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Re: [gNewSense-users] A user's view

From: josh
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] A user's view
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 21:31:50 +1030

On Sat, 2013-12-28 at 21:25 +0100, Sam Geeraerts wrote:
Op Sat, 28 Dec 2013 13:10:52 +1030
schreef josh <address@hidden>:

> The first trap is in the choice of whether to let the installer do as
> it wishes with the whole disk drive. This, I now know, is the
> foolproof, perfect option.

Only if you don't want to keep the existing data and operating systems.

Well that's what I first expected. But no. When I later got fed up and told it to use the whole disk it neatly parted off the existing system and loaded up the new one. Unfortunately that was AFTER I had fudged things up and installed an empty copy of version 2, which it left quite intact.

You say you initially had 2 operating systems on the machine (gNS 2 and
Puppy). There must have been a boot option screen then as well. As far
as I know, boot selection screens (be it GRUB or the Windows boot
loader) have a countdown by default, because else you'd have to press a
button to continue the boot process every time you start the machine.
Maybe your previous boot countdown was longer or you disabled it.

1. I don't have - or want -  a windows anything.
2. Puppy wasn't actually installed - it was just a backup copy of the files from one of my other machines, copied into a spare partition. Yet the installer must have recognised it somehow.
I did previously always have to press F1 during the startup procedure but it didn't offer any options. That was the default, I never altered anything.

In any case, the countdown stops if you hit any of the arrow keys.

Thanks, I'll note that.

> I also had some problems trying to re-partition, when the
> installer said that one could always back out until the final step -
> but I found that I couldn't. Maybe the 'final' step is not obvious.

It doesn't literally say it's the final step, but the option you
choose is "Finish partitioning and write changes to disk". It then says
that it's going to write to the disc if you confirm. That's the
partitioner's way of saying "speak now or forever hold your peace".

Yes, that's exactly what I was expecting but when I reached that point it simply wouldn't go back.
The only button that was active was 'confirm', which doesn't exactly give a choice.

> What I did finally discover though was that, had I simply let the
> installer have the entire drive to play with, it would have gently
> installed version 3 without interfering with anything else and I could
> have copied anything I liked from version 2.

Only if you made a backup of version 2 or if it was on another drive.
"Entire disk" means wipe it clean and install nothing but version 3.

Well that's what I assumed at first. Not true, as I explained above. It just created a partition for itself and a swap partition and left everything else severely alone. Admittedly it had plenty of room on the 500gig disk.

> A few other oddities with version 3. 
> In the initial setup it asks for a root password but if I now try to
> log in as root it doesn't like the password that I gave it. However,
> when it finds me attempting something that requires root privileges
> it will ask for, and accept, that password that I set for root. And
> it will then let me operate as root for ever more, until I shut down
> the system. NOT a situation that I like. In version 2, I was either
> root or I wasn't, and I didn't - and don't -  like to stay as root
> any longer than it took to do whatever I'd gone there for.

Most applications that need root privileges will ask you for your own
password, either when they start or after clicking the button to unlock
it. I believe the former method has a timeout of 15 minutes, the latter
needs a password every time. I don't know how to get in your situation
without explicitly setting the required options.

No. It asks for the password for root and once it's got it if I later ask, for example, for a root terminal I get :

(I don't know why the screenshot highlights most of the text when I paste it into the email - it isn't like that when it appears on the desktop)

> Incidentally, I have tried to run xsane when I have root privileges
> but it remains uncommunicative. It did once give me a message saying
> that it couldn't find some file somewhere but I didn't copy it down
> and I am unable to provoke it into telling me again. And I can't
> obviously operate as root itself as I have no idea what password it
> is asking for.

Strange that it doesn't give consistent output. I found [3] that you may
need to run

/usr/local/Brother/sane/setupSaneScan1 -i

in a root terminal to install the driver properly.

Thanks. Unfortunately:

address@hidden:/# /usr/local/Brother/sane/setupSaneScan1 -i
bash: /usr/local/Brother/sane/setupSaneScan1: No such file or directory

address@hidden:/usr# cd local/Brother

address@hidden:/usr/local/Brother# ls

Gets me no further.

I find that I did copy this after all, on the one occasion when it appeared; but it doesn't help me much.

> Secondly, after a very short period of inactivity the system will
> demand my user password. I find this maddening and I am quite unable
> to discover where to adjust the delay.

You can set that in System -> Preferences -> Screen Saver. It was hidden
on my system, but I don't remember if I did that myself or if it's
hidden by default. In any case, Preferences also has an item to
configure the menu and make items visible.

Thank you for that small mercy. Maybe you should get a user of the immediately previous version to operate each new release and point out which everyday useful features have disappeared without trace. Having to grope around and guess where to find the things that were provided at your fingertips by the old version is a really senseless waste of time. I don't mean things that you set up yourself - just the defaults that came with the system.

> Oh, and I have lost the lower half of the Gimp display, with the
> settings for text font and sizes, and haven't a clue how to get it
> back. I use Gimp a lot and I suppose I will eventually find out about
> this new and irritating foible BUT IT ALL TAKES UP SO MUCH TIME -
> which I really would like to use more constructively.

There's a Windows menu item where you can select the windows you want
to see.
Yes, and it says that you can drop them onto the bottom of the main dialog box but I can find no way to make them stick to it.

> I'm sure that you have much greater problems; I just hope that yours
> are not just plain bloody stupid ones.

As I'm writing this I'm trying to determine whether my hard disk is
broken or just the DVD+RW disk which I'm trying to instal from. Not
something I want to spend my time on, but that's how it is.


P.S.: I'm not sure if you wanted to reply only to me or if you forgot
to reply to the mailing list. I prefer to have discussions related to
gNewSense on the gNewSense mailing lists (unless it's a touchy
subject). Unfortunately, I get about as much of those mails (and IRC
questions) in private as on the mailing lists. That seriously eats away
at the time I can spend on developing. I replied to you in private to
be on the safe side, but please consider using the mailing lists so
that others get a chance to answer and learn.

Good point. I'm happy to have anyone read what I say, especially when they take the trouble to correct my errors.
I actually replied to each of the others who responded but I'll do a bulk mail in future.

Thanks again. I'm sorry to take up so much of your time.


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