12 Oct 2022
Sometimes, you’ve got to feel bad for BSD. Despite being a mature, well developed project with an amazing community and tons of development, it has less than a 0.01% desktop market share. It’s constantly beaten by Linux in the usability and hardware support departments. There’s not much that the already overworked FreeBSD team can do to support the proprietary firmware required by Intel, AMD, & Nvidea, but, there’s still a lot of work that can be done in terms of usability. Now, FreeBSD isn’t ever going to have an official ISO with a super noob-friendly desktop environment and installer, but GhostBSD certainly will. But does in deliver?
GhostBSD installs just like every single modern Linux distro. You boot the live USB, are taken to a live desktop, and then there’s a bog-standard Calamares installer. It was over in about 15 minutes, and required no skill at all to use. Perfect for someone’s first jump into UNIX.
I was astounded at just how efficient GhostBSD was. I’m used to Mate desktops using about 500-600MB of RAM, but GhostBSD, with all its bells and whistles rarely ever went over 300MB without any apps open. The CPU was pretty good too. There’s not a whole lot to write home about, but it almost never used more than 5-9% unless I opened Firefox, Transmission, or a similarly bloated application.
I was quite impressed with GhostBSD’s boot speed as well. On my pretty slow HHD, in a virtual machine, it still managed to boot relatively fast. It only took 26 seconds. That’s almost 10 seconds faster than my Fedora laptop, and approaching my super minimal Void machine. That’s an A+ in my book.
GhostBSD chose the Mate desktop environment, the perfect choice for the user-friendly, lightweight distro that GhostBSD aims to be. And by god, it’s one of the most beautiful Mate desktop iterations that I’ve ever seen. It sticks to the traditional panel layout, but makes use of the Vimix theme & Qogir icons to make MATE a little easier on the eyes. It’s not quite as heavily riced as Ubuntu Mate, but I think that’s the point.
GhostBSD has very sane software choice. There’s only 7 non-mate GUI applications, and most of them are pretty useful.
All 7 of these are pretty great applications to have in general. I’d personally get rid of Shotwell & Plank, but I’m sure that there are quite a few people that appreciate their addition. Other than that, GhostBSD just comes with all of the regular Mate apps that one would expect from a fairly minimal distribution. That being said, basically all daily tasks can be done without ever having to open up the terminal and install anything.
GhostBSD is pretty great. In many ways, it’s like the original Ubuntu of the BSD family. It takes a complicated, clunky, and unfamiliar operating system and makes it accessible for the average person. It may not be perfect, and it has a long way to go before it can compete with a lot of the heavy hitters in the Linux space, but I think that GhostBSD defiantly has potential to turn a lot of people twords an operating system that they would not ordinarily consider.
So, if you’re interested, you can download GhostBSD at the link below.
06 Oct 2022
Youtube is the defacto place for video on the internet. There are other video hosting platforms, but none have even come close in popularity, profitability, or ease of use. Youtube is an essential pillar in the modern internet. However, it’s owned by Google. There are many privacy concerns, along with inescapable adds and an insane amount of bloat. So, in response, people have started making various back-ends and clients. However, by far, the best option is to simply download the video files to be watched locally and offline. That’s where yt-dlp comes in. yt-dlp is a package that downloads Youtube videos, extremely quickly and efficiently. And so, I’m going to show to install, and use yt-dlp, while providing a handy bash script that makes using yt-dlp a breeze.
Depending on what distro you use, one of these commands into your terminal.
sudo apt install yt-dlp ffmpeg
sudo dnf install yt-dlp ffmpeg
sudo pacman -S yt-dlp ffmpeg
yt-dlp, at its core, is very simple. However, due to the considerable amount of audio and video formats provided, there’s a few flags you have to memorize. Here are some of the commands for different formats.
yt-dlp -f 18 -x --audio-format mp3 ***LINK***
yt-dlp -f 18 -x --audio-format ogg ***LINK***
yt-dlp -f 18 -x --audio-format flac ***LINK***
Automating with a script
While you definitely can write out the entire command every time you want to download a file, I find it extremely convenient, especially when dealing with music, to have a useful little simple shell script instead. So, with my limited knowledge, I wrote one. It’s fully POSIX compliant and only 25 lines long.
echo "Enter the youtube link"
echo "Would you like to download audio or video? Enter 1 for video and 0 for audio"
if [ $va -eq 0 ]; then
echo "What audio format would you like? (mp3, ogg, flac)"
yt-dlp -f 18 -x --audio-format $aformat $link
echo "What video format would you like (mp4 or webm) "
if [ $vformat = 'mp4' ]; then
yt-dlp -f 18 $link
You can just copy-paste that into a file in your ~/.local/bin, or, if you’re weird, you can grab it from my Github.
Now, you can download Youtube videos directly onto your hard drive to enjoy at your leisure. yt-dlp is simply, a better way of using Youtube. There’s no fuss, no buffering, and best of all, no adds! You can download anything and everything. So go, build your music playlist, watch your favorite video essays, and do it all without all of Google’s shittyness.
28 Sep 2022
If you care about privacy, want some addons, and a generally fast and lightweight browsing experience, you probably use Firefox, or one of the many forks. But Firefox, like many other modern browsers has become increasingly bloated and inefficient to control with a keyboard. As a result, people have been switching over to Qutebrowser and Surf. And while these are amazing browsers that I would definitely recommend, there’s another option that fewer people consider.Using CSS and Web Extensions to can get the fast, keyboard centered browser of your dreams. Here’s how.
While I have recommended Vim-Vixen in the past, I have found another browser extension that one ups Vim Vixen by a long shot. Tridactyl brings the modal control from Vim straight to your web browser. You can move around the web page in normal mode, manage history, bookmarks, and tabs using command mode, and of course, input text in input mode. It truly is a game-changer that has made my browsing experience much more cohesive and efficient.
You can install it like any other extension in the Mozilla Addons Store using the link below.
Thanks to the expansive community of Firefox users, there are hundreds, even thousands of CSS themes available for use right now. For our purposes, a CSS theme with very few menu bars and maximum screen real estate is ideal. There are many ‘One Liner’ themes that put all browser options on a single bar. However, the one I’ve chosen is even more minimal, in an attempt to integrate nicely with i3 and dwm.
Enabling CSS Theming
In modern versions of Firefox, CSS theming is not enabled by default. In order to enable it, you have to go to the about:config page. You can ignore the warning, and in the bar at the top of the page, type,
then click the box on the right so that it’s set to ‘true’.
Downloading the CSS theme
Assuming that you have git installed, all you need to do is type this command in your terminal to clone the repository.
git clone https://github.com/aadilayub/firefox-i3wm-theme
Applying the CSS theme
In order to apply the theme, you first need to find your correct Firefox profile directory. While you could go fishing in your file system yourself, there’s a much easier way. Simply go to about:profiles and copy the root directory on your default profile. Once you’ve done that, you must create another directory called ‘chrome’ where your userChrome.css file is going to go. Just copy this command into your terminal, to achieve just that.
midkr -p ~/.mozilla/firefox/PROFILE.profile/chrome
Now, all you need to do is copy the userChrome.css file over like so.
cp ~/firefox-i3wm-theme/userChrome.css ~/.mozilla/firefox/PROFILE.profile/chrome
Qutebrowser is a fine browser, and may even be better than Firefox for some users. However, Firefox has much better support and many more addons. If you’re just a regular user, I’d stick with Firefox, and these two tools allow a seamless Vim + tiling window manager experience. So now, if you need a browser to scratch that particular itch, you don’t have to go through the hassle of switching browsers.
11 Sep 2022
Your browser sucks. It’s just the cold hard truth. Almost every modern browser is extremely slow, confusing, and privacy invasive. While there have been many attempts to create a usable and fast browser, almost all of them are based on Ungoogled Chromium or Firefox, which, while good for privacy, are incredibly bloated. I’ve searched far and wide for a browser that fits my needs without adding on too much unnecessary crap, and I think I may have found it. Badwolf is a WebKitGTK based, Suckless browser that’s quick, standardized, and no-nonsense. So if you’re interested in Badwolf, I’ll give you some general pointers and facts about this one-of-a-kind browser.
Overall, Badwolf is extremely simple. Almost everything is done with a mouse, and most of the shortcuts should carry over from your previous experience with other browsers. However, there are a few keyboard shortcuts that aren’t very natural or common. I’ve compiled a table with some of the ones that I’ve personally had trouble with, but all of the shortcuts are also available on the manpage if you’re still confused.
|Go back/forward in tab history
||Ctrl-[ & Ctrl-]
|Go to the next/previous tab
||Alt-Right & Alt-Left
|Focus on URL entry bar
|Kill the current tab
Badwolf is very lightweight. More than any other browser that I’ve ever used. RAM usually stays around 80-100MB, with a few tabs open. But the most surprising thing you’ll see if you more closely inspect the picture above, is that the CPU usage is 0%. That’s right. With some more tabs open, I’ve seen it get up to around 5%, but it never uses any more than that. It’s truly remarkable how lightweight this browser is.
It can’t be all good. In order to make the browser as fast and compact as possible, it seems like there have been quite a few features of most browsers that’ve been thrown out entirely. For example,
Badwolf has absolutely no web history. Which, admittedly, isn’t that bad for most people, but may be of concern if for some reason you can’t remember the URL’s of the sites that you commonly visit.
Cookies are one of the main methods used by companies to track users. However, they also have a very viable use for logins and other info you like to save. As soon as you close a tab, all the cookies are destroyed. So get used to typing your username and password every time you want to login to any website.
Badwolf comes with absolutely no form of adblock. And due to the lack of extensions, any sort of adblocking is very difficult. You have to create a json config file full of manually added ad systems. It’s not ideal.
Badwolf is an amazing, fast, and unique browser. It may not be the thing for you, but it still fills its niche incredibly well. It’s a browser, nothing more. And that no-nonsense approach is something that is needed now more than ever, in the current space full of dime-a-dozen bloated, slow, and feature packed browsers. If you are in the need of something fast, and can handle the drawbacks, I would highly recommend that you give Badwolf a try, and see what it’s like to have a browser that doesn’t suck.
28 Aug 2022
Personally, I torrent a lot. I use torrents to download Linux ISO’s, but also use them to download movies and TV shows. So, like every vital piece of software on my system, I’m very opinionated in terms of what I use. And after searching, finding, and using many different torrent clients, I have settled on Transmission. Transmission is a torrent client that can be used in many different platforms, under many different frameworks, including on the command line. So, if having a fully functional torrent client on the command line is something that appeals to you, I’ll show you how you can install and use Transmission CLI on any Linux distro.
Depending on what Linux distro you use, feel free to copy-paste these command into your terminal to install the Transmission daemon and CLI program.
sudo apt install transmission-daemon transmission-cli
sudo dnf install transmission-daemon transmission-cli
sudo pacman -S libtransmission transmission-cli
Enabling the Transmission Daemon
Before you can actually use Transmission, you are going to have to start the daemon. As long as you are using a distro with Systemd (You probably are) you can enable Transmission with this simple command.
sudo systemctl enable transmission-daemon
From there, you can either reboot into your machine, or start the daemon with this command.
sudo systemctl start transmission-daemon
Using The CLI
Whether you have a torrent file or a magnet link, all you need to do is run transmission-remote with the -a flag followed by link or file in quotes, like so.
transmission-remote -a "TORRENT.torrent"
Monitoring Your Download
If you want to monitor your download, all you’ve got to do is run this command.
It should spit out an output that looks like this.
ID Done Have ETA Up Down Ratio Status Name
1 0% None Unknown 0.0 0.0 None Idle TORRENT
Sum: None 0.0 0.0
Removing a Torrent
Now, ideally, you’d seed the torrent for as long as you possibly can, but eventually you’ve got to remove it. To do that, you’re going to need to use the torrent’s ID. This is the same ID that you can see when you run “transmission-remote -l”. Then, once you know the ID, you can use this command.
transmission-remote -t ID -r
Whether you have a system with crappy specs, want to use MPV with framebuffer for a dedicated movie watching system, or just like using the terminal, transmission-cli is a easy, fast and effective way to torrent without ever having to touch a GUI.