December 18th, 2008

Modern Linux is ruining my life

I have a number of little utilities to make my life easier, and upgrading to a recent GNOMEish Linux is ruining all of them.

For example, I have a command-line program to switch from one virtual workspace to another. Compiz breaks it because there's no longer separate workspaces; you're always on workspace zero, shuffling your viewport around.

I have another program that watches for out-of-workspace XkbBells in a particular xterm, and flashes the screen when it happens. It doesn't bother flashing the screen when the xterm is visible because (in theory) I can see the thing that's alerting me. But the flashing program has been broken, somehow, by Compiz's management of the desktop. That's ok, I thought, I'll just use the fancy desktop notification system to pop up an alert box. Except now Compiz breaks that because the viewport scheme mentioned above makes windows somehow think they're always visible even when I can't see them. I don't want to have a bunch of notifications popping up when I'm staring at the xterm in question. I'm sure the always-visible trickery is great for some sort of realtime thumbnail view of a multiworkspace pager, or something, but still. My program is really handy for me. Fortunately, Compiz's apparently unconfigurable snap-magnetically-to-other-windows-and-screen-edges behavior is so obnoxious I'm going to just switch back to metacity, so my programs will start working again. I wonder how long before that's not offered as a choice any more...

Every day I use ssh-add -t $((3600 * 8)) to manage a ssh key that lasts until the end of the workday. Except ssh-agent is out and gnome-keyring is in, and gnome-keyring doesn't understand managed key lifetimes, so instead of refusing to handle the key it prints SSH_AGENT_FAILURE but happily remembers the key forever. Sure, I can spawn some sort of script to forget the key later (if that actuall works), but I'd rather have the new SSH key agent program be as good as the old SSH key agent program. Which it isn't.

Firefox 3 is a lot more sluggish than Firefox 2.

Boo! Booooo!