First, let me give you a bit of back history before I ramble on for a while. I have been stuck for weeks not knowing who or what to believe about Linux any more, I was not liking Canonical because of the recent contributor agreement (even though i didnt have to sign it), on the other hand, I didnt really like ubuntu because of how hard it is to get a simple application into the repositories. For the last few weeks I have been in indecision about what I should do, should I let my Ubuntu Membership expire? should i jump ships to a different distro? should I stick with Ubuntu?

Just a few minutes ago however, I had a *lightbulb* moment, I realised that I should just stick with Ubuntu, why? because I don’t have to sign the contributor agreement, I don’t have to let my membership expire, I don’t need to switch distro’s, I realised that I am happy right where I am, I am happy with Ubuntu. I realised that I don’t actually contribute to Ubuntu itself much, I write my own code, which isn’t included in Ubuntu. I write documentation that isn’t included directly in Ubuntu, I don’t actually contribute anything *directly* to Ubuntu.

So why did i feel this way? why did I feel as if I wasnt doing enough? as if I didnt fit in? I realised that I *do* fit in, I realised that I had no obligation to work my way up to contributing directly to Ubuntu, i already contribute to it in my own unique way. I also now understand that I don’t need to disagree with anything canonical do, since Ubuntu will still be able to use plain old GNOME, it will still be as flexible as before, I realised that I didnt have to accept the default stuff, I could do whatever I wanted, it is Linux after all.

Have you ever felt this way? If yes, what did you do about it?

Im on github

I just setup an account on github in order to share my git repo of some of my more useful config files, you can see it here:



My irssi setup

Recently I have been playing around with my irssi setup and tinkering with commands and scripts so I thought I would share my setup here. My irssi setup is by no means the best setup out there, I have seen far cooler one’s all over the net, this is just how *I* use irssi.

First of all, I have irssi running inside screen (mostly because I use nicklist.pl), plus screen is useful in a bunch of other ways. The scripts I currently use are:

The theme I use is a modification of the madcow theme called 88_madcows by Aaron Toponce.

Here is a screenshot of my current irssi window:


My irssi window...

I really like the 88_madcows theme and like Aaron, I also used to use the madcows theme, although at the time I didnt know any Perl or anything, so didn’t consider modifying the theme.


If your reading this post and you don’t use irssi, I highly recommend you check it out, it is an excellent IRC client and the only one I have been able to tolerate using for the past couple of years. If you use irssi, please go ahead and share your setup in the comments.

Alternative search engine’s

In the last week or two, I have been trying out search engines other than Google (yes, Google is not the only search engine). The two I am most impressed with are DuckDuckGo and Blekko, DuckDuckGo is so good that it has knocked Google off it’s place as my default search engine.

DDG (DuckDuckGo) is great for a number of reasons:

  • DDG doesn’t track your searches (Google does)
  • Uses a cool !bang syntax to make searching faster (example: ‘!w linux’ will take you directly to the Wikipedia page for linux, hundreds of !bang shortcuts are available for many popular sites and topics)
  • Almost as good search results as Google, there have only been a tiny handful of searches that havent been very good
  • Fast and minimal
  • The API is open source

Blekko is also very cool, it uses a neat concept where users search using slashes which are designed to give more relevant results. Blekko is also nice and fast and the search results are very good.

I encourage everyone to give these search engines a go, you might just be surprised at what you find.

Ubuntu, the Web and Me

I realize I haven’t blogged in a fair while, this is my first post of 2011. 2010 was a big year for me in the Ubuntu community, I participated in so many cool projects, events and activities, and perhaps more importantly, I learnt a great deal.

At the end of last year I created a big list of things I wanted to do in 2011, some of you may be thinking “how could this bloke possibly have the motivation for all these things!?”, my answer to that? I am motivated because of the great community around Ubuntu, FOSS and around the interwebs.

Now, I do not wish to share the list with you all, simply because it has many things on it that I do not wish to share with everyone.

Some of the cool things I did last year:

  • Joined the Ubuntu Manual project and helped to drive it forward I am still active within the project, although have a reduced role due to commitment to other projects.
  • Received Ubuntu Membership
  • Joined the Bugsquad
  • Joined the Ubuntu Developer Manual project
  • Joined the Ubuntu Youth Team
  • Greatly increased my activity on IRC and other sites like Identi.ca and Diaspora.
  • Started my own project called Pytask
  • Joined in on Ubuntu Opportunistic Developer Week and ran a session.

I am planning on making 2011 the year that I really put an effort in. To help with this, I have finally got enough money together to buy new hardware.

Also, many people have been asking me when the next release of Pytask will be coming, I have been working hard over Christmas to get the next release out. There are many useful improvements that have been made and Pytask will be available in over 10 languages as of next release, so hold on to your hats!

New Pytask release!

I am very pleased to announce the latest version of an application of mine called Pytask, I hinted in a blog post a while ago that it was nearing release, but I was set back by both bugs in the code and other projects.

The new features in this release include:

  • Pytask is now translated into Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Hindi and Spanish
  • Pytask now has an indicator applet *with* a mono icon
  • The filter introduced in 10.06.1 has been further improved
  • You can now report bugs against Pytask using apport

You can get Pytask from my PPA here: https://launchpad.net/~nisshh/+archive/pytask-releases


Custom indicator applet icon

Recently, I have been helping out many, many people in #ubuntu-app-devel on Freenode with getting a their application indicator to use a custom icon. I recently went through a lot of hassle trying to figure this out, so I thought I would post about it.

So normally to initialize your application indicator, you would have something like this:

ind = appindicator.Indicator("MyApp", "my-app-icon", appindicator.CATEGORY_APPLICATION_STATUS)

But that will only allow you to use icons in the current icon theme, not your own, so to fix this you just need to specify the path like so:

ind = appindicator.Indicator("MyApp", "/usr/share/myapp/media/my-app-icon.png", appindicator.CATEGORY_APPLICATION_STATUS)

The above code assumes that your app is a Quickly application (/usr/share/myapp/ is where Quickly applications install themselves to). If your application is not a Quickly application then you just need to point the path where your icon is when the application is installed.