Total Installations: 4

I decided to embark on a new, more cheerful and girly style of desktop. I set about learning to fully customise Cairo-Dock and Conky to match, and the guides on these can be found here and here.

One thing I decided was that Cairo-Dock removed the need for the Gnome-bar, which looks a bit too much like the Windows Bar for my complete comfort. So I tried to get rid of it. However, later versions of Gnome will not let you delete the last Gnome-bar, so I seemed stuck with it. I found a guide that suggested that you could remove it by opening Gnome Sessions, Current Session, then killing it there, and finally going to ‘remember currently running applications’ in session options. The result of following this fine advice was several mysterious crashes, corruptions, and assorted other chaos, before I decided that doing this was what was causing my problems, and stopped doing it.

It was a while before I worked that out, though. First, I tried to get Cedega working again. I had installed my graphics using EnvyNG, but by this time I was getting the strong impression that EnvyNG is not generally considered ideal at this stage. I got lots of lovely long lectures from a variety of new Linux-based friends on IRC, and finally I also met someone who could tell me how to get a manual install to stick, by first turning off Ubuntu’s default restricted drivers. However, I was also warned that one of the big disadvantages of EnvyNG is that it may not uninstall properly, and trying to uninstall it, or manually install NVIDIA drivers over it, can lead to problems. So, not 5 minutes after I finished one install, I decided to do another!

This time I was talked through it patiently step by step by my erstwhile (and extremely tolerant) new friend, as well as how to set up Compiz, and properly configure Cairo-Dock, and I was very happy with the results. That was when things started to go wrong. I saved my session without Gnome-Panel, started working on Cedega again, and then found my graphics and applications becoming steadily more… ‘eccentric’. I decided to try rebooting – an old Windows habit I’ve been told I must put a stop to. The result was that my Gnome session started very oddly; my Conky startup script didn’t delay, so I had shadows. Pidgin didn’t start up at all. Neither would Firefox when I tried, nor terminal, nor many other Gnome applications.

I ended up trying to trouble-shoot the problem using only IRC, a ‘screenlets’ terminal that I had embedded in my desktop, the virtual terminal, and a fantastic little tool called ‘pastebinit’ that piped terminal output straight to the http://www.pastebin.com website from the terminal. As you can imagine, I didn’t do too well. Reinstall number 4…

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