Per-application GNOME settings

Dear Lazyweb,

how the .... am I supposed to tell GNOME to use or not use an HTTP proxy for specific applications?

Sample scenario:

  • I want to use an HTTP proxy in Galeon (for anonymous browsing via Tor + Privoxy).
  • I do not want to use an HTTP proxy in Epiphany (normal non-torified browsing).
  • I do not want to use an HTTP proxy in Rhythmbox either. No need to tunnel all the Creative Commons podcasts and music I listen to through Tor.

Now guess what happens when I disable the HTTP proxy in Epiphany. It's disabled in Galeon, too. Enable it in Galeon, and Rhythmbox will use the proxy (thus slowing down huge downloads for no reason). Aargh.

Is it really so hard to have per-application settings? I mean, this isn't exactly rocket-science, right?

And yes, I do want to use all those applications at the same time. And no, I do not run a full GNOME desktop environment (I use IceWM, thanks), so I don't care about any GNOME-Desktop-Foo solutions — I just want each of those freaking applications to have their own settings.

OS Install Experiences - Part 4: Ubuntu

Note: This article is part of my OS Install Experiences series.

Next OS — the recently released Debian-derived distribution Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake).


  1. First, I downloaded a Ubuntu 6.06 CD image, burned it on a CD, and booted from that.
  2. The first installer screen allows you to choose between a normal install, "safe graphics mode", "check CD for defects", "memory test", and "boot from first hard disk". If you hit enter and wait a few minutes, you're dropped right into a fully working GNOME session (think Live-CD). No user-iteraction is required at all...
  3. If you like you can use the system for normal tasks already (web browsing, whatever). If you want to install Ubuntu, you click the "Install" icon on the desktop...
  4. After choosing the language, timezone (by clicking on your country on a nice graphical world map!), and keyboard layout, the installation begins.
  5. You must enter your user password (no root password, in Ubuntu you have to use sudo for everything which requires root permissions), user account name, and (ugh!) you must enter a full name (same annoying behaviour as with PC-BSD).
  6. The partitioning tool is graphical and quite easy to use. It takes ages to scan the disk(s) and partitions though (yes, I have quite a lot of them, but still)...
  7. That's mostly it, the installation of the packages starts now, and after it's finished, a window pops up asking you whether you want to reboot or continue using the Live CD for a little longer.
  8. What's noticeable is that I was not asked where or how I want to install a bootloader, Ubuntu simply scans the disks, tries to detect the OSes and writes itself into the MBR. Which sucks quite a bit, especially for more complicated setups like I'm using here. For example, it didn't detect the PC-BSD installation, so I can no longer boot that for now (need to fix GRUB manually).
  9. That's it, after a reboot you're dropped into GNOME and the installation is done. Pretty impressive how easy such Linux installations have gotten recently...


Continue reading here...

For those who care about SN9C10x based webcams

Sonic-snap screenshot
Sonic-snap-gui screenshot
Note: Yeah, I'm abusing the latest Debian flamewar meme for some attention mongering. Sue me.

A few days ago, I have tested my cheap, crappy webcam I bought more than a year ago for the first time. Using the latest SN9C10x driver (which is already included in recent 2.6.1x kernels) worked fine, i.e., the USB webcam was recognized.

I tried running sonic-snap (site is currently down, try the Google Cache) in order to get snapshot images and/or videos off the webcam, which initially didn't work. But I soon found out what the cause of the problem was and created a trivial patch which fixed the problem for me.

Then, after I made myself look like an idiot by reporting a bug against a non-existing sonic-snap Debian package, I finally sent the patch to the upstream author. I'll probably ITP the package, though, as I might be using the webcam more often...

I also tested the webcam with Gnomemeeting for some videoconferencing fun, which didn't work at first either. After some stupid guessing and googling, I finally found out that you need to apt-get install libpt-plugins-v4l2, which is not installed by default (why?). Other than that (and apart from the really, really crappy image quality of the webcam), it worked really nice...

Here's the exact lsusb output for Google to parse, other people might be searching for this info:

Bus 003 Device 003: ID 0c45:602a Microdia Meade ETX-105EC Camera

Freedom Is Not Having To Ask Permission

Did you ever wonder why you're involved in the Free Software community? What makes you spend all this time on programming, patching, packaging, documenting, bug-fixing, and generally improving Free Software? What keeps you motivated?

Dave Neary of the GNOME project has a very good explanation: Freedom.

Free software taught me that I could learn and grow without someone telling me that I could.

Freedom is not having to ask permission.

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