There are two things that I have never changed in my Mandriva installation. They are the GTK theme and the Metacity window decoration. Mandriva’s default GTK theme, in my opinion, is one of the best default themes on a Linux desktop. Recently, I wanted to test how some of the dark themes measured against it. I would like to mention that I have a strong dislike for darker themes and this is one of the reasons I want to use it and see if I can come out good after a week or so. So, I embarked upon an experiment to use a top dark GTK theme and see how things work out after a period of a week or two.
I downloaded the Shiki-Colors GTK and Metacity themes and installed them. Shiki colors is one of the top themes on gnome-look.org. I already use the GNOME-Colors icon theme which is one of the best icon themes around. After all the setup, my desktop looked something like this.
As far as the experience was concerned, I breezed through Day 1 – the day I changed everything. However, on Day 2, as my laptop booted, I was a bit surprised first and then realized I had changed everything the previous day. Guess I have not got used to the dark theme yet 😉 . Let me see how it turns out at the end of the week
My Mandriva One 2009 GNOME system gave out a rather annoying beep from the PC speaker whenever I clicked on Shut Down or Restart. The same behaviour was seen noticed when I press Backspace continuously in the Terminal while there was nothing to delete. Today I found out a solution for these problems.
Step 1: Disable alerts from Sound preferences dialog
Sound Preferences Dialog
1.1 Go to System > Preferences > Sound
1.2 Click on Sounds tab.
1.3 Uncheck both boxes titled “Play sound effects when buttons are clicked” and “Play alert sound“. After this, the dialog box would look something like this.
Step 2: Blacklist the PC Speaker
2.1 Open Terminal: Applications > Tools > Terminal
2.2 Login as root by typing “su –” and press enter. We add a “-” because we are going to launch a GUI app from the terminal.
2.3 Type the password and press enter
2.4 Type gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-compat and press enter. gedit would open the file
2.5 Go to the end of the file and add the following lines and save it.
# PC Speaker
The first line is a comment. Add whatever is appropriate so that it reminds why that entry has been made.
2.6 Reboot – The beep would be heard this time but would not be heard once the system restarts.
If there is a simpler way to do this, without fiddling with the config files, please leave a comment 🙂
Well, the delay I had in laying my hands on Ubuntu 8.10 aka Intrepid Ibex lead to something else. In the mean time I was able to get Mandriva Linux One 2009 and I decided to give it a try. I was sceptical at first because I have been using Ubuntu for almost two years now. But Mandriva blew all that away.
The installation of Mandriva One 2009 GNOME was completed in about 10 minutes. The quickest Linux install on my computer so far. Also, the Mandriva iso for GNOME was pretty small at 607 MB. This meant a few applications were not included. At first glance I could see there were no games and there was no Tomboy something which I had grown to use more frequently. No big deal, I was able to install them from the Add and Remove Software tool.
As expected, there was no support for some audio and video formats. This too was fixed by installing the gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg-0.10.5-2mdv2009.0.i586 package from the net. So everything was set. One major positive I noticed was Mandriva never froze when watching videos as Ubuntu did. I had to do several reboots if I am watching a bunch of videos on Ubuntu. This stability of Mandriva impressed me the most.
AWN seemed to work fine although it was bare-bones. I was able to easily install the extras from the AWN Wiki and get things going. Here again the stacks applet worked perfectly while it did not work on Ubuntu. There were a couple of more applets which worked on neither distros.
So I am going to hang on with Mandriva as it is serving my needs perfectly well. The Mandriva Community is also very friendly and helped a lot when I faced any issues. Mandriva may not be as huge as Ubuntu but the stability and polish of the OS is unmatched. I can say that Mandriva 2009 is the best GNOME desktop I have run so far.
That effectively also means I would give the Ubuntu a pass this time and wait for the next iteration to see how things have improved.