Google+ open-source construction: November 2011 Google+

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to enable dual-screen monitor in Linux w/ Nvidia X server config.

I have shown in an earlier post that dual-monitor works great on Linux Mint 12. Dual monitor is great if you are coding, and like doing a ton of things at the same time. Although there are times when dual-monitor can be a pain in your brain.

enhanced productivity, or distraction.
The choice is yours.

Like for example when I tried to play the incredible game ZAZ"Zaz aint zaz" full-screen, it tried to take up both monitors. Although this is one of the funest games I have played in a long time. In theory you should be able to play your favorite game, in one window while browsing or chatting in another. But your mileage may seriously vary.

I often use Fire-fox in one window, and chrome in another. Or you may need to have a file browser open on one window, and a web-browser handy in another.

So here is how it is done.

STEP ONE: Install your most video drivers.

type:  "super key"
type: "additional"

hit the enter key to open the additional drivers program.
This will box will show up briefly,
while your hardware is being checked.

In this screen-shot I had already highlighted the recommended driver, and clicked activate. After which you will be prompted to enter your password, provided you are an administrator.

After you have entered your password, the installation of the Nvidia drivers will happen. The reason my screen-shot says it is not currently in use, is you will need to reboot after the installation is complete.

STEP TWO: Configure the Nvidia X server.

Do a search for the word "nvidia", just like you did with additional. Then strike enter to open the Nvidia X server configuration tool.
In the Left hand box make sure to check the "server Display configuration option".
You may or may not see your secondary monitor in the layout box, like mine does. When I first opened up this box, there was only my Dell monitor showing. I had to Left-click/HOLD the monitor icon, and drag it from on top of my other monitor until they were directly side by side.

Notice the Monitor icon on the Left is highlighted, showing that it is selected. Notice that the selected monitor, is the same as the controls in the Display box.

In the resolution drop-down menu, you will need to set the resolution to auto. Also you will want to choose the monitor on the right to have the "Make this the primary display for the X screen" checked.

You may wish to choose the position of the main monitor, to the position "Left of" as the screen-shot below shows.

After you click apply you have 15 seconds to hit the OK button to keep the settings.
Notice Cancel is highlighted.
Press enter to cancel emmediately.
Press Left, then Enter to keep settings.
 You could even choose to have your monitors in a stacked array if you wish, although that would be confusing if your monitors are not physically stacked.

There is one final thing that you must do, in order to make your changes permanent.  You must click "Save to X configuration file."

After you select save, you will be prompted to enter your password. This is due to the fact that you are changing a system configuration file. Any changes to configuration files, must be done by an administrator. Once you have done that your configuration will be permanent.

PRO-tip: If you want to know the current operating temperature of your GPU(GFX Processing Unit), you may click on "Thermal Settings". Although that is a bit misleading, because there is nothing to set, only a chart of your current temperature as shown below.

Once this is done you will be able to move the cursor freely from one display to another. You could drag a running program to your secondary monitor, for ease of reference if you wish.

With these simple instructions you can easily double your productivity. Good luck to all of you curious geeks out there. Although don't blame me if your games don't work perfectly in dual-screen mode.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Linux Mint 12 review: wrap up...getting used to gnome again.

Linux Mint 12 review: wrap up...getting used to gnome again.

I am happy with the polish that the Mint developers did polishing Linux Mint 12. I enjoy having my menu back. I have found myself slowly transitioning away from the menu-bar, as I get more used to using gnome 3. Although I have noticed that tabs in the menu bar, are not universal throughout all of the work spaces. So If I have fire-fox on one work space and chrome on the other, only one tab will show up per workspace.

Mint menu expanded.
The far Left side of the mint menu directly relates to the gnome 3 Dash bar automatically.

Notice the favorite bar on the right side.

I like the fact that there are many ways you can  choose to get to your applications.

If you need to get to your clean desktop use the show desktop button,
which is directly next to the menu button.
I was slightly disappointed that the only way to search with only the keyboard, is to use the gnome shell method. Gnome shell does not seem to base their search results on how often I use a program, but the program I am looking for always shows up somewhere in the list within the first three key-strokes.


Use the "super" key(aka windows key) to initiate the "activities Overview" (dark) portal.

I was expecting to want to throw gnome 3 out of a window, by the end of day 2. But I am already feeling like a gnome shell ellite user after just 3 days. I think if you approach Linux Mint 12's new interface w/ an open-mind you will be very happy, and be able to stay on topic.
I added the canary-yellow background.
The default was plain white.

I found out that there is no longer any sarcastic ascii art animals to welcome you to the Linux terminal mode. Although I do get the same Humor from the AWN(avant window navigator) dock, through the animal farm applet.


After you initiate search, you can click one of two search tabs at the bottom of the window. These search tabs when clicked or "return", will automatically launch a new tab in your web-browser to either Google or Wikipedia. Also if you ever need to exit the dark portal, all you need to do is to hit the "esc" key.

Below I have included a couple of youtube video's about gnome 3.

messaging with gnome 3.

Working with Windows.

Linux Mint 12 review: pt. 3 (B) 10 things 2 do after fresh install.

Top 10 things I do after a fres install continued:

3~ Disable auto-run. This is irritating to my control freak nature.

Notice the check box, at the bottom. 

All settings button leads you back to the main settings menu which looks like this.

4~ set up any necessary user accounts, depending on your specific situation.

I set myself as the admin, and my rommate's account to a standard user.
The plus and minus keys add/remove accounts. You must click the unlock button, as administrator to change any account settings.
Notice auto-login is switched on. I only recommend this,
with a standard user account on a Desktop PC. 

 5~ Change the Wallpaper of the back-ground. I chose the cube wallpaper. Although I really like a lot of the mountain backgrounds in Mint 12.

Notice the Dual-screen working very nicely.
I had to set this up in the Nvidia X server settings.

6~ Install Drop-box to sync my documents.

7~ mouse settings

I increased acceleration & sensativity, and checked show  position of pointer
when the control key is pressed. 

8~ set the nautilus file manager to open folders w/ a single click.

Just click the single click to open items radio button,
and the change is instantly applied.
To get to the File Management preferences go to the edit menu, and down to preferences.

9~ Make sure the Power/Screen settings are set properly for my situation.

On a laptop my main concern is power consumption, and on a Deskotp my main concern is making sure that I can watch movies from start to finish.

The default setting was to turn off after a half an hour.
I also switched the screen lock to off.
I choose Don't suspend when inactive.
Since this is a Desktop critically low power is pointless.
~10 customize my web browser(s) to my individual needs.

In chrome this is super-simple, because I have my g-mail account linked to my browser settings. So all of my extensions, web apps, and book-marks are linked in one easy step.

In Firefox I have to manually re-install all of my extensions, theme, and most common sites I visit I sync as well. I protect my Fire-fox passwords with a Master password.

After I have synced Fire-fox on-line, I choose to sync my  fire-fox data with chrome. Then I put a similar Master password to Google chrome.

Please check out Linux Mint on for more information & download it for yourself.

Link: Linux Mint's distrowatch page.
 I would also encourage you to go to the Linux Mint page, and create a user account so that you can help create the ratings for the software you enjoy. After all that is what has made Linux so resilient from the beginning, was peer review of the code. This gives every Linux mint user the chance to be a much needed part of the community. Microsoft or apple tell you what is good by marketing to you, but Linux Mint asks you to Learn from your peers. The Linux Mint community, also has an incredibly helpful community. My (LM) U/N is: zarr0BoogZ.

Linux Mint 12 review: pt. 3 (A) 10 things 2 do after fresh install.

I would like to start this post with the first things that I do after a clean install.

1~update video drivers
2~initial update
3~Disable auto-run
4~ set up any necessary User accounts/permissions.
5~change the default Wallpaper.
6~Install DropBox to sync my documents.
7~ modify mouse settings.
8~set nautilus to open folders w/ a single click
9~ set the power/screen settings.
10~ modify my  Firefox && chrome web-browsers to suit my needs.

One of the greatest things about Linux mint, is that you don't have to install your codecs to be able to play your media manually after installation. 

CODEC:  " co der- dec oder" a piece of software that is installed to decode your media files. Fore example MP3. 

1)update to the newest stable video drivers since I have an Nvidia graphics accelerator card. Nvidia Geforce 210. Cheapest card I could get that was slim enough to fit, a gigabyte of video memory, and HDMI/VGA/DVI.

Searching for available drivers...
I always choose to activate the recommended driver version.
2) initial update. This takes the longest, but is the most crucial.

Your update time may vary, based on your Connection speed to the Internet. 
If you are really curious  about what files Linux Mint is downloading,
click the Right arrow to open up this dialogue. 

The first window of the update manager.

Taking a peek at where the real work getting done in Linux Mint 12

I hope you enjoy this Blog post, and be sure to check out part B...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mini Post: Linux mint 12 installation slides.

 This is what happens after you successfully finish entering your user data, during the Linux mint 12 installation.

Welcome to Linux Mint.
Welcome and thank you for choosing Linux Mint. This slide show will show you around while the system is being installed on your computer.

Browse the web.
Be fast and safe on the web with Mozilla Firefox. Enjoy Java, Flash, and multimedia content.

Listen to music and CD's.
Enjoy your music with Banshee. Plug-in your MP3 player or extract songs from your audio CDs. Listen to pod-casts and on-line radios. Discover new artists on, the Internet Archive and the Amazon MP3 store. 

Watch videos and DVD's.
Insert a DVD and enjoy a movie. Watch high-definition videos with VLC.
Manage your photos.
Organize, enjoy and share your photos with gThumb or Picasa. Export your albums to CD, to the web, or to on-line services such as flickr or PicasaWeb to share them with friends and family.

Stay connected.
Keep in touch with your friends and contacts, by email, messenger, or on your favorite social networks. Linux Mint provides all you need to interact with Twitter, Facebook, MSN, ICQ, GoogleTalk, AIM, Yahoo and many other networks. 

Be productive.
Use Libre Office to create4 professional documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that are fully compatible with Microsoft Office. Archive documents, emails, or web pages to PDF. Send and receive files with Giver on the local network. Share printers or access them remotely.

Install software.
Browse through 30,000 free applications from the Software Manager. Enjoy screen-shots and user reviews. Install software with one click of the mouse.

Run Windows software.
Install Wine and run Windows software in Linux Mint. Or install Virtual-box, and run Windows itself within Linux Mint.

Customize your desktop.
Make yourself at home and modify any aspect of your desktop. Choose from a large variety of themes, icons and backgrounds. Linux Mint is open and easy to customize.

Keep your system up to date.
Receive fixes and security updates all in one place, for the entire system, including the software you install.

Find help.
If you're curious about something or if you're facing a problem, simply ask around. Linux Mint is the 4h most widely used Operating system in the world. It comes with a user guide, a community website, a collection of tutorials, active forums, and chat rooms, and one of the most dynamic communities on the Internet.

Linux mint 12 review: pt. 1 Installation

This slide-show shows you around, while you are waiting for the installer to finish.

I had so much to say about this Linux distribution, that I am breaking it up into several parts.

Live mode worked great for me to poke around, and get my bearings within Linux Mint. I am really grateful that my task-bar has been returned to me.

I used k3b on Linux mint 11 to burn the project. Which is great, because it takes a check-sum of the .iso before attempting the burn. Then after the disk is burned you can choose to save, &/or verify your data. Although I have had the problem, of k3b being rather picky about accepting discs.

 k3b is my preferred Linux burning program, no matter which platform it is on. I really wish that it had a windows equivalent. I have never had any burn failures, while using k3b.

BIOS chip.

Because my windows refuses to do the factory reset from the main HDD(hard-disk drive) hidden rescue partition. I am guessing because I had to replace the mother-board. The mother-board has the same exact physical make-up, except for a slightly newer version of the BIOS(Basic Input/Output system).

All that means is that I have another whole HDD to install and test Linux distribution's in bare-metal form. Although I do plan to test many Linux installs within Linux Mint 12. I have decided to keep my Linux Mint 11 intact on my other internal 360 GB HDD.

I want to go into some of the basics of choosing a partition scheme, file-system format, and mount-points. I do this so that you won't have any trouble making changes on your own computer. I will include slides from my own desktop, and net-book.

The complicated part of the install doesn't even start, until you get to this screen. Many people get scared of this step, because it could wipe out other operating systems, or personal data. If you have properly prepared, you will have nothing to worry about.
It is crucial that you click something else, if you want to multi-boot Linux mint 12 with other Operating systems. I would only use erase/install if you are sure your files are backed up, and you just want a simple

    notice the 10gb partition(far right)_windows restore(primary)
    Notice that the extended partition has two sub-partitions.

  • creating a SWAP file.
    •  Well There are two types of primary partition's main primary, and extended primary.
    • Extended primary partitions, are partition's that have been sub-divided into logical partitions.
    • Lucky for Linux is that it can boot from logical, or primary partitions.
    • A SWAP partition is used when your programs can't fully fit into RAM, those files will be swapped to the HDD.
      • Although HDD's are slow compared to RAM. So Ideally you want to have as much memory as possible. Windows has the same principle with it's Swap file. Although windows swap file is on the main system drive. This is a huge success in ensuring a stable Linux Operating system install.
  • Linux mint HDD partition scheme viewed
    with Gparted partition editor.
    • NTFS is the default windows file-system for many years now
    • Ext4 journaling is the standard Linux desktop file-system right now.
    • btrfs aka butterFS is getting ready to replace ext4 in the future.  
    • the SWAP file should be @ least equal to double, the amount of physical memory in your computer. 
  • MOUNT-POINT selection:
    My primary Linux drive partition scheme.
    • / is the base of the Linux file-system. Also known as root.
    • You can remap parts of the file-system to other partition's.
    • /boot is often put on a separate 100-200 MB partition to ensure proper working of the GRUB2 boot loader.
      • GRUB is what switches between Operating systems at boot time.
      • /media is often set aside on a separate file system, So that the / partition including system files will not overfill. That would cause a real slowdown.  I would give as much as possible to this partition. These are where your personal files will be stored
      • I am going to finish up this review with a slide-show from the install.

        Just click continue if you Live in the USA.

        just click continue if the right time-zone has been selected.
        It does not matter if the city is correct, only the time

      Compared to the partition steps all the rest of the steps as you can see, are really simple. 

      Although I will not show it here There is a step where you input your user name, real-name, and password. On that same screen you can choose to login automatically, although I only choose this for guest accounts on desktop computers. 

      You can also choose to encrypt your home folder, so that all of your personal files are safe from prying eyes. I choose not to do this, on my desktop, but do do this on my net-book. It is a lot more likely that my net-book could be compromised.

      Which brings us to the final step:

      Just click install now. You still have the user information screen, but after which you are treated to a slide-show to introduce you to Linux mint. It will tell you when to reboot your computer, marking the finish of your Linux mint 12 install.