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.
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:
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".
I manage to get Mandriva 2009.0 going on my girlfriends AAO (she'd had enough of Linpus Lite!). To say that it was arduous would be an understatement - you have to install it via an external CD/DVD Drive or net install. Seems, though, to be the only distro whos wireless works out-of-the-box(ish). I have found that with each different distro there is a need to be initially 'hardwired' to the internet as the wireless device drivers rarely work straight away. To be fair wireless support is the only real problem I personally have had. Oh, and Mandriva takes an age to boot compared to Linpus. Still, it reminds me of the early days of hacking Linux to work! To be honest, the best way to get a distro up and running is to compile an up to date version of the kernel on the intended device and clear-out all the chaff so that you are only left with the module you need. If your device has an Atom processor, Intels C compiler is free for NC use...
Nice to see that...
...we've essentially reached the concensus that these "broken" netbook Linux GUIs are doing no favours for anyone and a "proper" GUI would give a much better account of.
Shame my comments to that effect on the previous two installments of this series were flamed to high heaven by two persistent individuals. No matter - the good will out.
Just replace the fisher-price interface with a proper linux gui and leave the underlying Xandros intact? Done that with my eee, and now don't leave home without it. Did £120 worth of work while waiting to see the dentist once - the thing has paid for itself several times over.