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.
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".
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Not So Simple
Unfortunately, Asus has been moving the location of this local copy around during recent software updates, so to keep things simple I'm sticking with the master file.
It's for the sake of simplicity, too, that I'm making these changes to the AsusLauncher by hand, rather than availing myself of the ready-made software solutions that Eee PC fans have cooked up. I'm certainly not knocking these useful contributions, but they tend to conceal rather than reveal the underlying principles. Once you understand these principles, by all means go ahead with offerings like these if you think they'll help.