[u-u] COVID-19 craziness

Jim Mercer jim at reptiles.org
Sat Apr 4 12:28:31 EDT 2020


somehow, the surreal nature of our current condition, has caused some people
to do strange things.

for me, it has been to largely migrate my desktop from Windows to Ubuntu/Gnome.

for a long time, i avoided this largely due to driver flakeyness, and the
inconsistencies and strangeness of the myriad of desktop environments.

unsure if it was the effects of the virus, or just sheer boredom, but, i
jumped in and got it done, mostly.

my reluctance was largely driven by a number of things.

jupiter) drivers, at least under ubuntu, appear to have stabilized.  i did
have a number of weirdnesses, but eventually googled or experimented them
out. my new laptop didn't get function on-board audio until a recent
(lenovo) firmware upgrade, but i had USB audio, so that's fine.
had to deal with some DisplayLink driver excentricities to get 4 monitors
attached, but that is working and stable now.

saturn) i have been using a win95 type desktop for a long long time, and my finger's
muscle memory is hard to retrain.  even moving to Vista/XP/7/10, i always 
managed to get the desktop back to a familiar layout and functionality.
(this is also why i never made the switch to MacOS X, which, in theory,
is much more unixy than Windows)

fortunately, i found a theme for Gnome, which i was able to give me a familiar
start button, launch icons and active sessions on the lower bar.  looks and
feels the way i want, and i'm generally happy with it.

while most of the accomodations were made using existing things, there was one
that i stuggled with.

while i can fire up any number of terminal programs, and then ssh out from them,
my muscle memory is connected to Putty for my ssh sessions.

sadly, Putty was heavily influenced by Windows, and still has a number of
artifacts that cause it not to map 'exactly' from Windows to Linux.

in the end, i recompiled the debian package, with a minor tweak, and now have
a putty on my desktop that works the same.
(had to backport a more recent version to Ubuntu 18, in order to allow
configuring it to use the shared/system clipboard, instead of its own
independent one)
(had to tweak the source to make right click be 'paste')

pluto) i have a number of critical (to me) applications, that are windows only.
the simple solution to this would have been to just run VirtualBox or something
with a Win7 VM, but that is clumbsy, resource intensive, and conflicts with
my muscle memory.

the two most used (critical) Windows apps for me, that can't easily be
replicated with opensource, are VMware Vsphere (for ESX 5.5) and Eve Online.

it took a fair amount of playing around, but i did finally get Vsphere running
under wine, to the point where i can fire it up against a vcenter, and have
a quick clean view of the status of my servers and VMs.
it doesn't give the normal access to a VMs 'physical' console, but, interestingly, VMware has released a Linux native app that does exactly that, in a 
consistent fashion with the windows console client.  (unfortunately, i haven't
figured out how to hack/tweak my wine/vsphere to launch it, but, certaintly
good enough (for a windows app that was pretty much retired 5 years ago).

next on my plate is Eve Online.

i have found a number of walk-throughs which purport to get it running under
wine, however, in my journey to get Vsphere working, i know that getting things
running under wine requires generous amounts of luck, patience and googling.

since Eve is really the only game i play (i don't do console/nintendo/etc,
and i recently got addicted, then unaddicted, to games on my phone), i'm also
not really familiar with the current state of PC gaming.

apparently there is this Steam thing, which may or may not have a role in
running Eve on linux.  but it seems to want to insert itself between me
and CCP (the company that i pay for the privilege of playing).

another route i'm finding on google is Lutris.  this seems to be some kinda
wrapper around games, which also includes a "linux launcher".

any advice on this would be appreciated.


Jim Mercer     Reptilian Research      jim at reptiles.org    +1 416 410-5633

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather
to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"
 -- Hunter S. Thompson

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