Posted: August 6, 2010 in nmarques

In the old days most people I know hacked PSX hardware, some for more obscure purposes, others with more noble needs, like myself, usually play imports not available in Europe (some titles from Koei for example). Tekken 3 was one of the games I’ve played around 7/8 months earlier because I’ve had my hardware hacked and could play an import from Japan. I’ve always loved Hwoarang (though I find Tae Kwon Do a bit limited when compared to real fighting disciplines like Muay Thai or even Kickboxing. I love Savate!).

I haven’t really find any decent wallpaper to fit my Desktop… Searched from Architecture to anything else, including the Swedish babes on bikini. I’m not gifted with Gimp neither but I can with a very nice acceptable wallpaper for my laptop.

The components for it are pretty much the same I’ve toyed around and they do provide a nice desktop for my likes. I can’t share the wallpaper as I’ve stripped the image from the internet and didnt contacted the author about it. It’s made for personal usage and haven’t even made it’s way to my backups.

  • GTK2 Theme > Radiance_R | Removed the left side menu button which is somehow bugged! That can be done by poping gconf-editor and change the following in apps/Metacity/General/button layout:
  • Icon Theme > For the icon theme I use 2 icon sets, ubuntu-mono-light; this can be grabbed from Launchpad, though it requires some hacking into icon’s names for them to be compliant with default GNOME panel. So far only seen the need for this for sound icons (removing the -panel) from it’s name. In addition I also use the MagIcons application to generate the blue Humanity Icons. This are in previous posts and can be grabbed from gnome-look.org. I’ve tried to make a Fedora logo on mono… it’s actually a screw up. Soon to be replaced by the original.
  • Nautilus > Nautilus has been moded with Nautilus Elementary. The code can be grabbed and compiled from Launchpad. It’s pretty much straight forward, no hacks needed just some fancy dependencies and devel packages which ship with Fedora. In adition I’ve also used the Victory Breadcrumbs which give a nicer looking to Nautilus.
  • Wallpaper > The Hwoarang wallpaper I’ve made aiming for simplicity with something I won’t get bored for the next days. In my opinion looks nice, even on the GDM login wallpaper (%gconf-tree.xml needs to be hacked for it).

With Gimp I’ve removed the background from the original image, resized it to match a suitable size for the wallpaper and eventually applied a few corrections to give it a more cartoonish look with gimp. I kinda like it, but it will suffer from the “wallpaper syndrome” and eventually will get bored and it will be replaced!.

Also something worth to remember is that Tekken the movie is out, produced in Japan. Honestly all the movies from popular video games have been disappointing. I don’t have higher expectations on Tekken (they forgot Hwoarang, sick thing… maybe because the movie is Japanese and Hwoarang is Korean, who knows?), but I’m hoping it comes to Portugal soon, or else on DVD Release so I can import it from US or Korea.

The following are a couple of things that in my view could be improved in Fedora Linux distribution. I can’t offer a correct perspective on the required manpower or investment to be done to accomplish this, but considering the great willing of the community and some of the projects that were abandoned from the past, not ignoring the commitment of a dedicated few, I believe this could be accomplished for the future.

  • Anaconda > Anaconda provides a featured experience when installing Fedora Linux, either for new users or experienced users. This is indeed a great piece of software, very well designed and with pretty neat functionality and works flawlessly! My own advice for anyone installing Linux for the first time is always the same: “Read the screen information one or two times if needed”. In most cases this is easily accomplished and users actually end up with making the “right” choices and end up the install without problems. From my perspective there can be a few things that can be improved here.
    • Graphical Design > On Fedora 13 Anaconda looks too pale, almost giving Anaconda a ill look. I believe that a bit more of color on Anaconda could actually benefit users experience.
    • Marketing > During the process of installation much of the Anaconda installer screen space can be actually used to deploy further information. I would consider Marketing information a good plus. Maybe something like “14 Good Reasons to use Fedora”? Or eventually if we know our aimed audience, maybe a bit of cherished information regarding their expectations and how we are answering them. While installing packages for example, there could be a slideshow promoting Fedora Teams commitment and involvement on the release. I leave this just as an idea as people for sure can pick it up and develop to suite the needs of Fedora.
    • Greeting / Goodbye > Maybe a bit more of warmth and work on this sentences. This are always pleasant to read.

    • One Page Release Notes > As I saw, One Page Release Notes do provide outstanding content, in a very objective way. They also become translated into nearly all available languages. Maybe using some contents of it to fancy up a bit Anaconda! As we can see from the image above, Anaconda is stripped a bit of everything, except two GTK Buttons. A bit more of content wouldn’t harm and would for sure make users experience a bit more fun!
  • Marketing Collateral / Templates > In an outstanding initiative from the Design Team some very good Templates for production are being produced. Could we get this templates introduced in the Default Desktop Installation ? I mean, every user got in his home a ‘Templates’ folder that offers good integration with GNOME and OpenOffice.org. Maybe supplying those Community Templates from Fedora would be a good idea. This is being already explored by others, and from my scope, this couldn’t harm (except maybe for yet another package that needs to be packaged). Not ignoring that this can be a good way of promoting Community Developed work on the Fedora distro itself. No! Some can’t actually code but they can still earn their tiny place on the Fedora Linux distro! Or maybe not.
  • Default Configuration > There are maybe a couple of things we can do to improve default configuration. I really wouldn’t like to enter much on this topic because Fedora ships with the default upstream content from the Projects represented (ex: GNOME), but I mean, there’s already a small touch from Fedora on it (ex: the Fedora branding packages). Could we extend this to fancy some useful information ? Some examples (keep in mind this are just examples of things we might want to look for, I understand that they might not suit everyone, but that’s what they are possible examples):
    • Laptops > Enable mouse clicks with touchpad > This could be interesting. We probably don’t have data to analyse to see if our users use this function or not. Should we run such polls or gather that information through any means available? For me this is an interesting option.
    • Screensaver > Is there a reason for having screensaver enabled by default ? I mean not all of us use screensaver, and modern LCD’s aren’t no longer subject of some of the itches of old CRT monitors. I understand screensavers are nowadays mainly a “esthetic thing” but having them enabled by default (ex: Floating Fedora Bubbles) wouldn’t harm no one and will in most cases save a couple of seconds to users to configure them. The packages are already installed by default, so enablind it wouldn’t harm.
  • Menu’s (GNOME and KDE) > One of the most annoying “features” is to open GNOME menu with KDE installed and have lots of entries with the same name one for KDE and another for GNOME. On application level this sometimes is useful, while in some more obscure features this is pretty annoying (ex: System Monitor), which display the same name (depending on the icon theme, the same icon) and are actually two ‘twin’ apps. This gets pretty much confusing when we’re handling “Terminals”. Maybe punching in a small KDE menu item in GNOME where you rebuild KDE menus inside instead of having all those troublesome entries all together. I mean coexistence is nice, but that is already a good way for not having KDE installed alongside with GNOME, even if we want to test it. This brings other problems as if you install both and then go ‘yum erase @kde-desktop’, this will vaporize also some GNOME software packages (including GDM) rendering more trouble when you restart the system, as you need to switch back into root console, have an idea on what packages might be missing and yum’ing for them again so you can replace the software from GNOME that was uninstalled with @kde-desktop (I find this silly). This could be something for people to look at.

the blood of innocents!

Posted: July 31, 2010 in nmarques

I can’t realize on how a census can trigger so much polemical views and attacks. From the many lectures I’ve taken in the last 7 months, I remember one in particular from the Fedora Marketing mailing lists: “we are all friends contributing for FOSS, there are no rivals or competitors, we all help each other”… suddenly: BANG! it seems they released all the loose cannons.

I don’t believe we can and should place either Red Hat or Canonical in such situation. I’m not sure how much $STASH Red Hat places on GNOME, but I know that I’ve seen GNOME advertising Canonical’s donations to hire a sys admin… as I’ve seen lots of @canonical engaged in GNOME, at least in the Marketing Lists (where I haven’t seen any @redhat).

I’ve always praized the work done by Ubuntu towards meeting users expectations… and in fact, Ubuntu has taken the battle to the streets, where Fedora or Red Hat never wanted to fight. I’m also pretty sure that with time they can take their revenue in form of contributions from all the potential contributors they are fidelizing at the moment.

We can’t also ignore the outstanding fighting done by Red Hat and Novell for Linux in the past (we all remember the SCO incident, amongst others).

Aren’t we all fighting for the same? I use Fedora because at low level it’s easier for me… because it updates faster than ubuntu… because it’s one step ahead (despite of the random crash here and there, which I never report).

It’s not a lie if I state that either Red Hat or Fedora care about the kind of user that I am, while maybe Ubuntu/Canonical is more sensitive to claims coming from that segment… But in a way, if Linux is evolving and getting more popular, not only amongst the elites it’s due to the efforts of all this organizations and free contributors.

Don’t bring shame into the game by engaging further on this ‘bitch fight’. It’s not benefiting any of the parties being mentioned.

Burning Bridges!

Posted: July 28, 2010 in fedora, nmarques

Why I chose Marketing? I don’t know, but it sounded a cool option back then. Now in the final stage for my degree, I’m missing only one last thing: Curricular Traineeship on a corporation or a Final Project. Both have pros and cons…

My University offers a lot of choices, all tainted by University Policies… All political or with some advantage to my University… Honestly, because I dare to think by my own, I kinda hate them and am happy I can finally turn my back to that institution! They are great at creating mindless drones though!

It’s time to measure all the variables on my life… in one hand a Project that might take me a year or two to build, since I have to defend it flawlessly! In another hand, I have to submit myself into some corporation designated by my University for a traineeship. They are nice… they don’t care about people who graduated in former years and are unemployed! Instead they offer free work from students in traineeship to those corporations. I can’t tag along with this…  this is not something that my own personal values support. I see no motivation on this.

There is a 3rd option, I can get my own traineeship and present it to the Scientific Council for approval. In this field I have one national ISP that is going international and that is trying to recruit me for years. I can get my traineeship there! It is marketing related… it is an industry I know well… it provides an option for a future job and career… but once more it’s in the IT world… crap… Somehow I am not fond of this… and it might become a risk for my plans to build a family and on how my family will be. I’ve been a son of a Military father, always away from the family. I’m not going to be such father or engage in an option that will end up making me and absent family leader.

In a way I am thankful for being a member of my family, since we have good reputation and connections, though I’m some sort of black sheep on it, mainly because I’ve always followed my own path and never actually cared much about pleasing them. This has provided me a cute exit… a traineeship in one of the most important Banks in Portugal. I hate the finance world… it’s dirty and obscure… full of flaws, of people who don’t care about others misery… but, it provides good grounds for establishing a pleasant life with aiming for a pleasant life time job. ME vs OTHERS…. no longer I’m sticking up for the ‘others’, every single time I did it, I didn’t got a ‘thank you’ or even recognition for it… in fact most times it only brought me trouble.

I’ve taken my way! I’m taking the traineeship offered me by my parents connections in a Bank! And eventually I’ve thought on leaving some of my ideas behind, too much idealistic and unpractical… and start my Masters on Finance.

Once more, Nelson is doing something most people can’t understand, but my reasons are simple:

1. Alternatives offered by my University suck.

2. Project way demands too much time and research and will delay my life. Loosing 2 years now isn’t an amusing idea for me.

3. At 45 I want a pleasant job and enough time to care for my family.

4. A role from which I can aim to enter in Politics. Though I’m already involved in local politics since 2004, I want to evolve for the national league.

5. I like Lisbon! It’s better to move now, while I don’t have major commitments to hold me here, than later when I have my family (kids/wife).

Final step: March on to Lisbon for my traineeship! Finish Marketing Management degree and build a career (starting with a Masters on Finance and a good job in a bank). In a way, thats what my parents always expected from me, not the deviations I’ve chosed. I understand how right they were…

What I’ve learned so far: Years have been passing by and what a fool I’ve been…

With this, I’m leaving the ‘online’ and focus only on the real world life… Now it’s my fight and it’s to be fought somewhere outside.

With FOSS and Fedora I’ve learned a lot of things. I wish everyone a very fond farewell with an an apology request to all I might have injured due to different opinions/perspecive or even by my stuborness. I’ll be using tools I love on personal reasons and will be tracking as a normal user much of the new and the projects I’ve always loved, Fedora and GNOME to which I wish the best of future…

Despite of the technological aspects, there is a great Humanitarian and Social side on Free Software, Fedora has some of the nicest examples (ex: Free Media Program). In a way, the free software movement can do much for mankind. I hope it lives on till the end of times.

The last 4 months of my life have been ever changing, I trully hope to sail from now on in more peaceful waters.

Peace all,


The birthplace of Portugal is usually associated with the city of Guimarães, though some claim that the conspiracy against D. Teresa mother of Alphonso Henriques of Portugal took place in the city of Santa Maria da Feira.

Feira’s Castle was built over a roman fortress, and through times was expended. This castle in particular has square shapes unlike most Portuguese castles which feature cylindric shapes, a fortress design attributed to the Knights Templar, which in many ways were always supporters of the Kingdom of Portugal and responsible to aid our Kingdom in the ‘Reconquista’ (Reconquest) since the establishment of the Portuguese Kingdom, though the fight on the moors started far earlier in since the 8th century.

In the 29th of August starts the 1 week event known as ‘Viagem Medieval in Terras de Santa Maria da Feira’. I’ve attended the second event being invited by the city hall, as back then my employer was developing a GNU/Linux based Kiosk to deploy on the city providing interactive information. Back then when we made this project we used Red Hat 6.0 and a large part of the system was hacked, including a ‘special’ runlevel creation and some minor wizardry on the boot process to make it smoother. This kiosk was update daily through a PPP interface from my employers public network.

During this week, everyone dresses in a medieval way and there’s lots of events which feature the days of centuries ago, the times when being Portuguese had a meaning to people.

From Sword Tournaments, to Jousts and even an Assault to the Castle, there’s plenty of fun for everyone… including a medieval market and it’s actually a good time to get some cool medieval replicas of swords, maces, shields and everything else… even chainmails ;)

Feel free to visit Santa Maria da Feira (Saint Mary of the Market), one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal with awesome night life and a very warm population!

And don’t ignore the beautiful Castle of Saint Mary of Feira… which holds a small Museum with many interesting stuff from cannon balls to arrow tips, spears and everything related to war during the Dark Ages. Most of the items in display have been found in excavations in the surroundings of the Castle and some date back to the 10th Century.

Official Website: http://www.viagemmedieval.com

City Hall: http://www.cm-feira.pt

Barracuda! The legend!

Posted: July 26, 2010 in nmarques

My hostname has been ‘barracuda’ for over 10 years. I used this name because in my first job as a sysadmin all our machines had to be named according to the theme ‘sea and boats’. I’ve chosen Barracuda after ‘NRP Barracuda’ (Portuguese Republic Ship Barracuda).

The Barracuda was a Daphne class submarine built in France and entered service in 1968 in the Portuguese Navy where it served for over 40 years.

Barracuda got to be known because it sailed under the hull of US Carrier Eisenhower during a NATO exercise and later would launch all it’s torpedoes against it, completely undetected. If this was real combat, a 679 million $US carrier would be sunk (consider that most of Eisenhower technology is considered secret, including armor) and a couple of thousands would’ve died…

Barracuda was the last of the ‘Albacora’ submarine class to sail in the service Portugal, and responsible for a history of success fighting drug traffic in our waters.

A small video about Barracudas last mission:

The Barracuda has been replaced by a U209PN in Germany, and currently one of the most advanced Diesel powered submarines.

Barracuda went out of commission and with it, I need a new hostname! So far and supporting the struggle from Homosexuals in Portugal for the right of being able to adopt children, I’ve decided that my new hostname would be: gay2way.

Farewell Barracuda and thanks for keeping out streets safer from drugs!

“Honrai a Pátria, que a Pátria vos Contempla”

nautilus-elementary MOD

Posted: July 26, 2010 in nmarques

Nautilus has been through a long way since the early days when it was one of the heaviest pieces of software (only surpassed maybe by mozilla millstones).

The other day I’ve runned across nautilus-elementary which packs some cool looking features, and honestly, in my perspective, some of this enhancements should already be a part of nautilus mainstream.

Here’s how the beast looks like (using Elementary GTK/Metacity composite theme, plus some other minor tweaks):

I am not aware of a Fedora 13 package for this mod which is currently hosted on Launchpad and there’s no source package also available in the traditional tar.gz format… The source has to be extracted through bzr. It does require some fancy devel packages and a couple of other packages which are not part off Fedora default install, but they are available for Goddard through Fedora official packages and RPM Fusion, so in a way Fedora does provide all the artillery you need to built it.

There’s a fancy ‘Tweaks’ tab added in nautilus configuration also! Keep in mind that this piece of fine software does not pack extra funcionality to nautilus, only a couple of neat re-design features to favour eye-candy. You need RGBA enabled GTK Engine for it work properly, which in a way can be hard. If you use Equinox or Murrine engine based theme, most likely it will work flawlessly. I haven’t tested it with Nodoka GTK engine (project hosted on fedorahosted.org) by Martin Sourada et al, member of Fedora Design Team.

Screenshots taken using: Elementary GTK Theme (and Engine dependencies) / Elementary Metacity Theme composite. Icon theme is a mix of ubuntu-mono-light and MagIcons Humanities Color.

UPDATE: Andrew provided a more accurate description of the functionality of Nautilus-Elementary. Please take a minute to read Andrew’s reply which provides more useful information regarding this fine piece of software made by the Elementary Team.

Nautilus-Elementary provides extended functionality beyond the one provided by nautilus.