Friday, March 6, 2009

Insipid Ibex

Finally upgraded (K)Ubuntu to 8.10. Thanks for breaking my xorg config, guys, by assuming that HAL could actually do a better job that my hand-picked settings. This is easily fixed by uncommenting all of the lines commented out by HAL, but it's amazing that it had to be done at all, since the HAL change made X flat-out stop working. Also, for some reason, ~/.xsession no longer works -- one has to use ~/.xsessionrc instead. Those wacky Ubuntites.

Upgraded E17 shortly afterwards, using the packages at

deb intrepid e17

The new version of E has compiz support (which has to almost entirely be disabled for it to run at E17's proper speed) and looks nice. The modules all seem to work, for once.

But it crashes!

The first one came immediately, and was fixed by wiping ~/.e, which contained all of my old config settings. Apparently E17 can't reliably be upgraded with an existing config. Thanks for moving to a binary config file, guys, so that this is actually a far larger problem than it should be. Really, how hard is it to use the binary config only at runtime, and compile from text to binary whenever a config change is made?

Some of the other crashes appear to be from the OpenGeu inclusion of compiz. After removing the calls to emerald and ecomorph from, and stripping out the -evil command line option (which, along with -good and -psychotic, did not seem to make things stable), it's become pretty stable, if a little buggy. Dialog boxes occasionally do not disappear when closed, requiring a restart of E17.

Also, some E17 idiocies remain -- things that seemed to be oversights before, but now (having been a pretty stable WM for the past three years) appear to be truly asinine design decisions.


* There is no way to modify the properties of an application (short of adding it to iBar, or modifying the desktop file directly). A dialog exists for this (it's used by ibar and when creating a new application), so it can't be much extra work.

* One cannot cut/copy/paste between E17 widgets and X. This is nice to be able to do when, say, setting an icon file path (since the desktop files for KDE applications do not seem to be handled correctly by E17, and therefore have no icon files). Hope you like typing.

* The binary only config, mentioned above. Really, there is no excuse for this -- the rest of the industry learned that lesson in the 90s. Even Windows allows its abhorred registry to be read from and written to text files.

Aside from that, Ibex works well, and the upgrade was generally painless. The only sticky points were the Xorg conf file (their mistake), E17 (my fault for running it), and the patch I needed to add to get toshset supported by the latest kernel (the maintainer's fault, for not getting it merged after 2 years of reliable performance).

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