Posted by: Odzangba | October 25, 2008

Using Ubuntu Without X

Hello, I haven’t blogged in a long while… my apologies for that. Lot’s of interesting things have happened since my last blog post. For one, I dumped X and now use the console excusively. Yeah, I know it sounds a little extreme in this age of high speed multiple-core processors, video cards and fancy desktop compositing but let me remind you that I still use a very old Compaq Deskpro and yes, most cell phones come with faster processors than my 350Mhz Pentium II processor. I think it’s enough to say, I don’t exactly have much spare processing power. But I digress, using a console only system is not as terrifying as it sounds. There are some pretty easy to use and mature text based applications out there. I use my computer for everyday stuff – music, television, radio, movies, reading, etc. I mess with applications like apache and samba only because I’m curious… nothing more, as in I don’t depend on them for a living. So from any stand point, it really is an overkill to run X in the first place. I basically need the following apps: an audio player, a video player, radio and television apps, a web browser for offline web pages and a pdf reader. I chose MPD and ncmpc for my music management because here’s what I need – the application manages the music, I select what songs I want and click play. Some people like more control but I’m basically a lazy person and I cannot be bothered by the petty details of managing individual audio files and folders. 🙂

Every morning, I wake up, stretch and yawn, and thank God for Mplayer. 😀 Seriously people, I do not know what I would do without this app. I use it for watching television and playing my video files. It can even double up as my fall back audio player and radio capture system but that’d mean too much work for my lazy fingers. I use fmtools to listen to radio because it’s simple… all I have to do is type ‘fm 101.3’ and I’m listening to the BBC. In line with my industrious personality, I set up aliases so for example, I only have to type ‘bbc’ to listen to the BBC… sweet. 🙂 Elinks works pretty well when I need to read pages I’d already downloaded from the web or some HTML based documentation like the mplayer documentation.

The only problem is the PDF reader. After searching all over the web, the one thing I can tell you is if there is a console based pdf reader for linux, no one is telling. Luckily, pdftohtml can convert pdfs to HTML so I can read them with elinks. The output can be crappy especially when images and complex frames are involved but I have very few of those ebooks. I like my console system, it is snappy, and it does what I tell it to do without much drama; besides it totally annoys the crap out of my siblings. 🙂 I’ll go into more details later this week. I have to run.

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