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Linux tips and tricks for all users.

Themes for the Cinnamon desktop and some thoughts on Linux text editors you should try.

If you want some quality themes for the Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop; then this website is perfect: http://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/themes. The Cinnamon desktop is quite a stunning desktop for the Linux Mint 14 distribution; but if you want something simpler; the new MATE desktop will be better suited to you. I tried the MATE desktop out with dual monitors and it worked a treat; now I have gone back to one monitor to save power. The Ubuntu 12.10 distribution does not seem to support dual monitors at all; I recommend Linux Mint 14 as an alternative instead of Ubuntu; Canonical are making this distribution worse. It is a real shame; everything else works perfectly in Ubuntu except the support for dual monitors. Multiple monitor support on Windows 7 works better than it does on Ubuntu. I wonder how well the Unity desktop works on multiple monitors? The Fluxbox desktop works on multiple monitors; but the panel only shows on one monitor, leaving more space on the other for your applications. My new monitor is brighter and sharper than the old one; so I am better off just using one and saving power. I did not get to try out the experimental dual monitor support in the Linux kernel for the text console.

If you could have tty1 on one monitor and tty2 open on another showing the output of top(1) whilst you were working at the virtual consoles; that would be quite interesting; but I only use the text consoles extensively on my netbook when I am typing something up. Using the VIM editor is the best way to get something written. I have tried using the ed(1) editor as well. That is an old UNIX line editor that can be used to type up essays and a long dissertion without any distractions once you get used to the commands to append text to a file and how to save the text you have written. But VIM is easier and safer to use; I was writing text with ed once and I saved the text; but when I opened the file it was not there. So VIM wins. Most Linux distributions come with the vim.tiny command that is suitable for editing configuration files and writing out a long post. But I built VIM from source and installed it on Linux Mint 12 Debian edition. That is a nice and fast Linux distribution to run on a netbook. If you are interested in using the ed editor, here is a nice tutorial: UNIX ed tutorial. This editor is a very old UNIX editor and deserves a try to see how it works.

There is a big war between the adherents of VIM & Emacs; but they are both good editors. The Church of Emacs would prefer that everyone was using Emacs; but I know that some people like VIM and there is no point fighting over this. GNU nano is another good text editor that is very customisable and configurable. If you are using the Bash shell then there are many commands available for command-line editing that can make your day with the Linux shell easier. Bash command-line editing. This is a tutorial for Bash on the Macintosh; but the command-line shortcuts are the same on Linux. Most important are CTRL-c for stopping a running command, CTRL-p for retrieving the the last executed command and CTRL-z for sending a running program into the background so that you may use the shell whilst it is running. Use the fg command to bring the suspended program back to the foreground. The Bash shell is the default on most Linux systems; the FreeBSD UNIX distribution uses the sh shell instead; but I recommend installing Bash or tcsh instead as they are easier to use and manage. FreeBSD is lagging behind Linux in terms of hardware support though; Linux has GEM and KMS and FreeBSD still does not; therefore it will not work correctly with modern hardware.

Hopefully sometime in the future, the UNIX distributions will have the Kernel Mode Setting support that is built into the Linux kernel, but the Linux distributions are getting Steam from Valve and many cool games will be making their way to Linux. Unreal Tournament 2004, Doom3 and Quake 4 are available for Linux; if others had native Linux binaries; then everyone would be happier. Will the Steam Digital Rights Management be built into the Linux Steam client? I would assume so; Valve have to protect the intellectual property that they are offering for sale through the Steam client. Linux could be a good gaming platform. You could use a lightweight desktop like Xfce or Fluxbox and run your game with little overhead. That is why Linux is so good; you can run any desktop you wish; even Afterstep or Windowmaker. You are not forced to use Unity or Cinnamon.

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