Showing posts from June, 2008

SkinnyDebbie : an introduction

It has required more work than I originally expected, but I think SkinnyDebbie--a light-and-lean proof-of-concept "distribution flavorizer"--is almost ready for its first public release.

SkinnyDebbie is a scripted installation scheme that lets a user set up a light-and-lean Debian-based Linux system without a huge hassle. It should be especially attractive to users of systems that are not powerful enough to run the Gnome, KDE or XFCE desktop environments.

SkinnyDebbie's main job is integrating the following windowing and desktop components into an efficient desktop environment:
IceWM: a lightweight yet full-featured window managerROX-Filer: a fast and light file and desktop managerXDM: the classic display manager that is more resource-friendly than GDM or KDMDropline Nuovo!: an icon set that is more inviting than the default Gnome icons
It also installs a handful of utilities and other applications that you will need to have a reasonably smooth GUI system, and it does as muc…

DPI: part 1

Another example of "too much choice can be a bad thing" rears its head in the way that Linux renders text. The headaches arise out of the interaction between a few variables, some of which may or may not be known. Lets try to break this down a little bit.

Screen resolution
The easiest variable to understand in Linux's windowing/font-rendering system is what most people call screen resolution. It's also the easiest part for Linux's X.Org windowing system to get right. Screen resolution is simply a measure of the raw number of pixels used to draw your display. Common sizes are 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x800, etc. These are familiar numbers to Windows users.

The X.Org server installation process executes a command that 1) tries to determine what resolutions are supported by your connected display, 2) asks you which ones you want to use, and 3) writes a configuration file /etc/X11/xorg.conf that stores this and other information. Sweet. Easy.

Screen size
Screen size refer…