Jeff & The Penguin

Adventures in Publishing with Open Source software

So I went back again, and tried one more time to deal with the dual monitor/Nvidia driver/Xorg.conf issue.  I fiddled, I diagnosed, I followed online guides, and then I did something that broke the installation again.  Sigh.

I reached for the Fedora DVD, and found instead a DVD for Mint Linux.  Feeling playful, I put the Mint DVD into the drive and booted…

So, it’s going about as I expected so far.  Two long nights of frustration, installing the basic system and then trying to get the graphics/monitors working, failing and starting again.  Once upon a time it was always the printers that were out to get you, these days it seems to be graphics drivers.

Partly it’s my fault for not “RTFM” (if you know what I mean), and partly it’s down to the documentation.  I’ll own up and say that I always refer to the “My-Guides” Fedora Installation walk-throughs, since they’re very good and usually easy to follow.  But this time I forgot to keep in mind the fact that the guide isn’t written by a professional documentation writer, and missed a chunk when installing the Proprietary Nvidia drivers.  There’s a whole bit about modifying the grub.conf file to block the default drivers from loading at boot-up, which I missed because it was further down the page and looked unrelated.  Of course my system froze at boot and I couldn’t recover it, so I had to re-install.

Then I did the same all over again.  Gah.  That’ll teach me to do this stuff when I’m tired.  Strike one whole evening’s work, and it’s off to bed.

Next day during lunch break a little research pinpoints my omission, so that evening, once the family is in bed, I take another swing at it.  Better results this time, and it all seems to work nicely, except that I can’t get my dual monitor setup to play nice.  First the desktop wallpaper won’t span both desktops, then both screens get treated as a single wide screen (applications expanded to fullscreen span both screens – very irritating).  Mucking around with what appear to be three competing Display configuration apps (one under Preferences, one under Administration and a third Nvidia one under System) finally has the effect of reducing my xorg.conf file to porridge, and I have to start again with a fresh install.

In the midst of this an update also throws a wobbly due to this known bug concerning Yumex and Kernel updates, which sucks away another half an hour to fix.

A second night’s work gone for naught.  I have time to set a fresh installation and update going, then head to bed.

So now it’s the day after, and I’m at that stage of any Fedora Install where I consider (with decreasing seriousness): (a) trying Ubuntu/Mint again, (b) giving up and going back to Windows because it’s easy, and to heck with my principles, or (c) go and live in a cave and make wicker baskets for a living.

It’s Alive!

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Finally, the updated and expanded FrameCharge Press website is live!

I’ve tried to add a little depth to the site, with a few extra bells and whistles compared to the previous version, which was pretty basic.  The changes so far have been about improving the layout and navigation, including:

  • A more controlled colour scheme – to make things look nicer.
  • A consistent left navigation bar – the old one changed depending on context and as such I thought it felt a bit “impermanent” and thus lacked reliability.  I’ve moved the extra links to tabs and simplified the left navigation labelling for clarity.
  • Pages divided using tabbed navigation – I’ve always liked tabbed browsing, because it allows organisation of content without seeming to use a lot of space.  I’d love to claim that I designed and coded  it all myself, but that wouldn’t be honest; so a big thanks to the people behind this page, which I found with a Google search.
  • A fancy image gallery – The only bit of the site that isn’t controlled by CSS (for browser compatibility and simplicity).  Another Google search gave me this site, which I found most useful.
  • Some nice button designs – using the colours of the website, which I admit I used Adobe PhotoShop on Windows XP to create, based on this tutorial. In my defence I will say that it’s taken a long time to finish the redesign – I had to use my lunch breaks at work to make the buttons, where Windows was the only OS available.
  • Better CSS coding in the background – Highlighting the currently-selected option in the various navigation tools, while keeping the bulk of the code the same, so I can eventually institute them as single server-side includes on all the pages. A bit geeky perhaps, but I like the simplicity.  See here for the info.

Sunday 28th February also marks the beginning of this blog, such as it is.  This is where I’ll jot down thoughts on what I’m doing with Linux and publishing, as well as stuff about using Open Source software generally.  I’ve found the blogs of other Linux users very helpful when trying to solve my own technical issues – maybe I’ll be able to pass on a few helpful pointers along the way…

First job is likely to be an OS upgrade to get Fedora 12 up and running – more on that soon.  But for now I might just take a few days off and catch up on some TV.