Tag Archives: screenshot

Bonus: A quick two-step framebuffer animated gif

The animated gif trick is getting a little more attention than I thought it would. I would never want to be thought a holdout, but the original explanation was buried in some comments.

So here’s a quick script that I use, plus the one-liner that actually makes the gif.

For this you’ll need only fbgrab and imagemagick, although I guess those could be replaced by alternative programs. To the best of my knowledge, neither of those requires anything from Xorg, but that might depend on your distro.

First, something I call “gifgrab,” which starts from another virtual terminal:

mkdir ~/gifgrab
cd ~/gifgrab
sleep 3; for i in {100..999} ; do fbgrab `date +%Y-%m-%d`-${HOSTNAME}-${1}-${i}.png ; done

You can go ahead and laugh at my programming ability now. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

The sleep command gives me time to switch to the “desktop” from the alternative tty. I loop from 100 to 999 only because I like the digits to line up pretty in the folder :roll:, and those numbers will be ignored anyway, once the pngs become a gif.

I should mention that I usually CTRL+C out of the script, which means the last png in the folder may be an incomplete image. Just for safety I delete that last one.

I like to keep the png files together in a folder in a predictable space, mostly because the next command is rather laborious, and so I’ll rsync that folder to a faster machine, and actually convert it later.

And here’s the conversion command, from inside the folder with the pngs.

convert -delay 75 -loop 0 2013* 2013-05-15-solo-2150-title.gif

You should change the filenames to whatever. I use a delay of 75, only because the “framerate” tends to me more than a second, and otherwise the gif gets long and boring. The loop flag tells imagemagick to let it repeat indefinitely.

I think that’s all. If you find a way to streamline this, I am always interested. Cheers. ๐Ÿ™‚

Edit, 2013-05-16: I should note that this “technique” will work on a standard Xorg desktop too, if you use the proper screenshot tool. For example, if you substitute scrot for fbgrab in the gifgrab script, you get an identical effect, for X.

Bonus: Revisiting Openbox

With my sudden allegiance to the tiling window manager team, I felt I ought to give myself one last shot at floating windows.


Back to Openbox again, and some classic themes I dragged out of dark corners to apply.

For what it’s worth, most of that is intended for the Rezlooks engine, because bloated rounded corners are so very 2008.

wbar is there too though, as are a couple of dock apps — wmhdplop and wmforkplop.

Beats me where the wallpaper came from though; I’ve had that for almost a decade, I think.

We’ll see how long this lasts. I already resent reaching for the mouse every two seconds, where shifting windows was only a keypress away with Musca. … ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

Bonus: Debian 6.0.7 at 500Mhz, 256Mb

I had a little extra time today, so I did a ritual backup of my standard Arch Linux framebuffer system, and installed the full Gnome suite to the Solo.

The results were not as disappointing as you might have imagined.


Debian has always done a good job keeping the lid on Gnome’s grotesque proportions. The full desktop is floating on +/- 100Mb out of the 256Mb available, with just a tease of swap.

Responsiveness is acceptable, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t lag a little bit. I expect as much though.

What’s reassuring about this is, with a lighter desktop environment (LXDE being the obvious choice), I daresay 500Mhz might actually be more or less usable.

And I never thought I’d say this but … after years of Ubuntu Unity desktops, and the passรฉ Gnome 3 arrangement, a la Fedora … it’s actually quite nice to see an old-fashioned desktop like this.

Call me crazy. Everybody else does. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even more odd though: Lately I resent having to poke at the touchpad and wade through menus to get applications started. Perhaps I have finally gone over to the dark side … a full-time tiling WM fan. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Bonus: Revisiting fbterm

I forgot I made this screenshot the other day, on the Solo.


fbterm doesn’t get enough attention, considering its relative importance to anyone who might want to spruce up their desktop without dragging in all of Xorg and company.

That shot, of course, seems to lack line drawing characters, and I can’t seem to figure out why. A few folks mentioned using a UTF-8 locale, but that didn’t seem to fix it.

I know it’s possible to do this (I have photo proof that I’ve done it before), but for some reason this is stumping me now.

It’s not a big deal — there’s no loss of function, of course — but it would be nice to see all the characters there. ๐Ÿ˜

Bonus: An immense waste of resources

Another quick screenshot, this time on the biggest, heaviest machine in the house.


With dvtm against the framebuffer. Maybe that’s impractical or a waste of resources. Maybe it’s elitist or holier-than-thou. Maybe I really don’t care.

Because regardless, it’s done, it works and it’s kind of fun. And if it somehow offends you, take further umbrage in the fact that the entire Mint desktop is running from a live USB in the background.

Deal with it. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Bonus: Another screenshot

The extra extra computer I bought a few weeks ago is — oddly enough — turning into something very enjoyable.


That’s still Musca (no, I haven’t had time to try Herbstluftwm … it’s on my list) and a smidgin of the text-based software that I prefer … and some freaky wallpaper. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

For the record, this is a Dell Latitude D620: strictly business class, no speakers, Intel 945-based video, and very little in the way of luxuries.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, this was (I believe) one of the machines that had a battery recall a few years back, because the darned things would spontaneously catch fire. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

No. Not yet. It hasn’t exploded yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But oddly, I find this very satisfying to use. It’s tetchy, the framebuffer doesn’t always pick up, random sporadic fan behavior, and it can be a real curmudgeon at times.

But … I like it. ๐Ÿ˜

P.S.: US$35 at my local recycling shop, because it had no hard drive in it. Lucky me, with all these leftover hard drives just laying around … ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus: Learning tmux

Never let it be said that I was afraid to try new things.


I’m slowly moving from screen to tmux — not for any lack of enthusiasm for the former, just because it’s important to find alternatives. ๐Ÿ™‚

I like it. It picks up a lot of features that I wish were in screen — like the concept of panes, or being able to arrange a layout on startup. And switching between panes in tmux is far easier than screen’s tab cycles.

Some of it is still a little shaky though. And I really wish there was something equivalent to screen’s idle option, but I can’t find one.

Still, it keeps me busy. Perhaps sometime soon I shall find time to investigate Herbstluftwm, and move away from Musca. Gasp! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Bonus: Text-only with Musca and X

Usually I don’t bother running text-only systems under X, because I really don’t have much love for Xorg in general. I consider it a necessary evil. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

But every now and again I get an itch to use Musca again, and to make sure I still know how to install a graphical system. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So here’s something for you to scrutinize.


As you can tell by the fine print in the image, that is not the Solo. That’s another machine I keep on hand, for … um … what the heck is that machine for? I’ve forgotten.

Anyways, it’s always good to have a spare. ๐Ÿ™„

Bonus screenshot: A fistful of terminal applications

I promised a few people a screenshot, to show what this machine looks like in action.


No fancy setups there. elinks, Midnight Commander, vimwiki and mplayer against the framebuffer at 500Mhz, in Arch Linux.

There’s a little bit of a shear effect on mplayer’s output because the movie was running while I took the screenshot. Sorry; next time I’ll pause the video.

But that’s what things can look like, if you want to run something strictly text-based and without Xorg.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰