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Re: Well I am in XFCE for right now since LDXE keeps crapping out

On Mon, 21 Apr 2014 23:51:33 -0500
"c. marlow" <chris@marlows.org> wrote:

> Well I installed XFCE and the whole logging out and in and where my
> icons are going to be this time is very annoying and using the command
> to lock the icons
> sudo chattr +i ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons*
> then to unlock them sudo chattr -i ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons*
> DOES NOT WORK....... I can still log in and they're in a different
> order everytime...
> it says I am using xfce 4.8 right now fully up to date...
> Im so exhausted I just about give up on Linux, just about ready to
> scrape up the money, go to walmart and buy me a Windows Machine.. 

OK Christopher, take a deep breath, relax, look out the window at the
beautiful scenery. Allow your blood pressure to slowly descend. Life
is good, and it will be OK. Everybody gets in this frame of mind
sometimes, and we all just have to remind ourselves we work better
when not stressed out.

In this email I'll tell you what to do...

First of all, just for fun, check the RAM on this machine. Boot your
Ubuntu install CD (maybe Debian has this too, I don't know), and run a
memory test overnight. If you have any bad RAM, that explains a heck of
a lot, and a bad-ram machine will fail in various ways with *any*
operating system. If you feel technologically competent to do so, you
might want to go into the machine and wiggle the mobo and various wires
to make sure there are no hardware intermittents. Make sure the CPU fan
is spinning normally, and check that the CPU temperature is within
normal limits. After this paragraph I'll assume the problems are
software problems...

But first, let me digress. In my teens and early 20's, I learned a heck
of a lot about the human-machine interface, by fixing up dumpsterized
bicycles. Every newly acquired bicycle had its own idiosyncrasies. Some
steered to the left, some steered to the right, some were oscillatory,
and some were so stable I could ride no-hands all day. Invariably, on
fixing up a newly acquired bicycle, I'd say "this is a piece of shit!".
But within a week, I found that I'd compensated for its idiosyncrasies,
and if felt like I'd been riding the bike all my life. I had subtly
changed the way I operated the bicycle to match the bicycle's unique

I guess what I'm saying is this: Life is much better if the user doesn't
demand an exacting specification for how a new machine (or desktop
environment) presents itself. As an example, let's take Xfce's use of
desktop icons, which apparently keep rearranging themselves...

Xfce (and all other operating environments) offers a rich set of
alternatives to desktop icons. It would be nice if desktop icons
worked, and you're probably used to working with desktop icons, but
there are other things you can do:

* Disappearing vertical panel on the left containing all your most used
  commands. Configuring a little 6 pixel "no window" margin on the left
  prevents this from colliding with the leftmost portion of your
* Use the menu, either via the mouse or the keyboard.
* Use xfce4-appfinder to run the app. xfce4-appfinder is such a
  wonderful program that, no matter what Desktop Environment I use, I
  always install Xfce just for xfce4-appfinder, and always put a hotkey
  to run it from the keyboard.
* Use yet another Desktop Environment. There are dozens of them. IMHO
  stay away from Unity, KDE and Gnome: They're buggy pigs. But of
  course, your mileage may vary. One nice thing about Linux is you have
  literally dozens of desktops and window managers from which to
  choose, and you can run many apps from one Desktop Environment within
  another Desktop Environment.

There are probably a dozen other alternatives that I don't even know.
The point is this: The most difficult moment you'll have with a new (to
you) interface is right now. It gets nothing but easier as you find
those little tips, tricks and shortcuts to make it more productive.

This becomes important now that you're considering moving to Windows.
Windows 8 is the craziest user interface I've ever seen: It makes Unity
or Gnome3 look intuitive and productive. And of course, without
installing third party addons, Windows has no choice of desktop

Windows 7 is a lot like Unity or Gnome3: It tries to guess for you what
apps you want to access. That might work for some folks, but I use too
wide a variety of apps to do that. Oh, and if you've gotten used to
having four or eight workspaces to toggle between, prepare to lose that
ability moving to Windows: As far as I know, Windows doesn't have the
workspaces that Linux window managers have possessed since the turn of
the century.

In short, if you think Linux displays surprising behavior that will
trip you up, post-XP Windows is much worse.

Now let's address your problems with LXDE...

If you were using Debian Stable (Wheezy) with LXDE, and LXDE degraded
every few hours, that's very unusual. Wheezy is usually dead bang
stable, and LXDE is the most stable and unsurprising taskbar-based
window manager I've ever seen. That's what led me to think about

I'm not sure whether I read you correctly, but it sounded like LXDE got
shakier after you installed MSCORE fonts. So don't install them.
Install the Liberation fonts: Mono, Serif, and Sans. They're geometric
equals of Courier-New, Times-New-Roman, and Ariel, respectively. And
they're legal to embed in documents you send to others: Strictly
speaking, Microsoft's Truetop fonts are not.

If I were in your shoes, I'd do the following:

1) Do enough tests to make it probable that you have no hardware

2) Back up any data you have.

3) Take a half hour to do a Debian Wheezy *network install* on this
   machine. Do the Expert Install, which is nCurses based rather than
   graphical. Mostly take the defaults: I usually even let Debian
   partition my whole disk. However, in the part that asks you what
   components you want to install, unselect Debian Desktop. This should
   be a minimum CLI install: You can install other software via apt-get
   install once you have a nice, stable machine.

4) When you're doing other activities and don't need your computer,
   perform the following command, which could take an hour or more to
      apt-get install lxde
   The preceding command must install the entire X system, so it takes
   some time.

5) Install the bare minimum apps you need to do your daily activities:
   Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and the like.

6) After booting your computer, run the startx command to get into GUI.
   If you're concerned about security, there was a recent thread with
   several ways you can make it so nobody without your password can get
   to the Ctrl+Alt+F1 virtual terminal.

Perhaps your LXDE problem was just some glitch in your original
install. Like I said, I've never seen LXDE malfunction in any way:
Every time I've seen LXDE, it acted identically to every other time. So
I'm hoping it's just some sort of install glitch.

HTH, and please don't give up on Linux.


Steve Litt                *  http://www.troubleshooters.com/
Troubleshooting Training  *  Human Performance

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