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Nautilus and Hidden Files

Why an application might toggle showing hidden files in nautilus (Gnome Files) when you don’t want it to.

Awhile back I updated Gnome and wasn’t seeing hidden files in nautilus (“Gnome Files”) anymore. I went into dconf-editor and looked around and found the old preference for it set correctly, so I dug around online and found they now use instead of the old preference. So I set that and went on, only to find sometime later it wasn’t working again.

Something was changing that setting, but in the meantime I discovered the “Ctrl + h” keyboard shortcut to toggle it, and would just use that. Still, who wants to toggle something like that frequently?

Eventually, I looked at some code of a non-packaged GTK+ application I use. Lo and behold, its file open dialog included a call to gtk_file_chooser_set_show_hidden, which apparently doesn’t just set it for the current file chooser, but sets the preference, too.

I’m not sure if that’s a bug or a feature (in GTK+), but Gnome Bugs: 610925: “GtkFileChooserDialog won’t pick show-hidden setting from a GtkBuilder File”: Comment 4 suggests it’s semi-expected behavior (the idle bug Gnome Bugs: 710258: “File chooser dialog saves show-hidden on closure” suggests others found it as a bug, though). Weird. I even tried replacing the above with something that used g_object_set_property to directly change the ‘show-hidden’ property. No dice, it still persists to the setting (when the dialog is closed, as the second bug suggests).

Anyway, I just commented it out in the end since I don’t care if the application file chooser shows hidden files, but do care if nautilus does. The moral of the story is that sometimes the bug is in some other piece of software for no particular reason.

If you find your file browser sometimes showing and sometimes hiding, it’s likely some application you use is toggling it back on you.

The Nature of Unbelieved Change

The 2008 Obama campaign used the slogan, “Change you can believe in.” I think it works for this phenomena to call it “Unbelieved Change,” meaning change that people didn’t see coming because they didn’t believe it had a chance.

It’s short posts November, so I probably won’t ramble as long this month.

One thing we’ve probably all seen in making changes big and small is that there’s an adjustment period during which we refine. Depending on the change, that period may be short or long.

But one of the things that makes it longer is when the initial change was thought too hard or was neglected in some way. The result is that once the foundation has actually been laid, those affected suddenly give comment to an issue they didn’t expect (ie, how to refine it) and haven’t had ample time to consider.

The 2008 Obama campaign used the slogan, “Change you can believe in.” I think it works for this phenomena to call it “Unbelieved Change,” meaning change that people didn’t see coming because they didn’t believe it had a chance.

Health reform is a good example. The lack of meaningful reform had entrenched itself as a fact for the USA, and now that something’s been done to move the stone, a lot of people want to refine it (even before many provisions take effect). Some want to simply revert the change, others want to continue on the path laid or go an entirely different way.

The other problem, related, is that the early proposals are often ruled out as blocking the initial change. The Obama administration basically scrapped notions of a public option or single payer system as being too difficult to garner agreement. And yet, they didn’t go for a credit-based system either.

Another area where this phenomena has shown itself is the Arab Spring. Prior to its beginning, most thought that the status quo was to stay as it was. When change finally came, the world’s leaders didn’t have a good idea what the outcome would be, and even today there are some in the West that think it might have been a bad change.

I think the real root of the problem is that many look at the world and see a pinball machine instead of a canvas. They see the world as a mostly-fixed system in which they must hit the bumpers and make the lights blink and sing. There are others that realize the world can be much more flexible, and that deciding what to paint isn’t an unreasonable activity.

The world is a canvas, and the populist movements like Occupy Wall Street recognize that fact, where the politicians often do not. But it’s more complicated; for some issues any given person may think it’s part of the pinball machine or canvas. Most will admit the Constitution is more pinball than paint, but still some seek to amend it. Pretty much everyone admits that defying gravity is equivalent to a TILT event, but some still believed in putting humans in space, even if it merely meant overpowering gravity rather than breaking it.

But we should still consider the impossible at every turn, it builds character.

Ready for Iceweasel 4?

Tomorrow Firefox 4 will be unleashed on an unsuspecting public, and the web will be even more awesome. Here’s my take on upgrading to the Debian equivalent, Iceweasel.

I updated to Iceweasel 4 today which is in the Debian experimental repository.  The update process was as smooth as can be expected.  A few extensions didn’t update, which required looking into why and finding alternatives.

  1. All-in-One Gestures, which I used for the scrollwheel on tabs behavior, wasn’t updated. I opted for Tab Wheel Scroll, which doesn’t have all the extra features I never used.  The author’s description even leads with, “do one thing and do it well,” so I probably should have switched to it earlier.
  2. Firebug needed updating; no big deal.
  3. CS Lite‘s author has apparently stopped updating, which is a shame. For now I’m using Cookie Monster, which is very similar to CS Lite, but I liked the former’s icon.  The latter also currently doesn’t allow repositioning its statusbar button.

I’d like to not show my Add-on bar in Iceweasel 4, since part of the redesign is to get rid of some of the extra chrome.  But for now I’m stuck with it:

  1. As mentioned, Cookie Monster won’t let you move its button.
  2. Same goes for Greasemonkey.
  3. Firebug puts one there, too, but it also allows you to have a regular toolbar button.

So, until Greasemonkey and a good Cookie tool let me move their buttons, I’ll have to see the Add-on bar.

Finally, it appears (see 616353) that the current nVidia driver screws with Iceweasel’s rendering in several places.  So far, that’s only been an annoyance.  I can’t tell which tab is current, and I’ve seen some other rendering glitches too:

  1. The site identity is munged.
  2. I saw an advertisement stick on the screen regardless of which tab I viewed; it persisted after closing the tab that contained it, and even after I restarted the browser.  Lame.

Hopefully a new driver will be available soon, but until then I shall roll with the punches.

The good news:

  1. The browser is faster
  2. It’s prettier even if I’m still in a half-state waiting to turn on all the goodies (no bottom bar; using the one-button menu; the flawless rendering it should have).
  3. Panorama will make workflows easier to manage.
  4. It lays the groundwork for the best that’s yet to come.

Mozilla rocks, and so does glandium for the hard work he’s done in packaging their work for Debian.  And so does Debian for their hard work.  Hell, even the nVidia guys that introduced this annoying rendering bug deserve a pat on the back.

Tomorrow Firefox 4 will be unleashed on an unsuspecting public, and the web will be even more awesome.