How To: Fix Eye of Gnome / Cairo crashes when loading large images

If Eye of Gnome is crashing when attempting to load large images (think 10MB and up), you can typically fix it by modifying the kernel SHM (shared memory) settings – in this case upping the max shared memory to 512MB thus:

Try adding the following to /etc/sysctl.conf and run ‘sysctl -p’ or reboot:



This worked for me, so hopefully it’ll work for you also.


How-To: Fix Gnome 3 sessions failing to start

I recently changed my LMDE repos and did a full update/upgrade/dist-upgrade – which landed me with Gnome 3… only it didn’t work, and only fallback mode was available.

Unfortunately, fallback mode isn’t very good.

When attempting to start a Gnome 3 session proper, I was getting an error message like this:

Oh no! Something has gone wrong.
A problem has occurred and the system can’t recover.
Please log out and try again.
[Log out]

Then you had to click the [Log Out] button and start a fallback mode session if you wanted to actually be able to do anything with the machine.

So, I did a bit of googling and the easiest way to fix it that I’ve found is to go to the folder: ~/.config/autostart/, create file called Gnome-Shell.desktop (the name doesn’t really matter as long as it ends with .desktop) and the put the following contents in it:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=gnome-shell --replace
Name[en_US]=Gnome Shell
Name=Gnome Shell

BUT – for all this to work properly I had to do a little house cleaning first as I already had a “Gnome-Session.desktop” autostart item which was trying to start Gnome 2 (which isn’t even on the system anymore) and was causing mischief with the Gnome 3 session, so the safest way to do this is probably to:

  1. Create a copy of the entire ~/.config/autostart folder,
  2. Now you’ve got a copy in case things go wrong, go into the autostart folder and strip out anything you think might interfere (such as any existing Gnome-Session stuff),
  3. Add the new Gnome-Shell.desktop file with contents as above, and finally
  4. Log out then back in to a proper Gnome 3 session and you should be good to go!
Gnome 3
Gnome 3 window management is a bit different to the norm, but I'm finding it actually keeps things quite uncluttered...

I’ve got to say that apart from a few niggles (like the entire Ctrl+Delete to delete a file, Shift+Ctrl+Delete to permanently delete a file rubbish) I’m actually quite liking Gnome 3 so far – it’s a bit like Unity, but without crashing five times a day…

Not a bad start =D

How to: workaround .gvfs transport endpoint is not connected errors

Confirming that a work-around is to manually unmount the ~/.gvfs using:
$ fusermount -u ~/.gvfs

Then close/unmount all opened remote locations in Nautilus and log out and back in, again. This restores the .gvfs-functionality for me.


Works for me in XFCE Thunar too, though I can’t say I ever had this crop up for me under Gnome.

Note: Don’t sudo this command, if you get a permission denied error add your user to the fuse group and try again.

The correct way to add your user to the fuse group is to use the -a(ppend) and -G(roup) switches, giving you:

sudo usermod -a -G fuse <USER-ACCOUNT-NAME>

Warning: Be very careful to include both switches! If you just use the -G switch without the -a switch then the only group you’ll be a member of is the fuse group, which probably isn’t what you want…

If you did accidentally remove yourself from all groups (like I did), then to fix it you’ll need to reboot into a recovery console (you’re not in the sudoers group anymore!) and run the following as root:

usermod -G <USER-ACCOUNT-NAME>,adm,dialout,cdrom,floppy,audio,dip,fuse,video,plugdev,scanner,sambashare,lpadmin,admin <USER-ACCOUNT-NAME>

The first time you put in your user-account name you are specifying it as the first group your user is a member of (hence the account’s primary group), the rest are the standard Ubuntu groups which you might want to modify as required (i.e. add the vboxusers and any other groups you might be using). You can check the current group membership by running:





cat /etc/group | more

Tricksy hobbitses…

How to: Install XFCE (Xubuntu) on Ubuntu Linux

I’ve tried for months to get along with the standard desktop choices for Ubuntu 11.04, but none of the “big 3” are doing anything close to what I want:

  1. Unity crashes. A lot. And I don’t like having to click on an application icon multiple times to get a display of all open windows and then have to click on the window I want. For example, if you have multiple browser windows open, it just seems to pick the first one or a random one (as opposed to the last window of that application which was open) when you click on on the Unity icon for the app. And that sucks. I do like the menu integration into a single panel to save vertical space – but asides from that it’s just subpar.
  2. Gnome 2 doesn’t frickn work properly anymore and also crashes a lot (far worse than ‘back in the day’, and Deskbar doesn’t work anymore either), and finally
  3. KDE3 renders fonts really badly (yes, I did turn on and experiment with the sub-pixel hinting options) and although it can look quite nice, it just feels like a bodge. I spent hours trying to configure it properly and it was never as good as stock Gnome even after all the extra effort.

So, what options are left? Well, there’s LXDE (the Lightweight X Desktop Environment), and there’s XFCE (which Linus Torvalds recently switched to because he’s hating the desktop brokenness as well). I installed LXDE on my work laptop earlier, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with it which couldn’t be fixed up , but I installed XFCE earlier on the assumption that Mr. Torvalds knows what he’s talking about – and you know what? He does…

Some notes for if you decide to try out LXDE

In LXDE wireless networking doesn’t work right off the bat, so you might want to grab a copy of wicd before you plunge headfirst. Also, compositing isn’t natively supported with just LXDE, so you’ll also want a copy of xcompmgr, which you should kick off like this:

xcompmgr -c -f -F &

You can man xcompmgr once it’s installed to get all the switches, but for this example it just fades windows in and out nicely – and actually looks rather nice (not to mention blazingly fast).

I like LXDE, and if XFCE didn’t exist I’d use it without hesitation and be perfectly happy with it. Only XFCE does exist – and I choo-choo-choose that – at least for now. I also like the huge range of packages available for any *buntu, so that keeps me from jumping ship entirely. At the end of the day, it’s all up to personal choice about what features you absolutely must have, what features you would like, and your own personal preferences.

Step 1 of 1 – Install xubuntu-desktop

If you like dockbars you can use docky with XFCE without any arguments, but I kinda prefer a bottom ‘window-icon’ panel (ala Gnome 2) so I’ve just set things up that way on mine. And the entire thing goes on fine with the following simple command:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

It’ll drag in a whole heap of other dependencies, but it’ll all install nicely, at which point you just need to log out and log back in selecting Xubuntu Session as the desktop environment to use. Wireless networking worked straight away with no hassle for me, but in all fairness to LXDE, I only installed the LXDE package (and its immediate dependencies), and not the lubuntu-desktop package which (may) have straightened all that out.

The end result

After looking through the themes, adding a few bits and pieces to the top panel, and creating a separate bottom panel for the window-icons, this is what I’ve ended up with:

r3dux XFCE Desktop
First draft XFCE desktop - click for larger image.

Honestly though, I just couldn’t go on using a desktop environment that would crash if not once per day, then many times per day. I mean, really – WTF is with that? Why would you even ship a desktop windowing environment in that state? Since I actually like to get some work done and not have to be killing and relaunching processes all the time, XFCE is officially doing it for me at the moment. So no more unity –replace, s’long killall nautilus and sayonara panel has stopped responding – it’s time to be able to actually concentrate on getting some work done.

How To: Fix Gnome Icon Themes That Won’t Change

When configuring your Gnome appearance and icon themes in Ubuntu 9.10 do they keep reverting to some ugly defaults? Yeah, mine were too. The problem’s related to gnome-settings-daemon, as seen here.

The fix:

Modify the file: /etc/X11/Xsession.d/55gnome-session_gnomerc so that it contains the following two additional lines (shown in comments):

rm -f /tmp/session-is-gnome
BASESTARTUP=`basename "$STARTUP" | cut -d\  -f1`
if [ "$BASESTARTUP" = gnome-session -o \
        \( "$BASESTARTUP" = x-session-manager -a \
        "`readlink /etc/alternatives/x-session-manager`" = \
                /usr/bin/gnome-session \) ]; then
  if [ -r "$GNOMERC" ]; then
    . "$GNOMERC"
  touch /tmp/session-is-gnome

Then modify the file: /etc/X11/Xsession.d/99×11-common_start to contain only the following code:

if [ -f /tmp/session-is-gnome ]; then
  exec /usr/bin/dbus-launch $STARTUP
  exec $STARTUP

Fixed! Next!

Update: Although gnome-settings-daemon is definitely the guilty party here, the above fix doesn’t resolve it dying on login all the time, although it does increase the odds of starting correctly. If your icons switch back to some drab default, or other such off behaviour, check gnome-settings-daemon hasn’t died on start with ps -ef | grep gnome-settings, if it’s not running, you know it’s the problem. Will have to research this a bit more…