The Kernal Guy With A Computer

How To Install The Yacy Peer To Peer Search Engine

Chances are, if you’re as paranoid as me, you’ve used a wide variety of search engines. Every couple months or so, I’d find a shiny new search engine that claims to be faster, easier, or, most importantly, better for privacy. I’ve used DuckDuckGo, Searx, Metager, Startpage, Whoogle, and more. But recently, while trying to set a VPN on my homelab, a new search engine caught my eye. I had discovered Yacy: a different kind of search engine. Yacy is a self-hosted, peer-to-peer search engine that completely throws all conventions out the window. And so, if you’d like to give it a whirl, I’ll show you how you can install, configure, and use Yacy as your search engine.

Installing The Dependencies

Yacy itself only has one dependency, Java 8. However, to install it, you’re going to need tar and wget. Chances are, you already have tar and wget installed, but I’m going to show you how to install them anyway.

Ubuntu/Debian

sudo apt install openjdk-8-jre-headless wget tar

Fedora

sudo dnf install java-1.8.0-openjdk wget tar

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S jdk8-openjdk wget tar

Downloading, Unpacking, and Running Yacy

Now, you have to use wget to download a compressed file from the official Yacy website, and then use tar to extract it, like so.

wget https://download.yacy.net/yacy_v1.924_20210209_10069.tar.gz

tar xfz yacy_v1.924_20210209_10069.tar.gz

And to finally start Yacy, you just cd into the extracted directory and run the shell script.

cd yacy

./startYACY.sh

Starting Yacy on login

Chances are you’d rather not manually cd into the directory and start Yacy manually every time you restart or log in. Thankfully, there’s a few ways you can go. But what I’d recommend is starting it with your .profile.

Just open it up

TEXTEDITOR ~/.bash_profile

and then add the path to the start Yacy script.

/path/to/yacy/startyacy.sh

Using Yacy on Firefox

YacyImage

Now you’ve got Yacy, and you can access it at any time by going to to localhost:8090. But there’s no way to make it your default search engine by normal means. You need the open sourced Search Engine Helper from the Firefox addons store. Open the extension, click ‘Add a New Search Engine’. Then, add this URL localhost:8090/yacysearch.html?query=%s, and whatever image and name you want. Once you do that, you should be able to select your new search engine in about:preferences like you would any other.

You’re Done!

That’s all there is to it! You’ve got a completely usable, private, open sourced, peer-to-peer search engine running locally on your computer. It may be a little slow, and it may eat up a few resources on your computer, but I’d say that for what you’re getting, that’s a more than fair trade. If you’re paranoid and crazy, you’d be crazy not to use it.

Table of Contents

  1. Installing The Dependencies 1. Ubuntu/Debian 2. Fedora 3. Arch Linux
  2. Downloading, Unpacking, and Running Yacy
  3. Starting Yacy on login
  4. Using Yacy on Firefox
  5. You’re Done!

Get The Best Of Both Worlds With I3 + Xfce

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Recently, after the death of my Dell Latitude 3400, I’ve had to completely re-build my setup on an older netbook from 2014. Now, as you can imagine, it’s not the best computer in the world. It only has 2GB of RAM and 2 CPU cores. I started using XFCE, and I was quite happy with how well it worked and how easy it was on the resources. But I still yearned for tiling. Now, on GNOME, this would be as easy as installing pop-shell and calling it a day, but that’s a little more complicated with XFCE. So, after trying a few tiling scripts, I thought, “Why not use the real thing”?. And guess what, it works. You can install i3, and replace XFWM seamlessly. Now, it requires a little trickery, but if you’re intrigued, I’ll show you how you can remove XFWM and use a tiling window manager with all of the perks of XFCE.

Installing i3 and Nitrogen

Obviously, you’re going to need to install i3, but if you want to have a desktop wallpaper, you’re also going to have to install Nitrogen. So, just in case you don’t know the command, or are just too lazy to type it all out, you can copy-paste one of these commands into your terminal.

Ubuntu/Debian

sudo apt install i3 nitrogen 

Fedora/CentOS

sudo dnf install i3 nitrogen 

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S i3 nitrogen 

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper in i3 nitrogen 

Removing all of the keyboard shortcuts

XFCE has a variety of useful keyboard shortcuts pre-set. And while this is pretty useful when using XFWM, the keybindings can conflict with keybindings from i3. So, it’s best to remove them all. All you need to do is open the settings manager, and select Keyboard –> Application shortcuts. From there, you just manually remove them all.

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Removing XFDesktop and XFWM

XFWM and XFdesktop serve two very important roles in XFCE. XFWM is the window manager itself, and XFdesktop handles the wallpaper & right click menu. Sadly, both conflict with i3, so they need to go. And it’s surprisingly simple to get rid of them. Again in the settings manager, under Session and Startup –> Current session you’ll see both running. To the right, you’ll see a little section under ‘Restart Style’. While it may not look like it, you can actually click on the text boxes. Click on the restart styles for XFDesktop and XFWM respectively, and switch them both to ‘Never’. Then, hit ‘Save Session’.

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Starting i3

Don’t close out of your session settings yet. You still need to start i3. It’s as simple as going to ‘Application Autostart’ and clicking on the plus button to make a new entry. Name it ‘i3’, put ‘i3’ as the command, and start it on login. It should look something like this.

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Configuring i3

Technically, you’re ready to log out and log back in to XFCE with i3. But in reality, you’ve still got a long ways to go before you’re out of the woods. You still need to make a config file, and change a few settings. In order to get the i3 config file, you’ve got two choices. You can log into a i3 session and let the i3-wizard create the config file for you, or you can copy the default config from the internet. If you’re going to go the second route, you need to create the directory

Obtaining a config file

mkdir ~/.config/i3 && cd ~/.config/i3 

and then create the config file,

touch config 

before opening it up in your text editor of choice.

EDITOR config 

Now, just copy-paste the contents of this file, and you’re ready to edit.

Removing the panel

Since you’re going to be running xfce4-panel, there’s no use for i3 to have a panel. So, comment out these lines like so.

#  bar {
#          status_command i3status
# } 

Replacing Dmenu

Dmenu is nice, but it pretty obviously doesn’t fit in with XFCE. Thankfully though, not only is it easy to change, the best alternatives are build directly into XFCE itself. Find this line,

bindsym $mod+d exec dmenu_run

and replace ‘dmenu_run’ with the XFCE appfinder.

bindsym $mod+d exec xfce4-appfinder 

Or, if you’d prefer, you can use Whiskermenu instead.

bindsym $mod+d exec xfce4-popup-whiskermenu 

Using a wallpaper

With XFDesktop gone, you’ll find yourself booting into XFCE to be met with nothing but a panel and a black screen. While this is technically functional, most people would prefer to have a desktop wallpaper. Thankfully, with Nitrogen (which you should have installed earlier) it’s a piece of cake. Just launch Nitrogen, add a folder, and select your wallpaper to apply it. Then, going back to Session and Startup –> Application Autostart, and create a new entry that runs ‘nitrogen –restore’. It should look like this.

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You did it!

If you followed the instructions, you should now have a completely functional tiling desktop environment using XFCE and i3. Is it the most minimal? No. Is it the most functional? No. But, if you like tiling window managers, it’s the closest you can get to a complete DE with decent tiling functionality. This way, you don’t have to spend hours getting Wifi, Bluetooth, Notifications, or anything else to work with regular i3.

5 Great Text Editors For Writing Markdown

Millions of people rely on Markdown every day for a wide variety of tasks. Developers use it to write README’s, bloggers use it to write articles, and students use it to write papers. Yet, unlike HTML, many people find themselves using a bog-standard text editor to write their markdown; that’s a shame, because there are tons of specialized editors for Markdown that allow you to write faster and more comfortably. So, if you write markdown often, I’ll show you 5 great specialized editors that will help you be more efficient with your work.

Apostrophe

A distraction free Markdown editor for writers

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Apostrophe is a re-branding of the incredibly popular ‘Uberwriter’. It’s a GTK based editor that is tailored twords heavy writers, with a variety of distraction free settings that help you get ‘in the zone’. It features the much beloved ‘Hemmingway mode’, which stops you from backspacing, and a ‘focus’ mode, which only highlights the current line and makes every other line blend with the background. But apart from its nice usability features, its more powerful than many other editors too. Apostrophe is fully integrated with Pandoc, and allows you to export your markdown to any file format you could imagine, and import almost any file format to be edited as markdown. It’s like an exacto knife, it’s not too flashy, but it does the job well, and almost anyone can use it.

Ghostwriter

So powerful it’s spooky

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Ghostwriter is probably the second most popular markdown editor on Linux today. Unlike Apostrophe, it’s QT based and integrates seamlessly with the KDE Plasma desktop. Ghostwriter seems a little less concerned with keeping you in ‘the zone’, but even though it’s a little cluttered for my liking, Ghostwriter is incredibly powerful. There’s both a bottom and a side panel that you can toggle and fill with a word counter, undo button, dark mode toggle, and every other little convenience you could ever need. Sadly, by default, Ghostwriter only exports to HTML, but if you install pandoc, you can change that too. If Apostrophe is an exacto knife, Ghostwriter is a multi tool including a hammer and a toothbrush.

Marker

GTK Markdown Editor for savvy markdown users

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Marker is the original GTK 3 markdown editor. And it’s personally my favorite. Marker integrates beautifully with GNOME, but also blends seamlessly with XFCE, Mate, Budgie, and every other GTK desktop under the sun. But in contrast to Apostrophe, Marker has a smorgesboard of built in themes and options that allows you to completely customize your writing experience. And along with it’s pretty standard features, it has split window HTML rendering, extended support for scientific syntax, and the ability to make presentations with beamer. My only gripe is that pandoc isn’t used by default, but just like Ghostwriter, that can be changed.

Vim-Markdown

It’s Vim, with markdown

I know, Vim is hardly a dedicated markdown editor, but with a plugin called, vim-markdown, it can get pretty damn close. Vim markdown provides syntax highlighting, visual indicators, folding, and a wide variety of keybindings. It’s obviously not as good as the others on the list, as there’s absolutely no exporting features of any kind, but if you’re comfortable with using Pandoc on the terminal, and know how to use Vim, then it’s probably your best bet.

Remarkable

Lightweight Editor for developers

Pic4

While many text editors focus either on Commonmark or Pandoc Markdown, Remarkable decides to use Github flavored markdown. This is very convenient for people who either host their websites on Github (like me), or regularly write README’s for their various projects. But that’s not its only use, much like the other editors on this list, it has dual-pane functionality, shortcuts, some math syntax, and even the ability to export to PDF and HTML. However, what kills it for me is that there’s no support for pandoc, and apart from a few custom css themes, there’s not a lot of customization either. However, if none of the other markdown editors on this list seem to fit you, I’d give it a shot.

Conclusion

Hopefully, one of these 5 amazing editors calls your name. Markdown is an incredibly useful markup language, and with just a few usability features, it can be written faster, easier, and with a little more gusto. So, if you’re one of those millions of people writing markdown using a standard text editor, I’d highly encourage you to give one of these editors a shot. It may seem trivial in the short term, but trust me, it could completely change how you write markdown for the better.

How To Theme Libadwaita

GNOME’s switch to Libadwaita has been a little controversial. Many people have complained about how GNOME is taking away people’s option to theme their desktop. And while, the goal was to empower developers by restricting the customizability of GTK3, it’s not all gone. There is in fact, ways to customize GNOME 42. And if you’re interested in doing some ricing, I’ll show you how you can download, install, and apply GTK4 themes to Libadwaita applications.

Manual Themes

Downloading the LibAdwaita theme

Surprisingly, there are quite a few themes that now support theming LibAwdaita. But, I personally found a pretty good github repo that has plenty of themes that seem to work. If you have git, just copy this command into the terminal.

git clone https://github.com/odziom91/libadwaita-themes

Applying the LibAdwaita theme

You can use your file manager to unzip and move the theme file in a GUI, however, I’d recommend just typing these four commands into the terminal.

cd libadwaita-themes/THEME

unzip THEME.zip

rm -Rf ~/.config/gtk-4.0

mv gtk-4.0 ~/.config

And tada! It works!

IMG1

Automatic Theming

If you’re not looking to use a specific colorscheme, but still want a little bit of customization in your desktop, this is the way to go. Using Gradience, you simply upload your wallpaper, and get an automatically generated theme that applies to LibAdwaita and gtk-adw3. Gradience maintains the LibAdwaita look while changing the colorscheme, ensuring stability. To start, just install with Flatpak.

Installing Gradience

 flatpak install com.github.GradienceTeam.Gradience

Downloading adw-gtk3

Then, I’d recommend installing the gtk-adw3 theme. This is a theme that replicates the look of LibAdwaita in GTK3 applications. But most importantly, gtk-adw3 is able to be themed by Gradience. Just go to the official github repo and download the most recent tar file. Then, move it to the .themes directory and apply it.

tar xf adw-gtk3v4-0.tar.xz

cd adw-gtk3v4-0

mv adw-gtk3 ~/.themes

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Using Gradience to set the colorscheme

Gradience is dead simple to use. All you need to do is go over to the Monet tab, and upload your wallpaper where it says, ‘Background Image’. From there, you can choose between a light and dark theme and manually change some of the colors that you don’t like. Once you’ve got your colorscheme, hit ‘apply’, check the box next to ‘GTK3 Applications’, and set the theme.

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You’re Done

Now, you’ve got a fully customized GNOME desktop that adheres to any theme you could ever imagine. While the decision to restrict theming with Libadwaita may be controversial, at least now there’s a way for people who dislike the change to rice their desktops. Worst case scenario, you break everything and go back to the already beautiful default theme.

Ghostbsd Review

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?

Install

GhostInstall

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.

Resource Usage

GhostResource

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.

Boot Speed

GhostBoot

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.

Desktop

GhostDesktop

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.

Default Software

GhostBSD has very sane software choice. There’s only 7 non-mate GUI applications, and most of them are pretty useful.

App Function
Firefox Web Browser
VLC Media Player
Evolution Email Client
RhythemBox Music Player
Atril Document Viewer
Shotwell Image Editor
Plank Desktop Dock

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.

Conclusion

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.

GhostLogo

Click Me!!