Posts Tagged ‘X-Windows’

Zepto Znote 3215W with Debian Testing/lenny

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Zepto Znote 3215WAs my old Asus M2N laptop got older and older, and for some reason slower and slower, I decided to buy a new one. I ended up gettinng a Zepto Znote 3215W with a few customisations. There were several reason for this choice:

  • Zepto has very competive prices,
  • Zepto will sell laptops without an OS preinstalled – no involuntary Microsoft tax,
  • laptops can be customised as you want them,
  • and then this quote: “Works with Ubuntu Linux. 3215W is tested and will work together with Ubuntu Linux 7.10 beta, Out-of-the-box. For Wifi you will need to use the Intel Pro/Wireless 4965 netcard.”

The specs of mine are:

  • Intel Centrino “Santa Rosa” chipset
  • Intel Core2 Duo CPU T5450 @ 1.66GHz (*)
  • 2 Gb DDR2 800MHz RAM (*)
  • 120 Gb SATA harddisk 7200 rpm (*)
  • DVD-RW DL drive (*)
  • 15.4″ WXGA “Crystal Clear” display at 1280×800
  • Intel GMA X3100 graphics chipset
  • Intel Pro/Wireless 4965AGN wireless network adapter (*)
  • Broadcom NetLink BCM5906M network adapter
  • Broadcom internal USB bluetooth adapter (*)
  • Ricoh Firewire adapter
  • Ricoh SD/MMC card reader

The items marked with (*) are where I have asked for changes or additions to the default configuration.

It is a fairly large laptop, measuring 36ร—27ร—4cm and weighing 2.8kg which is OK for the kind of semi-stationary work I do currently.


Most parts of the laptop work immediately with little or no manual configuration on a Debian Testing install, but there are several parts that doesn’t. Most of these seem to have a solution on the way. Zepto states that the laptop is fully Ubunto 7.10 compatible, but not everything went that smooth with Debian.

An install of Debian Testing (lenny) with a Linux 2.6.23 kernel leaves these parts non-functional:

and these only partly functional:

  • X server sometimes fails to restore textmode correctly
  • Touchpad not recognised but it still usable
  • ACPI works only partially
  • Minor issues with sound and headphones

and these require an extra effort to get fully functional:

  • Compiz window manager
  • SD/MMC card reader
  • Keyboard hotkeys


Compiz 0.5 in Debian unstable

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Compiz 0.5 arrived in unstable a while ago. I usually run testing, but the Compiz 0.3.6 I used came from experimental. Unfortunately, an installation of Compiz 0.5 from unstable on a testing system would update libc6 and hence almost all of the system to unstable. I waited.

Compiz in actionThe libc6 update passed into testing recently, and I upgraded Compiz from unstable afterwards. Disaster.

Initially, Compiz started, but all windows were empty, blank, void. The windows were there, I could click on links in a browser window, but I could see nothing but a blank window. Pop-up menus didn’t even display, though they too were there, but invisible.

After much experimenting and searching and reading fora and blogs (using a Metacity session), I discovered that I needed to update the the latest version of xserver-xorg-core from unstable. That solved the blank window problem.

Now I could see the content of my windows. It is actually quite nice, once you’ve tried the opposite ๐Ÿ™‚

The windows had no decorations, however. No titlebar, no borders, but naked and ashamed.

This was a bit harder to solve, but in the end I discovered that the package “libdecoration0” had version 0.3.6, so it had not been upgraded for some reason, probably due to an unversioned depends rule in the Compiz packages.

A manual upgrade of libdecoration0 solved the problem, and now Compiz 0.5 works very well on my little laptop.

Xprint font nuisance

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Xprint has some font issues which causes letters to run together in a rather unreadable way, a bit like in ancient greek where they didn’t write the spaces between the words ๐Ÿ™‚


The solution is to remove the copy of the PostScript fonts Xprint installs for itself

rm -fr /usr/share/Xprint/xserver/C/print/models/PSdefault/fonts*

and restart xprint

/etc/init.d/xprint restart

It still isn’t beautiful but its a lot more readable

Xterm and the clipboard

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

It has long been an annoyance that xterm doesn’t follow the same rules with regard to the clipboard as most GTK/Gnome applications.

Xterm by default only uses the PRIMARY selection for copy and paste, and follows the implicit selection model where the selection is set immediately when text is selected with the mouse, without any further action from the user.

Most GTK/Gnome applications uses both an implicit selection model with the PRIMARY selection, and an explicit selection model with the CLIPBOARD selection.

I don’t know of any way to get xterm to behave like most other applications, but this little set of X ressources will enable the use of the CLIPBOARD selection in xterm, when the Shift key is down.

XTerm*VT100.Translations:    #override
	Shift<Btn1Down>:		select-start()

	Shift<Btn1Motion>:		select-extend()

	Shift<Btn1Up>:			select-end(CLIPBOARD)

	Shift<Btn2Up>:			insert-selection(CLIPBOARD)

	Shift<Btn3Down>:		start-extend()

	Shift<Btn3Motion>:		select-extend()

	Shift<BtnUp>:			select-end(CLIPBOARD)

Transparent cursors in XFree86

Monday, November 15th, 2004

My laptop used to have these fancy semi-transparent cursors, but my harddisk died and after a reinstall they were gone – just like that.

It took me a while to figure out how to do it. The cursor theme is called “whiteglass”, and it can be enabled in two ways. The easiest is to set the environment variable


before starting the X server.

The other option is to change the file /etc/X11/cursors/core.theme to read:

[Icon Theme]

Before the change it will say “core” instead of “whiteglass”.

Some people find the cursor too hard to find on the display when it is white and semi-transparent — and sometimes they’re right — and for them there is the theme “redglass” with red semi-transparent cursors. I find it a bit too intrusive, visually.