Remove Gnome Desktop Folder

If you run Gnome 2, by default Gnome will create a number of personal directories/folders for you. These include Videos, Music, Documents, Desktop.

You can easily remove Videos, Music, and so on. If you remove the 'Desktop' folder, Gnome will persist in recreating it, even against your wishes. This can create frustration and perhaps even a sense of helplessness.

Here's how to fix it so the deleted 'Desktop' folder is permanently removed.

Start gconf-editor and click:


Uncheck show_desktop

Exit gconf-editor.

Delete 'Desktop' folder.

Unfortunately, this removes your desktop contents such as Trash and any Icons or shortcuts you had.


Fedora Upgrade Using Yum

System Upgrade With YUM

Upgrading your Fedora, or other RPM based system using YUM is fairly simple. Once you follow a few basic commands your system will automatically upgrade to the latest release.

1. Back up your system

Use rsync, an external drive, back up to the cloud or any other means you have available to protect your precious data.

2. Clean Stuff

Find unused config files
Merge and resolve the changes found by the following script: yum install rpmconf; rpmconf -a Now find and remove old config which nobody owns: find /etc /var -name '*.rpm?*'

Now is a good time to remove packages you don't use - especially non-standard packages.

3. Find and review "unused" packages

You can find packages not required by other packages with the tool package-cleanup from the yum-utils package: yum install yum-utils; package-cleanup --leaves. These packages could be candidates for removal, but check to see whether you use them directly or if they are used by applications not backed by rpm packages. Remove them with yum remove package-name-and-version.
Another useful tool for cleaning up unused packages is rpmreaper. It's an ncurses application that lets you view rpm dependency graph and mark packages for deletion. Marking one package can make other packages leaf, which you can see immediately, so you don't have to run the tool several times to get rid of whole sub-tree of unused packages. Install with: yum install rpmreaper.

Find and review "lost" packages
You can find orphaned packages (ie packages not in the repositories anymore) with: package-cleanup --orphans. This will also show packages which have been partially uninstalled but where the "%postun" script failed.

4. Start the upgrade

Go to a text console
ctrl + alt + F2

log in as root, and go into runlevel 3

init 3

Update yum to latest version available in your Fedora version
yum update yum

Clean the cache
Then remove all traces of the version you are leaving from the yum cache in /var/cache/yum.

yum clean all

Upgrade all packages

yum --releasever= distro-sync

5. Make sure Fedora is upgraded

Distro-sync will usually take care of upgrades for the third party repositories you have enabled as well. Confirm with
 yum repolist

after the upgrade process is over. yum might complain about conflicts or requirements. That is probably because you have used non-standard repositories or installed non-standard packages manually. Try to guess which packages cause the problem (or at least is a part of the dependency chain) - uninstall them and try again. Remember to install the packages again if they are essential.
Ensure that all (new) essential packages from the new version are installed with

yum groupupdate Base

You might want to update other groups too, see

yum grouplist
For example

yum groupupdate "GNOME Desktop Environment" \
"Development Tools" "Server Configuration Tools" \
"Hardware Support" "Sound and Video" \
"Graphical Internet" "Fonts" \
"Games and Entertainment" "Printing Software" \
"Administration Tools" "Office/Productivity" "System Tools"

6. Preparing for reboot

Before booting you should usually install the bootloader from your new grub by running

/sbin/grub-install BOOTDEVICE
- where BOOTDEVICE is usually /dev/sda (If you get an error '/dev/sda does not have any corresponding BIOS drive' from that, then try /sbin/grub-install --recheck /dev/sda.)

Also, the order of init scripts could have changed from the previous version. A command to reset the order is:

cd /etc/rc.d/init.d; for f in *; do /sbin/chkconfig $f resetpriorities; done

Again, run package-cleanup --orphans to find packages that haven't been upgraded.

That's about it!

Chrome OS On Your Box

Google Shines

Unless you've been travelling the vast expanses of Siberia, the Amazonian forests, the north African desert, or a similar wasteland, you have probably heard of Google's Chrome OS. Following hot on the heals of their Google Chrome browser, the ChromeOS is designed primarily for laptops, notebooks, netbooks and will probably work on a tablet PC

To ensure, compatibility, speed and stability, Google restricted access to their OS. Primarily making it available pre-installed on new machines, to ensure a fast, stable, product for the user.

While following this line of logic, unfortunately it precludes users with existing hardware.

Ya know the scene, the machine ya bought with Windows pre-installed, which you tore off soon as you got it home, then quietly proceeded to install a Linux distro. Maybe Debian, Ubuntu, Arch or Fedora if you happen to favour RPMs.

Having wiped the evil empires efforts from your machine, and installed Linux, then you hear how good ChromeOS is on a light machine. Now you want to run ChromeOS. Only problem. Google does not offer a download site for their cool operating system. What to do next?

There is a way. Its not guaranteed to work 100%. Its not guaranteed to be headache free. But its still available to those that want it.

Hexxeh has been making ChromeOS available for download to the general public, since ChromeOS hit the streets.

hexxeh offers a daily release of ChromeOS that appears stable, and will probably work with your hardware.

ChromeOS is light, fast and frugal.

If you want to try it on your laptop or netbook, go to hexxeh website and download a USB image. Copy the image to your usb pen, and reboot your machine.

Try it, you might like it!

Using Yum

Yellowdog Updater Modified

Here's a quick simple howto for using YUM on a Fedora, Redhat, CentOS, or other RPM based system.

Update system
yum update

yum search package-name

Info on package
yum info package-name

Install packages. Automatic resolution of dependencies
 yum install package-name

Uninstall packages
yum remove package-name

List Packages
available yum list|less

List all installed packages
yum list installed|less

List all installed packages need updating
yum list updates|less

Cleaning of the system

Yum can leave a lot of chaff on the system. The files are stored in the /var/cache/yum/ directory.  RPM packages can use up a lot of space.

Clean redundant RPM files
yum clean all

Group install
yum groupinstall "groupname"

Remember to include quotation marks

Search package names
yum list something

Find name of package containing file
yum provides filename

List packages recently added to repositories
yum list recent

List software groups
yum grouplist

Install a software group
yum groupinstall "groupname"

Update a group
yum groupupdate "groupname"

Include a yes switch in your request
Use -y for yes

Include a cashe switch in your request
Use -C for cache only

That's about it!

Fedora Add MS Core Fonts

MS Fonts

To add MS Core Web fonts to Fedora, open a terminal and do:

yum localinstall --nogpgcheck

Restart your browser!

Emacs Dired Commands

Directory Editor

Dired is an extremely useful Emacs command set allowing you the ability to edit directories like files. Dired is invoked inside Emacs using C-x d, producing output similar to Bash 'ls -l' command. This allows file and subdirectory manipulation, which can be enacted immediately or marked for later execution.

Here's a list of useful Dired Commands:

C-x d  -- start dired mode
M-x dired -- start dired mode

Once dired mode starts the following keys effect the actions. Notice character input is upper case not lower.

d -- Delete
o -- open file in other window
v -- view file

C -- Copy
G -- Change group
M -- Chmod
O -- Chown
P -- Print
U -- Undo
X -- Shell command
Z -- Compress

C-g -- Cancel action

That's enough to get ya going!

Enjoy Yourself.


Free Bed By Any Other Name

In my efforts to find alternative means of travel accommodation I googled and checked out several forums with useful information for travellers. One site I came across was The idea behind CouchSurfing, being that if you need a floor or a sofa for one night, the good people making up the community of CouchSurfing will give you a bed down in a safe, warm, dry environment with no questions asked and no money demanded.

The site works hard to build a community spirit of fellow travellers, all willing to help and share. I feel its a grand, noble ideal that works sometimes.

I am sure you have been in a similar situation, where you hit a strange city, your only there one night, and wouldn't it be great to have a friendly host from the city, to offer you a free bed, coffee, breakfast, a chat, some site seeing, and other similar activities.

So like the good Netizen that I am I joined the site and paid my contribution of $25. Please note, this is not a "Joining Fee". This is a contribution. You can't join the site without a contribution, but its also not a fee. Err not sure how that one works, but it sure as hell looks like a joining fee to me. Oh Patrick you are the pessimist.

Of course if you are so moved you can "Contribute" more than $25, say $50, $100, or $200. There is no upper limit to how much you can throw into this communally spirited adventure.

Anyhow, I paid the minimum contribution and eagerly awaited verification. Ya see its a three stage process.

1. Join. Add your details and create a profile.

2. Make a contribution using a credit/debit card.

3. based in SF California, send a card to your home address, with a unique code. Enter the unique code and CouchSurfing knows you exist at that address.

After step 3 you are verified. Step 3 takes 4 - 6 weeks to complete, depending where you live in the world.

I joined and 2 weeks later I was jet-bound for Japan. I had already paid by credit/debit card, which is based at my home address. I am not going to hang around for another 2 - 4 weeks, rework my itinerary, just to get verified.

I am in Japan and I get an email from CouchSurfing asking if I have received my verification code. How do I know. I am spinning around the Nippon countryside. Anyhow, I don't let it get me down. I head out of Tokyo and aim for Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. I like Kyoto, its a wonderful place. So much to see. So many temples, monasteries, gardens, and an Imperial Palace too. Its a friendly place with a slower pace than Tokyo.

Allow me to digress for a moment. I will return to CouchSurfing soon. I stay a few nights at a Ryokan. This is a traditional Japanese Guest House. Tatami matting on the floor. Japanese bedding on the floor. Indoor Japanese garden. Low ceilings, Low doorways. Low Toilets. Low Showers. And plenty of banged heads. I have the cuts and scars on my scalp to prove it.

I am 6ft. 0in. Not overly tall for a Gaijin. But I can tell ya traditional Japanese homes are built with very short people in mind. The Japanese people are not particularly tall. Most Japanese, just about reach my shoulder. They can comfortable navigate a Ryokan with no great difficulty. I on the other hand, banged my head at least 6 - 8 times a day.

I love Japan. And I loved my time there, but I am just too tall for this place. Gimme dimensions that fit my frame. As I said earlier, I am not particularly tall. At School I was not the tallest kid in my class. Other kids towered above me. But I am just too damn tall for Nippon.

Back to CouchSurfing. I figure, look there are so many CouchSurfers willing to help, meet and host other CouchSufers, I should give it a try. I log into the CouchSurfing website, and do a search on CoachSurfers willing to host (ie allow total strangers to sleep in their home, on the floor or the sofa) in the Kyoto area. I find hundreds of members. Next I query who will allow me to stay for one night.

In CouchSufing, members can have 5 states:

1. Coffee Cup - They will meet for a chat, or a drink. No stay.
2. Aeroplane - They are on the road travelling. No stay.
3. Circle X - No stay. No matter what.
4. Couch ? - Maybe you can stay. Email me.
5. Couch - You can sleep on the floor or couch.

When I searched Kyoto hosts, I found hundreds and hundreds of 'Coffee Cup' hosts. ie they will meet you for a cup of tea, coffee, beer and a chat. Maybe even show you some of the local sites.

If you have lived on the road at any time and arrived in a strange city at 5am, just got off the bus. Had little sleep cos the bus driver insists on stopping at motorway service areas every 2 hours, the last you want at 5am is a cup of coffee or tea and a chat.

You want, a shower to remove the road grime and wake you a little.
You want to change those sweaty pants and 'T' shirt and put on a fresh clothes.
You want a little sleep. Maybe even 2 or 3 hours sleep. Anything will do.

Back to the search. Results come in and by the hundreds, I have lonely hosts that want to meet for coffee and a chat. I found 2 hosts willing to allow a Gaijin to crash on their floor for the night. I do not exaggerate or lie. I found 2 hosts.

I email them both, via the website requesting a couch for the night. One of them took the time to respond, but two days after I left Kyoto. The other host did not bother to respond.

I thought maybe its me and the fact I am not Japanese. You must remember, most Japanese are very cautious people. They feel unsafe, uncomfortable, and vulnerable with strangers, and particularly tall white skinned westerners.

I thought maybe its just me and the Japanese CouchSurfers dont get on.

I want to move on from Japan to another country and look at possibilities. I am not sure where I want to go next. I just search on various countries that I may visit in the near future.

I search on Korea.

I find 10 willing to host.

CouchSurfing appears to be particularly strong in Europe. So I guess I will get better results there.

I search on Holland.

Of the hundreds and hundreds of search results, I find, 1 host. A single host. And that had strings attached.

I search on my home city of London, England.

Again, I get hundreds and hundreds of results. Again I find only 4 willing to host.

CouchSurfing boasts having over 3,000,000 members world wide.

For your elucidation, 2,999,990 are all willing to meet, have a cup of coffee or tea and a chat. As for the remaining 10 members willing to give you a Couch for the night. You will have to email them and see when they are not busy, or not on the road themselves trying to find an empty couch for the night.

In closing I must add. I did meet a few people in the forums that were genuine and willing to help. Not with a Couch or bed, but with advice, help, shared experience and other useful info.

I will leave it there.