Linux. Control over window and font colors and font sizes

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by John Doe, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Apparently my new flight simulator (X-Plane 10) run significantly
    faster in Linux than in Windows. But I also need white text on a
    black background (I have trouble reading on the surface of a
    virtual lightbulb).

    The simulator installed easily for me on
    (ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso). But I need to configure the
    graphical user interface (GUI). So then I tried
    (kubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso). The IDE is configurable, but I'm
    having a horrible time figuring out how to install the flight
    simulator on that one.

    Can I use (kubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso) with the "GNOME Tweak
    Tool" or anything similar? I need extensive control over window
    text size and window colors.

    The K Desktop Environment (KDE) is okay, if I can install the
    simulator. Also, I would like a long-lasting flavor of Linux.

    John Doe, Jun 16, 2012
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  2. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    IDE = integrated device electronics
    but it has nothing to do with my post
    John Doe, Jun 16, 2012
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  3. John Doe

    John Doe Guest


    IDE "integrated drive electronics"
    About 314,000 results

    IDE "integrated device electronics"
    About 227,000 results
    John Doe, Jun 16, 2012
  4. John Doe

    Paul Guest


    Linux ? To play a game ?

    Boy, are you a glutton for punishment.

    Especially with the most recent Ubuntu stuff, home
    of the miserable Unity interface.

    Does your game work in both Gnome and KDE, or
    is the control console only intended for
    one of those ? That's only important if the
    game expects to fit into the rest of the
    desktop appearance. You can still run
    vanilla XOrg programs, under any window

    You can run elements of both. For example, Ubuntu
    is Gnome. If I ask package manager to install
    K3B burner program for burning CDs, it sucks
    in 110MB worth of KDE libraries as part of
    the installation. And still works.


    In the "glutton for punishment" department, you can
    install the server version of Ubuntu, then install
    GUI components on top of that. I would *test* how to
    do that in a VM, rather than do that to the machine
    directly. The purpose of doing it that way, is so
    you can use the machine for other things (like, searching
    for answers in your real OS, while fighting with the
    install). You write down the steps as you go, then
    repeat the misery in a real-mode server install later.

    Server installs happen without a GUI, so you'll be
    doing much of your work from the command line. You should
    learn which keys allow you to switch command line
    windows (like ctrl-alt-f2, ctrl-alt-f3, ... kinda thing).
    This comes in handy, when your current command line is
    stuck for some reason.

    This is the server version of 11.10, installed first,
    then XOrg and Gnome installed after that. While
    the branding is Ubuntu, in many ways the results looks
    more like Debian. This was relatively easy for me
    to do, because I've been through this "manual GUI"
    exercise before. I don't think I can recite from
    memory, all the steps. I just play it by ear
    (fumble around) when I get there.

    From this page, I should be able to get an install
    log, of the packages added. Hmmm. It looks like
    any package installed, before Synaptic was installed,
    isn't logged in File : History. So I can't tell what
    I installed, and in what order. For example, when
    I look in Synaptic now, it looks like Xorg isn't installed,
    and you can't run a GUI without something like Xorg

    I expect you'll be using a Nvidia developed or
    ATI developed Linux video card driver. Those would
    have better OpenGL performance than the vanilla
    Nouveau or equivalent. At least, when I use
    the craptastic GLXGears to test, I get better results
    with proper drivers. (You only install "proper" drivers
    in the native install, not in your VM bootstrapping
    exercise install.) NVidia divides their driver
    versions into three. Older cards get support cut
    off, so an older card uses an older driver. Only
    the relatively modern cards, work in the highest-version-number
    driver. My card is old enough, it probably uses
    the oldest of the three Nvidia drivers. On some
    distros, the OS is pretty good at picking the
    right one for you. Or, if you do it yourself
    (i.e. read instructions on Nvidia site,
    use package manager manually), then it's up to
    you to download the right package. Once you
    do that, then things like updating the kernel
    package, will no longer work (as tainted drivers
    aren't "supported" and not updating the kernel
    is their way of saying "piss off" :) ) . So if you
    felt the need to update the kernel version, you'd
    probably do that before applying the tainted driver.

    It's a lot like driving a tractor trailer, by
    sticking your feet outside the cab and dragging
    them on the street, and hoping the friction
    will pull the truck left or right...

    Paul, Jun 17, 2012
  5. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Microsoft's Flight is a game. Laminar Research's X-Plane 10 is
    a flight simulator. I'm suffering a bit from infatuation. Its
    outstanding feature is real looking roads, that is something
    Microsoft never bothered to include in its prior flight simulator.
    I always wanted to fly around my city in a (simulated) helicopter
    or light aircraft and be able to see the roads as they really are.
    Because X-Plane is a flight simulator, it's difficult to get
    started, but it's very configurable and grown-up looking.
    It looks okay to me. As long as I can figure out how to change
    font sizes and window colors.
    I don't really know. I guess Gnome, since I had so much trouble
    attempting to install the simulator in KDE. It's the installer EXE
    that has to work, first. The simulator will run once it's installed.
    It's made for Windows, Mac, and Linux. And even ultraports, I guess.

    Requires the program DVD. They have a demo available. Apparently,
    to run well, it requires a modern computer with a good 1 GB video
    card. Don't know how much an SDD will help. My 4 GB of installed
    system memory is plenty. So is my quad core 2.83 GHz CPU.
    I'm planning to try the non-KDE flavor again
    (ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso). And add some utilities like
    Ubuntu Tweak and/or MyUnity and/or Gnome Tweak Tool.

    I will start making categorized backups of these dual-boot things,
    at least the initial installs. My hard drive provides plenty of
    room for that.

    Windows 8 is a complete turnoff to me.
    Windows XP might be my last Microsoft operating system.
    But of course that depends on application requirements, too.

    John Doe, Jun 17, 2012
  6. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    I have DSL enabled in the Linux installation. Should I be concerned
    enough to grab a firewall right away?

    John Doe, Jun 17, 2012
  7. John Doe

    Paul Guest

    Modem --- Router --- Linux computer
    --- Computer #2
    --- Computer #3
    --- Computer $4

    If you're doing that, the router has NAT (NATP), and translates LAN:port
    to WAN packet. And NAT is intended to stop trivial "browsing" of the
    computers, from the outside. NAT was invented, partially as a way to
    extend IPV4 network addresses, so not as many would be needed. You
    have one public address, out of the addresses available, and it's shared
    by all the computers on your LAN side.

    If you're doing this:

    Modem -------------- Linux computer
    (bridged (terminate PPPOE protocol,
    mode) IP address is "public",
    use a firewall)

    then that's more dangerous. If I was contemplating doing the second
    diagram, I'd do the Linux install using the first diagram, until
    I was comfortable that the Linux box was "secure". Then, I'd change
    networking config and do the second setup.

    The first setup, to allow someone outside to reach your computer,
    you set up Port Forwarding in the router setup page. With the
    first setup, if you want all external browsing to be forwarded
    to a particular computer (for a gaming server), then you use
    the "DMZ" feature, to Port Forward everything to a particular
    LAN side computer (very dangerous). With no Port Forwarding,
    there is less chance for stuff to get in.

    In the second setup, it's open season. Anyone scanning your public
    address in the second case, is scanning the computer directly.
    And the Firewall is there to stop them. The response the Firewall
    makes is important, in the sense that "NACKing" a packet, tells
    the perp you're there, and you could use some more scanning. Whereas,
    a "stealth" setup, may throw away certain information. For example,
    my router has IdentD packets forwarded to a non-existent computer
    address. And that means, if someone sends to the IdentD port 113 on
    my router, there is absolutely no response back to them.

    Paul, Jun 17, 2012
  8. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Apparently my new flight simulator (X-Plane 10) run
    The difference in speed seems remarkable. Startup times are hugely
    faster in Linux. I guess it's disk access, or CPU, or video.

    That theory can be tested by anybody using the demo for free. I'm
    using XP, maybe Windows 7 would be faster.
    John Doe, Jun 17, 2012
  9. John Doe

    Paul Guest

    It might be faster still, if you build a custom install using
    Gentoo. You can tell the Gentoo system to compile the OS
    for "Core2", and it uses whatever code optimizations exist for
    Core2. That can be a bit faster than the "generic" kernel
    a pre-packaged OS comes with. (Say, 5% faster)

    (Example of Gentoo make.conf file)

    # These settings were set by the catalyst build script that automatically
    # built this stage.
    # Please consult /usr/share/portage/config/make.conf.example for a more
    # detailed example.
    #CFLAGS="-O2 -march=i686 -pipe" <--- original line was generic 686
    CFLAGS="-O2 -march=core2 -pipe"

    # WARNING: Changing your CHOST is not something that should be done lightly.
    # Please consult before changing.



    FEATURES="distcc" <--- use a second computer to help with compiles

    MAKEOPTS="-j4" <--- simultaneous compiler runs...

    # In this line, Paul turns off the hated PulseAudio option...
    # Opting to build with ALSA sound instead. This build was
    # done inside a VM virtual machine, and the VM didn't have
    # good enough real time performance for the PulseAudio design.

    USE="policykit device-mapper extras gdu nptl nptlonly -ipv6 -fortran \
    unicode svg -hal dbus -kde qt4 -arts -eds -esd gnome gstreamer gtk \
    firefox -pulseaudio sqlite cairo X \
    a52 alsa dvb dvd ffmpeg ffplay flac lame mad mpeg off theora vorbis xv \
    jpeg jpeg2k tiff png raw aalib svg \
    dirac faac frei0r mp3 vdpau x264 xvid \
    consolekit udev cdda samba sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 -vdpau"

    VIDEO_CARDS="s3 vesa"

    It takes hours to do though. But you've got good hardware
    for the job, because the more cores your processor has
    got, the faster the compile goes. To build the GUI component
    of Gentoo, takes about 10 hours on my laptop... With your
    processor, perhaps 2 or 3 hours.

    The only way it could get more geeky, is with something
    like "Linux From Scratch".

    When Gentoo becomes a biatch, is when you don't update the packages
    for six months, they've made major changes, you go to update and
    everything is broken. And, they manage to break both forward and
    backward package movement, so you're screwed. I had to redo my
    VM machine above, because of that. At least I got to keep the
    make.conf file, as a souvenir.

    Paul, Jun 17, 2012
  10. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    "64-bit PC (AMD64) desktop CD"

    For my Intel Core2 Quad Q9550?

    That sounds great if it works as well as the one I'm using

    "PC (Intel x86) desktop CD".
    The Gentoo problem you are talking about includes this Linux
    version I mentioned above, right?

    "64-bit PC (AMD64) desktop CD"

    Is that problem prevented by keeping incremental backups of the
    operating system partition? The installation stays clean, since
    the only time you back it up is shortly after restoring it and
    making important changes. Or are you talking about something else?

    Or, is that problem solved by updating the operating system more
    frequently, so that the updates are in smaller increments?

    John Doe, Jun 17, 2012
  11. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    That was a letdown. Libre Office 3.5 took forever to open my notes
    file. Then, I tried the X-Plane 10 installer, no go. I figure the
    Linux installer is intended for 32-bit systems. The publisher
    talking about X-Plane running okay on a 64-bit system probably
    wasn't thinking that many people would actually try. Or maybe
    those who try would be using 64-bit Windows that can run 32-bit
    programs. I suppose there might be something that can be done
    about that in ubuntu Linux. But I have a nice copy of the 32-bit
    installation ready to go. And it runs very well, so I'll just
    leave well enough alone.
    John Doe, Jun 18, 2012
  12. John Doe

    Paul Guest

    Gentoo is available in 32 bit or 64 bit versions.

    When they say "X86", that's probably the 32 bit version.
    If it says "AMD64" or "X86-64", those are 64 bit and the same thing.

    If you use the "file" command in Linux, it'll say "PE32" for 32 bit
    or "PE32+" for 64 bit code.

    file /bin/ls

    I don't think Linux uses two Program folders to keep track
    or anything. You can run 32 bit Adobe Flash in a 64 bit Linux
    OS. And at one time, I think Firefox was 32 bit as well, in
    a 64 bit Linux. As the 64 bit version wasn't ready.

    The package manager will likely only allow one or the other
    to be installed at any one time (as the executable would
    have the same name, and be stored in the same /bin type

    So it's not exactly like 64 bit Windows, where they give you
    both 32 bit IE and 64 bit IE on the same install.

    Paul, Jun 18, 2012
  13. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    This isn't looking good.

    There are a couple of utilities I haven't tried yet, but I have
    seen complaints about ubuntu Linux moving away from User Interface
    customization. That's really too bad. Software is infinitely
    workable. If there were a car that the buyer could customize from
    one day to the next with the press of a few buttons, it would sell
    like hotcakes. The operating system is for running programs.
    Otherwise, it should allow the user to make it look however he
    wants it to look. Limiting an operating system user interface to
    whatever the maker wants to be is ridiculous. That's why Windows 8
    sucks. There is no option to make the appearance like the classic
    Windows, so that you can adjust stuff. It looks like Microsoft's
    Windows update garbage website. You use control plus the mouse
    wheel to increase font sizes, and half of the damn fonts stay the
    same freaking size. What a bunch of doo-doo.
    John Doe, Jun 21, 2012
  14. John Doe

    Paul Guest

    The bottom line is, with Linux, with some effort, you can find source.
    So if something is bothering you about a design, you can get to the
    bottom of it. (I.e. Try downloading the source for Firefox sometime.
    Something like 1.2 million lines of code, and almost impossible to
    follow program flow.)

    In the "good ole days", we used to take application software, pop the binary
    into a hex editor, and search for XRDB resource entries. The application
    may store defaults that it uses the first time the application is run.
    And knowing the name of the resource, it would then be possible to
    add the named resource (to a file like .Xdefaults), and try different
    values with it, to see what happens. Plenty of application level problems
    or setup issues, could be attacked that way.

    This is similar in concept, to what you see in Firefox when you do
    "about:config". Those settings, the hierarchical concept used for them,
    is related to how Xdefaults worked in XWindows applications.

    If you're expecting to find a tutorial site, to change everything
    on your Linux screen, it's probably not going to work out that way.
    You have to be a lot more creative, to make progress.

    The X Consortium, at one time, made an application for "tuning" application
    settings. Their "poster boy" was the XTerm terminal emulator program. And
    the tuning application would "talk" to XTerm, and display the settings. But
    that concept just didn't seem to catch on. And quite possibly, the
    "poster boy" was the only application that ever got equipped to use
    that feature. And then, you're left with the "search with a hex editor"
    or "read the source" as solutions to the search for answers.

    Paul, Jun 21, 2012
  15. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    If I'm not mistaken, that should allow for editing some of the
    included themes. And if they are at risk for being overwritten by
    updates, maybe the edits can be backed up.
    John Doe, Jun 21, 2012
  16. John Doe

    Paul Guest

    Or maybe you just redo it.

    I recommend keeping a README file, with the procedures you use that
    are successful. It's the only way to manage the level of
    complexity (multiple solutions, config files that have moved
    from A to B between releases, that sorta crap).

    I've tried to find a few things like that in the past, and it
    doesn't help that they're stored in dot folders.

    One of my pet peeves, is the usage of color in directory
    listings, causing a number of entry types to be printed out
    in colors that make the text impossible to read. So while
    you may change the background color of a window, there's still
    a danger that later, you'll regret your new color choice.
    And those colors, could be a shell function (prefs stored
    somewhere else).

    As for the Ubuntu themes in general, they could take a few lessons
    from Solaris. In Solaris, the elements of a window, tend to have different
    colors for contrast, the usage of drop shadows and so on. In Ubuntu,
    you can have several windows on top of one another, think you're grabbing
    the window by the trim at the top, when in fact you're accessing a menu
    item instead.

    The scroll bar they use, is another example. Just try and use it,
    and take your eye off it for a moment.


    By the way, on a completely unrelated topic, but perhaps of interest to
    you, I bought a USB flash key today. I was stuck in traffic, half way
    downtown, and decided instead to bail and go shopping. I picked up a
    Kingston USB key.

    And what a piece of crap! 16MB/sec on reads. Oh, that's good. That would
    be reading in relatively big chunks. No complaint with that (for a cheap stick).

    Writing in big chunks, results in a clunky 4MB/sec (average) transfer rate.
    It goes in fits and starts. Like the controller chip has a bug of some sort.

    The real fun (killer!) is small writes. Performance drops to 250KB/sec.
    That's five times the old floppy drive rate.

    And I could find complaints from people in product reviews, that performance
    as low as 4KB/sec can be achieved with the product I bought. I just didn't
    do a test case to get it do to that.

    Just goes to show, I shouldn't just grab the first thing I see on a
    small shopping trip.

    That USB key is so bad, during a resize2fs in Ubuntu, the operation
    actually stopped completely. All progress stopped. No error message.
    No indication in "iotop" of any I/O at all.

    I tried to kill the "resize2fs" program and it became a zombie. So
    the program was stuck in a kernel call.

    Then, I ran "lsusb", just to see the details of my USB hardware.
    And magically, that was enough to wake that piece of crap up again.
    The zombie process was then able to terminate and disappear
    from the process list. (And I could start the procedure over again.
    Luckily, I kept a backup of the original thing I was working on.
    But this time, I moved it to a hard drive, did the "hard part",
    then it took *15 minutes* to write it back to the USB flash stick.)

    And this is progress ? 250KB/sec or less ? I can't wait for the
    next generation. Will it work at 1200 baud modem speed ? Who
    needs capacity, when it runs so slow you can never fill it ?

    The product in question is Kingston DTIG3/16GBZCR. With some
    U3 like software ("urdrive.exe"), that I was able to delete
    before Windows could see it :) I checked for an "autorun.inf",
    before the bastards could spring it on me. Since I couldn't
    find comments about deleting it, I figured it was safe to
    just reformat (outside Windows). One of the reasons for using
    "lsusb", was to check to see if it had any composite devices,
    like a "read-only CDROM emulation" filled with software
    I wouldn't be allowed to delete. Using these things is just
    like inviting malware onto the computer...

    Not money well spent.

    Paul, Jun 21, 2012
  17. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Lots of possibilities...

    gnome color chooser

    gnome tweak tool, ubuntu tweak, advanced settings, (maybe all the
    same thing)

    gconf editor

    Editable installed themes are here
    John Doe, Jun 22, 2012
  18. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    And compizconfig-settings-manager.

    I'm lost in the settings world again.

    Must, remember, to back up stuff, first...
    John Doe, Jun 23, 2012
  19. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    /usr/share/themes/{theme name}/gtk-3.0/gtk.css
    /usr/share/themes/{theme name}/gtk-3.0/settings.ini
    /usr/share/themes/{theme name}/gtk-2.0/gtkrc

    That's part of it. But there are other settings locations. Currently,
    I'm trying to find the color settings for Nautilus and the Software
    John Doe, Jun 28, 2012
  20. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Apparently Nautilus background color corrected on the restart.

    The following line in the command prompt clears up the Software
    Center color problem.

    gksudo gedit /usr/share/software-center/ui/gtk3/css/softwarecenter.css

    Replace the first two line color codes with a dark color.

    @define-color light-aubergine #222222;
    @define-color super-light-aubergine #222222;

    It might require repeating when that program is updated.
    Apparently not all themes have those three files. But one of the
    default themes (like Ambience) can be modified if the user is not
    interested in looks. I just want to adjust the theme so it's not
    like reading on the surface of a lightbulb, and that only requires
    changing the colors.

    That appears to be the whole kit and caboodle for changing ubuntu
    Linux Unity 12.04 colors.
    John Doe, Jun 28, 2012
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