Open Office Presenter Console

I’ve been having issues with the presenter console on both my ubuntu machines since upgrading to Karmic (9.10). One is a Thinkpad T400 running kubuntu and the other is an aspireone netbook running ubuntu netbook remix. Neither wanted had a working installation after upgrade and I couldn’t get the plugin installed using the open office plugin manager.

I discovered that this plugin is now available through apitude – simply install the package and it should all work splendidly! I use the presenter console when I am speaking (which is quite often) to show the time and the upcoming slide, its a great tool.

Screen-Profiles – Improved Screen in Ubuntu Jaunty

I recently upgraded my kubuntu installation to 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope”. It turns out that they have added some very cool features to screen in this version. If you don’t use screen its its worth finding out more, certainly its a tool I now can’t live without.

The first thing to say is that if you have an existing .screenrc file, you don’t get any notification or prompt about the new features of screen, I was lucky and fell over the information. To get to the features:

  • if you have a .screenrc, rename it for a moment
  • aptitude install screen-profiles screen-profiles-extras
  • run screen

EDIT: From Karmic Koala (9.10) and later these packages are now byobu and byobu-extras – they work as outlined here however, just the package names changed.

The first thing you’ll notice is that there’s a whole lot more stuff going on at the bottom of the screen. I have had a custom .screenrc file which gave me tabs for a while, but now they’re part of the standard setup.

If you look in the bottom right corner you’ll see there’s an “F9 Menu” – yep, screen responds to a whole bunch of function keys! I’ll keep my traditional ctrl+a mapping I think, but you can reconfigure this to your hearts content. And look at the menu itself:

You can change the colour themes (more on that another day, I’m still playing with the settings) and you can also turn on and off a load of different widgets, basically lots of different system information. I’ve got most of it turned off on my laptop (since I already have a battery meter etc) but for a server this could be really useful. Examples:

I’m really happy to see Canonical improving this particular tool, and I wanted to mention it purely because existing users of screen won’t see the new functionality by default which seems like a bit of an oversight. If you’re a screen user, upgrade to Jaunty, try it out, and leave a comment on how it works out for you.

Kubuntu Freezing on Splash Screen after Jaunty Upgrade

Today I upgraded a bunch of machines to the latest Kubuntu offering, version 9.04, or “Jaunty Jackalope”. Well, it was all going a bit too well and when I came to upgrade my main work machine, a thinkpad T400, I ran into problems. There are a couple more kinks but I had one particular error which I wanted to blog about. When I upgraded and then restarted Kubuntu, it froze on the splash screen after showing three icons (up to the globe).

The problem was that the files in the ~/.ICEauthority directory were owned by root so couldn’t be written to by my user. I followed the instructions I found on this post where someone had exactly the same problem, and just chowning the whole directory to my user fixed the problem and allowed me to boot Kubuntu.

Hopefully if anyone else has this problem they’ll find either this post or the other one and also find the easy fix! If this works for you, leave a comment.