Posts Tagged ‘urxvt’

My Software Stack 2011 edition

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I realize that I haven’t written my customary “software stack” post for this year yet. But hey, from where I’m sitting, I still have … 36 minutes to spare ;)

I’ll be using the same categories as last year; system, communications, web, development, office suite, server, organization, and entertainment.


The OS of choice is still Archlinux, my window manager is still wmii, my terminal emulator is rxvt-unicode, upgraded by also installing urxvt-tabbedex.

My shell is still bash, my cron daemon is still fcron, and my network manager is wicd.

To this configuration I’ve added the terminal multiplexer tmux, and have lately found out just how useful mc can be. Oh, and qmv from the renameutils package is now a given part of the stack.


Not much change here, Thunderbird for email, Pidgin for instant messaging, irssi for IRC.

Heybuddy has been replaced by identicurse as my micro-blogging ( client. Heybuddy is very nice, but I can use identicurse from the commandline, and it has vim-like bindings.

For Pidgin I use OTR to encrypt conversations. For Thunderbird I use the enigmail addon along with GnuPG.

This means that Thunderbird still hasn’t been replaced by the “mutt-stack” (mutt, msmtp, offlineimap and mairix) and this is mostly due to me not having the energy to learn how to configure mutt.

I also considered trying to replace Pidgin with irssi and bitlbee but Pidgin + OTR works so well, and I have no idea about how well OTR works with bitlbee/irssi (well, actually, I’ve found irssi + OTR to be flaky at best.


Not much changed here either, Firefox dominates, and I haven’t looked further into uzbl although that is still on the TODO list, for some day.

I do some times also use w3m, elinks, wget, curl and perl-libwww.

My Firefox is customized with NoScript, RequestPolicy, some other stuff, and Pentadactyl.

Privoxy is nowadays also part of the loadout, to filter out ads and other undesirable web “resources”.


In this category there has actually been some changes:

  • gvim has been completely dropped
  • eclipse has been dropped, using vim instead
  • mercurial has been replaced by git

Thanks in no small part to my job, I have gotten more intimate knowledge of awk and expect, as well as beginning to learn Perl.

I still do some Python hacking, a whole lot of shell scripting, and for many of these hacks, SQLite is a faithful companion.

Doh! I completely forgot that I’ve been dabbling around with Erlang as well, and that mscgen has been immensely helpful in helping me visualize communication paths between various modules.

“Office suite”

I still use LaTeX for PDF creation (sorry hook, still haven’t gotten around to checking out ConTeXt), I haven’t really used sc at all, it was just too hard to learn the controls, and I had too few spreadsheets in need of creating. I use qalculate almost on a weekly basis, but for shell scripts I’ve started using bc instead.

A potential replacement for sc could be teapot, but again, I usually don’t create spreadsheets…


Since I’ve dropped mercurial, and since the mercurial-server package suddenly stopped working after a system update, I couldn’t be bothered to fix it, and it is now dropped.

screen and irssi is of course always a winning combination.

nginx and uwsgi has not been used to any extent, I haven’t tried setting up a VPN service, but I have a couple of ideas for the coming year (mumble, some VPN service, some nginx + Python/Perl thingies, bitlbee) and maybe replace the Ubuntu installation with Debian.


I still use both vimwiki and vim outliner, and my Important Dates Notifier script.

Still no TaskJuggler, and I haven’t gotten much use out of abook.

remind has completely replaced when, while I haven’t gotten any use what so ever out of wyrd.


For consuming stuff I use evince (PDF), mplayer (video), while for music, moc has had to step down from the throne, to leave place for mpd and ncmpcpp.

eog along with gthumb (replacing geeqie) handles viewing images.

For manipulation/creation needs I use LaTeX, or possibly Scribus, ffmpeg, audacity, imagemagick, inkscape, and gimp.

Bonus: Security

I thought I’d add another category, security, since I finally have something worthwhile to report here.

I’ve begun encrypting selected parts of my hard drive (mostly my email directory) using EncFS, and I use my passtore script for password management.

And sometimes (this was mostly relevant for when debugging passtore after having begun actively using it) when I have a sensitive file which I for a session need to store on the hard drive, in clear text, I use quixand to create an encrypted directory with a session key only stored in RAM. So once the session has ended, there is little chance of retrieving the key and decrypting the encrypted directory.

Ending notes

That’s about it. Some new stuff, mostly old stuff, only a few things getting kicked off the list. My stack is pretty stable for now. I wonder what cool stuff I will find in 2012 :D



Sunday, July 24th, 2011

vim and ctags

I’ve been meaning to look into ctags for a while, mostly because I’ve wanted some better way of being able to locate the definition or calls of a function, than popping up a new terminal and running grep. I know of :[l]grep and :[l]vimgrep and should really spend a day or two learning those as well, but ctags looks like it could be more useful to know immediately so for now I’ll focus on getting acquainted with these keybindings.

ctags itself is “exuberant ctags” and is found on sourceforge, if not available from your package manager. If you’re using vim you’ll also want to grab the ctags.vim script and just drop it into your ${HOME}/.vim/plugin/ directory.

In your source directory simply run $ ctags -R and you will have yourself a tags file for this directory and all subdirectories. Opening a file and calling :TlistOpen will give you a list of all the found definitions in the project. Unfortunately for me, I want all the newly created windows from a split to appear to the right or below, the original window, EXCEPT for this tag list window ;)

The solution to that came in a StackOverflow thread and is called Ctrl-W R

There are several good posts which helped me come to terms with ctags.

firefox and sorting downloads

For a while now *cough*since around 2006*cough* I have been using the absolutely asskicking add-on Download Sort for Firefox. You set up your rules for where files with a certain extension should go, and then you just start downloading files, and they all end up where they should.

Or so the theory goes. But let’s say that you get tired of having to move all your wallpapers downloaded from or wherever, to your wallpapers folder, from the generic images folder?

Then Download Sort is looking less good. There just isn’t a way to differentiate between an “image” jpg and a “wallpaper” jpg.
Sadly, the only add-on I’ve found which advertises the features I want, Automatic Save Folder, didn’t work for me at all. It might be my overly paranoid security settings screwing things up, but for some reason it just won’t remember any of the rules I set into place…


I started playing with tabbed urxvt. I ultimately ended up installing urxvt-tabbedex and using that instead. The differences are small, but tabbedex doesn’t provide a “new” button (a new shell is spawned using Shift-Down, and tabbedex provides (the perhaps less useful) feature of renaming a tab (Shift-Up).


I have lived under the impression that I was using a really old wmii (even though the package I used was wmii-hg which should pull the latest version from the repository). The reason I was under the impression that this was old was that it never came any updates when I executed a $ yaourt -Sayu.

When I finally looked into it yesterday I finally realized that I was running on bleeding edge. The trick to wmii-hg, apparently, is that you need to manually re-install it to have it fetch the latest updates… What I took as project inactivity (and must thus be an old branch) was in fact not so.

As tagrules are severely broken in wmii-hg it hasn’t been fun using it (and colrules behaved very strange, but strange in a way I have now come to appreciate… go figure) but there were always issues with the wmii package in the repository, most having to do with an insane amount of flickering when creating a new terminal, or moving one about etc.

The flickering parts seems to have been solved, it might have had something to do with my transparent terminals and not a problem with wmii, I don’t know, but now it works.

Thanks goes out to pesa for single-handedly seeking out and vanquishing my final annoyance of wmii 3.9.2: that every now and then it would start spawning more than one terminal when I issued a command to get one.

When I was reloading the configuration, the old process remained, and with it, the listeners for keyboard commands… like starting a new terminal…


I’ve been running the mercurial-server package on my server to provide me with easy access to (mercurial) repositories. This week, for some reason, it started failing.

I had updated mercurial from 1.3 to 1.9 and my first thought was that this had broken mercurial-server somehow, but after reverting the package, the problem came back.

Not immediately, mind you, which makes this whole thing even stranger.

But this has just provided me with the right amount of kick in the ass to get on my way and convert from mercurial to git, so all in all perhaps not a bad thing?


Why I’m not going near spotify: It sums up pretty well my own feelings about Spotify…

In certain (rather specific) contexts, I even despise Spotify users, and here’s why: Imagine that you are sitting on a train, and you will be doing so for the next seven hours or so. The train has “internet”, via one 3G modem.

Now picture ten other passengers ALSO going online, their objective being to listen to Spotify. Can haz moar bandwifs plz? kthxbai



Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

rxvt-unicode (commonly known as urxvt) is the terminal emulator of recent choice for me. But in moving (from gnome-terminal) there was one piece of functionality I missed: gnome-terminal had the ability to recognize URLs and make them interactive.

Sure, interactive by use of mouse, but still a step up from having to manually select the entire URL and copy paste it.

A couple of days ago I found a solution in urxvt-url-select. By a customizable keyboard combination (Alt + u for me) it iterates through all URLs in the visible portion of the terminal, highlighting the current selection, and once the desired URL is highlighted, a simple press of the enter-key and the URL is loaded in a browser (also configurable).

So for me it was as simple as:

# pacman -S urxvt-url-select

and appending the following to my ~/.Xdefaults file:


And then restart X (the only hassle, but wmii really loads so quickly as to not bother me)

My software stack revisted – Intro

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

A little more than a year and a half ago, I wrote a post with the title “My software stack”.

When I wrote that post I was still studying at the IT University, and the post was aimed at fellow students, attempting to distill what I had come to learn, what software I had come to use, which could be of use to others as well.

Time pass, things change, I’m no longer studying, so I thought it might be interesting to revisit the subject. To see what has changed, what has remained the same.

More than that, re-reading the original post, I see that I list many libraries that I’ve since only used once or twice. It’s not that these are useless in any way, far from it, I stand by my recommendations about them, it’s just that for the types of things I do, I have not found much use for them.

So I can’t really say that they’re a part of my software stack. And that is one thing I aim to improve this time around. Instead of writing about the software stack I wish I had, I will try to restrict myself to presenting the software I have used at least more than three times.

Instead of my usual style of writing (a great big wall of text) I’ll do this as a series of posts instead, and this first post will lay the foundation of my software stack: the operating system and relevant environment.

So without any further ado, the base software:

Operating system

I have now replaced Ubuntu with ArchLinux, as Ubuntu once replaced Windows XP. As with the switch from Windows to Ubuntu, I find I don’t have much to complain about in the predecessor, it is just that the successor is better.

Ubuntu is still a great distribution, and I would recommend it over ArchLinux for newcomers to the GNU/Linux world. It’s just that I don’t feel like a newcomer anymore.

Ubuntu is absolutely the easiest GNU/Linux distribution I have tested, with sane user-friendly default settings. And it works well as is.

But I have come to the point that I feel confident that I can do a better job at selecting what software I want installed in my system, than Canonical can do for me. And I’d rather spend the time assembling these, than uninstalling stuff from Ubuntu, and their dependencies, and their dependencies and… you get my point.

My second largest reason may well have evaporated now that Canonical seems to be making Ubuntu a rolling release as well. I’m happy about this, because Ubuntu isn’t completely out in the cold, but more on that later.

Window manager

Ever since pesa installed wmii on my old laptop, I was hooked. wmii is a tiling window manager which tries it damnedest to maximize the use of the available screen area. And it kicks ass at doing it.

Sadly I could never get it to work at all in Ubuntu (except for the one time when pesa installed it for me). In Arch it might have taken half an hour to get set up and configured. Small tweaking to get it just right took longer, but it was worth it.

If you, like me, try to spend as much time as possible in a terminal, you are bound to like wmii. GUI-applications work just as well, of course, but they seem to always claim more screen real estate than they need, so better to just stick them in a tag (virtual desktop for you non-wmii-users) on their own and let them occupy all the screen space they want.

Terminal and shell

Since all the cool kids these days are using rxvt-unicode I guess so am I ;)

And despite two attempts to make friends with zsh, I always end up coming back to bash.

I guess that’s all for now. The next post will be about (multi)media and entertainment.