30 December 2012

Simple Backup sbackup doesn't run on Lubuntu 12.10

I had this problem with sbackup 0.11.4 on Lubuntu, installed as Ubuntu 12.10 with lubuntu-core package installed.  When sudo sbackup is run, even with --no-dbus or --legacy-indicator, it still gives plenty of errors and notably, the message "No desktop session found".

Strangely, scheduled backups work though.  But when I tried instead:

sudo /usr/share/sbackup/sbackup-launch

that seems to work.

The bug might be because Lubuntu doesn't have 'gnome-session' or 'x-session-manager' running.  Instead, it uses 'lxsession'.

29 December 2012

Migrating to Lubuntu - tips and fixes

If you want a fast, no frills version of Ubuntu, I suggest giving Lubuntu a try. It's Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment. I made the switch after installing Ubuntu 12.10 by installing lubuntu-core.

lubuntu-core doesn't install a lot of Lubuntu programs though, e.g. lxtask, so there's some fiddling to do with user settings to make the environment really usable. I'll describe some of what I did below.

I've tried migrating by installing lubuntu-desktop on another computer, which gave me all the programs associated with Lubuntu (like Abiword), but I preferred the Ubuntu set of programs — plus all the stuff I've accumulated thus far from using Ubuntu for the last few years — so I really just want the LXDE core modules. If you're installing a fresh OS, I suggest installing Lubuntu directly instead.

When using Lubuntu, you'll have to get used to not having a GUI for everything. There's some GUI system tools, but they don't always work all that well. Lubuntu is such a young OS, there's a lot of rough edges compared to Ubuntu. In fact, don't try Lubuntu unless you're running the latest (not necessarily LTS) distribution release — I encountered some problems with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with the lubuntu-desktop package installed that were fixed with Lubuntu 12.10.

lxpanel keyboard shortcuts to the Main Menu stops working

The Main Menu contains shortcuts to lots of programs and system preferences. Usually Alt-F1 or Ctrl-Esc will activate it. But there's been a continual bug with the keyboard shortcuts when Lubuntu is installed over top of Ubuntu so that the keyboard shortcut may work once then stop working. Actually, that bug in lxpanel was fixed by Lubuntu 12.10, but a different bug took its place.

It turns out lxpanel runs in the background, and lxpanelctl controls it. But if you bring up the "Panel Settings/Preferences" window, the keyboard shortcut stops working. The keyboard shortcuts are actually bound to execute the lxpanelctl command, so it's lxpanelctl that loses control of lxpanel. Another way lxpanelctl loses control is when the "Run" window (lxpanelctl run) opens, and you type in a program name that then gets matched, then you use arrow keys to highlight one of the matches, then type escape repeatedly until the window closes. It's weird, but the fix is the same:

Kill lxpanel and restart it. I do it in the command line with a quick

killall lxpanel; lxpanel -p Lubuntu &
In fact, I have a bash alias to do that because it happens so often...

lxkeymap forgets your settings after log out

I like my caps lock changed to be another control key, and lxkeymap lets me make that setting. Oh, lxkeymap needs to be installed separately from lubuntu-core first. But why does it forget it's settings after logging out and logging back in? It's a bug in the lxkeymap package.

Per that bug report, you can fix this by creating a .desktop file with the following: