Sunday, February 1, 2009

How Not To Set Up Beryl on the Eee

Day 88

One of the things that originally hooked me on Linux was the eye candy of Compiz-Fusion. It didn't really make me more productive or the machine more capable of doing anything, but it sure was cool to show to friends and then mockingly compare to their lame Windows computers.

Today I decided to get Compiz working on the Eee. I checked Synaptic and Compiz was listed, so I installed. No errors, no dependency issues, no problems. Until I tried to configure it. In Ubuntu, Compiz-Fusion would install an advanced desktop settings panel, but this was missing in Xandros. I've already had to restore my Eee 3 times due to botched experiments, so I decided to play it safe and head to Eeeuser for some advice.

I found directions for Beryl that seemed pretty easy to follow. I'm not real clear on the difference between Beryl and Compiz, but I know that they are both a fancy windows manager and that was good enough for me.

I went through all of the instructions and ran into zero snags. The last step was to change a file to start Beryl instead of the regular X window manager. After I did that, I crossed my fingers and rebooted the machine.

I must have crossed the wrong ones because something went horribly awry. I saw the loading screen, but only caught a glimpse of my desktop before the entire screen went grey. I could still see and move my mouse, and it would change from an arrow to the hand when I moused over things, but I couldn't see them.

StEeevie Wonder.

My best guess is that there was a driver issue that wasn't cooperating with Beryl - I could see the screen for about a second before Beryl loaded. I didn't want to restore, but without the display there was no way for me to reverse the steps I had just taken to install Beryl.

Fortunately for me, I have a shortcut to the console on my desktop. I was able to blindly find it with my mouse and open it. I typed xkill and aimed at the Beryl icon in the task bar. The screen flashed and I thought for sure that I would be spending some time digging out the restore disk from under the bed. But then something interesting happened. The computer rebooted into easy mode.

I was able to open the console in easy and retrace my steps. The only thing remaining now is a angry pop up every time I start my computer. Something is still looking for Beryl, but this is better than nothing.


1 thoughts :

  1. John MacGibbon said...

    Whoops! I guess you're not using the eee in the classroom much!

    I'm happy to use my Eee very conservatively now. It's one oasis of stability in my computing world. My main office computer, running XP has had crashing problems for the last two months, and I think I've isolated the problem to a motherboard fault after prolonged swearing at Windows.

    But the Eee just keeps chugging along.