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dd(8) with progress

I needed to write an iso image to a USB key, and the typical way is with just dd(8), but I wanted a progress bar. A quick google later, and I get:

pv -tpreb isoname | sudo dd of=/dev/sdd bs=1024

Which will write the iso image to the USB stick sdd, and give me a progress bar, tell me how fast it is writing, and give me an eta when finished. Perfect.

Tale of Installs

So, I am starting a new personal project at the house, and I need a new server. As I was wanting to learn more about the BSD, I started looking around at things like FreeBSD, NetBSD, or OpenBSD.

Since there was a security part, I started with OpenBSD. One of the things I noticed quickly while doing my research is that while there is a lot of documentation, they do not really seem to care about making it easy for new folks to join the project, nor are the trying to support new-fangled hardware, like bootable USB drives. This strikes me odd, as FreeBSD has instructions (see 2.3.5).

Since I want to use pf, I am going to stay with OpenBSD for now.

Clickable URL links in rxvt

So, I use rxvt as my daily interface to my computers. I also use mutt for my email reading pleasure. Sometimes, I get URLs in email and I want to read them in a browser. If I was using a GUI based mail reader, I would just click the URL to open it. Well, there is an easy way to set up rxvt to do that!

Using the fine Arch Linux wiki entry for rxvt unicode, the solution is quite easy. In the file ~/.Xdefaults, add:

URxvt.perl-ext-common:  default,matcher
URxvt.url-launcher:      /usr/bin/firefox
URxvt.matcher.button:   1

And either do a xrdb --merge ~/.Xdefaults or log out/log in. And start a new rxvt, and you are good to go.


Today is All Saints Day, so it seems natural to let start new again.

As is popular in Hollywood, I have decided to reboot this web site after 6 1/2 years. I have not decided about the old content.

I am planning on using this as a technical notebook. Shrug I hope to make it worth while.

An Update to 'Window Managers?'

Way back, I wrote a quick blurb on Window Managers for running under X.

Well, a while back I switched to Ubuntu for my OS of choice. As you may know, the fine folks at Ubuntu switched to default window manager to something called Unity, which caused a stir. I tried it for a while, but decided that it was too heavy, and too mouse-centric.

So, what to do? Well, I went back to my old standby wmfs, Window Manager From Scratch. This is a modern WM with systray support, full Ximirama and Xrandr support, tiles, and is mainly driven from the keyboard. Life is good.

To install (same steps as for Fedora, RHEL, or Ubuntu), download the source, and install the needed development libraries for: X11, Xft, freetype, Xinerama, Xrandr, and Imlib2. I used the native packages from the OS. Then, simple do a

sudo make install

(you do build software as a normal user, right?)

This will install all the needed bits and configs into the correct place. Under Ubuntu 11.10, there was an entry from the login screen to let me chose wmfs.

Config is handled in $HOME/.config/wmfs/wmfsrc which you can copy from /etc/xdg/wmfs/wmfsrc.

EDIT 2016-11-30: It seems the domain is no longer active. The wmfs website has very nice documentation as well as likes to some people’s configs with screen shots.

It runs very fast, and very lean:

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used       Program
  3.9 MiB + 310.0 KiB =   4.2 MiB       wmfs

Check it out, I am sure you will like what you see.