Archive for the ‘MATE’ Category

Cobber Linux Repository Information

April 7, 2014 2 comments

Cobber’s repository is being built. I am using reprepro to do this and it is being hosted on sourceforge which has mirrors around the world including 1 in Australia (Adelaide I think). I have also contacted various other hosts and I am waiting for their replies. If anyone knows a host in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea (even in any of the Pacific Island nations) please let me know.

This post is to help you access Cobber’s repository and when it is up and running, in the next few days, you’ll be able to use Cobber’s repo to “Cobberise” your Debian installs. I have made a FAQ and will add to it as time goes by so if you have any questions that are not already here please ask them and I’ll answer them either in the post, if it belongs in the post, or in a reply below the post.

What is contained in Cobber’s repository?
Cobber’s repository has packages from various other repositories, updated daily if need be, such as MATE Desktop Environment, SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics), Liquorix Kernel, Deb-Multimedia, and of course native Cobber packages. If you know of a repository that would suit Cobber please let me know and I’ll consider it.

Why have you done it this way?
Well sources.lists can get really untidy and unwieldy if there are alot of entries in it. By doing Cobber’s repository this way Cobber users have the normal Debian repositories listed but also just one more which is Cobber.

How is Cobber’s repository setup?
Cobber’s repository is setup with a main, community/main, community/non-free, backports/community/main, backports/community/non-free, archive/community/main (where old packages will be stored for historical purposes), development/community/main (where new untested packages will be placed for people who wish to test development releases). Everything in community and development is upstream and can change from one version to another so watching what you are updating is, as always with any operating system, advisable.

What do I need to do to use Cobber’s repository?
First you need to add the gpg key to your system so it recognises Cobber as friendly. Then you need to add at least one, more depending on what you want, entries to your sources.list
You can do this by opening a terminal (as root) and copy/paste or type this command.

wget -O – -q |apt-key add –

Once you have done that add Cobber to your sources.list by copy/pasting or typing this in your sources.list file
deb [dists] main

You will need to change [dists] to suit the version of Cobber (or Debian) you are using, the current versions are stable2013 (uluru2013), testing (maralinga), unstable (canberra), and experimental. So as a minimum your sources.list entry will look something like this
deb stable2013 main

If you want to add community it will look like this
deb [dists] main community/main

If you want to add non-free it will look like this
deb [dists] main community/main community/non-free

If you want more up to date software but still use stable2013 (uluru2013) it will look like this (n.b. backports are sometimes not complete, they are provided for you to use but you do so understanding this fact).

deb stable2013 main community/main community/non-free
deb stable2013 main backports/community/main backports/community/non-free

If you are brave and want to help test development packages (when they are available) it will look like this
deb testing main community/main community/non-free
deb experimental main development/community/main development/community/non-free


deb unstable main community/main community/non-free
deb experimental main development/community/main development/community/non-free

What versions of Debian do the Cobber dists correspond with?
Excellent question, Stable2013 (Uluru2013) is based on Debian Wheezy, Testing (Maralinga) is based on Debian Testing (which is currently Jessie), Unstable (Canberra) is based on Debian Unstable (also called Sid) and Experimental is based on Debian Experimental.

When Debian Jessie is released as Debian 8 (Stable) Cobber Uluru will become uluru2015 (if Jessie is released in 2015). Maralinga will always be based on Testing and Canberra will always be based on Sid.

Will Cobber’s repository have all packages available from these other repositories?
From MATE and SIL yes, from Deb-Multimedia and Liquorix no. Do I here you ask why?

Well until MATE is fully eccepted into Debian I feel it is a good idea to mirror the full MATE repository so Cobber users don’t have problems with dependency issues.

I like SIL and believe they have good usuable software so I want to include it in Cobber’s repository.

Deb-Multimedia has a massive amount of software but most of it is already available in Debian so my intent is to only offer packages that are 1. not available in Debian, and 2. actually going to be used more than equivalent Debian packages.

Liquorix is a great kernel so I will be offering that but I’m not sure offering the full Liquorix repo is warranted. It’s a bit like Deb-Multimedia in a way some packages are already in Debian and do a really good job already. I just want simple with no dependency issues and to avoid double ups as much as possible.

I have a University assignment to finish off, by midnight tommorow, so I will let my update script do its work and after my assignment is out of the way I will get back into making iso images of Cobber using MATE and XFCE initially and upload them for downloading. I will make a new announcement when they are ready.

Translation of Desktop Environments for Cobber.

October 15, 2013 Comments off

If you have read through all the posts so far you will already know that I translate various Desktop Environments into Australian English for use in Cobber. This is a time consuming task and I am fortunate that the Linux ecosystem (well the majority of it) believes in sharing work allowing it to be freely modified. A few years ago I was lucky to be able to start using a script developed by Gnome’s British English translation team. I have modified, with the help of a few people, that script to suit Australian English. Because the ethos of the majority of people, it is my ethos as well, who work on Linux is to share I am posting the script I now use here.

Be very aware this script is a work in progress, as I find things that need attention I add them to the script. As I find various wordlists around the internet I add bits and pieces to the script. I often add things but also comment them out so they are available if and when I am convinced they are relevent and required. I add comments at various sections, mostly to acknowledge the origin of the additions but also to add notes to help others who may want to use the script.

If you choose to use this script please read it first so you are aware of various langauge issues. If my friends (followers) from New Zealand would like to help create a script for en_NZ just contact me and we can start developing a script to localise Linux (not just Cobber) to New Zealand English. If anyone has any suggestion for the script please post them and if they are relevant I will add them and give you the credit next to your suggestion.

Just so you know there is 1 bug in this script that has been in it for as long as I have been using it (back when it was That bug sometimes causes the script to not translate the last 2 lines of a *.po(t) file. This doesn’t bother me as I know to check for this but also because each translated file should always be reviewed (checked) after the script has been run anyway.

Anyway, please find here (

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

September 4, 2013 4 comments

Well it has been 2 years since I started this little exercise and looking back I think, what have I done? Well, let’s see.
1. Translated MATE into Australian English.
2. Translated XFCE into Australian English.
3. Done half of a Masters degree in teaching. I have what I need from this degree so I have slowed down this degree and will do it part time.
4. Started a Bachelor of IT at Southern Cross University (everything is Windows ūüė¶ but it is still useful)
5. Buried my father who died 12 months ago after suffering with Pulminary Fibrosis for nearly 10 years. My mother, sister and I were his primary carers, we enabled him to stay at home through his illness and he was only away from home when he was in hopsital after acute set backs.
6. Continued seeing my doctor about Grave’s Disease which I was diagnosed with in 2009.
7. Worked on finalising Cobber Uluru-2013-MATE.

Oops I nearly forgot,
8. teaching kids.

Why has it taken so long to get Cobber released? Consider the above, also I have had to learn how to use Debian Live Build, which for quite a while was unstable and could change without notice so the configurations could be different one day to the next. Now Debian live Build is stable (in Wheezy) it has been much easier to get Cobber Uluru-2013-MATE nice and usable. While it is usable I have been making packages for the Cobber repository so I can install Australian backgrounds into the Live image. Last but not least I am still the only one working on Cobber.

Now that you all know I am still the only one working on Cobber I would like to encourage anyone from New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to join the MATE and XFCE translation pages (ask them to create a new group for your language) and we can get New Zealand English (which will just get the default Australian English until NZ English is translated) and Tok Pisin (PNG English Creole and an official language of PNG) into the Live/installable version of Cobber for these countries. I’d also really appreciate some photos of scenery from these two countries so I can individualise Cobber for you.

Anyway, I have exams in a few weeks and am going to concentrate on getting 3 major assignments done and revision for these exams. From the 28th September I am free from Uni for a couple of weeks and will concentrate on Cobber so people can test it for me before the final release.

Tutorial: How To modify the Floating Feet Screensaver to make your own.

May 11, 2013 Comments off

I was asked recently how can someone modify the Floating Feet screensaver that is used in Gnome2 and MATE. Gnome had the Feet symbol, MATE has the target and Debian has the swirl. Read on to find out how to make it work using your icon.

  1. As root open up /usr/share/pixmaps so you can copy an icon of your choice into the folder. I copied a png image of the Australian flag into the folder. To open something as root you need to use the root teminal (just enter the root password), mate terminal (type su next to the prompt then click enter then type in your root password) or have caja-gksu installed and select “Open as Administrator” from the right click menu.
  2. Now, as root, open up /usr/share/applications/screensavers/ folder. MATE calls the file you need to copy Floating Feet. Right click copy and then right click paste, then rename the new file to whatever you want to call it (this works on my machines). I called mine FloatingFlags. Why? Well I couldn't open it with Pluma if it was Floating Flags but I could as FloatingFlags.
  3. Again as root in your terminal type pluma /usr/share/applications/screensavers/FloatingFlags.desktop and the file will open in Pluma MATE's text editor. If you use another text editor just replace pluma in the command with the one you use.
  4. When you have this file open you will see

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Floating Feet
Name[en_AU]=Floating Feet
Comment=Bubbles the MATE foot logo around the screen
Comment[en_AU]=Bubbles the MATE foot logo around the screen
Exec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters /usr/share/pixmaps/mate-logo-white.svg

To get your picture to show you need to either modify a line or add a line. I chose to modify and add a new line like this as shown in the bold text.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Floating Flags
Comment=Bubbles the Australian Flag around the screen
Comment[en_AU]=Bubbles the Australian Flag around the screen
#Exec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters /usr/share/pixmaps/mate-logo-white.svg
Exec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters /usr/share/pixmaps/Flag_of_Australia.png

Now save your file and check to see it works.

Australian flag screensaver

Australian flag screen saver

Happy New Year and Uluru-MATE beta preview

January 1, 2013 Comments off

Just a quick post to wish everyone a happy new year. I hope this year brings to you what you want/deserve.

Cobber is moving along between the holiday break, work, and university studies. I have a new install of Uluru-MATE beta. Yes, that’s right Cobber Uluru is now in Beta.

Here are some screen shots for you to look at.

Screenshot-1 Screenshot Screenshot3

Categories: Cobber, MATE

Tutorial: How to set custom time and date in Gnome and MATE.

November 11, 2012 Comments off

This tutorial was prompted by a question in MATE forums about how to set a custom time and date in MATE.

1. In Gnome open up gconf-editor, in MATE 1.4 open up mateconf-editor, in MATE 1.6 open up dconf-editor.

2. Navigate to apps > panel > applets > clock or clock_screen0 > prefs. For MATE 1.6 it is at org > mate > panel > objects > clock > prefs.

3. Find the format key and set it to custom.

4. Find the custom_format key and set it to your desired setting (mine is %A, %B %d, %Y. %I:%M %p) using parameter information from this site.

Check out the screen shot for the correct keys and the outcome in the top right corner.

Categories: Cobber, Gnome, MATE, Tutorial

Tutorial: How to create your own Screensaver using native Linux tools. (MATE)

October 6, 2012 1 comment

What’s the point of this tutorial?

This tutorial is it is here for those who wish to work with what is already installed on their system and wish to have a screen background that changes at predetermined intervals. It is for those who want to understand the already natively available and installed system. It has been tested on Gnome 2 and MATE It is based on the script and setup for the background named “Cosmos” which comes pre-installed in Gnome 2¬† and MATE..

Please note: This is just 1 way of doing this, there are many more ways and formats possible. Choose what is the best for you. This tutorial isn’t here to dictate to anyone what is the best method for you to use. Instead, as has already been stated, it is here for those who wish to work with what is already installed on their system. Please do not turn this tutorial into a “my way is the best way” discussion, instead treat it like the technical tutorial it is.

1: Preliminary work.
Follow the instructions in this post.

2: Finding the required files.
Taken from this post.

Now you have your slideshow setup and in the right place you need to go to Places > Search for Files. Search for Cosmos and you will find:

cosmos-slideshow.desktop (a configuration file in /usr/share/applications/screensavers)

cosmos (the folder containing the Cosmos backgrounds which you will have noticed is used as the basis of the slideshow background)

cosmos.xml (again used as the basis for the background slideshow)

3: Modifying the file.
Open cosmos-slideshow.desktop by opening a terminal and typing or pasting.

gksudo gedit /usr/share/applications/screensavers/cosmos-slideshow.desktop

Now you have that open change the following ITALIC entries to suit your screensaver.


[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Display a slideshow of pictures of the cosmos
Exec=/usr/lib/gnome-screensaver/gnome-screensaver/slideshow –location=/usr/share/backgrounds/cosmos

Save the file with A NEW NAME, this is so you don’t lose cosmos.

4: Telling Linux that you have a new Screensaver.
Now that you have done that press Alt-F2 and in the dialogue box type in gconf-editor. Go Apps > gnome-screensaver. On the opposite pane you should see a list go down until you see “mode”, tap on mode twice and you will get another dialogue box appear, enter single into the Value line and click ok. Open the Screensaver preferences choose you new screensaver and your done.

Test it out and let us know how you go.

If you have any hints or suggestions regarding this format please feel free to make them and I will adjust this post accordingly.

n.b. This tutorial is posted in a few places on the net, I originally posted it on Ubuntu forums when I was an Ubuntu user. I then posted it in what was called Open Ubuntu Forum. Because I have no control over forums (Ubuntu forums were talking about getting rid of old posts at one stage) I have decided to post tutorials I have written on my own blog. At least that way I know they are still around for people to use if they so wish.

Categories: Cobber, Gnome, MATE, Tutorial