, of course)?

Anyway, both the original and new configurations are described on the Odysseus statistics page (in Czech). Let me thank CZLUG and CSTUG for sponsoring some of the disks for the new server. We will see whether the new hardware can also keep running for at least seven years.

Section: /computers (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 1 writebacks


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