running your file manager from a terminal

I do a lot of my work in a terminal. For the unfamiliar, this might seem strange, however once you’re comfortable with your shell, this is the best place to be. I don’t restrict myself to it though. I often want to spawn a file manager, or a graphical text editor. When I run nautilus, I usually see something like this:

james@computer:~/some/awesome/directory$ nautilus .
Initializing nautilus-open-terminal extension
Shutting down nautilus-open-terminal extension

This is useful, because I can open a file browser right where I want it, it’s annoying, because nautilus runs in that terminal until I close it. (This doesn’t happen if the nautilus process is always running, but since GNOME 3, it isn’t.)

My solution is a short bash script that runs nautilus, and leaves your terminal alone. I named my script nautilus, and placed it inside my ~/bin/. Here is the script:

# run nautilus from a terminal, without being attached to it; similar to nohup
# use the full path of nautilus to avoid it calling itself (recursion!)
{ `/usr/bin/nautilus "$@" &> /dev/null`; } &

I hope this is useful for you too. Feel free to do the same for gedit, nemo, and any other app which you often find convenient to run from the terminal. You can generalize this by leaving out the nautilus program:

if [ "$1" == "" ]; then
        echo "usage: ./"`basename $0`"  (to run a command nohup style)"
        exit 1
# do a nohup bash style according to:
{ `"$@" &> /dev/null`; } &

I name the above script, and it helps me out from time to time, when I don’t want to touch my mouse.

In case you haven’t heard about it, there’s also an open-terminal extension for nautilus and nemo which lets you get to a terminal, from your file manager. A quick internet search should help you install it.

If you found this information useful, please let me know, and as always,

Happy hacking,


PS: If you plan to do this for gedit, you probably want to preserve stdin, so that you can still pipe things in. To do this, you’ll probably want:

{ `/usr/bin/gedit "$@" &> /dev/null`; } < /dev/stdin &    # accept stdin too!

adding range support to python’s http server to kickstart with anaconda

I’ve been working on automatic installs using kickstart and puppet. I’m using a modified python httpserver because it’s lightweight, and easy to integrate into my existing python code base. The server was churning away perfectly until anaconda started downloading the full rpm’s for installation. What was going wrong?

Traceback (most recent call last):
error: [Errno 32] Broken pipe
BorkedError: See TTBOJ for explanation and discussion

As it turns out, anaconda first downloads the headers, and then later requests the full rpm with an http range request. This second range request which begins at byte 1384, causes the “simple” httpserver to bork, because it doesn’t support this more elaborate feature.

After a bit of searching, I found rangehttpserver and was very grateful that I wouldn’t have to write this feature myself. This work by smgoller was based on the similar httpserver by xyne. Both of these people have been very responsive and kind in giving me special permission to the relevant portions of their code that I needed under the GPLv2/3+. Thanks to these two and their contribution to Free Software this let’s us all see further, instead of having to reinvent previously solved problems.

This derivative work is only one part of a larger software release that I have coming shortly, but I wanted to put this out here early to thank these guys and to make you all aware of the range issue and solution.

Thank you again and,
Happy Hacking,


learn how to do one minute hacks, in three minutes

I write this technical blog for you to enjoy, and to help me remember. So where do I get all this knowledge? I figure it out! Here’s how I learned to fix a small gedit annoyance in one minute, and within the next three, you’ll be able to do the same for other types of problems too. Ready? Set? Go!

I use gedit enough, that when I hack, I often end up using up more than the five allotted spaces in the “recent files” sections. I wanted to see eight. Since I knew it would have been silly for the developers to hard code the number five, I decided there was a chance that they stored it in the dconf settings. (BTW, there’s also an amazing “Dashboard” plugin which I use for more complex recent-files searching…)

Enter dconf-editor. Run this, and start browsing through the hierarchy. You’ll notice that the org.gnome.* hierarchy has a lot going on. Look around, and you’ll find a “gedit” section. Once there, you’ll probably recognize some of the key names, as preferences you’ve seen. I searched for the number 5 and I found it next to a ‘max-recents’ key.

You can edit this with the editor, or for your convenience, just run:

gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.ui max-recents 8

the corresponding ‘read’ command is:

gsettings get org.gnome.gedit.preferences.ui max-recents

of course. The interesting thing about these settings, is that if coded properly, their actions are “live”. Which means, you can toggle them on and off, and in most cases, you’ll see the results immediately. Similarly, if you toggle a particular setting in gedit, you should see the changes instantly in dconf-editor.

Have fun playing with this and,

Happy hacking,



A quick anaconda trick

Here’s a quick anaconda solution that I am now using in some of my kickstart files…

I wanted to bootstrap a machine and do all the partitioning and logical volume creation, but not format or mount one of the logical volumes. The magic parameter I needed was:


This seems to work perfectly for me. It’s not 100% intuitive to me, but it does work. I hope it’s not an accidental bug in the anaconda code! The full text of my partitioning is:

clearpart --all --drives=sda
part /boot --fstype=ext4 --size=1024
part pv.01 --grow --size=1024
volgroup VolGroup00 --pesize=4096 pv.01
logvol / --fstype=ext4 --name=root --vgname=VolGroup00 --size=65536
logvol swap --name=swap --vgname=VolGroup00 --size=16384
logvol /foo --name=foo --vgname=VolGroup00 --fstype=none --grow --size=1

Now all that anaconda is missing is support for RAID1 EFI /boot.

Happy hacking,