2010-12-11

Introducing UberBang 10.04

Main Screen + Openbox menu
If you've been keeping up with this blog, you'll know that CrunchBang ("#!"), an Openbox distribution that was previously based on Ubuntu, has switched to a Debian base (and has added Xfce to the mix as well). While I agree with many of the developers' reasons for switching bases, I feel like now there's a void in the realm of Ubuntu derivatives using Openbox. No, Lubuntu doesn't count, because it uses LXDE, which is a little more fully featured and a bit different anyway (though it does use Openbox as its WM). No, I needed something a bit more like the lovely #! 9.04.01.
SLiM Login Screen
Enter UberBang. It's a spin that I created of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" Minimal. This means that creating this distribution was much like creating Oxidized Trinity 6 "Squeeze" from a minimal Debian 6 "Squeeze" installation; post-installation, I needed to fetch all the requisite packages myself (though I will say that here, thankfully, sudo was properly configured out-of-the-box post-installation). For example, in #! 9.04.01, the scrot command line tool is used to take screenshots. As it is a pretty basic command line tool, I expected it to be installed out-of-the-box; I was wrong.
There were a couple things that I tried to do in UberBang 10.04 to make it feel more like the #! 9.04.01 I knew and loved (as opposed to the #! 10 "Statler" that I didn't like quite as much). For one, I installed Pidgin, Skype, PCManFM, and Cheese Webcam Booth, none of which are present in #! 10 "Statler". I also installed programs like VLC, PiTiVi Video Editor, Claws Mail, Liferea Feed Reader, and File Roller. Next, I installed all of the wallpapers and codecs used in 9.04.01. Finally, I tried to port the #! 9.04.01 Openbox themes and icons (as well as the tint2 configuration) over to UberBang 10.04. While this works overall, this also leads me into the (unfortunately rather long) list of issues to watch out for. Follow the jump to read more about this.

Mozilla Firefox (with PCManFM in background)
First and foremost, the #! 9.04.01 theme doesn't look exactly the same on UberBang 10.04. The titlebars and window backgrounds look the same, but the buttons and scrollbars look a lot more blocky, and so do navigation buttons when hovered over or clicked.
The tint2 panel is essentially carried over from #! 9.04.01, but for some reason the system tray refuses to work. The keyboard switcher doesn't work at all anyway (so I removed it), and Volwheel, the system tray volume applet, isn't present in the Ubuntu 10.04 repositories, so there are 2 volume control applications accessible only in the main Openbox menu. Also, though the GNOME network manager applet is present, it doesn't always work right, and it refuses to show up in the tint2 system tray.
I tried configuring Conky, but it absolutely refused, so I've removed Conky as well. I too am a bit sad about having to do this, but it was serving no useful purpose (and for some reason it was hogging a lot more memory than usual).
As this was made with Remastersys, there's no "Install" button in the live session; to start the standard Ubiquity installer, open up a terminal window and type "ubiquity" to start. (I can't confirm this, but maybe "sudo ubiquity" would be better.) Another option is to open PCManFM, click on "Desktop" in the sidebar, and click the button to install.
PCManFM and Abiword
There are just a couple of other changes to note. I was kind of irked by the extraordinary redundancy in applications in #!. Therefore, in UberBang, there's really only one of each application: one CLI text editor (nano), one GUI text editor (Leafpad), one terminal emulator (XTerm as opposed to Terminator), et cetera. Also, I didn't include Gwibber, GIMP, or a link to install OpenOffice.org, as they would have bloated the ISO size, and in any case they can be installed in Synaptic Package Manager at the user's discretion.
#! 9.04.01 had a nice shutdown menu; unfortunately, that capability appears nowhere in the Ubuntu 10.04 repositories, so the "Shut Down" button in the Openbox menu simply sends the "sudo shutdown -h now" command to the terminal.
In the live session, the username is "live" and there is no password. Also, instead of using GDM as in #! 9.04.01, UberBang 10.04 uses the lighter SLiM.
I tried changing the Plymouth splash screen to hide the Ubuntu branding, but unfortunately it didn't work. Oh well.
Finally, I hope UberBang doesn't infringe on the CrunchBang name (and if it does, please let me know and I will change it), nor on the UberStudent (another Ubuntu derivative) name (to which UberBang bears no relation except for the upstream components; again, if it does, please let me know, and I'll change it).
Here is the download link. Also, here is the project page, where I've also uploaded things like the Openbox theme and icon set from #! 9.04.01 for my own use in creating UberBang 10.04. I hope you enjoy using this as much as I did creating it. That said, given all this random issues, as a #! developer would say, "please do not use this as your main stable system, as it may make your system go CRUNCH! BANG!"

9 comments:

  1. You should really post a message about this on the #! forums.

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  2. @Anonymous: I probably should. Even Philip Newborough said so when I contacted him about it. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Have you looked at Madbox, the wonderful work of Adcomp?
    He does it a lot like you do.
    You can find it on the Crunchbang forum: http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic/3384/madbox-liveusb-toram/

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  4. @pablo: I actually saw Madbox on DistroWatch the day after I released UberBang on SourceForge. It's a neat project, and I wish the developer the best of luck, but it seems that while that developer is going for a more general-purpose Openbox spin of Ubuntu, I'm going for a more faithful update of CrunchBang. Thanks for the comment!

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  5. 1. I think you forgot to install the Murrine gtk engine which is why the theme looks blocky.

    2. As for conky, did you copy the config to the right place: ~/.conkyrc and did you even try running it from a terminal to get output?

    3.Also #!'s shutdown script is custom. Grab a copy here:

    http://www.divshare.com/download/10603372-d80

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  6. that is one damn awesome login theme for SLiM, definitely going to try out slim now :)

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  7. @Kevin: (1) Yeah, I installed it and then reuploaded the ISO. (2) I did copy it to the right place, and it did technically work, but changing the contents of the file for some reason didn't actually do anything to the output. (3) Thanks for the link. I'll be sure to include that in the next revision.
    @Andreas: Thanks for the support!
    Thanks to both of you for the comments!

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  8. What did you try changing in conky? Also what happens if you kill and restart conky manually?

    Also it may be worthwhile to post on the #! forums about all these issues you seem to be having.

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  9. @Kevin: I tried adding things like transparency and removing a couple of the sections (e.g. clock, just as an example). Nothing worked. And yes, I will post this stuff in the forums, as soon as I get the chance to do so. Thanks for the comment!

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