Restarting GNOME shell via SSH

When GNOME shell breaks, you get to keep both pieces. The nice thing about shell failures in GNOME 3, is that if you’re able to do a restart, the active windows are mostly not disturbed. The common way to do this is to type ALT-F2, r, <ENTER>.

Unfortunately, you can’t always type that in if your shell is very borked. If you are lucky enough to have SSH access, and another machine, you can log in remotely and run this script:

#!/bin/bash
export DISPLAY=:0.0
{ `gnome-shell --replace &> /dev/null`; } < /dev/stdin &

This will restart the shell, but also allow you to disconnect from the terminal without killing the shell. If you’re not sure what I mean, try running gnome-shell --replace by itself, and then disconnect.

The script is available as a gist. Download it, put it inside your ~/bin/ and chmod u+x it. Hopefully you don’t need to use it!

Happy hacking,

James

 

Upgrading from Fedora 18 to Fedora 19

It was time to take the plunge and upgrade from Fedora 18 to Fedora 19. Fedora 18 was one of the worst releases ever, so I figured it could only get better. I ran my backups as usual, however this time I didn’t seem to need them, the upgrade process went off without a hitch! I used the fedup-cli process over the network. I always run these things inside of screen.

Here are my post install notes and comments:

Brown folder icons:

Someone broke the icon theme, and folders are now an ugly brown. Even though you’ll see a “Fedora” entry in the GNOME tweak tool, icon theme section, it won’t work. You need to install a theme package first:

# yum install fedora-icon-theme

tweak tool will now let you fix the brown icon issue.

Dash doesn’t launch new windows:

The GNOME shell is back to its old habit of trying to imitate Mac OSX. Thankfully there’s an official extension to fix this: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/600/launch-new-instance/

If you search for “Classic Mode” on¬†https://extensions.gnome.org/ you’ll find some other useful add ons. You might enjoy: AlternateTab, AvoidOverview, and SystemMonitor.

Evolution is snappier:

Congratulations to the evolution developers, this release seems a bit snappier! I haven’t tested it thoroughly, however closing evolution now happens in under ten seconds! Usually it would either hang or take much longer to close. Keep up the good work!

Clocks deletes your old clocks:

The clocks application deleted all the clocks that I had added. I suppose there are worse forms of data loss, but this is still pretty unprofessional! I had added one for every new place I had visited. Goodbye memories!

YUM breaks pexpect scripts:

A new version of YUM, now prompts you differently:

# yum install foobar[...]
Is this ok [y/d/N]:

No it’s not okay that you’re confusing my brain by adding a d. I actually don’t have any pexpect scripts depending on this, but after years of seeing y/N, the change is not welcomed. It should have been handled with a YUM download target instead.

Password prompts are annoying:

The GNOME shell handles most of the password prompts. This makes sense because it can help prevent you typing your password into a chat room. The problem is that if you need to run an external password manager to find a password, you’re out of luck. Maybe someone can add an option to minimize the focus stealing window. In addition, the “remember password” checkbox should NOT be on by default! It still is for evolution, and perhaps other apps too.

GNOME shell isn’t smooth, but it’s better:

Fedora 17 provided a smooth GNOME shell experience. Fedora 18, somehow killed the performance, and no fixes could be found. The performance seems to be a bit better in Fedora 19, but it’s still not perfect. Drivers are probably partly to blame.

New version of Gedit breaks some things:

The Gedit dashboard plugin no longer seems to work. After debugging the issue, it seems to be a packaging problem. To fix:

# yum install python3-dbus

and dashboard should work when enabled. The gedit-autotab plugin is thoroughly broken. I’d love to get that working again for smarter spaces!

That’s all for now,

Happy hacking,

James