Saturday, August 9, 2014

Gnome 3 - the Hud plus strengths

The top left hand corner of my Gnome 3 shows 'Activities'

Click 'Activities' to bring up a list of your favourite programs

Program not already a marked 'favourite'? - two options:

Press Alt+F2 and type the full program name


Press Super key and type first few letters of program name

The Super key way is a little shorter and gives you a visual feedback of the program icon before you select it.

If you find yourself regularly using Gimp and it is not already shown in the left 'Activities' icon list, then (whilst Gimp is open), right click it's icon in 'Activities' and choose 'Add to favourites'

If you have been using Ubuntu 12.04 and Unity, then the Gnome 3 way of doing things should feel a little familiar already.

Gnome 3 and Debian 8 / Ubuntu 14:

Gnome 3 is maturing now, and any Gnome 3.10 upwards, is a good desktop environment.

Some strengths of Gnome 3:
  • It is fast. If you are an Ubuntu user using a refurbished machine, then you will benefit from the extra speed of this iso install
  • It is perfect for folks leaving Ubuntu for another Linux experience.
    ( The left hand favourites bar and the hud way of doing things should feel familiar )
  • Chromebook fans who are familiar with the 'add-on' way of altering their desktop experience, will find a similar model in Gnome 3
Whilst Gnome 3 itself is mature, the distributions themselves will need time to integrate Gnome 3 effectively.

Packagers and bug fixers will find the first year of Gnome 3.10 / 3.12 availability in their favoured distribution, a bit of a learning experience.

  • "Is that a question or a bug?"
  • "Is there a gnome shell extension for that?"
  • "Where are the pre-packaged gnome shell extensions?"
  • "Is it Gnome 3's job to integrate NetworkManager notifications or the distributions?"
  • "Where / how to warn of updates / update manager items?"
  • "Do I like the 'add-on' mentality of the new Gnome?"
  • "Do I consider Gnome 3 complete and usable yet?" 
There are many question and answer sources for Gnome, but for Gnome 3 particularly you might try this superuser link.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Android 'mount as mtp media' libmtp

So you have an Android tablet and want to connect it to your Linux desktop:

apt-get install gmtp libmtp-runtime

Now you should be able to start Gmtp and see a screen like the following:

Now in order to get the file listing you have to 'Connect', so use the icon / menus to do that.

But my mtp device cannot connect?

 Here are a list of possible issues and a suggestion for each
  1. Your device is not connected - check the cable
  2. Your Android usb setting is set to PTP rather than MTP
    ( Settings -> Storage -> Connect as -> MTP )
  3. Your Android device is not recognised (unlikely but possible)
    See (4) below. Usually this is for low volume devices / devices that are newly launched.
    Request it be added at this link
  4. Your version of libmtp is not recent enough.
    If running Debian 6 then upgrade to Debian 7 (wheezy)
    If you are running Ubuntu 12.04 then find a backport / ppa
    OR for the adventurous compile libmtp yourself.
And lastly (5) "You have libmtp installed but not libmtp-runtime"

libmtp-runtime is essential, but is only listed as a 'Recommends' when installing Gmtp

Solution: apt-get install libmtp-runtime

How would I know that libmtp-runtime is missing?

Your package manager can tell you certainly, but one symptom is an entry in the system log that says:
failed to execute '/lib/udev/mtp-probe'

For those interested in dependency details, a screenshot next (see last line in screenshot)

Screenshot shows that libmtp-runtime is only a 'Recommends' of libmtp

Notes and Further Reading:

If you use Ubuntu then you should prefix the apt-get commands shown above with 'sudo'

Which are the best tablets/phones for vanilla mtp support?

The bigger the company, the more tempted the internal engineers are to tinker and extend the mtp protocol.

You probably already bought your device, so this may be a moot point, but given the choice and with Linux connectivity a priority ...

Avoid Samsung and Sony and go for an alternative midrange  / generic option.

If Linux connectivity is not a priority or you intend to install and use the connectivity software supplied with the device, then this is a non-issue.