Thursday, April 30, 2009

how to change ktimetracker systray icon

My recent switch from gnome to fluxbox has been a happy improvement save one small detail. I had really gotten used to using the gnome-panel applets but I didn't want to muddy up fluxbox with the gnome-panel (even though you can run it as a subset). Long story short I found there was no good way to run gnome-panel applets without running gnome-panel and I started to look for new applications to fill the void.

Enter ktimetracker. ktimetracker is a handy kde application that can be run standalone. It offers a simple way to create tasks and track time against them. As an added bonus, the system tray icon for ktimetracker animates a clock moving when ktimetracker is tracking time against a task. The only downside is that the icon was small and it was hard to tell when it was animated and when it was stopped.

I found the icons used in the system tray as a bunch of xpms (active-icon-*.xpm) in /usr/share/kde4/apps/ktimetracker/pics . I figured if I changed the icons and restarted ktimetracker I'd be able to see the new system tray icon, but I was only partially right.

I replaced the icons and the system tray didn't change until I had rebooted the system a few time. I still have no idea why it switched (or why it didn't switch immediately) but at least I know where I can go to customize it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

why you should avoid putting Ubuntu Jaunty on a t60p

I excitedly installed the newest version of Ubuntu on my t60p and found out the following unfortunate facts.

1) The t60p (and many other tSeries laptops) have the Mobility FireGL V5250 video card
2) Catalyst (ATI driver) delayed the delivery of the 9.3 driver to cram as much function into it as they could. The reason they did this was because 9.3 was the final driver to support the Mobility FireGL V5250 video card along with a plethora of other cards. (Full list of unsupported cards here)
3) Ubuntu Jaunty makes use of xorg-xserver 1.6 which only supports the 9.4+ version of the Catalyst ATI driver

All this ends up meaning that the warning Jaunty throws when you try to update with an Mobility FireGL V5250 video card means a lot more than there will be degraded graphics after the update. The only driver that will work with xorg-xserver 1.6 is the Radeon opensource driver for ATI cards.

I'm a big fan of opensource, but the Radeon driver are just not ready for primetime. There is no 2d acceleration which means all the compositing and pretty graphics are gone. Since switching to Jaunty and the Radeon drivers I've noticed a serious drop in performance doing standard things like moving windows and switching desktops.

On the upside: moving away from the Catalyst drivers (fglrx) re-enabled suspend / resume on my laptop. I've also started using fluxbox again (

The only noticeable update from Ibex to Jaunty has been the network manager and the new libnotify. The NetworkManager does a pretty good job of making sure I'm connected anyway it can connect me. The new libnotify insert message snippets into the pidgin and xchat notifications I get (which is nice).

If you are happy with Ibex, stay with Ibex until the radeon driver improves or someone backports support for the Catalyst 9.3 fglrx driver into xorg-xserver 1.6.