Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Still configuring FreeBSD 8.2 on DellDim9200 w/dual monitors.

Actually, getting compiz 3D effects was very easy and involved no more than installing compiz-fusion from ports and starting it in Preferences>>Startup Applications with the script I published at the bottom of this post.
But what I was really happy about was figuring out how to get a Desktop wallpaper to smoothly cover BOTH screens.
The first part is, of course, to set up the /etc/X11/xorg.conf correctly as I outlined in yesterday's post.
Then, after you've selected your wallpaper, open it in ImageView and Select as Desktop Background.
Choose the Span option to get it to stretch over the two screens.
However, this is not enough and, in my case, I had to carefully select the wallpaper size to avoid a lot, or even an annoyingly small amount of the screen, without wallpaper.
My two screen sizes are 1680x1050 and 1280x1024, you so would think that a size of 2960x1050 should get the whole screen covered.
But no, you need even bigger.
In my case, I had to (using Gimp) scale the image to a minimum (I did a lot of checking to ascertain this) size of 3060x1085 to make sure there were no blank spots on the screen.
Luckily this rescaling is very easy to do in Gimp. Just load your image, open Image>>ScaleImage and choose the size you want.
Amazingly, I have had for a very long time an ill-fitting wallpaper on Ubuntu on the same machine because I thought that the Span Desktop background option actually stretched the image.
But, I was wrong again. Once I had resized my image to the magic size of 3060x1085, the wallpaper fitted like a glove.

Another discovery I made in this setup was how to get Google Gadgets to appear without a Sidebar so that the gadgets are simply floating on the Desktop without the distracting influence of a very dark sidebar.
I had already done this in FreeBSD on the E520 but basically I just stumbled upon it rather than following any grand plan.
The secret is in the colored GGL icon in the gnome-panel.
This offers the option to turn off the sidebar. However, when you do this, all gadgets disappear as well.
However, if you move the gadgets off the sidebar (hover cursor over the gadget and small set of keys will appear to the upper right of the gadget. Drag these keys to take the gadgets marginally away from the sidebar).
Now, go back to the colored icon and switch off the sidebar. You'll notice that the gadgets did no disappear this time.
Now, drag the gadgets back to where they were but without the sidebar.
I like this.

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