geekices, software livre

A few thoughts about IceWM and a theme I made for it

Today I decided to install IceWM in my Arch partition (I’m dual booting with Debian Testing). I haven’t touched this window manager in at least five years, but I had some nice memories of it, so I decided to use it again.

A few hours have passed since I’ve installed it, and I remember why I liked it. It’s very lightweight, using less than 5MB of RAM, and the (text-based) configuration is simple. The documentation is not bad either.

The default theme, however, is not to my liking. It was the one thing that I felt I had to change. So I went to to find a theme and stumbled with erizo. While not exactly what I was looking for, although it looks really nice, it gave me a really good base to start tweaking.

And this is the main reason I’m writing this: to share the theme. I’ve darken a few elements, changed the typeface (I’m using Clear Sans, from Intel, but you can use any other you like) and made a few more small tweaks. The image in this post is a screenshot from the theme I’m sharing.

The theme’s license, like the original, is the GPLv3 (please refer to the COPYING file in the download archive).

Download it


The little things

message from lidl

Sometimes, the little things can make a business win, keep or loose customers. Like this small thing from Lidl that ensured they will keep me a customer for a foreseeable future, even though:

  • I’m lactose intolerant and won’t be eating the cake because it most likely has lactose in it;
  • I really don’t care that much about my birthday.

But I admit it’s a nice touch for the customers.


Firefox Quantum rocks!

Firefox got a major speed overhaul in version 55, the current stable version at the time of writing. I’ve used it for a few weeks and the differences are impressive.

In the same environment, it used less RAM (even with 20+ tabs), felt more responsive and started faster. Pretty impressive changes, if you ask me. And some needed ones, because the browser seemed to have a similar appetite for memory as Google Chrome and felt slow using it.

Can this get even better? Yes it can!

Meet Firefox 57. This is the version currently in beta and is part of the Quantum Project, which intends to improve the browser’s performance. Oh boy, and improve it did. The software is faster in almost every way: shorter render times, faster startup and less used RAM. Also, there are a few (more than welcome) changes to the interface, most notably the ability change between one single address and search bar or two separate bars (the current default behavior).

If you haven’t tried it already, go ahead, make your day. You can thank me later. 🙂

By the way, please be advised that some extensions do not work with this version. Luckily, uBlock Origin works.


Trying to quit coffee and cigarettes

Quitting smoking and drinking coffee is hard. I’m on the third day and, although I don’t feel any relevant urges or have bad moods, I do feel a terrible headache all day, non stop. I knew it would be hard, but headaches all day is a pain in the ass. Guess that’s the consequence of drinking coffee since I was 11 years old (I’m 33 at the time of writing).


So long, Void. Hello (again) Debian

I’d been using Void Linux for a few months and I was generally happy with this distribution. The performance is good, it uses a rolling-release model, has a D.I.Y. component to it and helped me learn a bit more about Linux internals. Yet, Debian kept whispering my name in the wind.

Debian was the first Linux distribution I really tested and ended up installing. Or was it Ubuntu? My memory is not what it used to be. But let’s be fair, it doesn’t matter which one was the first: Debian always struck me as a solid operating system, even the Testing branch. And the fact that the repositories are loaded with software helps a bit.

Software availability is an area where Void somewhat lacks. You can always build something from source, a reasonable thing to do if it’s just a software or two. When this number increases, it can be a P.I.T.A. – keeping track of new versions and new dependencies can quickly become a nightmare.

So, although I’m a bit sad because I had a good experience, I removed Void and installed Debian – a.k.a. The Universal Operating System – Testing.


I fucking hate ads and what I did about it

I fucking hate ads. I really do (fucking) hate them. They make the browsing experience far worst than it would be without them, they track the user everywhere (not just ads – winks at Facebook) and they make the mobile platforms much more annoying.

To hide them, I usually have an adblocker installed in the browser and a dedicated one in the phone (provided I have root). Now, I have one more tool: adhosts.

This is not my original work. The original author is levin. I just improved what he wrote and published the changes to a repository on Github, so anyone can use it and/or improve it.

The tool is a simple bash script that downloads some files, merges them and appends the result to your /etc/hosts file. You’ll need bash, curl and an internet connection. And make no mistakes, this will not block all of the ads. An adblocker in the browser is still recommended. This tool is a complement to your existing adblocking arsenal. Download it.

The license is LGPLv3, as the original tool.


How to get good font rendering in Void Linux

This guide assumes you are using Void Linux (you can probably replicate it in other distributions; just check the paths), have Freetype installed and using some sort of Window Manager or Desktop Environment. If you don’t, sudo xi them. After that, fire up a terminal and create a symbolic link, from the following files in /usr/share/fontconfig/conf.avail/, to /etc/fonts/conf.d:

  • 10-hinting-slight.conf
  • 10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf
  • 10-sub-pixel-rgb.conf
  • 11-lcdfilter-default.conf
  • 20-unhint-small-vera.conf
  • 21-cantarell-hinting.conf
  • 30-metric-aliases.conf
  • 30-urw-aliases.conf
  • 31-cantarell.conf
  • 40-nonlatin.conf
  • 42-luxi-mono.conf
  • 45-latin.conf
  • 49-sansserif.conf
  • 50-user.conf
  • 51-local.conf
  • 57-dejavu-sans-mono.conf
  • 57-dejavu-sans.conf
  • 57-dejavu-serif.conf
  • 60-latin.conf
  • 65-fonts-persian.conf
  • 65-nonlatin.conf
  • 69-unifont.conf
  • 70-no-bitmaps.conf
  • 80-delicious.conf
  • 90-synthetic.conf

In ~/.config/fontconfig/conf.d/, I’ve symlinked these files (again, from /usr/share/fontconfig/conf.avail/):

  • 10-hinting-slight.conf
  • 10-sub-pixel-rgb.conf
  • 50-user.conf (using it to default Helvetica, Arial and Verdana to Clear Sans)
  • 60-latin.conf
  • 70-no-bitmaps.conf

My .Xresources file:

Xft.autohint: 1
Xft.antialias: 1
Xft.hinting: true
Xft.hintstyle: hintslight
Xft.rgba: rgb
Xft.lcdfilter: lcddefault

Also, I’ve created the /etc/profile.d/ file with this content:

# Subpixel hinting mode can be chosen by setting the right TrueType interpreter
# version. The available settings are:
# truetype:interpreter-version=35 # Classic mode (default in 2.6)
# truetype:interpreter-version=38 # Infinality mode
# truetype:interpreter-version=40 # Minimal mode (default in 2.7)
# There are more properties that can be set, separated by whitespace. Please
# refer to the FreeType documentation for details.

# Uncomment and configure below
export FREETYPE_PROPERTIES="truetype:interpreter-version=38"

Open the screenshot in fullscreen

Cheers! 🙂


A Stylish extension theme to “fix” the new round Twitter

Twitter introduced a new design to the web and mobile interfaces, making them more round. The changes were received with the expected polarization: some love it, some hate it. Just like sushi, it seems that there are few people in a middle ground stance.

I admit I like the new design, but not everything with it. For starters, I find that the typeface doesn’t fit well with the changes, as some other elements that kept the square look. So, to fix it and to decrease the roundness of some elements, I created a stylish theme for the social network.

Stylish is a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome and some other browsers (any browser based on the previous two will probably allow you to install it), that allows you to create and/or install themes to change some or all of the look of any website.

To install my theme, you just need to access it on website and click on the install button.


“Sonata ao luar” com uma roupagem diferente

O Beethoven vestiu umas calças largas, uma camisola de cavas e um cap, como qualquer sócio que se preze. Só não mandou umas rimas porque não era Hip Hop e a voz dele, convenhamos, já não é a mesma que era no século 18. Mas girou umas ganzas e acabou a comer o amigo. Afinal o iluminado Quintino Aires tinha razão.

O resultado da experiência homossexual do compositor alemão é esta remistura da autoria de Solarfist. E, arrisco, umas olheiras enormes – um pão de meio-quilo em cada olho, como diria a minha avó materna.


Qualquer cena de pancadaria fica melhor com a música de Mortal Kombat


Num dos países rei da falta de noção e bom-senso, os Estados Unidos da América, houve pancadaria numa festa de graduação de um liceu de Arlington. A cena é triste, como poderás ver nalguns vídeos colocados online.

Tudo terá começado, avança o site, por causa de lugares guardados. Primeiro gerou-se uma discussão, que passou rapidamente a empurrões, murros, puxões de cabelo e… bem, mais coisas deprimentes. Foi uma sorte não terem magoado nenhuma criança.

Ao ver o vídeo, pensei: será que esta deprimência não ficaria melhor se tivesse a música de Mortal Kombat? Adicionei a música a um dos vídeos e fica realmente melhor. Suspeito que o resultado seja o mesmo com outras situações idênticas.