Related topics

The Netbook Newbie's Guide to Linux

The Big Easy

For another demonstration of the connection in Linux between the graphical front end and the underlying text files, let's take a closer look at the Easy Mode interface of the Asus Eee PC. The icons it uses, the way they're grouped, and the applications they evoke, are all defined in a single text file, /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/simpleui.rc. AsusLauncher is the name of the application that creates Easy Mode.

Eee PC Easy Mode

AsusLauncher in action

Before we mess with this file, we'll take the precaution of making a back-up. Open a terminal, switch to the /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher directory and type:

sudo cp simpleui.rc simpleui.rc.bak

Now we're ready to edit the file (see Box: Not So Simple). Xandros offers several editors, but as this is an XML file it would be smart to use the supplied editor, called Kwrite, as this has a fancy feature that understands XML structures and uses different colours to display the different XML elements.

While still in the the /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher directory type:

sudo kwrite simpleui.rc

There's a very handy crib about all this on the Eee User Wiki, including a suggestion for adding an appropriate icon to the Easy Mode if you're going to do a lot of editing to the configuration file. So my first edit was to add the following stanza:

<parcel simplecat="Favorites" extraargs="/usr/bin/sudo /usr/bin/kwrite  /opt/xandros/share/AsusLauncher/simpleui.rc"

icon="documents_norm.png"

selected_icon="documents_hi.png">

<name lang="en">Menu Edit</name>

</parcel>

This makes the simpleui.rc file very easy to get at, but changes aren't reflected until you restart AsusLauncher. I knocked off a quick and dirty script to do this, which needs to be run with root privileges:

#!/bin/sh
killall AsusLauncher
/opt/xandros/bin/AsusLauncher &

You'll need to save this as a plain text file - I simply called it relauncher - and then make it executable with a command like this:

chmod a+x relauncher

chmod is the Unix utility for "changing the mode", and "a+x" means "make this file executable for everyone on the system".

Sponsored: 10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity