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GavinW
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Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:10 pm

Entering commands by hand one risks typing errors. Better to select information from a menu and initiate actions with mouseclicks. That is surely why we have GUIs. Take entry of a file's pathname as a parameter; in RISC OS I hold down the SHIFT key and drag the file's icon into the command window or text editor, and that does the trick without risk of a typo. But how do I do that with Raspbian? Is there some way with copy&paste?
All the text editors I have tried in Linux will let you choose more or less graphically where to save your file, but do not give a corresponding facility if I merely want to enter a file's path into the text itself. I use SciTE because it seems easy to configure. Could I extend it to do this? I am also used to being able to launch a URL in a browser when I encounter it in a text file or an email. I am frustrated because there are so many actions that I am used to doing in RISC OS, which do not work in Raspbian. That is probably because I do not yet know my way around Linux sufficiently. The solution may be there but I am taking the wrong approach. All helpful suggestions welcome.
otium negare negotium vanum

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:28 pm

Well... you can run RISC OS on a Pi, so thre's that.

But really, GUIs are built to hide the real workings of the system. Since the target of the Pi is education, and--specifically--computer education where you hang the hardware and software out there where it can be seen, it's pretty much the point that one should get down there amid the nuts and bolts. That almost invariably means doing things on the command line. Thus, the best advice I can give is: Learn to type and lean how to issue commands. From where you are starting, one might just say...No pain, no gain.

n67
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:33 pm

1) It would be useful to know if the OP is coming from "RISCOS on the Pi" or just from "RISCOS in general". When I read the OP, I kinda assumed the former.

2) Regarding the need to type everything out: That's old school Linux. In the bad old days, yes, we had to type carefully. Nowadays, with bash (and other shells) command and filename completion capabilities, you almost never have to type out either a command or a filename. It's a lot better than it used to be.
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jahboater
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:43 pm

n67 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:33 pm
2) Regarding the need to type everything out: That's old school Linux. In the bad old days, yes, we had to type carefully. Nowadays, with bash (and other shells) command and filename completion capabilities, you almost never have to type out either a command or a filename. It's a lot better than it used to be.
Yes indeed. You soon know when you have typed something wrong because the bash tab completion does nothing. Press tab twice and you get a list of valid alternatives. It is really clever nowadays, it works across the network - for example while using scp, and understands many applications and what their arguments might expand to.

I think when you spend the time to learn it, Raspbian/Linux is incomparably more capable and powerful than RISC OS, and you can use your skills anywhere.

And of course the GUI has cut and paste!

Roken
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:25 pm

You could always go back to Windows, which shields the user from almost anything. Having said that, where's the fun in that?
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:49 pm

Roken wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:25 pm
You could always go back to Windows, which shields the user from almost anything. Having said that, where's the fun in that?
Try "...shields...from almost everything.." As for that last clause, thank you Dr. Song.

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GavinW
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:58 pm

Cannot go back to Windows as I was never there in the first place. I have been a RISC OS user since forever. I grant you that Linux is marvellous. I am looking forward to learning more. I see that SciTE's Help -> SciTE Help option runs a command called xdg-open which looks a bit like Filer_Run in RISC OS. I have an inkling how to use that to launch URLs from within SciTE using it.

In the early 80s I managed a network of Archimedes from a Riscix server. I remember that its GUI, created by Gnome, had a GUI which could be configured on a per-directory basis, using a hidden file that consisted of assignments in a specialised language mapping user-actions (key presses, button-presses, clicks, drags, ... ) to commands. It seemed very flexible and a nice abstract approach to GUI design. It would be good if Raspbian had something as general as that. Pixel is very pretty but it makes many of the dumb assumptions that Windows makes: for example that the window with the input focus has to move to the top of the window stack. In consequence you cannot move a window behind another one, as you can in RISC OS. You want the window you are reading from to stay on top, not the one you are writing into.
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scruss
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:16 pm

Click-to-focus-and-raise is now the standard in Linux, unfortunately. I suspect you can configure LXDE to have hover focus so the top window doesn't have input focus, but it'll be lost in old options. Custom settings will also be wiped away with every Raspbian UI upgrade: it's just what they do.

The "input a filename anywhere in the text" is a Risc OS specialty, and I've never seen it anywhere else. There's probably an Emacs package to do it, but then, emacs is a way of life
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Paeryn
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:43 pm

You can have focus given to the highest window that the mouse is over without raising said window, the option is in obconf under the mouse section (not sure if obconf is installed by default but it's just a sudo apt install obconf away if not). If you don't want to do that you can manually edit the user's openbox conf file ~/.config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml and change the focus -> followMouse option from no to yes

Code: Select all

  <focus>
    <followMouse>yes</followMouse>
    <!-- move focus to a window when you move the mouse into it -->
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asandford
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:02 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:28 pm
But really, GUIs are built to hide the real workings of the system. Since the target of the Pi is education, and--specifically--computer education where you hang the hardware and software out there where it can be seen, it's pretty much the point that one should get down there amid the nuts and bolts. That almost invariably means doing things on the command line. Thus, the best advice I can give is: Learn to type and lean how to issue commands. From where you are starting, one might just say...No pain, no gain.
Pretty much this.

TBH, if I can't access program functionality with a CLI command then I'm very disappointed, as it opens up so many possibilities not available from a GUI.

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GavinW
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:30 am

@Paeryn. Thanks I found that Preferences -> Openbox Configuration Manager -> Mouse lets me separate focus from top-of-stack. Unfortunately it does not let me move a window without popping it back to the top. There appears to be no mechanism for dragging a window underneath another one, which corresponds more to real-life desktops with papers on them. I found that using obconf from the commandline produces errors: Error retrieving accessibility bus address: .... . Is this a loose end from the installation of Pixel?

@asandford. I agree. It was a weakness of RISC OS that it provided basic tools (!Edit, !Draw, !Paint, ... ) which had insufficient commandline control. In consequence these tools cannot be used from within programs but only from the desktop.

@W.H.Heydt. I do not think you are correct in seeing the Rpi as only an educational tool. I take your view, that GUIs are to hide the inner workings, as a piece of cynical pessimism. I see Linux as a magnificent patrimony from the thousands of people who have worked to free the design and operation of computers from the grip of commerce. Why should it not move on to the development of better GUIs and wrest them from the doldrums they are presently in? Yes - I know - commercial forces.But if we do not complain about the shortcomings of what is available now and dream about what we might have, we will never have anything better.
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Paeryn
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:34 pm

To stop windows being raised when you move them you'd have to go through the config file and in the <mouse> section take out the <action name="raise"/> lines from the events where you don't want the window being raised. I don't think you can edit those from obconf and I won't be home until tonight to knock up a test config.

Edit: There is an example config on OpenBox's website http://openbox.org/wiki/Help:MouseFocusExample
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topguy
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:52 pm

I see Linux as a magnificent patrimony from the thousands of people who have worked to free the design and operation of computers from the grip of commerce. Why should it not move on to the development of better GUIs and wrest them from the doldrums they are presently in?
Because so many people has been involved over the years, its impossible to get a common agreement on what is the "better" gui. So you have had a lot different windows managers to choose from over the years. (https://www.gilesorr.com/wm/table.html)

But we are always moving in the (one or another) direction of creating better GUIs, and I think we has come very far. But different users have different needs and habits, so its impossible to please everyone. ( I thought the Amiga Workbench was the best desktop for many years )

There is a package in Debian Stretch called the "rox-filer" which is a file-browser that should have some RiscOS vibes to it.

PS!
You can drag and drop file-icons from explorer in Windows on "cmd" windows and get the full path "typed".

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GavinW
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:27 pm

@Paeryn. Many thanks for the information. I have now modified /home/pi/.config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml by commenting out an <action name="raise"> tag and now I can drag one window behind another. Furthermore, because lxde-pi-rc.xml is so easy to read, I have been able to discover all sorts of useful features that I was previously unaware of. If only all those For Dummies books and Getting Started articles had been as generous with concrete information I would not have bellyached so rudely.

@topguy. Thanks. I had heard of rox-filer but did not know it was a Debian package. Not knowing how to get it going, or whether the attempt to install it would scupper my nice Pixel set up irreparably, I have not yet had the courage to try it out.

Thanks again for your support.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:50 pm

GavinW wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:30 am
@W.H.Heydt. I do not think you are correct in seeing the Rpi as only an educational tool. I take your view, that GUIs are to hide the inner workings, as a piece of cynical pessimism. I see Linux as a magnificent patrimony from the thousands of people who have worked to free the design and operation of computers from the grip of commerce. Why should it not move on to the development of better GUIs and wrest them from the doldrums they are presently in? Yes - I know - commercial forces.But if we do not complain about the shortcomings of what is available now and dream about what we might have, we will never have anything better.
There may be a lot less disagreement between us than the surface debate might suggest.

While the original intent of the Pi was purely as an educational device, the RPF/RPT are well aware that they are used in many more places than that. The hobbyist market squints. There is no conflict with the device being educational for hobbyists. Learning can take place if many contexts beyond the classroom. It has been stated by those that would know that about 50% of all Pis sold are now going to commercial/industrial uses. There is even a line of Pis (the CMs) specifically designed for industrial/embedded use.

Some of my remarks about GUIs are cynicism, but not all of them. The "everything simply must be GUI" is as misguided as insting that GUIs not exist. My wife once had to use a Mac at work. In frustration one day, she called the Apple help line to find out if some of the things she wanted to do had keyboard shortcuts, because if they did, she couldn't find them. The person on the help line wask in astonishment, "Why not just use the mouse?" She had to explain that she typed at about 100wpm and using the mouse slowed her down so she wanted to avoid that wherever possible. On the other hand, a program like gimp would be--functionally--impossible without a GUI, so I agree that GUIs have their place. However, CLI also has it's place. Just try doing the following (which I have to do periodically) in a GUI: replace all virgules in all lines of a file with hyphens. In vi, you type ":g/\//s//-/g" and it's done.

It has already been explained that there is no consensus on what exactly is a "better" GUI. Now, as it happens, the Linux/unix world has a solution that that problem, and it's one that both Windows and Mac lack. the *nix world recognizes that human interfaces are not actually an integral function of the operating system. This permits one to pick and choose which interface suits you as an individual. Don't like bash? There is also sh, csh, ksh and who knows how many other command line shells. Don't like LXDE? How about Gnome or KDE? In the extreme--if you have the knowledge and skill--you can write your own shell or GUI.

And, by the way, people do complain about what is available now. If you read these forums (and many others) carefully, you will find that the shortcomings and abuse of (effective) power by both Microsoft and Apple--and their GUIs--get criticized. Linux...not so much, in large part (at least in my opinion) because in the Linux world, there are vastly more choices both of the interface as well as how it is configured.

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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:53 pm

GavinW wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:27 pm
@topguy. Thanks. I had heard of rox-filer but did not know it was a Debian package. Not knowing how to get it going, or whether the attempt to install it would scupper my nice Pixel set up irreparably, I have not yet had the courage to try it out.
If there is a software package that you are interested in, "apt-cache search <name>" is your friend.

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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:33 pm

GavinW wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:27 pm
@Paeryn. Many thanks for the information. I have now modified /home/pi/.config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml by commenting out an <action name="raise"> tag and now I can drag one window behind another. Furthermore, because lxde-pi-rc.xml is so easy to read, I have been able to discover all sorts of useful features that I was previously unaware of. If only all those For Dummies books and Getting Started articles had been as generous with concrete information I would not have bellyached so rudely.

@topguy. Thanks. I had heard of rox-filer but did not know it was a Debian package. Not knowing how to get it going, or whether the attempt to install it would scupper my nice Pixel set up irreparably, I have not yet had the courage to try it out.

Thanks again for your support.

No idea what Pixel is, but "Raspberry Pi Desktop" GUI in Raspbian Stretch should not break by installing ROX:

Code: Select all

sudo apt update
sudo apt install rox-filer

https://packages.debian.org/stretch/rox-filer
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GavinW
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:56 pm

There is a matter in which I could do with advice. Since getting going with Raspbian I have installed various pieces of software - browsers, for example - and later changed my mind. If I installed them with sudo agt-get install I used sudo apt-get purge to remove them. But I still see a lot of cruft in the file system, whose function I have forgotten, but which I am wary about deleting because I do not know what dependencies may exist between them and other stuff that I want to keep. That is why we have package managers, I suppose.
For example, I think that I installed the Geany text-editor, needing something more accomplished than nano or Leaf, which came with the distribution. I have now installed SciTE and have sudo apt-get purged Geany. But there is still a geany directory in /home/pi/.config. Is it safe for me to delete it? I have similar questions over Vivaldi (was that a browser?) and xscreensaver.
I can see that the file manager's menus are to a certain extent dependent on what file has been selected. If I want to edit these menus, where do I find them?
otium negare negotium vanum

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:20 pm

First a general item that may be useful... The "man" command will give you the programmers manual page on a command. So "man apt-get" will show you what options you have. The options you might take a look at are "clean" and "autoremove."

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scruss
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:52 pm

GavinW wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:56 pm
… But there is still a geany directory in /home/pi/.config. Is it safe for me to delete it?
I'll give you a categorical maybe, because there might be a program configuration somewhere else that assumes Geany is still installed and will try to fire it up. It's probably not worth the bother of rooting through dotfiles to clear out old ones: they're small, purposely hidden (that's what the . does at the start of a file or folder name) and could break something.

The only really large folder inside .config for me belongs to Chromium, and messing with that will kill it.

If you want to free up space, an occasional sudo apt clean will do a better job. It removes cached package downloads, and if you have a network connection, all they do is take up space.

Having tried RiscOS coming from Linux, it's going to be a very strange transition going the other way. I couldn't handle RiscOS's cooperative multitasking, its lack of support for standard file formats, and how many seemingly essential add-ons you'd have to pay for. On the flipside, I couldn't find modern/usable tools to convert from RiscOS files to interchangeable formats on Linux, so it didn't prove useful to me.
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Roken
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Re: Please help a confirmed GUI addict. How do I ...

Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:47 pm

GavinW wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:56 pm
But I still see a lot of cruft in the file system, whose function I have forgotten, but which I am wary about deleting because I do not know what dependencies may exist between them and other stuff that I want to keep.

Code: Select all

apt-file search FILE_NAME
Will tell you if the file is owned/required by a package. You need to install apt-file and run apt update as root first

Or

Code: Select all

 dpkg -S FILE_NAME
which doesn't need anything installing.
Headless PI. OMG, someone cut it's head off. Oh, hang on. it didn't have one to start with.

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