Tag Archives: x11

Valuable News – 2018/10/20

The Valuable News weekly series is dedicated to provide summary about news, articles and other interesting stuff mostly but not always related to the UNIX or BSD systems. Whenever I stumble upon something worth mentioning on the Internet I just put it here so someone else can

Today the amount information that we get using various information streams is at massive overload. Thus one needs to focus only on what is important without the need to grep(1) the Internet everyday. Hence the idea of providing such information ‘bulk’ as I already do that grep(1).


OpenBSD vmm(8) now runs CentOS 7 Linux.

Freedesktop.org – Its Past and Its Future.

Linux elementary OS 5 Juno Available.
Still no desktop icons.

Unix in East Germany (GDR) from 1982.

FreeBSD 12.0-ALPHA10 Available.

Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.2.20 Available.

Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity.
Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity

Kubernetes with IBM AIX container technology.

Fonts on Unix.
Really great in depth guide to fonts on UNIX systems.

OpenBSD 6.4 Released.

PostgreSQL 11 Released.

2ndQuadrant contributes major features to PostgreSQL 11.

OpenBSD Mail Smarthost Runbook.

Upgrading OpenBSD with Ansible.

FreeNAS 11.2-RC1 Available.

FreeBSD HEAD is now known as 13-CURRENT.

FreeBSD has initial driver for ACPI NFIT enumerated NVDIMMs.

CAM drivers in FreeBSD over time.

OpenBSD on the AMD Ryzen powered ThinkPad A485.


RISC-V: More Than Core.

Backblaze 2018 Q3 Hard Drive Stats: Less is More.

ODROID-H2 mini PC board with Celeron J4105.

Zotac Zbox PI225 pico Mini PC Review.

Business card-sized Japanese phone bucks the giant-phone trend.


It’s better to be born rich than gifted.

Good Sleep, Good Learning, Good Life.

Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt.


Ideas for scaling PostgreSQL to multi-terabyte and beyond.

Make Firefox Great Faster Again.


FreeBSD Desktop – Part 17 – Automount Removable Media

In this article in the FreeBSD Desktop series I will introduce various methods to automatically (or not) mount external/removable devices such as USB or eSATA disks/pendrives or SD/microSD flash cards.

You may also check earlier articles of the FreeBSD Desktop series:

One of the FreeBSD daemons is devd(8) – the device state change daemon that provides a way to have userland programs run when certain kernel events happen. Such events are when new block device appears/disappears from the /dev directory.

For this problem about 2013 I created a devd(8) based solution – the automount daemon. Its workflow is very simple. When new ada/da/mmcsd* device appears then it tries to detect the filesystems on these partitions/slices and mount them. It you remove such device (device disappears) then it forcefully unmounts it and cleans used mountpoint from the /media directory.

It is available on GitHub - https://github.com/vermaden/automount - and in the FreeBSD Ports as sysutils/automount port. You can also install it as pkg(8) package. Its 2018 and various other solutions appeared in the meantime. One is the included in the FreeBSD base system autofs(8)/automount(8)

The other one is dsbmd/dsbmc – a media mounting daemon/automounter for FreeBSD with optional graphical GTK+ frontend. There is also FreeBSD base system solution called autofs(8) which I was not able to make work.

Below I will try to compare all their features, strengths and weaknesses.

  • sysutils/automount
    + can customize mount options for each filesystem type
    + written in POSIX /bin/sh script – easy to modify
    + can open selected file manager when device is inserted
    + provides log file
    - does not support MTP devices (Android phones for example)
    - does not support BTRFS or XFS (can be added)
  • sysutils/dsbmd
    + can customize mount options for each filesystem type
    + supports MTP devices (Android phones for example)
    + provides graphical fronted in GTK+ toolkit
    + can open selected file manager when device is inserted
    + does support BTRFS or XFS
    + provides log file
    - sometimes hangs at 100% cpu usage
  • autofs(8)
    + supports MTP devices (Android phones for example)
    + is available in the base system
    - does not allow custom mount options per filesystem
    - does not provide log file
    - does not support BTRFS or XFS (can be added)
    - does not work πŸ™‚

Up to this day I used mine sysutils/automount exclusively as removable devices automount solution. For Android phones I used simple-mtpfs command within xterm(1) terminal. I tried sysutils/dsbmd along with sysutils/dsbmc-cli and GTK+ graphical sysutils/dsbmd frontend and I really liked it but it somtimes fails me with 100% cpu usage and requires restarting. That does not happen withΒ sysutils/automount which just works so I will stick to it but I will provide an UPDATE later with results after longer period of testing the sysutils/dsbmd daemon.


First I will describe daemon that I used since 2013. The sysutils/automount solution. Its installation and setup is very easy, just add the automount package using pkg(8). Nothing more is needed as the pkg(8) will restart devd(8) after adding new configuration files.

# pkg install automount

One of the nice features of sysutils/automount is /var/log/automount.log log file which has all details about mounted filesystems.

% tail /var/log/automount.log 
2018-10-08 12:18:45 /dev/da0s1: mount (fat)
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0: detach
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0: mount point '/media/da0' removed
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0s1: detach
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0s1: mount point '/media/da0s1' removed
2018-10-09 11:38:14 /dev/da0: random wait for '0.1' seconds before 'attach' action
2018-10-09 11:38:14 /dev/da0: attach
2018-10-09 11:38:14 /dev/da0: mount (exfat)
2018-10-09 11:44:02 /dev/da0: detach
2018-10-09 11:44:02 /dev/da0: mount point '/media/da0' removed

The sysutils/automount comes with /usr/local/etc/automount.conf configuration file which has these options on my box.

% cat /usr/local/etc/automount.conf
FM="caja --browser --no-desktop"

Besides not supporting (yet) MTP devices it just works. It is also very simple solution and being written in POSIX /bin/sh script it is very easy to modify it to one’s needs.


The second option is the sysutils/dsbmd solution. Check the links below for more detailed description of this automounting daemon.

To install the dsbmd/dsbmc/dsbmc-cli trio just use pkg(8).

# pkg install dsbmc-cli dsbmc dsbmd

To configure dsbmd/dsbmc/dsbmc-cli trio these steps are needed.

1. Add dsbmd_enable=YES to your /etc/rc.conf file.

2. Install additional filesystems support depending on your needs:

  • fusefs-exfat
  • fusefs-gphotofs
  • fusefs-ntfs
  • fusefs-simple-mtpfs (MTP)
  • fusefs-ext2
  • fusefs-hfsfuse
  • fusefs-lkl

3. Add these lines below to your ~/.xinitrc file (or ~/.xsession).

  dsbmc-cli -a &
  dsbmc &

You will then see the dsbmc icon in the system tray area.


By default dsbmd will mount storage devices as regular user but You need to make sure that vfs.usermount=1 is in your /etc/sysctl.conf file and applied.

After I put the FAT32 or exFAT USB device it was automatically mounted.

/dev/da0 on /media/da0 (msdosfs, local, nosuid, mounted by vermaden)

The configuration file is available at /usr/local/etc/dsbmd.conf location. The dsbmd also comes with /var/log/dsbmd.log log file.

% tail /var/log/dsbmd.log
dsbmd: Killing blocking process 85421 ... on Thu Oct 11 16:48:10 2018
dsbmd: Sending SIGTERM to 85421 ... on Thu Oct 11 16:48:10 2018
dsbmd: Command /usr/local/sbin/mount.exfat ${DSBMD_DEVICE} "${DSBMD_MNTPT}" executed by UID 1000 failed with code 15: No error: 0 on Thu Oct 11 16:48:11 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 mounted on /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:48:12 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 unmounted from /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:49:09 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 mounted on /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:49:15 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 unmounted from /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:49:16 2018
dsbmd: Client with UID 1000 disconnected on Thu Oct 11 16:52:53 2018
dsbmd: Client with UID 1000 connected on Thu Oct 11 16:52:55 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 mounted on /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:58:22 2018

The dsbmd can also be configured with many useful options like mount(8) options for each filesystem type separately.

% grep _opts /usr/local/etc/dsbmd.conf | sed 's|\#\ ||g' | awk '{print $1}' | sort -u

The main GTK+ dsbmc window looks as follows.


You can also disable automatic mounting and can mount devices by hand with dsbmc tool.


… or unmount them.


It is also a solution used in the NomadBSD portable distribution.

It sometimes fails with 100% cpu usage or with error message as this one:




Last one is the FreeBSD base system solution.

To enable it one should do these steps:

  1. Add autofs_load=YES to your /boot/loader.conf file.
  2. Add autofs_enable=YES to your /etc/rc.conf file.
  3. Uncomment the /media -media -nosuid line in /etc/auto_master file.
  4. To have MTP support you will also have to install sysutils/fusefs-simple-mtpfs and add the /mtp -simple-mtpfs -allow_other line to the /etc/auto_master file. Along with fuse_load=YES in the /boot/loader.conf file.

After doing all these I attached USB device and Android phone but nothing happened.

I tried restarting the autofs(8) daemons but that did not helped, still zero reaction after inserting removable media.

# grep -r autofs_enable /etc
/etc/defaults/rc.conf:autofs_enable="NO" # Run autofs daemons.
# /etc/rc.d/automountd onestop
# /etc/rc.d/autounmountd onestop
# /etc/rc.d/automount onestop
# /etc/rc.d/automountd onestart
# /etc/rc.d/autounmountd onestart
# /etc/rc.d/automount onestart


Historically was also sysutils/am-utils – the Berkeley Automounter and Suite of Utilities – and sysutils/automounter which provides scripts to dynamically configure amd(8) daemon.


FreeBSD Desktop – Part 16 – Configuration – Pause Any Application

Many desktop oriented operating systems try to provide various usability improvements and features, like quite useful Expose or Dashboard in Mac OS X or useless Tiles concept in recent editions of Microsoft Windows systems.


After using UNIX for so many years I knew that I could freeze (or pause) any process in the system with kill -17 (SIGSTOP) signal and then unfreeze it with with kill -19 (SIGCONT) signal as I described in the Process Management section of the Ghost in the Shell – Part 2 article. Doing it that way for the desktop applications is PITA to say the least. Can you imagine opening xterm(1) terminal and searching for all Chromium or Firefox processes and then freezing them one by one every time you need it? Me neither.

Fortunately with introduction of so called X11 helper utilities – like xdotool(1) – it is now possible to implement it in more usable manner.

Today I will show you how to freeze any X11 application with single keyboard shortcut or mouse gesture if you utilize them in any way with small simple script.

When such feature can be useful (or what for)?

Lets say you have Firefox started with many tabs open (50+) and you know that it drains battery life from your laptop. You can close it but when You will need information from any of those tabs, then You will have to start Firefox again (even more battery usage) and load all needed tabs (battery …). The alternative is to pause all Firefox processes when You do not use them. This will freeze all its processes and subprocesses and it will not use any CPU (or battery) power. When you will need it, then you will unpause it without the need to load all tabs again.

Other example may be some heavy processing. For example you started RawTherapee or Darktable processing of large amount of photos and you are not able to smoothly watch a video. Just pause it, watch the video and unpause it again to finish its work.

Its also usable in single player gaming when You can REALLY pause the game, literally πŸ™‚

You may also check earlier articles of the FreeBSD Desktop series:

First we need to install the so called X11 helpers. Do that with this pkg(8) command.

# pkg install xprop xdotool zenity xbindkeys

Now for the script that would make all this magic happen. The desktop-pause.sh script is available on GitHub as its syntax is nicely colored there. Save it in some place where its searchable through ${PATH} variable like ~/bin or ~/script directory and make it executable.

% fetch -O ~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/vermaden/scripts/master/desktop-pause.sh
% chmod +x ~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh
% echo $PATH | grep scripts

It has three ways of usage.

% desktop-pause.sh
usage: desktop-pause.sh OPTION [ARGUMENT]

  -a  -  Do pause/resume active window.
  -s  -  Do pause/resume interactively selected window.
  -p  -  Do pause/resume specified PID.
  -l  -  Do list paused processes/windows.
  -L  -  Do list paused processes/windows with PIDs.

  PID for '-p' option.

If started with -a option, then it would pause/unpause the currently active window. This option is best used with keyboard shortcut or mouse gesture. It you start desktop-pause.sh script with -s argument, then the cursor will change and you will be able to select which window to freeze (or unfreeze). The -p option is usable in terminal directly as you may want to freeze/unfreeze a process without X11 environment or for some debugging purposes for example. The last -l option will list applications that are currently paused.


Most present-day generation laptops have island type limited keyboards so you will have to choose for yourself which keyboard shortcut to use. As I still use 2011 ThinkPad T420s laptop with 7-row keyboard I have little more options. The [Pause Break] key seems to be the best candidate for such feature πŸ™‚ I will use it for the ‘active window freeze/unfreeze’ with -a option and [SHIFT]-[Pause Break] key for the more interactive -s option.

To create such new keyboard shortcut we will use handy xbindkeys(1) tool.

Lets see what code we will have to put into the ~/.xbindkeysrc configuration file.

% xbindkeys --help
xbindkeys 1.8.6 by Philippe Brochard
usage: xbindkeys [options]
  where options are:
  -V, --version           Print version and exit
  -d, --defaults          Print a default rc file
  -f, --file              Use an alternative rc file
  -p, --poll-rc           Poll the rc/guile configs for updates
  -h, --help              This help!
  -X, --display           Set X display to use
  -v, --verbose           More information on xbindkeys when it run
  -s, --show              Show the actual keybinding
  -k, --key               Identify one key pressed
 -mk, --multikey          Identify multi key pressed
  -g, --geometry          size and position of window open with -k|-mk option
  -n, --nodaemon          don't start as daemon

As its single key we will need --key option. Lets do it then.

% xbindkeys --key
Press combination of keys or/and click under the window.
You can use one of the two lines after "NoCommand"
in $HOME/.xbindkeysrc to bind a key.
"(Scheme function)"
    m:0x0 + c:110

Now lets read the [SHIFT]-[Pause Break] sequence.

% xbindkeys --key
Press combination of keys or/and click under the window.
You can use one of the two lines after "NoCommand"
in $HOME/.xbindkeysrc to bind a key.
"(Scheme function)"
    m:0x1 + c:110
    Shift + Pause

We now have all needed information for the ~/.xbindkeysrc configuration file. Here is how it looks configured.

% cat ~/.xbindkeysrc

"~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh -a"

# [Shift]-[Pause Break] FOR INTERACTIVE WINDOW
"~/scripts/desktop-pause.sh -s"
  Shift + Pause

Now lets start xbindkeys(1) and verify that it works.

% xbindkeys

Press the [Pause Break] key when you are in the terminal where you started xbindkeys(1) utility. Now hit [ENTER] several times, the terminal should be freezed. Now hit [Pause Break] key again. The etnered [ENTER] keys have been passed to it as it was unfreezed.

Lets check the Firefox example.

When processes run like usual they have on of the I*/S*/R* state like shown below.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  S       3:28.66 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- S      68:44.94 firefox
43940  0- S      25:52.43 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

When you will now freeze Firefox with [Pause Break] key its processes will have T state.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  T       3:28.66 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- T      68:45.17 firefox
43940  0- T      25:52.85 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

After you unfreeze them again with [Pause Break] key they will get back to normal I*/S*/R* state.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  S       3:28.67 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- S      68:45.54 firefox
43940  0- S      25:53.01 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

You may of course specify by hand the Firefox PID which is 41124 in current state.

% desktop-pause.sh -p 41124
INFO: kill -17 41124
INFO: kill -17 67981
INFO: kill -17 43940

The Firefox browser will be paused again.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  T       3:28.68 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- T      68:46.68 firefox
43940  0- T      25:56.22 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

Use it again to unpause it.

% desktop-pause.sh -p 41124
INFO: kill -19 41124
INFO: kill -19 67981
INFO: kill -19 43940

And viola! Firefox runs again.

% ps ax | grep firefox | grep -v grep
67981  -  S       3:28.68 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 58 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 31209 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab
41124  0- S      68:46.72 firefox
43940  0- S      25:56.28 /usr/local/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 1 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 27620 -schedulerPrefs 0001,2 -appdir /usr/local/lib/firefox/browser 41124 tab

There are no downsides to this feature but one has to remember paused applications will not refresh themselves as their processes are freezed. Below you can see frozen Epiphany browser upon which the xterm(1) window was moved. Pretty Windows like effect.


After you unpause the Epiphany it gets back to normal as shown below.


Remember to add xbindkeys(1) command to your ~/.xinitrc (or ~/.xsession file) to make it permanent.


One of the Hacker News users named rhn_mk1 explained the lack of window contents refresh while application is freezed. I will just cite his comment below.

That depends on the window manager. The application state is not really affected, it just stops updating (redrawing its area). When another window moves away, the window manager asks the “underlying” application to update that area of the screen. It’s dead, so the WM keeps displaying the last thing that was there, until something else happens in that spot.

On the other hand, compositing window managers will dedicate a separate buffer to each application, where they have exclusive access. That kind of a window manager would not have to ask the application to update anything – it would just take the image from the dedicated application’s buffer and update the screen with it. Since the application’s buffer can’t be modified by anything else, it would have the last state of the application in it. That would in turn find its way to the screen. No glitches.


One of the Reddit users 89luca89 pointed me to the browser-suspender solution that ‘simply suspends the browser when not in focus using STOP/CONT’ signals.


The Lobsters user seschwar pointed out that there is Stoppable Layout functionality for XMonad which automatically pauses the processes of all windows except for the active one and it also uses SIGCONT and SIGSTOP signals.


One of the Hacker News users named imglorp suggested that my “command could also iconify/minify the app’s windows”.

This is really good idea.

I just added -A and -S options that also minimize a window.

% desktop-pause.sh 
usage: desktop-pause.sh OPTION [ARGUMENT]

  -a  -  Do pause/resume active window.
  -A  -  Do pause/resume active window and minimize it.
  -s  -  Do pause/resume interactively selected window.
  -S  -  Do pause/resume interactively selected window and minimize it.
  -p  -  Do pause/resume specified PID.
  -l  -  Do list paused processes/windows.
  -L  -  Do list paused processes/windows with PIDs.

  PID for '-p' option.

Here is the changelog for the desktop-pause.sh script:


My FreeBSD Story

As Roman Zolotarev asked if I would write an entry for his Tell Your BSD Story page I could not refuse. I really tried to make it short and small but I guess its not that straight πŸ™‚

My first devices/computers/consoles (not at the same time) that I remember were Atari 2600 and Pegasus console which was hardware clone of the Nintendo NES.


Back then I did not even knew that it was Atari 2600 as I referred to it as Video Computer System … and I did not even knew any english by then. It took me about two decades to get to know (by accident) that this Video Computer System was Atari 2600 πŸ™‚

This equipment was used for playing computer games only.

Then I got AMIGA 600 computer (or should I say my parents bought it for me) which served both for playing computer games and also other activities for the first time. AMIGA is the computer that had the greatest influence on me, as it was the first time I studied the books about Amiga Workbench operating system and learned commands from Amiga Shell terminal. I loved the idea of Ram Disk icon/directory on the desktop that allowed me to transparently put any things in system memory. I still miss that concept on today’s desktop systems … and I still remember how dismal I was when I watched Amiga Deathbed Vigil movie.


At the end of 1998 I got my first PC that of course came with Windows and that computer served both as gaming machine and as well as typical tool. One time I dig into the internals with Windows Registry (which left me disgusted by its concepts and implementation) and its limited command line interface provided by CMD.EXE executable. I remember that the heart of this box was not the CPU or the motherboard but the graphics accelerator – the legendary 3Dfx Voodoo card. This company (3Dfx) – their attitude and philosophy – also left solid fingerprint on my way. Like AMIGA did.

Hence how the top of my laptop looks like now πŸ™‚


Some games was even released as special edition with the only feature being support for the 3Dfx Glide driver like Need for Speed II: Special Edition.


After ‘migration’ from AMIGA to PC it never again ‘felt right’. The games were cool but the Windows system was horrible. Time has passed and different Windows versions and hardware modifications took place. Windows XP felt really heavy at that time, not to mention Windows 2000 for example with even bigger hardware requirements. I also do not understand all the hate about Windows ME. It crashed with the same frequency as Windows 98 or later Windows 98 Second Edition but maybe my hardware was different πŸ™‚


I do not have any ‘mine’ screenshots from that period as I lost all my 40 GB (huge then) drive of data when I moved/resized the partition with Partition Magic to get some more space from the less filled C: drive. That day I learned hard that “there are people who do backups and people who will do backups”. I never lost data again as I had multiple copies of my data, but the same as Netheril fall the lost data was was gone forever.

I always followed various alternatives which led me to try Linux in 2003, after reading about various distributions philosophies I decided to run Slackware Linux with KDE 3. My buddy used Aurox Linux by then (one of the few Linux distributions from Poland) and encouraged me to do the same – especially in the context of fixing possible problems as he already knew it and also as he recently dumped Windows system. But Slackware sounded like a better idea so I took that path instead. At first I dual booted between Windows XP and Slackware Linux cause I had everything worked out on the Windows world while I often felt helpless in the Linux world, so I would reboot into Windows to play some games or find a solution for Linux problem if that was required. I remember how strange the concept of dual clipboards (PRIMARY and SECONDARY) was for me by then. I was amazed why ‘so much better’ system as Linux (at least marketed that way) needs a system tray program to literally manage the clipboard. On Windows it was obvious, you do [CTRL]+[C] to copy and [CTRL]+[V] to paste things, but on Linux there (no I know its X11 feature) there were two clipboards that were synchronized by this little system tray program from KDE 3. It was also unthinkable for me that I will ‘lost’ contents of last/recent [CTRL]+[C] operation if I close the application from which the copy was made. I settled down a little on Slackware but not for long. I really did not liked manual dependency management for packages for example. Also KDE 3 was really ugly and despite trying all possible options I was not able to tweak it into something nice looking.

After half a year on Slackware I checked the Linux distributions again and decided to try Gentoo Linux. I definitely agree with the image below which visualizes Gentoo Linux experience, especially when You install it for he first time πŸ™‚


Of course I went with the most hardcore version with self building Stage 1 (compiler and toolchain) which was horrible idea at that time because compilation on slow single core machine took forever … but after many hours I got Gentoo installed. I now have to decide which desktop environment to use. I have read a lot of good news about Fluxbox at that time so this is what I tried. It was very weird experience (to create everything in GUI from scratch) but very pleasant one. That recalled me the times of AMIGA … but Linux came in the way too much often. The more I dig into Gentoo Linux the more I read that lots of Gentoo features are based on FreeBSD solutions. Gentoo Portage is a clone of FreeBSD Ports. That ‘central’ /etc/rc.conf system configuration file concept was taken from FreeBSD as well. So I started to gather information about FreeBSD. The (then) FreeBSD website or FreeBSD Ports site (still) felt little outdated to say the least but that did not discouraged me.

Somewhere in 2005 I installed FreeBSD 5.4 on my computer. The beginnings were hard, like the earlier step with Gentoo but similarly like Gentoo the FreeBSD project came with a lot of great documentation. While Gentoo documentation is concentrated within various Gentoo Wiki sites the FreeBSD project comes with ‘official’ documentation in the form of Handbook and FAQ. I remember my first questions at the now nonexistent BSDForums.org site – for example one of the first ones – how to scroll the terminal output in the plain console. I now know that I had to push Scroll Lock button but it was something totally new for me.

How BSDForums.org looked like.


This is the earliest screenshot I got from that period, and Gentoo setup looked very similar.


Why FreeBSD and not OpenBSD or NetBSD? Probably because Gentoo based most their concepts on the FreeBSD solutions, so that led me to FreeBSD instead of the other BSD operating systems. Currently I still use FreeBSD but I keep an steady eye on the OpenBSD, HardenedBSD and DragonFly BSD solutions and improvements.

As the migration path from Linux to FreeBSD is a lot easier – all configuration files from /home can be just copied – the migration was quite fast easy. I again had the Fluxbox configuration which I used on the Gentoo. Now – on FreeBSD – it started to fell even more like AMIGA times. Everything is/has been well thought and had its place and reason. The documentation was good and the FreeBSD Community was second to none.

I even decided to upgrade the hardware to something more exotic. I got Gigabyte-GA-7DPXDW server motherboard with dual CPU sockets – and as Athlon XP (desktop) processors were very easily modified to ‘be’ Athlon MP (server) ones I got also the second one along with 1 GB of ECC RAM.


This dual CPU setup – quite unusual at these times – server me very well. I switched from nvidia binary blob driver to software but open nv because nvidia would break my uptime every several days πŸ™‚

I accumulated 30 days of uptime on that desktop box, not bad for a system without any emergency UPS πŸ™‚


This was also the last time I used ECC RAM on FreeBSD (at least on my boxes) while ZFS did not even existed on FreeBSD πŸ™‚ But as time flied I started to feel the need for something faster. As I also got interested in Intel graphics card I got the new motherboard with fastest Intel graphics card available then – as silly as it sounds – the Asus P5B-V with Intel X3000 GMA … and that was a terrible idea because FreeBSD graphics stack supported all the Intel graphics cards instead of that one. At the beginning I used software vesa driver but the problem was not the performance of the driver (as I also had quad core Intel Q6600 CPU) but the resolution on the screen. As I got 1280 x 1024 screen by then using limited 1024 x 768 was real PITA. I decided that I will try something else then FreeBSD will Intel X3000 support finally arrives. I needed to do something fast as I also needed to write my Masters Thesis at that time.

That was in the middle of 2007. I wanted to try the other end of the Linux distributions spectrum. Ubuntu. I could not go more ‘desktop’ way πŸ™‚ It of course installed gently with GNOME 2 environment and pulseaudio already unfortunately existed. As I preferred to run my computer all the time back then (I did not payed the electricity bills) there were several things that annoyed my very much. For example the mentioned pulseaudio – the sound freezed after one-two days of using the computer (even if I did not played any music or videos) and it stayed that way. I could restart pulseaudio or reload the ALSA modules but it stayed in this SUSFU state (situation unchanged still fucked up) until reboot. As I needed to finish my Masters Thesis I did not had time to reinstall into something else as pulseaudio will be probably similarly broken on other Linux distributions and FreeBSD was still lacking the Intel X3000 GMA support. Generally GNOME 2 experience was not bad but I really missed all my custom settings, keyboard shortcuts and customized behavior. I remained in pain on the Ubuntu for two months – to the time I have finished my Masters Thesis about Operating Systems’ Virtualization which you can download and read but its in Polish so use translator if needed πŸ™‚

This is how Ubuntu looked back then.


I also had ‘side’ journey to the Mac wonderland as I got opportunity to use Macbook Pro with Mac OS X Leopard for a year. That allowed me to get real ‘feel’ of the Mac ecosystem and their hardware (and philosophy) so I will not repeat same stereotypes over and over again like a lot of anti-apple people. But after I switched back to FreeBSD system at work it just felt better. I used Terminal.app on Mac a lot but the xterm(1) at FreeBSD just felt more natural.

What makes me laugh now that I created Mac styled Fluxbox themes years till I got to run Mac and I still like Mac OS X look from the Leopard times.


There was time on which I also played with Solaris (and later OpenSolaris). I must admit that there was time when Solaris so called Java Desktop based on GNOME 2 was really looking good. It was so good that only Mac OS X could only rival it for the best looking os by then.


I really liked Solaris concepts and solutions like Zones and ZFS, also Crossbow, Comstar or IPS (FreeBSD did not had PNGng by then). But I always got problem with ‘desktop’ software. While I had everything in the FreeBSD Ports – almost the same amount of applications that is available on Linux – there was always some applications lacking in the Solaris world.

The Solaris ‘journey’ also left print on my soul so my Fluxbox themes went into Solaris style πŸ™‚


After the Ubuntu fiasco I got other motherboard as FreeBSD still did not supported Intel GMA X3000 card and settled in the FreeBSD land again. What a relief it was after this pulseaudio nonsense. In the meantime as I read a lot of good experiences about Openbox I decided to try it out instead of Fluxbox. It was strange feeling to mess with XML configuration files at the beginning but as I got used to it and ordered the rc.xml and menu.xml configuration files properly it was not a problem. Since then I used FreeBSD on different machines including physical servers, virtual machines and laptops. I learned that adequate supported hardware is the most important factor in FreeBSD ecosystem.

I still use Openbox and still use FreeBSD today and my desktop looks like that one below.


After 15 years of using various Windows, UNIX (macOS/AIX/HP-UX/Solaris/OpenSolaris/Illumos/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD) and UNIX-like (Linux) systems I always come to conclusion that FreeBSD is the system that sucks least. And sucks least with each release and one day I will write why FreeBSD is such great operating system … if I already haven’t πŸ™‚


As Roman Zolotarev got a moment he added my story to his Tell Your BSD Story page.

Thanks Roman!

You may check it for yourself at Slawomir Wojciech Wojtczak (vermaden) runs FreeBSD page.



Valuable News – 2018/08/25


OpenBSD adds kcov(4) kernel code coverage tracing driver.
So far 8 distinct panics have been found and fixed.

GCC 8.2 now packaged and available in Illumos/OpenIndiana.

FreeBSD arc4random is now based on ChaCha20 implementation from OpenBSD.

Valve forked WINE into Proton as compatibility tool for Steam Play.

AMD Threadripper 2990WX 32-core/64-thread on DragonFly BSD.

Using 10GE Adapters with PowerVM SEA – Virtual Ethernet Considerations.

Native ZFS Encryption on FreeBSD CFT on the road to 12.0-RELEASE.

Backup FreeNAS and TrueNAS to Backblaze B2 Cloud.

Colin Percival heroic (I am not joking here) fight for removing unneeded sleeps during boot on FreeBSD.

Writing SYSTEMD service files.

Illumos/Tribblix packages of openjdk9 and openjdk10 available.

Difference between OpenBSD xenodm and regular xdm.

X.Org Security Advisory – 2018/08/21.

FreeBSD removes legacy DRM and DRM2 from its tree.

OmniOS CE (Community Edition) r151026p/r151024ap/r151022bn with CVE-2018-15473 addressed.

Running Mastodon on FreeBSD.

Upgrading Mastodon on FreeBSD.

KDE Plasma 5.x on Pinebook Laptop.

FreeBSD – Raspberry Pi 3B+ – UART.

FreeBSD – Raspberry Pi 3B+ – Remote Access Console.

FreeBSD 12.x has LUA loader enabled by default.

In Other BSDs for 2018/08/18.

Shared library load order randomization in HardenedBSD for use with Firefox/Chromium/Iridium.

Researchers Blame ‘Monolithic’ Linux Code Base for Critical Vulnerabilities.

2018/08/23 is the End of Life for NetBSD 6.x tree.

Carlos Neira ZCAGE is now able to create BHYVE Branded Zones on Illumos.

FreeNAS 11.1-U6 Available.

FreeBSD vs. DragonFly BSD vs. Linux on AMD Threadripper 2990WX.

Disable SMT/Hyperthreading in all Intel BIOSes – Theo de Raadt.

OpenSSH 7.8 Released.

TRIM Consolidation on UFS/FFS Filesystems on FreeBSD.

FreeBSD vt(4) will now cache most recently drawn text to not redraw it.

What is New in Solaris 11.4?

OpenBSD Foundation gets first 2018 Iridium ($100K+) donation.

How to Run a More Secure Browser.


IBM POWER9 E950 and E980 Servers Launched.

Intel Microcode EULA Prohibits Benchmarking!

GIGABYTE Cavium ThunderX2 1U and 2U Systems.

Fujitsu Presents Post-K arm64 A64FXβ„’ CPU CPU Specifications with 48 Computing Cores and 4 Assistant Cores.

A4000TX ATX Motherboard.

IBM POWER9 Scale Up CPUs with Huge IO and Effective 32 Channel DDR4.


Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker review – how more sleep can save your life.

Bullshit jobs and the yoke of managerial feudalism.

Why Garbagemen Should Earn More Than Bankers.


Akrasia Effect – Why We Dont Follow Through on What We Set Out to Do and What to Do About It.


Move/migrate Oracle and MySQL databases to PostgreSQL.

LIDL Killed SAP Migration After Spending 500 Million Dollars.

All BlackHat 2018 Attendee Registration Data Hacked and Available via Unauthenticated API.

GOG Launches FCKDRM to Promote DRM-Free Art and Media.


FreeBSD Desktop – Part 15 – Configuration – Fonts & Frameworks

The title of this article kinda sounds for me like Fast & Furious title … In this part of FreeBSD Desktop series we will focus on the fonts settings andΒ GTK/QT frameworks configuration to make applications based on them look good … or at least better.

You may also check earlier articles of the FreeBSD Desktop series:


Proper rendering of fonts in the system is not an easy task, even most popular desktop oriented operating systems like macOS (Mac OS X) and Windows have problems with it.

We will of course focus on FreeBSD fonts settings but most of that information will be reusable on other operating systems that use X11 Window System for the desktop.

To not duplicate the knowledge already available for this topic please read these two sources for handling fonts on the FreeBSD operating system.

System Settings

The font rendering on X11 Window System desktops is made by fontconfig package. The system wide configuration is kept under /usr/local/etc/fonts directory. You can even verify that it belongs to the fontconfig package with pkg-which(8) command.

% pkg which /usr/local/etc/fonts/fonts.conf.sample
/usr/local/etc/fonts/fonts.conf.sample was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1

For the fonts settings there are two directories for that purpose.

  • /usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.avail
  • /usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d

If you want to enable a feature then you create a symlink in the /usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d directory that leads to a small config file in the /usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.avail directory.

Here are all available options.

% ls -1 /usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.avail

… and here are options enabled on my system.

% ls -1 /usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d

You may even check which of these files/features are enabled by which package.

% for FILE in /usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/*.conf; do pkg which ${FILE}; done
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-none.conf was not found in the database
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-sub-pixel-rgb.conf was not found in the database
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-unhinted.conf was not found in the database
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf was not found in the database
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-dejavu-sans-mono.conf was installed by package dejavu-2.37
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-dejavu-sans.conf was installed by package dejavu-2.37
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-dejavu-serif.conf was installed by package dejavu-2.37
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/42-luxi-mono.conf was installed by package font-bh-ttf-1.0.3_3
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/57-dejavu-sans-mono.conf was installed by package dejavu-2.37
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/57-dejavu-sans.conf was installed by package dejavu-2.37
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/57-dejavu-serif.conf was installed by package dejavu-2.37
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf was installed by package fontconfig-2.12.6,1
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/99pdftoopvp.conf was installed by package cups-filters-1.16.0_5

Most of the settings are of course make by the fontconfig package. As you see the 4 files are not installed by any package, they were symlinked/configured by me.

These settings seems to make fonts look best, I will ‘repeat’ these settings in various other files that we will use.

/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-none.conf was not found in the database
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-sub-pixel-rgb.conf was not found in the database
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-unhinted.conf was not found in the database
/usr/local/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf was not found in the database

If you would like to make system wide settings then do not use the provided /usr/local/etc/fonts/fonts.conf file. Use the /usr/local/etc/fonts/local.conf instead because /usr/local/etc/fonts/fonts.conf file will be replaced with next fontconfig package update.

User Settings

I keep most of the settings/fonts in the user home dir like ~/.config and ~/.fonts directories. Its easier for me to move/backup/import these then to edit or merge the system files everytime.

The fonts are kept in the ~/.fonts directory. I will of course share the fonts of this directory, here is the list of the fonts that are available for download as fonts.tar.gz file.

  • Arvo
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Cantarell
  • Clear Sans
  • Consolas
  • Constantia
  • Corbel
  • Cormorant
  • Cosmic Sans Neue Mono
  • Courier Prime Code
  • Courier Prime Sans
  • Fira Code
  • Fira Mono
  • Fira Sans
  • Francophil Sans
  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • IBM Plex Mono
  • IBM Plex Sans
  • Inconsolata
  • Monofur
  • Monoid
  • Pro Font Windows
  • Proggy Tiny Zero
  • PT Sans
  • SV Basic Manual
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu Mono

I would say that Consolas, Ubuntu Mono and Inconsolata are one of the best monospaced fonts while Trebuchet MS is probably the best looking (and properly rendered) font for non-monospaced/sans serif font category. I also really like Fira, IBM Plex and also Ubuntu family. The new Cantarell font is also pretty nice.

Lots of these fonts can be installed using installing FreeBSD Ports under /usr/ports/x11-fonts category and by pkg(8) packages, but its simpler for me to keep (and move) them in the ~/.fonts directory then to install packages everytime I need them. I also only keep the ones that I need/use while port/package often provides while set of them. For long time the user configuration for fonts was kept under ~/.fonts.conf file but it is no more. The new place is the ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf file.

Mine config is not that long but check its contents for yourself.

While WordPress is quite a nice platform it has it problems – it will not render properly content in HTML or XML. To not introduce eventual problems related to that I will post a screenshot of the config below along with link to the ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf file.


These settings were forged for more then 15 years of my time first using Slackware and Gentoo Linux and since about 2005 – FreeBSD. As You can see from the comments I swap several bad looking fonts for good looking ones.

For example if You do not like the Arial font you may want to swap it into the Trebuchet MS font with this snippet added to the ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf file.

Similarly with another XML snippet – I will post a screenshot of the config below along with link to the example file.


To make the test we will use this simple fonts-swap-test.html HTML file.

Here is how it looks in Epiphany after the change in the ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf file.


The Arial font has been swapped into Trebuchet MS one. For sure Epiphany, Firefox and Midori do respect this swap, I did not tried other browsers.

Remember to reload the fontconfig cache after changes to the ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf file, you may do that using already posted fc-cache.sh script.


Some also call them toolkits. Things like GTK or QT are in this category.


My favorite framework and least PITA one at the same time for good looking desktop was GTK2. GTK1 was always ugly, fast and light, but ugly. I think we can agree on that. GTK2 from the times when GNOME 2 was considered ‘heavy’ desktop environment. Now GTK2 is mostly deprecated (some applications still use it and they still work good) in favor of GTK3 and GNOME 2 is dead. Fortunately it has been forked into project named MATE and MATE seems light now, what an irony. Fortunately because old GNOME 2 file manager – Nautilus – seems to be one of the best file managers for the UNIX systems, sure not the lightest/fastest one, but a one that suits lots/most of the needs. Under the MATE team the Nautilus has been rebranded into Caja. Caja accompanied by Thunar from the Xfce desktop environment with its mass rename tool seems to be the most universal solution for graphical file management on UNIX. They also look similar/coherent as they both use GTK3 toolkit now (before they both used GTK2 framework).

GNOME 3 and its apps use GTK3 exclusively. You may also check Cinnamon which is GNOME 3 fork with an idea to provide GNOME 2 classic experience based on modern tools and modern GTK3 framework. The MATE desktop also moved to the GTK3 so we now have two GNOME 2 successors based on GTK3. The GTK3 is not a problematic framework, but some of its applications are, probably most of the ones written on/for the GNOME 3 environment. They come with their own built-in window buttons/handlers overwriting/ignoring the ones provided by window managers. Not so long ago the default settings left you with additional border of 5 or so pixels for each side of the window if You do not use composition/shadows manager like compton, which wastes screen space. Below you will find example from just 2 months ago with this problem.


Fortunately its gone now (the additional border) and Epiphany – as an example of such GNOME 3 app – works/displays properly and is shown below.


Both GTK2 and GTK3 use/used these environment variables exported by export(1). I am not sure if they are still respected but I do not want to check all my apps to find out and keeping then in the ~/.xinitrc file does not hurt.

  export GDK_USE_XFT=1


The configuration for GTK2 framework is kept in the ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file.

Alternatively – when you use various graphical tools/managers for GTK2 settings like lxapperance you may want to use ~/.gtkrc-2.0.mine instead.

Here is mine ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file with its contents.

% cat ~/.gtkrc-2.0
  include "/home/vermaden/.gtkrc-2.0.mine"
  gtk-font-name="Ubuntu 10"

The selected theme is Arc (use /usr/ports/x11-themes/gtk-arc-themes port/package) and the icon theme is Faenza (use /usr/ports/x11-themes/mate-icon-theme-faenza port/package). For the user the GTK themes are kept under the ~/.themes directory while icon sets are kept under the ~/.icons directory. I also set font to Ubuntu in the size of 10. Remember that it can also be set as ubuntu or UBUNTU. To check what font will be selected by what You type there use the fc-match(1) command from the fontconfig package.

% fc-match ubuntu
ubuntu.ttf: "Ubuntu" "Regular"

% fc-match UBUNTU
ubuntu.ttf: "Ubuntu" "Regular"

The last 4 settings – gtk-xft-* – are the ones related to fonts rendering, as I said earlier, these settings will be ‘repeated’ over various other files. Currently there is no single file to configure all fonts behavior unfortunately.

The GTK2 File Chooser keeps its configuration in the ~/.config/gtk-2.0/gtkfilechooser.ini file, its not needed to configure this file.

The GTK2 Bookmarks are stored in the ~/.gtk-bookmarks file.

Here are contents of mine.

% cat ~/.gtk-bookmarks
file:///home/vermaden/hydepark ~/hydepark
file:///home/vermaden/books ~/books
file:///home/vermaden/gfx ~/gfx
file:///home/vermaden/gfx/wallpapers ~/gfx/wallpapers
file:///home/vermaden/gfx/screenshots ~/gfx/screenshots
file:///home/vermaden/misc ~/misc
file:///home/vermaden/misc/aix ~/misc/aix
file:///home/vermaden/misc/bsd ~/misc/bsd
file:///home/vermaden/misc/hp-ux ~/misc/hp-ux
file:///home/vermaden/misc/linux ~/misc/linux
file:///home/vermaden/misc/solaris ~/misc/solaris
file:///home/vermaden/misc/hardware ~/misc/hardware
file:///home/vermaden/misc/emc ~/misc/emc
file:///home/vermaden/misc/tsm ~/misc/tsm
file:///home/vermaden/mp3 ~/mp3
file:///home/vermaden/photo.NEW ~/photo.NEW
file:///home/vermaden/vm ~/vm
file:///home/vermaden/vm/iso ~/vm/iso
file:///home/vermaden/vm/storage ~/vm/storage


The GTK3 files are more ordered then GTK2 files. The main configuration is kept in the ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini file.

Here are my current GTK3 settings.

% cat ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini
  gtk-theme-name          = Arc
  gtk-icon-theme-name     = faenza
  gtk-font-name           = Ubuntu 10
  gtk-cursor-theme-size   = 0
  gtk-toolbar-style       = GTK_TOOLBAR_ICONS
  gtk-toolbar-icon-size   = GTK_ICON_SIZE_SMALL_TOOLBAR
  gtk-button-images       = 1
  gtk-menu-images         = 1
  gtk-enable-event-sounds = 1
  gtk-xft-antialias       = 1
  gtk-xft-hinting         = 0
  gtk-xft-hintstyle       = hintnone
  gtk-xft-rgba            = rgb

Besides little different syntax the settings are the same as in the GTK2 configuration, thus I will not comment them again to not repeat myself.

The GTK3 Bookmarks are kept in the ~/.config/gtk-3.0/bookmarks file and their syntax is the same as it were for the GTK2 toolkit.

% cat ~/.config/gtk-3.0/bookmarks
file:///home/vermaden/hydepark ~/hydepark
file:///home/vermaden/books ~/books
file:///home/vermaden/gfx ~/gfx
file:///home/vermaden/gfx/wallpapers ~/gfx/wallpapers
file:///home/vermaden/gfx/screenshots ~/gfx/screenshots
file:///home/vermaden/misc ~/misc
file:///home/vermaden/misc/aix ~/misc/aix
file:///home/vermaden/misc/bsd ~/misc/bsd
file:///home/vermaden/misc/hp-ux ~/misc/hp-ux
file:///home/vermaden/misc/linux ~/misc/linux
file:///home/vermaden/misc/solaris ~/misc/solaris
file:///home/vermaden/misc/hardware ~/misc/hardware
file:///home/vermaden/misc/emc ~/misc/emc
file:///home/vermaden/misc/tsm ~/misc/tsm
file:///home/vermaden/mp3 ~/mp3
file:///home/vermaden/photo.NEW ~/photo.NEW
file:///home/vermaden/vm ~/vm
file:///home/vermaden/vm/iso ~/vm/iso
file:///home/vermaden/vm/storage ~/vm/storage

As the GTK2 Bookmarks and GTK3 Bookmarks have the same format you may symlink one to another to not keep two lists of your favorite places.

As the GTK3 framework uses CSS you may tune the GTK3 to your needs in the ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css file according to the documentation provided by the GNOME team – GTK+ CSS Overview – available here.

I have tried various hacks in the past but after removing them my problems with GTK3 toolkit vanished. If you will find some interesting settings then let me know πŸ™‚


The QT toolkit configuration was always a real PITA and this haven’t changed in the latest QT5 release. The default themes provided are ugly and the ones available to download are not that much better. The KDE Plasma 5 looks quite well but making QT4/QT5 look nice on a custom window manager environment is whole other story. With my settings I have minimized the ‘damage’ of the tragic QT look.

I also feel that GTK and its configuration is more UNIX oriented as you only need to edit the files while QT feels more Windows oriented as you often need the graphical config tool to set the options properly.

The QT3/QT4/QT5 use/used these environment variables exported by export(1). I am not sure if they are still respected but I do not want to check all my apps to find out and keeping then in the ~/.xinitrc file does not hurt.

  export QT_XFT=1

  export GTK2_RC_FILES="${HOME}/.gtkrc-2.0"

# QT5 qt5ct


I am not sure if any ‘current’ application uses it, the legendary Opera 12.x used it for sure and configuration was made using the qtconfig graphical utility.


The QT4 configuration is kept in the ~/.config/Trolltech.conf file (very obvious indeed) and the graphical tool/editor is qt4-qtconfig installed from qt4-qtconfig port/package.

Here is how my current configuration looks like (yes its long and ugly).

% cat ~/.config/Trolltech.conf
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqgif.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-12-19T09:37:13
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqico.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-12-19T09:37:13
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqjpeg.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-12-19T09:37:13
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqmng.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-12-19T09:37:13
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqsvg.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-12-19T09:37:13
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqtga.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-12-19T09:37:13
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqtiff.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-12-19T09:37:13
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\iconengines\libqsvgicon.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2015-11-21T02:41:20
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\inputmethods\libqimsw-multi.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang no-pkg-config, 2015-11-21T02:41:27
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_dds.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_eps.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_exr.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_jp2.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_pcx.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_pic.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_psd.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_ras.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_rgb.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_tga.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_xcf.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_xview.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:10:23
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularpart.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularGenerator_epub.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\kscreen\KSC_XRandR.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:12:14
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularGenerator_mobi.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularGenerator_txt.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularGenerator_fb.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularGenerator_ghostview.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularGenerator_ooo.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\kde4\okularGenerator_poppler.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2017-11-26T09:52:40
usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\styles\libkvantum.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2018-07-07T05:29:12
usr\local\lib\keepassx\libkeepassx-autotype-x11.so=40807, 0, x86_64 usr/local/share/qt4/mkspecs/freebsd clang full-config, 2018-08-09T05:30:15

com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqgif.so=2017-12-19T09:37:13, gif
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqico.so=2017-12-19T09:37:13, ico
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqjpeg.so=2017-12-19T09:37:13, jpeg, jpg
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqmng.so=2017-12-19T09:37:13, mng
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqsvg.so=2017-12-19T09:37:13, svg, svgz
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqtga.so=2017-12-19T09:37:13, tga
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\imageformats\libqtiff.so=2017-12-19T09:37:13, tiff, tif
com.trolltech.Qt.QIconEngineFactoryInterfaceV2%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\iconengines\libqsvgicon.so=2015-11-21T02:41:20, svg, svgz, svg.gz
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_dds.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, dds
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_eps.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, eps, EPS, epsi, EPSI, epsf, EPSF
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_exr.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, exr, EXR
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_jp2.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, jp2
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_pcx.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, pcx, PCX
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_pic.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, pic
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_psd.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, psd, PSD
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_ras.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, ras, RAS
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_rgb.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, rgb, RGB, rgba, RGBA, bw, BW, sgi, SGI
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_tga.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, tga, TGA
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_xcf.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, xcf, XCF
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\kde4\plugins\imageformats\kimg_xview.so=2017-11-26T09:10:23, xv
com.trolltech.Qt.QStyleFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\lib\qt4\plugins\styles\libkvantum.so=2018-07-07T05:29:12, Kvantum

Palette\active=#000000, #dedede, #ffffff, #eeeeee, #6f6f6f, #949494, #000000, #ffffff, #000000, #ffffff, #dedede, #000000, #8f8f8f, #ffffff, #8f8f8f, #c753ae, #eeeeee, #000000, #ffffdc, #000000
Palette\inactive=#000000, #dedede, #ffffff, #ffffff, #6f6f6f, #949494, #000000, #ffffff, #000000, #ffffff, #dedede, #000000, #8f8f8f, #ffffff, #8f8f8f, #c753ae, #eeeeee, #000000, #ffffdc, #000000
Palette\disabled=#808080, #dedede, #ffffff, #ffffff, #6f6f6f, #949494, #808080, #ffffff, #808080, #ffffff, #dedede, #000000, #8f8f8f, #808080, #8f8f8f, #c753ae, #eeeeee, #000000, #ffffdc, #000000
XIMInputStyle=On The Spot
filedialog="@ByteArray(\0\0\0\xbe\0\0\0\x3\0\0\0\x1e\0\0\0\xff\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\x2\0\0\0K\0\0\xe\0\x1\0\0\0\x6\x1\0\0\0\x1\0\0\0\x2\0\0\0\x5\x66ile:\0\0\0\x15\x66ile:///home/vermaden\0\0\0\x5\0\0\0.\0/\0h\0o\0m\0\x65\0/\0v\0\x65\0r\0m\0\x61\0\x64\0\x65\0n\0/\0\x64\0o\0w\0n\0l\0o\0\x61\0\x64\0\0\0\x34\0/\0h\0o\0m\0\x65\0/\0v\0\x65\0r\0m\0\x61\0\x64\0\x65\0n\0/\0g\0\x61\0m\0\x65\0s\0.\0L\0O\0\x43\0\x41\0L\0\0\0*\0/\0h\0o\0m\0\x65\0/\0v\0\x65\0r\0m\0\x61\0\x64\0\x65\0n\0/\0v\0m\0/\0i\0s\0o\0\0\0\xa4\0/\0h\0o\0m\0\x65\0/\0v\0\x65\0r\0m\0\x61\0\x64\0\x65\0n\0/\0\x64\0o\0w\0n\0l\0o\0\x61\0\x64\0/\0W\0i\0n\0\x64\0o\0w\0s\0 \0\x37\0w\0s\0z\0y\0s\0t\0k\0i\0\x65\0 \0w\0\x65\0r\0s\0j\0\x65\0 \0x\0\x38\0\x36\0 \0x\0\x36\0\x34\0 \0[\0P\0L\0]\0/\0W\0i\0n\0\x64\0o\0w\0s\0 \0\x37\0 \0S\0P\0\x31\0 \0 \0[\0P\0L\0]\0\0\0\x32\0/\0h\0o\0m\0\x65\0/\0v\0\x65\0r\0m\0\x61\0\x64\0\x65\0n\0/\0v\0m\0/\0s\0t\0o\0r\0\x61\0g\0\x65\0\0\0*\0/\0h\0o\0m\0\x65\0/\0v\0\x65\0r\0m\0\x61\0\x64\0\x65\0n\0/\0v\0m\0/\0i\0s\0o\0\0\0~\0\0\0\xff\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\x1\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\x1\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\x1T\0\0\0\x4\x1\x1\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\x64\xff\xff\xff\xff\0\0\0\x81\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\x4\0\0\0\xb5\0\0\0\x1\0\0\0\0\0\0\0)\0\0\0\x1\0\0\0\0\0\0\0,\0\0\0\x1\0\0\0\0\0\0\0J\0\0\0\x1\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\x1)"

usr\local\share\google-earth\plugins\imageformats\libqgif.so=40601, 0, generic linux lsb-g++ full-config, 2011-05-17T09:42:02
usr\local\share\google-earth\plugins\imageformats\libqjpeg.so=40601, 0, generic linux lsb-g++ full-config, 2011-05-17T09:42:02

com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\share\google-earth\plugins\imageformats\libqgif.so=2011-05-17T09:42:02, gif
com.trolltech.Qt.QImageIOHandlerFactoryInterface%3A\usr\local\share\google-earth\plugins\imageformats\libqjpeg.so=2011-05-17T09:42:02, jpeg, jpg

… and how it looks when loaded in the qt4-qtconfig editor.



The QT5 is kinda special as it requires this export(1) in the ~/.xinitrc (or ~/.xsession) file.

# QT5 qt5ct

Do not ask me why and I do not even want to know πŸ™‚

The QT5 configuration is kept in the ~/.config/qt5ct/qt5ct.conf file and the graphical tool/editor is qt5ct installed from qt5ct port/package.

Here is how my current QT5 configuration looks like.

% cat ~/.config/qt5ct/qt5ct.conf




… and how it looks when loaded in the qt5ct editor.


Back to the Xdefaults

The ~/.Xdefaults file (some use ~/.Xresources instead) also contain fonts information and setup of the cursor theme for the X11 Window System session.

Below you will find my settings, as mentined earlier, also ‘copied’ here.

! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Xft.antialias:  true
  Xft.hinting:    false
  Xft.hintstyle:  0
  Xft.dpi:        75
  Xft.rgba:       none

! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Xcursor.theme: Vanilla-DMZ
  Xcursor.size:  24

The cursor theme is from the /usr/ports/x11-themes/cursor-dmz-theme port/package.

Xinitrc and Back Again

For the record, the complete GTK/QT settings in the ~/.xinitrc file are as follows.

  export GTK2_RC_FILES="${HOME}/.gtkrc-2.0"

# QT5 qt5ct

  export QT_XFT=1
  export GDK_USE_XFT=1

  export OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome

Hope that information provided in this article moved you one more step closer to good looking and practical FreeBSD desktop πŸ˜‰


There is one more possible way to make the FreeBSD Desktop QT4/QT5 toolkits look less ugly. The default GNOME theme is Adwaita. There also exists adwaita-qt – a QT port of that Adwaita theme. It aims to make QT to look like the GTK+ 3 Adwaita theme.


To make use of them add the adwaita-qt4 and adwaita-qt5 packages.

# pkg install adwaita-qt4 adwaita-qt5

Then use qt4-qtconfig to set the style to Adwaita as the default QT4 theme.


After setup QT4 theme can be verified like that.

% grep -B 1 style= ~/.config/Trolltech.conf

Then start qt5ct to set the style to Adwaita as the default QT5 theme.


After setup QT5 theme can be verified like that.

% grep -B 1 -i adwaita ~/.config/qt5ct/qt5ct.conf

Transmission rendered in GTK+ toolkit.


Transmission rendered in QT4 toolkit.


Still not perfect but at least less ugly πŸ™‚


Valuable News – 2018/08/11


FreeBSD init just got possibility to execute any executable (not just /bin/sh).
This allows rewrite of /etc/rc in Python for example.

Solaris Keyboard Howto.

NAS4Free has been renamed into XigmaNAS.

Thunderbird 60.0 Released.

SoloBSD 11.2-STABLE-0805 based on HardenedBSD 1100056.1 Released.

Slash MySQL query time from 380h to 12h with two UNIX commands.

FreeBSD-SA-18:08.tcp will lead you to 11.2-RELEASE-p1.

Solaris Process Scheduling.

Port of the OpenBSD userland to Linux.

UNIX Syscalls.

OpenBSD team released LibreSSL 2.8.0 library.

Enabling Disk ID (/dev/diskid/*) on XigmaNAS/FreeBSD.

BSD Now 258 – OS Foundations.

More of less in FreeBSD.

NetBSD 8.0 UEFI Installation.

DragonFly BSD got DRM update to match Linux 4.7.

Systemd failure with timesyncd and its complete lack of debugability.

ZFS Record Size For Backup Machine.

LibreOffice 6.1 Released.

SegmentSmack Linux kernel vulnerability – TCP segments cause remote DoS.

The Absolute FreeBSD 3rd Edition early access ebook still costs $33 with ILUVMICHAEL code.

FreeBSD’s dd got status=progress support.

Explanation why there is no lsof(8) port on OpenBSD.

The stat(1) on FreeBSD just got ~3x performance improvement.

OpenSSH 7.8p1 almost ready for release.

The pfSense 2.4.4 book in HTML/PDF/EPUB is now available to everyone.

FreeBSD 12-CURRENT just made first step towards 12-RELEASE with 12-APLHA1 tag.

X11 on really small devices.

HardenedBSD 11-STABLE v1100056.2 Released.

FreeBSD 12.0-ALPHA1 images ready to test.

Bhyve Networking Options.

Iridium (same as Chromium) received unveil(2) support on OpenBSD.

In Other BSDs for 2018/08/11.


AMD Threadripper II CPU – Up to 32 Cores/64 Threads.

Starling Pro ARM server from System76 with 96 cores and 1 TB RAM.

Supermicro SSG-136R-NR32JBF allows 1PB in 1U of NVMe storage with 13m IOPS and 52GB/s throughput.

TAKU Monitor Stand ITX/SFX PC Case.

Hacker Finds Hidden ‘God Mode’ on Old x86 CPUs.


How shared family computer protected us from our worst selves.


Out-of-process extensions for Firefox 63 running on GNU/Linux.

Elder Scrolls III – Morrowind running on OpenBSD with OpenMW in 5 simple steps.

Rise and fall of Project V13 – online Fallout game that never was.

Detailed Look at RFC 8446 – TLS 1.3.