Just a scratchpad for my further Ubuntu-experience notes. So far: “locate”, Emacs, Thunderbird, Firefox, function keys, windows vs. apps, menu placement, hibernate, and X keyboard mappings.

The Sun keyboard I’m using on the Ultra 20 is good, but it’s got this little teeny “Alt” key that’s hard to reach, and this great big dorky “Diamond” key next to the space-bar, that I want to be Alt. Here is the appropriate xmodmap(1) invocation:

keysym Super_L = Alt_L
remove mod4 = Alt_L

Hibernate works solidly but looks shaky. On the way down, I get plaintive whines about “soft CPU lockup” problems, and on the way up, I get some serious screen derangement, plus an occasional complaint that “HAL hibernation failed”. OK, I prefer my hardware concrete anyhow.

Three days in, it is so obvious that OS X menu placement (one menu space, the same position for all apps) is right, and all other options are wrong. I suppose Apple’s patented it?

It’s only taken me a day or two to decide that the Windows/Gnome view that a window is a window is a window, and alt-tab works at a window at a time, and you don’t have to bear in mind the difference between an app an a window, is right, and OS X is wrong about this.

Wow! I’d forgotten about locate(1); it’s here and it Just Works and boy, is it ever faster than Spotlight.

Grmph. My mousewheel doesn’t work in Emacs. And you have to do some voodoo to get cut-&-paste working:
(setq x-select-enable-clipboard 't)
Plus, it doesn’t have an icon in the taskbar. In fact, I’m beginning to think that Emacs is generally one of Ubuntu’s weaker links. [Update: Mark Pilgrim writes to point me at emacs-snapshot-gtk, which is a bit more polished, and ispell works.]

Thunderbird’s spam filter is remarkably good these days, and learns fast. A couple of steps ahead of Mail.app, I’d say. Its search function is immensely less irritating, too (I fart in Spotlight’s general direction). Unfortunately, the Emacs keystrokes, which work more or less everywhere on OS X, aren’t there. [Update: Jay Carlson writes with pointer to a how-to.]

Firefox doesn’t have a setting to go to your home page in a new tab. [Update: Richard Cohen points out that a middle-click on the “Home” icon does the job.]

Working on a nice big desktop keyboard and not having to fight OS X for use of the function keys is a nice change.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
August 01, 2006
· Technology (77 fragments)
· · Linux (6 more)
· · Mac OS X (113 more)
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