Striving for greatness

Thoughts on emerging tech, open source, and life

Archive for April 2005

Nice back, sexy!

Alex, you got some really sweet shots of my back there.

It was definitely nice to see Greg K-H again, though.


Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 29, 2005 at 10:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Put tabs at the top

I’m a strong believer in tabs at the top. This is one of the reasons recent gnome-panel defaults (at least in Gentoo, but hopefully we match upstream), where there’s a panel both at the top and bottom of the screen, annoy me. Be consistent, folks! Some people disagree with me, though. But I would argue that the location of your eyes while you’re typing in a terminal has no relation to the location of your mouse.

In my setup, I never have to move my mouse below the top 2/3 of the screen. If the menu is at the top, each windowbar should also be at the top. So should each program menu, and and tabs within that program. Making me move the mouse all the way down to the bottom of the screen to switch around terminal tabs is just as likely to make me switch terminals.

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 29, 2005 at 9:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Neato tools

A few tools that are invaluable already, a few that are becoming so, and a few that I think will in the future. This is the junk (Anyone watch that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show?). Some are more well-known than others.
meld: graphical diff/merge
wiggle: applying patches with conflicting changes
quilt: patch manager
herdstat: Gentoo-specific querying tool for herds, developers, categories and packages
splat: Gentoo-specific portage log analyzer
esearch: Gentoo-specific caching package search. Way faster than portage.
cpu: CLI LDAP user management. May try switching to diradm soon, since its by one of our Gentoo devs, robbat2.
logrotate: keep log size manageable
sudo: selectively let people run commands as root
superadduser: for people who don’t like reading the useradd man page
nano: a surprisingly featureful editor
screen: detach running sessions
detox: cut weird characters out of filenames
strace: useful in debugging
ccache: speed up repeated compilations
keychain: SSH agent manager — don’t type the password every time

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 28, 2005 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

OSS usability

I always enjoy reading posts about usability design, because it’s something that way too few people in the OSS world know anything about. “Designed by hackers, for hackers” as a motto seems to say “Figure it out yourself — I ain’t into that intuition thang or writin’ no manual.”

I’m definitely in agreement with Bryan on that — design trumps consistency when they’re in conflict. Designers are often afraid to make choices on what’s best for the user, so you end up with these absolutely flooded preferences dialogs (Firefox, anyone?).

This post reminded me of a useful portal for collaboration between OSS developers and usability experts.

While I’m on the subject, I figured I’d mention Joel Spolsky’s book on user interface design for programmers again.

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 28, 2005 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Selling books, drawing conclusions

Do computer book sales correlate to language popularity? The story arguing they do also has some really cool graphics. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom too.

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 27, 2005 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

[Gentoo] Categorizing

robbat2 has set me up with a Gentoo blog category RSS feed. I’ll be asking the Planet Gentoo people to replace my feed with it as soon as I get subjects rewritten to contain the proper token. Big thanks to robbat2 for being such a pimp.

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 27, 2005 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

[Gentoo] Planet on-topic-ness

It seems that Planet Gentoo readers have a problem with me posting about things that aren’t related to Gentoo on my blog. So I’ve asked to have it removed from that Planet.

If you’re interested in following what I talk about, either go to Planet Freedesktop or directly to my blog.

If people reading my blog from a Planet have a problem with how on- or off-topic it is, let me know and I’ll have it pulled from there. At least until I have some time to waste setting up categories at some site besides LiveJournal, which apparently doesn’t support them.

Incidentally, it’s fairly annoying that everyone who has problems with me has chosen to remain anonymous in comments.


Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 27, 2005 at 10:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized