Korora 23 is Here

The release of Korora 23 has been delayed waiting for RPMFusion to get their repos up and running. The beta of Korora 23 used the testing repos and they are working fine so it was decided to release Korora 23 as stable.

If you are running Korora 23 beta there is no need to reinstall. Just keep your system up to date.

The full announcement is here.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Korora

Disabling Touchpad when using a Mouse

There is a common feature on current Linux desktop that allows the touchpad to be disabled while typing. This is a useful feature but it has its limitations. The delay before the touchpad starts working can be set to a long time to reduce accidental movement but then the delay becomes irritating. I find I still occasionally brush the touchpad and cause an issue with what I am typing particularly when I pause to review what I have written.

As I normally use a bluetooth mouse I would prefer that the touchpad is completely disabled or preferably disabled when the mouse is in use. There are several scripts around which do this using synclient. I have found a few of these and tested them and none worked for me. I could see that the setting was changed but the touchpad was still active.

After a fair bit of research I found mention of using xinput and the commands needed to use xinput to disable the touchpad. Xinput has an advantage over synclient in that it completely disables the touchpad, buttons and all whereas synclient just stops any cursor movement.

I have tested this on my Thinkpad running Korora 23 Xfce but it should work on any recent version of most distros and with most desktop environments. It isn’t needed in KDE which includes this as an option in the touchpad settings. The script should also work with a USB mouse, in fact any sort of mouse, as well as the Bluetooth mouse it was tested with. The script uses xinput to check if a mouse is present. If your mouse is listed there and the name includes the word “mouse” it will work. Type “xinput –list” (without the quotes of course) with your mouse attached and check it is there.

There are a couple of steps needed to get xinput to work. The first is to identify the id of the touchpad. To do this run the command “xinput –list”. It will show a list of all the devices xinput controls. One of these is clearly marked as the touchpad. Looking along that line there is an ‘id=’ field. Make a note of this number, mine is 11 but yours may well be different.

Next you need the id of the touchpad off setting for that device. Run “xinput –list-props 11” substituting the device number you found earlier for 11. This gives a long list of properties for that device. Look for “Device Enabled”, for me this was first on the list and so I had to scroll up to see it. That line will have a number in brackets, the property id, mine is 139 but again yours will probably be different.

With both those numbers recorded we are ready to test the xinput command. There is no point making a script if the command doesn’t work. Test with the command “xinput set-int-prop 11 139 8 0” (replacing my 11 with the device number you found and the 139 with the property number you found). If the command works your touchpad will be disabled. Run the command “xinput set-int-prop 11 139 8 1” (yes replace my numbers with yours again) to enable it again.

Once that is working we can create a script. My script is copied form several I found that used synclient but with the appropriate command replaced. Don’t forget to put the correct numbers in your script.

First as root or using sudo open /usr/local/bin/touchpad in your favourite text editor. It should be a new file. Copy and paste the script below and then edit the lines with the xinput command.

#!/bin/bash
sleep 1
list=`xinput --list | grep -i 'mouse'`
if [ ${#list} -eq 0 ]; then
xinput set-int-prop 11 139 8 1
notify-send "No Mouse found" "Your touchpad is set to ON"
else
xinput set-int-prop 11 139 8 0
notify-send "Mouse connected" "Your touchpad is now turned OFF"
fi

Save the file. Make it executable, “chmod +x /usr/local/bin/touchpad”. Note the sleep on the first line isn’t strictly needed but occasionally the script fails to run without it.

Now it should work. Test by running the script as a user. If your mouse is connected you should see a notification and the touchpad should be disabled. Next disconnect the mouse and check the touchpad again. I use a bluetooth mouse and it takes some time for the system to recognise that the mouse is off. I’m guessing it thinks there is a temporary break in communication. But with a usb mouse it should react much faster. I normally don’t need to run the script again.

However the exception is after a reboot or very occasionally upon returning from a suspend I find I need to run it. I use a dropdown terminal so it isn’t a problem to open it and run the script. However you may prefer to create a keyboard shortcut so that you can run the script quickly and easily as needed. In Xfce go to settings – Keyboard – Application Shortcuts and put the full path to the command as the application, press the key(s) and it is set. Test it.

One interesting result of this script is I can still move the cursor on my Thinkpad using the Trackpoint but none of the buttons work. I could disable the Trackpoint too but it isn’t easy to accidentally bump the Trackpoint, at least I’ve never done it so I don’t think it is necessary.

Leave a comment

Filed under Korora, thinkpad, tips & tricks, xfce

Dynamic Colour Changes in Conky

Conky is a popular system monitor that I have blogged about before. Its advantages are that it can be whatever you want it to be. You decide what is displayed and the format and so much more.

I’ve got a couple of Conkys on my regular desktop. The main one displays system info and is the one I’m updating today. The other one displays the Now Playing details. It works with both Amarok and Clementine as I switch between them all the time. It only appears when either is in use.

The main Conky includes battery information for both the batteries in my Thinkpad. The information includes the current charge level of each battery, the time remaining on the battery that is currently being used and the status of the batteries i.e. if they are discharging or charging. There is an additional line that shows whether the AC Adapter is attached or not, actually whether it is supplying power or not.

It all has worked well for a while but I wanted the battery information to change colour dependent on the current charge level. A search gave me a number of similar methods of achieving this.

Conky battery status

All these methods had one thing in common, they used Conky’s battery_percent variable but I prefer and use the battery variable. The reason they use the battery_percent variable is simple, battery_percent has a numeric output and therefore the if_match command is easy to use to match the battery charge level. I prefer the battery variable as it outputs status as well as the charge level.

After some experimenting I found a simple solution. I use the battery_percent variable in the if_match statement but use the battery variable for the output. The line from my conkyrc is below. It is all one line in the conkyrc and the second line is the same with BAT) set to BAT1.

$font${color1}Battery 1: $color${if_match ${battery_percent BAT0}<=15}${color7}${blink ${battery BAT0}}${color}${else}${if_match ${battery_percent BAT0}<=25}${color8}${battery BAT0}${else}${if_match ${battery_percent BAT0}>25}${color}${battery BAT0}${endif}${endif}${endif}, ${battery_time BAT0}${color}

The if_match variable looks for 3 different battery charge levels. Above 25% it shows in the regular text colour I use through most of the display. When it reaches 25% the line changes to gold text. A third check looks for a charge of less than 15%. At that point the line of text turns red and starts to blink.

Leave a comment

Filed under Korora, linux, tips & tricks

Xfce Screen Locking without XScreensaver

If like me you dislike XScreensaver and its ugly unlock screen there is an easy alternative that is actually better integrated into Xfce. Korora like most distros includes Xscreensaver with Xfce. Xscreensaver provides both the screensaver graphics and screenlocking for security. Screensaving isn’t needed these days with modern monitors. It is a relic from the distant past of CRT monitors. However for laptops that can be taken anywhere and for desktops in public areas, screen locking is an important part of your security set up.

You can disable the screensaving so it just blanks the screen. But you still have the ugly Xscreensaver screen to type your password. There is a better way.

I remove xscreensaver, this isn’t strictly necessary but as it isn’t being used there is no point keeping it. ‘dnf erase xscreensaver*’ takes care of that.

Next I install light-locker. Light-locker works with LightDM which is the default Display Manager for Xfce in Korora and many other distros. Actually LightDM is used in Korora for other Desktop Environments too so this applies to them too. However it is well integrated into Xfce. ‘dnf install light-locker’ is all that is needed. I did a restart but I’m not sure if that is really needed.

Now Xfce’s Power Manager settings has gained an additional “Security” tab which allows you to configure Light-locker. Not that much needs configuring. On my laptop I enabled “Lock when Going to Sleep”. This enables me to put the laptop to sleep and lock the screen simply by closing the lid as I have set that as the default action elsewhere in the Power Manager settings.

Now when I open the laptop rather than the unlocked desktop or the ugly XScreensaver window appearing I get the LightDM login screen. That looks much better particularly as I have customised it but that is a subject for another day.

Leave a comment

Filed under fedora, Korora, xfce

Korora 22 Released

Better late than never Korora 22 has been released. There are a lot of improvements in the new version but for full details see Korora Project.

Leave a comment

Filed under Korora

Conky Manager

Conky Manager is a simple way for those who aren’t familiar with Conky to start using it. I’ve mentioned before that I like Conky and have occasionally mentioned how powerful it can be. However making the first steps is the hardest part. It has a very steep learning curve so anything that gets you started is a good idea. That’s where Conky Manager comes in.

Cm-Korora

Conky Manager comes with a number of preformatted Conkys and a search of the internet will locate several more packs that can easily be added to Conky Manager.

The screen shows a list of the installed configurations and below a preview of most. There is an option to recreate the previews. This is handy if you edit any of the designs as I did in the displayed example.

 

Once you’ve selected the design you want there are some options that you can set. These depend on the design but commonly let you choose the screen location and correct network interface and similar personalisations that are unique to your system. You can then start the Conky, set it to autostart whenever you restart the computer. If you want to customise it further you can open it in a text editor.

Conky Manager is available in the repos of most manager distros including Korora and Fedora. You can install it in Korora easily with sudo yum install conky-manager.

If you have ever been curious about Conky and wanted to try it there is no easier way than with Conky Manager, give it a go.

Leave a comment

Filed under fedora, Korora, linux

Korora 21 (Darla) Now Available

The final stable release of Korora 21 is now available. See Korora Project for full details.

Leave a comment

Filed under Korora, linux

KDE’s New Touchpad Settings

I’ve been testing KDE 4.14.3 on Korora 21 Beta over the last few days. As Korora 20 had the same version there is little difference between the two. However one change that is noticeable is the new configuration module for Touchpads. Korora 21 is based on Fedora 21 and so most, if not all, of this post applies to Fedora 21 too.

kdetouchpad

Although laptops and hence touchpads are very common, the options to configure them were very poor in the past. They worked but gave little choice in the set up. With the new module there are many more options for adjusting sensitivity. But there also some new options such as Palm Detection, and disable Touchpad while typing.

Another addition I particularly like is the option to disable the touchpad when a mouse is detected. This works well even with my Bluetooth mouse. There is even the option to ignore any detected advice. I guess this is for devices that may be incorrectly detected as a mouse.

KDE 4.14.3 may be one of the last versions of KDE4 as KDE’s Plasma 5 is out and will ultimately take KDE4’s place but for now the current version is great desktop.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under fedora, kde, Korora

Korora Project Releases Korora 21 Beta

The beta release of Korora 21 is now available. The Korora Project.site has the full details. As usual Korora is based on the latest Fedora release with all the latest updates included.

If you have any suggestions for improvement or issues follow the links there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Korora

Desktops, Drivers and Other Stuff

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some time switching back and forward between Xfce (my preferred Desktop Environment) and KDE. I once ran KDE almost exclusively but for various reasons I’ve been using Xfce for the last couple of years.

One of the reasons was the frequency of KDE to lock up. It would just stop running. I have long suspected it was a graphics problem but had no proof. I have  a nVidia GT240 video card and had been using the open source nouveau driver. After a recent lock up I was forcing a shutdown when the screen filled with nouveau errors. Although I prefer to use open source drivers where possible I decided to install the nvidia drivers from RPMFusion using Korora’s PharLap application.

All went well with the installation and it did solve the lock up problems. Doing a bit of research I found an old bug which has been kept current. As far as I can see there has been no action on it. Anyhow problem solved and now I have working Xfce and KDE desktops and can and do switch between them as I feel like it.

Speaking of old bugs a long time I reported a problem with landscape printing and after much investigation by many people it was narrowed down to cups-filters and an update provided which fixed the problem. Now some months later those packages were updated and the problem returned. I commented on the bug and straight away another update was provided along with an apology. Well done Jiri Popelka. I tested and provided karma to the update so hopefully it is making its way through the update system now.

I’ve been testing installations on a uefi system the last couple of days. I was surprised how simple it was with Korora and so also with Fedora. More details later but if you want a linux system on an uefi computer either as a single installation or a dual boot Korora is the way to go.

Leave a comment

Filed under computers, fedora, kde, Korora, linux, xfce