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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Tue, 08 May 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 and Unity -- I'm ready

We users of Linux are a fickle lot. We flit here and there, from one distro to another, even to a BSD on occasion.

I've been "loyal" to Debian for a couple years now. It works. But it's time for a change.

Given the demise of GNOME 2 in favor of the radically reimagined GNOME 3, I've been "auditioning" everything from CrunchBang (Openbox with Xfce's Thunar file manager) and Bodhi (Enlightenment) to Fedora (GNOME 3 and Xfce), Ubuntu/Xubuntu/Lubuntu and Debian Wheezy.

I go back and forth on GNOME 3 and Unity. Sometimes I think I can be productive in these very different environments. Other times I wonder what's wrong with having a traditional application menu.

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Sat, 05 May 2012

Xubuntu 12.04 with Xfce 4.8 - one giant leap and a mighty attractive desktop (revised)

So I'm in the live environment for Xubuntu 12.04, which aside from the ugly wallpaper (including every alternative wallpaper on the ISO image) is a great-looking and -working Xfce 4.8 desktop.

My main mission in running the live distro from a USB flash drive: Checking networked-filesystem support in the Thunar file manager.

So far I'm using FTP in Thunar to write this post. And I didn't need the Gigolo helper program to open the FTP site and create and save the file.

That's a win.

After a few false starts, I also got Thunar working for sftp connections.

Another win.

What I "forgot" to do originally when trying to start an sftp:// connection in Thunar was to specify the port number when I opened it up. Here's how I did it:

  • In Thunar, go to "Go" in the menu, then select "Open Location."
  • In the Open Location dialog, enter this:


In my case, that port number is 2222, so it would be something like this (I'm using a "fake" URL for demonstration purposes; use your real URL and real port number to make this work -- I can verify that it does work -- and you don't need Gigolo!):


  • Once you enter the sftp address with port number following the colon, you'll be prompted to OK the SSL certificate of the server.
  • If you trust that certificate, OK it. Then Thunar will open a window to your server via secure FTP, and you can use the file manager to treat that server like a native filesystem, sorting the files in Thunar and editing them with the application of your choice. I used Leafpad, as it is the default text editor in Xfce (and in Xubuntu).

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