Puttin’ your Thinkpad keys to work

If you have a Thinkpad, and you have those grey page-buttons around your arrow keys, this is what you do to make them work as Forward/Backward in Firefox 2.

1. You will have to find the directory in which Firefox is installed. On a standard Kubuntu Feisty install, it’s in /usr/share/firefox.
2. Edit <firefox-directory>/chrome/browser/content/browser/browser.xul, and find the line that says <keyset id="mainKeyset">.
3. Paste the following lines directly underneath:

<key id="goBackKb" keycode="VK_F19" command="Browser:Back" />
<key id="goForwardKb" keycode="VK_F20" command="Browser:Forward" />

4. Save and restart Firefox.

Now you can use the page-buttons to move back and forth through your Firefox history. This also works in Firefox 1.5, but requires a different approach. You can read more at the ThinkWiki.

Using Feisty

Now I’ve had Kubuntu Feisty on my laptop for almost 24 hours, and I’d like to share my thoughts about it.

First off, finally a new version that doesn’t radically change or remove solid features one has gotten used to in the six months between releases! The only real changes are either improvements on previously added features or inclusions of software and hacks that most of the Kubuntu community has been using anyway. Network Manager is finally a standard feature, and the battery manager the Kubuntu team added in Edgy has been fitted with some new options, including an awesome looking new icon (with color!). Both Suspend and Hibernate still work flawlessly, right out-of-the-box, on my Thinkpad T43 and it even has the ability to switch over to hibernate while suspended if the battery drains to a critical level.

Overall, there aren’t that many new things to write about. KDE 3.5 is moving along at crawling speed while development on KDE 4 is ramping up. I got things configured just as I like them in less than 20 minutes, and most hacks/tricks that worked in Edgy still work in Feisty. One cool new thing, though, is that Beryl is available from the repositories and is now merely an apt-get install away. I’m also happy to say that it works perfectly, insanely irritating wobbly-windows and everything.

I know that this has been said so many times it’s completely lost its meaning… But this is the Ubuntu that could start a massive move from Windows to Open Source software. It’s really that good. I’m giving Kubuntu 7.04 — a.k.a. Feisty Fawn — two giant thumbs up.

Installing Feisty

I’m installing the new Kubuntu right now, as we speak. Behind this Konqueror window, the installation runs smoothly and quickly. It’s really cool being able to just boot up Kubuntu from a CD, enter my WPA passphrase to connect to my wireless network and just click a few buttons to start the installation, while at the same time being able to write a blog entry on a computer that does not have a working operating system installed at all.

That last part was a half lie — I have Windows XP installed on the first partition, but I can’t count it among any kind of working operating systems. It won’t accept my key as being legit, it took me two hours just to find the drivers for the wireless network adapter and there’s no way to install the ThinkVantage software so that I can get drivers for all the other hardware that Windows doesn’t support out-of-the-box since I can’t get onto Windows Update to download .NET 2.0 because Windows refuses to register my key… It’s easily enough to drive any person beyond insane.

Oh, right, first impressions. Sorry, my mind wanders.
As you can probably guess, just the installation of Kubuntu is infinitely more pleasant than a fully working, non-struggling Windows XP could ever dream to be. To be fair, though, Kubuntu has the advantage of not being over 5 years old. Everything on my Thinkpad T43 works without any kind of configuring. The battery is supported, and all I have to do to get my wireless working is select which access point I want to connect to — That’s it! The installation guide is clear and to-the-point, no hassle anywhere. I create a couple new partitions (The partition manager is new, and could use some tweaking, but over-all it works like it’s supposed to) and fill in some personal information. For some reason, the Migration Assistant didn’t show up at all, but that doesn’t matter, I don’t have anything to migrate from anyway. Click OK, and the system installs itself quietly.

A couple minutes and a chiming sound later, I get to choose between rebooting or continuing to use the live-CD environment. I guess I’ll have to save the rest for another entry, because I can’t wait to reboot into my brand spanking new Kubuntu Feisty Fawn operating system!

I wuv my ‘Bu

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) has been sort-of released as of today. Officially, the release isn’t until tomorrow, but the reviews are already all over the web and the CD repositories have been overloaded all day. LunaPark6 writes an excellent review of the new Ubu’ and praises it’s ease of use and ability to support practically any type of hardware right out of the box.

Some of the major points of interest are:

  • Migration Assistant imports settings from both Ubuntu and Windows previous installs
  • Desktop Effects can be turned on at the check of a box, provided you’ve installed the appropriate drivers through the new…
  • Restricted Drivers Manager – Check driver, click OK, reboot and you’re running hardware accelerated graphics!
  • Numerous improvements to speed and stability make this the undeniably most impressive Ubuntu release yet.

If the site’s not still being hammered to bits by rabid Ubuntu users, you can download your favorite flavor of Fawn from Ubuntu.com.

UPDATE
Both Ubuntu and Kubuntu have updated their websites to promote the release of Feisty Fawn. Head over for more details and, hopefully, some more stable servers to download from.